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Can impostor syndrome be a symptom of burnout? Which personality types are more at risk of burnout? What can you change in your schedule for the better?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about burnout and the research behind it with Sharon Grossman.
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If you want to apply to have a 30-minute pre-consulting call with me, I would love to chat about where you’re at.
The goal is to just hear where you at, where you’re headed, and where you want to change things, and then to say, “Here’s where I’d spend my time and money if I were in your situation!”
We have enough people applying at every phase of practice, so we don’t need to squeeze you into anything. In fact, we would hate that.
We would rather say, “Here’s where we can join you and offer some consulting to help you reach your goals faster”.
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Meet Dr. Sharon Grossman
Dr. Sharon Grossman helps 6- and 7-figure executives and entrepreneurs go from Exhausted to Extraordinary™. Using her 3-step method, her clients learn how to overcome anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout in 90 days or less.
Dr. Sharon is the author of the international bestseller, The 7E Solution to Burnout, a psychologist, and success coach. She shares tips and strategies as a keynote speaker and on her weekly podcast, Decode Your Burnout.
Visit Dr. Sharon Grossman’s website and connect on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
FREEBIE: The Burnout Checklist
In This Podcast
- Burnout is chronic stress
- Impostor syndrome can come from burnout
- Personality types at risk of burnout
- Sharon’s advice to private practitioners
Burnout is chronic stress
Listen, if you’re having these kinds of symptoms, that is burnout and you need to address it in a very different way than you would if it was just acute stress. It’s a different animal.
Dr. Sharon Grossman
Burnout is not struggling for a couple of days or feeling tired after a stressful week.
True burnout is the result of being exposed to chronic stress for an extended period, and it needs to be treated in a specific way for it to fully resolve itself and allow you to reenter life fully and presently again.
The three cornerstones of burnout are:
- Mental (and physical) exhaustion
- Decline in performance
For most people, it’s because they’re just doing too much. They’re just working too many hours and not getting a chance to really recharge their batteries. And so, at some point, their attitude starts to change.
Dr. Sharon Grossman
Impostor syndrome can come from burnout
Constant work with no genuine rest can lead to burnout, and untreated burnout can lead to a decline in performance, apathy, and a lack of passion, and therefore can knock your confidence.
Burnout is what causes this dip in confidence and self-belief, not that the person is actually incapable in any shape or form. The lack of rest and trust can create a sense of continual urgency and apathy, leading to anxiety and even more overwhelming.
Personality types at risk of burnout
Three personality types are at risk of burnout:
- The thinkers
- The feelers
- The doers
If you’re a feeler, then you’re more of that people-pleaser who wants to do everything to make sure everybody’s taken care of and that’s why you don’t actually have time for yourself, and then you start feeling resentful because other people aren’t reciprocating [or] they’re not doing for you what you’re doing for them.
Dr. Sharon Grossman
Practice your self-awareness. What are some things that you do, need to do differently, or things that you believe that you need to shift to engage with people and your work on a healthier and more sustainable level?
Sharon’s advice to private practitioners
There’s no “right” way to run your practice, and success can take on many forms. So, define what success looks like to you, and structure your life and business around achieving that.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Useful Links mentioned in this episode:
Check out these additional resources:
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 810.
I’m Joe Sanok, your host and welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast. I am so glad you’re here. If you’re brand new to listening to this show, welcome. I am so glad you’re here. We have so many different podcasts on a variety of different things mostly around starting, growing, scaling, and exiting your private practice. So we try to have a good balance between different business type things, case studies, people doing interesting stuff in business. This month we’ve had some really interesting conversations. Just a couple episodes ago, I interviewed this guy Tom, who’s hired over 90 individuals with autism for his carwash business and it just was such an interesting story about having people on the autism spectrum working and it was his brother who is on the spectrum and he wanted to offer him a job and to just have interesting stories like that, but then also very practical things.
On the 14th of October we had Charlotte come and talk about forecasting future scenarios, which sounds super sci-fi, but she was actually just talking about having a game plan for if things were like to go totally terrible for things if they were totally utopian and then if things were somewhere in the middle. She walked us through these really great ways to plan for the worst, plan for the best, and then find somewhere in the middle. So lots of great things. Back on October 6th we had 2022 and 2023 SEO trends, all sorts of really, really cool stuff that we’ve been talking about this month. Hopefully within there you found a few things that really are helping you grow your business, do the work you want, add value to the world.
