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Episode 012: A Conversation on Burnout with Rachel Sheerin

a conversation on burnout

Join Sarah Noll Wilson and Rachel Sheerin as they define burnout, and explore strategies to help navigate it with compassion for yourself and others.

About our guest

Rachel Sheerin is an award-winning keynote speaker and emcee who has been described as “The Brene Brown of Burnout” who energizes and engages audiences with her signature blend of humor and authenticity.

Named Speaker of the Year by NACE, Rachel shares her insights as a professional behavioral analyst to help attendees achieve success they love.

With her viral TEDx talk entitled “How to Burnout and Be Successful”, Rachel’s served audiences from Spain to Seattle to 160+ Zoom rooms and takes her margaritas on the rocks.

Rachel’s been on both sides of business – sales and operations. She’s built multi-million dollar sales teams for organizations that want to grow profits and boost happiness and trained operations teams that want to influence their sales teams to work better together.

With Fortune 500 clients such as The Ritz Carlton, WAL-MART, National Associations, Freddie Mac, Berkshire Hathaway, and more, Rachel’s known for delivering high-impact education and motivation to audiences from Spain to Seattle.

A partner of The James Beard Foundation and Director of Global Award for the Association for Women in Events, Rachel Sheerin motivates and educates high-performers so they can level up their success, increase their impact, and live a life they love.

With her book launching in 2022, Rachel’s continued research and motivational content around burnout, happiness and success can be heard on her weekly podcast and newsletters.

You can learn more about Rachel at www.RachelSheerin.com

Episode Transcript

Sarah Noll Wilson
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Conversations on Conversations where each week we explore a topic to help us have better conversations with ourselves and with other people. I’m your host, Sarah Noll Wilson. And, as always, I’m so excited. I’m always excited. And I’m so excited to introduce you to Rachel Sheerin. So a little bit about my dear colleague, friend, and general amazing woman, Rachel. She is an award winning keynote speaker and emcee who has been described as the Brene Brown of burnout, who energizes and engages audiences with her signature blend of humor and authenticity. Named the Speaker of the Year by NACE, Rachel shares her insights as a professional behavioral analyst to help attendees achieve success they love. I just want to say that again. I love that. To achieve success they love. With her viral TEDx talk entitled How to Burn OIut and Be Successful, Rachel served audiences – has served audiences – from Spain to Seattle, to 160-plus zoom rooms, to – at, well, I was gonna say and two, but – and she takes her margaritas on rocks. This is something that, you know, that I adore about her. She has a book coming out in 2022. And her continued research and motivational content around burnout, happiness and success can be heard on her weekly podcast and newsletter. Rachel Sheerin. Welcome, my love.

Rachel Sheerin
Sarah, duh-nuh duh-nuh, I’m – for anyone that is listening to this in the car, I am Price Is Right-ing right now. Just high fiving everyone down. It’s an honor to be here, Sarah. Longtime listener, first time guest. Finally.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I’m so excited. I was trying to remember how long it had been. I know, we’ve just come up on our anniversary recently. But I think it’s been five years. Was it 2017?

Rachel Sheerin
Our friends-versary. Yeah. When we first made contact. When, when we saw each other on the internet in a Facebook group, and thought, Oh, my god, are you – Are you for real? And then you looked at me and – Yeah, we totally connected, and it wasn’t even so much the words we said, it was a lot of times the visual cues or just the energy, maybe even the punctuation?

Sarah Noll Wilson
I think – I mean, one of the

Rachel Sheerin
We took a chance.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, we did. And one of the things I will say is that – one of the things that drew me to you was that we were part of a group for speakers, and you always just came from such a place of abundance in a space when sometimes people can feel very protected and you know, and, and holding close their information. Again, I just remember that first conversation we had and, and feeling like I had found somebody who could walk on this journey with me. And we’ve just been so fortunate to have each other’s back and to grow. And I’m, and I’m so – I’m really excited, and excited might not even – I think it’s going to be really important what we’re going to talk about. We know that the last couple of years have been really hard. We don’t need to go into that, we all know, we lived it. You know, this idea of burnout is something that I feel like is a word that is talked about a lot. And sometimes it’s hard to understand what it looks like. And so today, we’re just going to really explore, because you’ve been thinking about and focusing on burnout for a long time, actually quite a bit longer than just the last couple of years. But before we get into that, Rachel, what else would you like people to know about you?