I’m really excited today to have Dr. Sharon Grossman, who helps six and seven figure executives and entrepreneurs to go from exhausted to extraordinary using her three-step method. You learn how to overcome anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout in 90 days or less. Dr. Sharon is the author of the international bestseller, The 7E Solution to Burnout. She’s a psychologist and success coach, and she shares all sorts of tips and strategies as a keynote speaker and on her weekly podcast, Decode Your Burnout. Sharon, welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast. I’m really excited to have you here today.
[DR. SHARON GROSSMAN]
I’m so excited to be here, Joe, and I cannot believe it’s 810. You’ve been doing this for a long time.
Yes, it was very early 2013, so we’re about to have our 10-year anniversary in just a couple months here. So it’s wild, it’s wild. People that have been listening since the beginning heard all sorts of iterations of this show.
Amazing. You’re such an inspiration.
Oh, well thank you so much. Well, I’d love to hear about your work. It’s always interesting to hear how people went partially the traditional route and then how they went way non-traditional. Like you’ve done all sorts of things outside of the typical psychologist story but why don’t we start with what is your story as a psychologist? What did that look like when you first graduated and then how’d you get, we’ll get into how you got into the work that you do today.
Yes, so I started out working in a nonprofit immediately after grad school. What I was doing there was, I was part of this program that was all about early psychosis intervention. So we were working with young adults primarily, and the mission was very noble. It was to help people to avoid having chronic situations, to understand their mind better. We incorporated a lot of CBT into that work and I stayed with that program for a few years and I kept rising up in the ranks, but I got to a point where it was either go into management or just stay where I was and I was ready for the next thing. I did not want to manage people. I was like, this is not why I went to school. I loved doing clinical work I want to work with the people.
So I started looking around for my next move, like where was I going to go from here? I quickly realized that there really wasn’t anything that was a fit and what was really driving all of my decision making was my value to have work-life balance. So I noticed that either certain jobs required you to work nights and weekends, or there was going to be a very long commute and that was something I wasn’t really interested in doing. Like it was either the wrong population or the wrong location or something just didn’t fit. I was very against going into business for myself. Part of the reason for that was because when I was a grad student, I remember going an APA conference and attend this workshop by a psychologist in private practice. He talked about burnout, people who are in private practice and how they burn out and it’s so easy for people to get into that place primarily because when you’re your own boss, you only make as much as you work.
So I had that in the back of my head. I was like, well, I don’t want to be that person. I tried everything and then when I realized that there was nothing else for me to do and I was going to go into my own private practice, I decided that I was going to set it up in such a way to avoid burnout as much as possible. So what I did was I found an office location that was really close to my gym, and I would create my schedule in such a way where I would have these extended lunch breaks during which time I also went to the gym and did my workouts so that I didn’t have to wait until the end of the day when we’re all tired and we’re rushing home and we have to deal with our families and everything else.
There were no excuses because everything was baked in. That worked really well for a while and then I was like, I feel like I need more of a challenge. I need something a little bit newer. I had started doing some coaching on the side, but it was very generic. It was like life coaching. It’s like when you’re a therapist and you don’t have a specialty. That’s how I would look at like coaching. It’s like, yes, we can help you with anything. Come on board. I really wanted to specialize in something and I didn’t really know exactly what, but the concept of burnout kept popping up. I decided that I was going to do some research on the topic. I started to read other people’s books on it, I started to look at the literature and I decided that I was going to take all of my know-how, all of the skills and the techniques and things that I was teaching my clients in therapy because I made them work for it and put it into a book.
I wanted to have the focus of the book be burnout. So essentially, it’s like, how do you learn these life skills that allow you to be more centered and be more in control of your mind, et cetera, et cetera, so that you can live the life that you want to live without burning out? That’s how my book came about. But in the process of so doing, I started listening with a different ear to my patients. They would come in, they start describing what’s going on for them and now I was like, oh, this really sounds a lot like burnout. I notice how many of them were having these light bulb moments where they’d be like, oh yes. I was like, okay, so what’s happening here is that people know when they’re exhausted and they know when they’re stressed. They don’t always add one plus one and recognize that that’s burnout.
So I made it my mission to go out there and do podcasts like this to really educate the public and say like, listen, if you’re having these kinds of symptoms that is burnout and you need to address it in a very different way than you would. It was just acute stress. It’s a different animal. Burnout is chronic stress. So that’s kind how that started and then from there, my coaching became very much focused on burnout specifically. I really, really enjoy that work. I find it’s very fulfilling to help people get back into the work that they love to do, but aren’t able to do it. It just, for a whole bunch of different reasons, I really find it very fulfilling so eventually I actually moved away from the therapy practice and now I am focusing only on burnout, whether it’s speaking, coaching, consulting, whatever That’s how I landed here.
Now, when you were first starting to like explore transitioning out of doing therapy and you were growing some coaching and learning about burnout and articulating your unique way of talking about burnout was there much imposter syndrome? Like there’s all these other people talking about this, who am I? Or were you just like, I’m into this, I’m going to just try it. What was your mindset during that phase?
No, I actually didn’t have imposter syndrome. I was just like, I’ve been doing therapy for like 20 years. I know what makes people tick. I understand personality. I know what it’s like when you’re anxious and you’re stressed and you’re feeling guilty or you’re feeling frustrated, all of these things that are a result of our thoughts and burnout’s really not that different. We’re filled with all kinds of thoughts that lead us into a negative mental and emotional state, which leads us to do things differently or affects our performance at work. So a simple way of explaining that is, if you look at the three different symptoms that are the key cornerstones of burnout, we see there’s exhaustion, which typically is more of a mental than a physical exhaustion. We see cynicism and we see a decline in performance.
The way that I like to think about it is that you’re probably exhausted for one of several reasons, but for most people it’s because they’re just doing too much. They’re just working too many hours and they’re not getting a chance to really recharge their batteries and so at some point their attitude starts to change. maybe you started doing this because you were really passionate about the work and after a while you’re drained and so you start becoming really negative. Maybe you’re resentful and then your performance starts to decline. The more that happens, the more it really affects your confidence and your ability to do the work. That’s where sometimes people have anxiety, imposter syndrome, all these things that show up. The more you’re stuck in that negative state, the more exhausted you feel and around and around we go. So I think when we’re aware of what’s happening, we can name it and then we can find the appropriate treatment for it.
Now when I think about just like the everyday experience of people living in 2022 at the time of this recording, we had a pandemic that started two years ago and keeps popping up. Now we have the time of this recording monkeypox, and then we’ve got people that are ghost quitting their jobs where they stay at their jobs, but they’re just really not working. We’ve got political tensions, we’ve got race inequality, we’ve got all sorts of changes in the Supreme Court that just causes the average person to have so much anxiety, worry, and even people talking in the news. At least at the time of this recording of what’s going to happen with November and Civil War? I mean, it’s just, there’s so much to worry about. And my kids always want snacks. Like, I swear, it’s like, I just saw a thing today on Twitter that said parenting is like getting in a car accident and the second you stand up, your kid wants a snack. It’s just so the average person it feels like right now is dealing with so much just general stress. So how do you parse out just a crazy couple of years from like deep burnout, deep anxiety, something that you really need to see someone for or recognize in yourself? How do you parse that out?
Well, we all know what stress feels like when it’s acute. It’s like when you are stuck in traffic or somebody cuts you off or your kids are just really loud and you get really triggered. That’s acute stress. We all experience that every single day. But chronic stress is a different animal and it affects us differently. It’s like, if you think about people have chronic trauma when you have something that happens to you, like you got in a car accident. If it wasn’t too bad and it doesn’t stay with you, it was just stressful at the time. But then we also have these traumas that we never get over and they’re always triggering us all the time. So that’s a way of thinking about the difference between acute and chronic stress.
What we see with chronic stress is, as I mentioned, the symptoms are different. You don’t just feel wound up, but you feel exhausted. That’s what we see a lot of times. People are wired and tired, they’re not able to go to sleep at night and they just have a lot of these intrusive thoughts and it just doesn’t stop. I think about it like an onion where, because you’re constantly coming up against the stressor, whatever that is, again, and again, it’s like there’s layer upon layer upon layer of stress. So we really need to take a look at what is it that’s stressing you out so much. There’s a whole gam of things that lead to burnout really. Based on that, we have an intervention that’s very much tailored to your specific situation because we can’t just say, oh, everybody do this one thing and then if you’re burned out, you’ll be fine.
Because just like with regular stress, like you might become stressed because of your kids and I might become stressed because of a coworker of mine or my neighbor, or because I have too much to do in too little time. I mean, everybody has different things that stress them out and what stresses you out may not stress me out So that’s why it’s a very individualistic sort of question that everybody has to determine for themselves. I think when we take the time to ask the right questions and identify what is leading me to feel the way that I feel, then we can start to move in the direction of the solution.
Whether you’re starting a solo practice or thriving in solo practice, getting a group going or thriving in a group, or launching a big idea or thriving with your big idea, we have a consultant that can help you. With our team we continue to grow to have consultants that will help you at every single phase of practice. If you want to apply to have a 30-minute pre-con consulting call with me, I would love to chat through where you’re at. The goal is to just hear where you’re at, where you’re headed, where you want to change things, and then to say, here’s where I’d spend my time and money if I were in your situation. We have enough people applying at every phase of practice, we don’t need to squeeze you into anything. In fact, we would hate that. We would rather say, here’s where we can join you and offer some consulting to help you reach your goals faster. Apply over at practiceofthepractice.com/apply if you want some help with one-on-one consulting today. Again, that’s practiceofthepractice.com/apply.