Rachel Sheerin
Well, you covered the important stuff, margaritas on the rocks, check. Friends with you, check. You know, I guess to me, one of the things you should know about me is that I don’t think the answer to healing burnout is to take a spa day, or even to take a vacation, even though I think if you’re into spas, you should do it and make a regular calendar invite for yourself. And if you aren’t taking vacation days, you should do that too. But I think that I really come from a place where, I love success. I love people that are in love with the work that they do and the people that they serve and the people that they get to work alongside. They don’t have to, they get to. And I think that’s probably a large part of my ethos. You know, I’m a very naturally positive person. Let’s of course experience the ups and downs of life. But the conversation – I’m so excited, I think, to see where this goes today, Sarah, and your – you, I feel like, are such a leader in curious conversations, and open and vulnerable, and a lot of humility, and just a lot of honesty. I think one of the things folks should know is that this isn’t going to be hashtag self care. You know, I’m somebody who really wants to help people who believe in their impact who enjoy their work, really get back to that – that loving feeling. It’s not about if you’re going to be successful. That’s the thing. The thing with me – You are successful. Everyone listening and tuning into this podcast is successful, right? There’s a lot of people that don’t seek out knowledge or, or are just not feeling it right now, we’re just -Listen, sometimes brushing the teeth is the win.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right, right.

Rachel Sheerin
But you’re successful. It’s will you want the success that you get? That’s what I’m really here, and excited, and in his at my core to really serve. You are gonna, you’re gonna get the success. It’s just do you want it?

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, yeah. And also, and also defining that. I mean, I think that’s what I, that’s why I paused on your bio, because it’s the success you love. And I think sometimes we hear the word success. And in our culture, it’s very much, like, title driven or money driven, or, you know, but it’s, it’s that, What’s the impact you want? How do you want to feel when you show up? How do you want to feel with the people you’re working – What’s the -Yeah, what’s that ripple effect? And how, you know, I mean, work is a part of our world, it’s a part of our, for many of us, it’s a part of our lives. And so how can we hopefully create conditions where we can feel really good about it? Because how we feel about work and at work directly impacts how we feel about ourselves and at home, and – and it has this huge impact. So, So Rachel, let’s, let’s start with even just, you know, as you think about the work that you’ve been doing, and your own journey, because I know, I’m sure you’ll get into this, or I hope you will, because this isn’t just a topic that is intellectually interesting. It’s a very personal topic for you. And so I wonder if we can start there is, you know, what, what was your journey? To and through burnout? To have this be such an impact? Like, you’re so passionate about helping people think about it differently. So talk to us about, Where did you start, to where you are today?

Rachel Sheerin
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m passionate about burnout, because to be honest, it hit me like a freight train. And it robbed me of almost everything I love, including my identity. You know, it’s very American to identify ourselves with work. You know, you go to Europe, you go to South America, they’re more laissez faire. They’re more, you know, when you, when you go to a party and you meet new people, they’re not talking about what they get paid to do. They’re talking about what they enjoy, right? And I think that’s why, you know, the margarita comment in my bio always gets a chuckle. But here’s the thing, you know a lot about me because I enjoy margaritas. Right? I’ve got that beachy vibe, I’ve got – you know, I’ll meet you on a beach anywhere. Yeah, and I also believe in that seizing the joy and, and whether, you know, you’re, you’re sober, or whether you’d like some tequila in your marg, I’ll meet you anywhere, because that’s the energy I’ve got. But to talk about burnout is because I am a survivor, and I thought I could outrun all of the feelings. When I was an executive and sales leader, I thought that I could just outwork it. I thought I could outrun it, I think I could out-deny it. How about I could be so happy and successful that I would eventually not feel burned out. And burned out, when I, when I was experiencing, I’m not gonna lie, it was the biggest, nastiest secret, I think of the the corporate world. And I think it, it still is. We talk about burnout a lot. But we’re still not seeing the upper echelons of leadership really talk as much about it. And to me, I was shocked. When I when I did burn out, when I threw away my career, my title, my six figure income, my award winning, you know, accolades, my team – which, by the way, I had swapped in for friends, because, you know, all my friends, I totally bailed on them to be a great professional, quote unquote. I lost everything in the mix. And what’s wild is the more – first of all, I started to work through my own personal, you know, identity and, and addiction to work, and things like that – What I started to realize was, I’m not the outlier, I was just the only one willing to talk about it. And, you know, I’m the first one to admit, I was raised Catholic, I was raised in the Northeast. And, you know, we didn’t talk about the tough stuff in my family. Just culturally, you know. I think for a lot of us money is private. Sex is private. Emotions? I think, honestly, other than good ones –

Sarah Noll Wilson
Joy. Right. Joy or happy.