Now, what are some things that maybe clinicians miss when they’re working with their clients that really points to burnout, stress those sorts of things?
Well, I’m not sure that there’s one thing per se, but I like to think about three different personality types that end up burning out the most. The way I delineate it as if you are a thinker, that means that you’re stuck in a lot of negative self-talk or a lot of just negative thinking. Could be ruminations, could be imposter syndrome, just a lot of thoughts in your head that bring up a lot of negative energy, whether it’s anxiety, stress, frustration, guilt, whatever it is. If you’re a feeler, then you’re more of that people pleaser who wants to do everything to make sure everybody’s taken care of. That’s why you don’t actually have time for yourself and then you start feeling resentful cause other people aren’t reciprocating and they’re not doing for you what you’re doing for them. You’re stuck in that victim mentality and so you’re exert lot more energy focusing on those kinds of things, feeling frustrated and resentful.
Then if you’re the doer, you’re the person who is probably taking on way too much stuff and doesn’t know how to say no. It’s because whereas like the feeler doesn’t know how to say no cause they’re trying to please the other person take care of that other person, the doer doesn’t know how to say no because they have something to prove. They want to make sure that they accomplish enough so that they feel worthy. So I think these three different types burn out for different reasons. If you find yourself in one of those three descriptions, then the answer to get to the other side of that coin is going to very much depend on which of those three is fitting.
Sometimes people find that it’s more than one. Like sometimes people are like, what if I’m all three? You can be, which just means that you have a lot more work to do to undo a lot of that because it’s basically our conditioning We’re not born this way. There’s a reason why you think the way that you do and the way that you act and the way that you do. So it’s just about having some self-awareness of what are the things that I do? What are things that I believe that lead me to engaging in the work or with other people in this way so that I can set up boundaries better or that I believe in myself without having to prove anything, or that I manage my own mind so that I’m not stressed out or I don’t feel like I have to do everything perfectly and I’m not stuck with all of these unreasonable expectations for myself. I hope that answers your question, but that’s how I think about it. I actually created my podcast Decode Your Burnout specifically to look at these three different types and to help people identify their version of burnout so that they can find solutions that are customized to them so that it’s not this one-stop-shop. It’s not a one-size-fits-all.
Now, when you think about your own habits to avoid burnout, yes, what do you do that works for you?
Well, I have to say that I feel so incredibly blessed being a business owner cause I get to make my own hours. For me, the challenge is how to be successful in terms of bringing in enough money and so forth while still maintaining a really high quality of life because that’s a huge value for me. I don’t want to like work, work, work, work, work, and then have nothing to show for it other than maybe like I made a bunch of money, which I have people in my immediate family that are definitely on the other end of that spectrum. They’re like super successful, but don’t necessarily have a life. I definitely don’t want that for myself. So in terms of habits what I’ve done is I’ve set my schedule such that I don’t actually start work until 10:00 AM, which gives me the entire morning to really take my time to exercise, to shower, to meditate or stretch or whatever it is that I want to do for my mental and physical health.
So if you start your day right and then you go into your work, then you’re already filling your own cup and you’re not like, because we’re in the helping industry, so if you want to help other people and you don’t help yourself, you’re going to run out juice at some point. So it’s so important for us to be able, I mean, it’s important for anybody, but I think for people who are in that service industry, like we really do have to take those precautions. It’s easy for us to fall into the trap of, I don’t have time, I’ve got kids, I’ve got a business, I got stuff to do, who’s got time to meditate. I wish I could exercise, but it’s not in the, for me. I think that it’s just a mindset shift. Like you have to just accept the fact that if you’re not going to prioritize yourself, it’s never going to happen and that you have to create the time for that. Whether it means that you wake up earlier or that you push your start time till later but it has to happen. You got to figure out how to make it happen.
And previously, like I said, I just did it such that in the middle of the day I would create a break and go to the gym when I was still in my therapy office. So there’s not lik one way to do it, but it’s definitely, it has to be baked in. That’s what I would say. You also have to have a cut cutoff time for your work. You can’t just like fall into the trap that a lot of our entrepreneurs fall into, which is, well, I got to answer all my emails every time they come into my inbox. I got to be on top of it. That’s a trap. Because people are going to always send you messages, emails, texts, calls, whatever. We just have to just recognize that those things are there in order to capture the information and hold onto it until we’re ready to look at it so that we don’t have to feel compelled to constantly be on.
We can actually say I’m not going to see anybody after four or after five or whatever your number is so that I can relax, so that I can spend time with my family so that I can have some fun after work. How many of us are working all the time and we don’t have fun? We forgot what fun is all about. We’re not playing anymore. So I think it’s just this really big mindset shift and it’s about being intentional about the way that you schedule yourself. That’s actually the beauty of being an entrepreneur and being self-directed. No one’s telling you you have to work at these hours or do nights and weekends. Like, you get to decide for yourself. So think about what works best for you and what you need to do in terms of your own personal health, mental health. I mean, we’re the mental health business and if we’re not taking care of our own mental health health, that’s a problem.
I think there’s also like an ethical side that if you are responding all the time to texts and emails and you’ve set that up and you’ve realized it’s unhealthy to make sure you let your clients know, hey, I’m changing the way that I do this because there’s been a lot of court cases where someone sets a precedent of how fast they respond or the method they respond and then they change that without letting the clients know. Like you’re setting yourself up for some additional liability and I think that people respond to how you communicate. So it’s like if you communicate on a Sunday evening after your kids are in bed, then they’re going to communicate back and then you’re going to have more emails Monday morning, you’re not actually getting caught up.
So just that idea of saying what boundaries do I want to set for myself? What’s healthy for me? Let’s have some fun. Like after this podcast I have one sponsor recording to do and then I’m headed to Improv and then I’m going to a concert tonight. So it’s like, my brain is turning off. I’m going to play with my daughters until it’s time to go to Improv and probably go for a walk. To me those are the things that allow me to sprint as hard as I sprint when I’m working because I know, yes, there’s always more that I can do with the business. There’s a lot of stuff that’s hit the fan this week, but it can wait till tomorrow morning when I’m going to work on that. I need to let my brain rest so that I can do my best work and not make additional mistakes or different things that would screw up things because I’m not at my best when I’m working. Such great points. I’m wondering Sharon, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want to know?
I’d want to know that there’s not one way to run your practice and that being successful can mean different things. So you really have to dig deep and say, what does it mean for me to really be successful? I certainly don’t want to define it for you, but I would say that for me at least being successful is having it all. In other words, you want to be a great therapist and you want your business to do well, but you also want to be able to enjoy your life because otherwise what’s the point? We want to have meeting in our life, but we also want to have that balanced out with fun and connections outside of work and be able to, if you have a family actually raise your kids and not just leave them in front of the tub. We want to be able to be on after work. If you’re absolutely drained because you’ve given everything to your job, you want to rethink your paradigm.
Such great advice. If people want to follow your work, connect with you, follow your podcast, what’s the best thing or way for them to do that?
All the information is on my website, which is drsharongrossman.com. If you’re listening to this and you’re like, I’m not really sure am I burned out and if I am, what am I supposed to do, then I would direct you to something that’s also on my website, which is the burnout checklist. Or you can go directly to drsharongrossman.com/burnoutchecklist. That’s a free download for you to be able to explore. Once you do that, we’ll also send you some additional emails with all kinds of value-driven messages so that you can really start to tap into some of the tools that I’ve made available.
So awesome. Thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
Thank you so much for having me, Joe. It’s been a blast.
I’m so excited to have conversations like this because we are taught in grad school and from other people that here’s the path for a therapist, you work at a nonprofit, work at ACMH, maybe do a little bit of private practice, but our skillset is so needed in the world. So when people are out there doing podcasts and writing and doing courses and all sorts of other things, it’s just so inspirational to me because there’s just so much creativity behind it and it goes beyond just giving yourself that hourly wage as well. So hopefully you’re finding all these episodes, we’re doing four a week really helpful for you, we’ve got tons more episodes coming out in the coming months. If you need help you should head over to practiceofthepractice.com/apply.
We have consultants that are here to help you in so many different ways, myself included to walk you through one-on-one, what you need to do in your practice, what you need to do to level up. You’ll have a conversation with Jess, who’s our director of details, and then she’ll pair you with the best consultant to have a pre-consulting call with. Honestly, we have so many people applying that we just want it to be a good fit. There’s not a hard sell. We never try to upsell you into something you don’t need. We say if I was in your situation, here’s where I’d spend my time., hre’s where I’d spend my money, and here’s some low-hanging fruit that whether or not you work with us is going to be helpful for you with the goals that you’re working on. If that sounds good to you to have a half hour call with one of us to just see if consulting might be a fit. Just head over to practiceofthepractice.com/apply. Again, that’s practiceofthepractice.com/apply.
Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music.
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