Rachel Sheerin
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, at a minimum, even if it wasn’t private, right, that you should keep it to yourself, we at least kept it in the family. It was hidden til it was an appropriate time to talk about it. And being good was valued over being honest. And I don’t want to paint it like my childhood was bad. It’s not. Not at all. It was just a generational lesson that my parents had adhered to, and their parents had adhered to. And, you know, it’s funny, I remember certain things from my childhood, that now paint a larger picture of how I feel now and who I am. And my father used to say, you know, Hey, happy is so much better, don’t you think? And so he did it in ways when I would maybe be sad or disappointed or things like that. And it wasn’t so much a question as it was just a reminder to adjust. And he’s right, you know, I do like being happy. I just wish I would have known sooner how to hold a lot more complexity. Hold a lot more different emotions other than happy and sad, and good and bad, and smart and dumb, and winner and loser, and thin and fat, and – How about burned out and passionate? Or driven and struggling? And to me burnout is – it’s simple and complicated, just like life is simple and complicated, right?

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, it’s, there’s so much to unpack in what you you just said, and there’s a couple of places I want to go back to. One, just that honoring the complexity. And I, and I appreciated how you’re like, Yeah, you can be burnt out and passionate, and you can still want and not have. The, the – I thought I could outrun it, I thought I could outwork it, I thought I could deny it, I thought I could just stay busy. And you know, in – especially in Western and American culture, there’s such a high value, like you said, put on work, but also this idea of hustle. And, and I know for me that, you know, I think about my own experience. And you know, I often will joke that some people burn the candle at both ends. But you know, for most of my adult life, it was, no, I had a blowtorch in one hand, I had it rotating on a spigot, you know, rotating it with my foot, I don’t know what the other – and, and a flame, you know, whatever, a flame thrower. And part of that was recognizing that there was an addiction to being busy. You know, when people would say things like, Sarah, I don’t know how you do it. I don’t either. And there was, you know, kind of like an ego stroke, and realizing that, boy, that is really unhealthy. And so I appreciate –

Rachel Sheerin
And unsustainable.

Sarah Noll Wilson
100%. There’s a real cost, not just to fix it. I mean, there’s a huge cost to you physically, but emotionally. And you said this, when you were first talking about when you experience burnout for that first time, of losing your identity. You know, not just from a work perspective, but I know when I think about my experience, I lost my mojo, I lost my sense of confidence, I lost, I was doubting myself. And so not only not only was I tired, not only was I – my relationships struggling, but I – and I had no idea how bad it had gotten for me until I got out of it. And so yeah, I’m just curious, you know, from your experience, you know, what are, what are some of the things you see, you know, as you’re talking to people, as you’re working with people, that’s that cost of that, that cost of busyness and you know, right, because we don’t have the culture. It’s like you’re weak if you say, I want to rest. You know, and I’m like, rest, rest doesn’t need to be, to be more productive. Rest can just be frickin rest.

Rachel Sheerin
Yeah. How about the fact that rest isn’t something that you earn?

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. Right.

Rachel Sheerin
And by the way, we teach what we need to learn. That’s my current lesson in my season of life, is rest isn’t a reward. Right? It’s not something to be earned. To your point, you know, Sarah, you – talking about, you know, losing that sense of self and having like, the physical aspects of it. I think those are some of the things about burnout, that maybe the identity portion is so vital right now. And I think that’s, that’s, again, when we started this conversation, I said, Hey, listen, I just want to say to the folks out there who love their work, who identify with the work, I’m not here to change it, to be honest. I think that there’s magic in people who are obsessed with their work. There’s, there’s incredible leaders who will change the world in the, in the teams or organizations or businesses that they build, because they are so into it. They get people on board with it. You know, all great movements have to start with passion, and your movement may be in an organization, it may be as an entrepreneur, it may be as the leader in your family, right. And that’s, you know, a big secret about burnout. There’s paid work and there’s unpaid work. And the past couple of years – I want to say out loud, I don’t think that burnout has necessarily changed as much. But I think that rarely have we all gone through something that has required life to be so much work.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
All at the same time. Grocery store is work. Traveling – you know, I was thinking about this the other day. When 911 happened. And the the TSA was brought in, right, to scan you and search you and all this kind of stuff before we boarded airplanes. I remember the pushback for years on that. People still complain about TSA. And I just want to say out loud that, yeah, travel used to be a little bit more fun, but you know what? Travel is definitely more fun when it’s done safely, in my opinion, so the trade off is fine for me. And yes, thank you clear and precheck. So when we’re talking about, you know, like, what, what do I see? Or maybe the way burnout starts to impact people? I think it does start, you know – a lot of times it’s the deeper questions. It’s the identity questions, it affects you physically, you know. Gone, by the way, are the days of, like, powering through the cold or the flu in the office? Yeah, stay home. I hope we’re gonna keep that. Yeah, I hope we’re gonna keep staying home and erring on the side of caution. You don’t need a gold star for, showed up and infected everybody else. Thank you so much. Um, you know, I think about the – it shows up where you’re working harder, but you’re working less efficiently. You’re, you’re sleeping more, but it’s not as rejuvenating. I mean, it can go physical, it can go mental. It can be in your closest relationships, or even strangers, you can be transaction-less emotion-less. Or, or vice versa, go completely emotional with it, and unhinged, which you know, by the way, is my style. And I just, when I start to lose it, when I start to hear narratives of things in my head that are just completely unreal, I know that maybe, hey, I’m stepping into the embers of burnout. And I think one of the things that’s really interesting is, we just have to all acknowledge here that work will never love us the way that we love work. And I mourn that. I just want to say out loud, that sucks. Because I love, I love to work. I love, I love success. I love community, I love teams, I love making an impact, and I love work. But we are so much more than work. Work is just the medium in which we act, and which we share through and learn and grow and win and, and create an impactful legacy. It’s just one medium of it. But it can’t be and it shouldn’t be the only impact and one that we have. It’s not the only identity in life.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, I mean, once again, there’s there’s so many different paths we can take. And so I want to I want to name that – A couple of things that were coming up for me as you were talking is, understanding that burnout can happen, whether it’s paid work or unpaid work, so let’s just shout out to largely women who are doing a huge amount of emotional labor and managing the homes, whether they’re, they’re in a work environment or working out of the home. And, and that, that – I think there’s some truth to what you’re saying, from the standpoint of, we have never collectively essentially experienced trauma. And we’re still navigating it. I think that’s one of the things that is, that I’m starting to see for sure. Is this, like, because some things are starting, you know, more going back to normal. Quote unquote, normal, right? Maybe some of our old habits are coming back. But realizing we’re, we are not the same people. And we, we had a client, a former client of ours that we were talking with. And, and she made this really powerful observation. She said, You know, the thing that concerns me right now, is that we make this assumption that because somebody is productive, they’re okay. Right? That, that – We know that, you know, I think everyone’s aware that we went through, and are still going through, a mentally and emotionally challenging time. Our brains, we’re just not, we’re not conditioned, and we’re not set up to experience that kind of extreme complexity, right? You know, grocery stores. Seeing people. Everything was hard. And that, there was something about that sort of simplicity of her statement, of we assume that because people are productive, that they’re, they’re okay. And, and one of the things we definitely know is that we – This is what I’m hearing, and so I’m curious to see what you’re hearing from, you know, the people you work with, is pretty consistently what we’re hearing from people is, It takes me way longer to recharge, way longer to recharge. I deplete way faster. You know, when we talk about things related to potentially like PTSD or, right, or burnout, is irritability, fogginess, tiredness, and people are like, Oh, I didn’t think I was burnt out. Because how much – how much have we – how much have we normalized burnout? And not even realizing that that’s what we’re experiencing?

Rachel Sheerin
Yep. Yeah. Unfortunately, Sarah, I think the answer is honestly, it’s not even possible to calculate it right now. Because only the further we get from where we are right now – and by the way, the more courageous organizations, cultures, leaders, individuals, families are able to talk about it – We’ll know more, we’ll know more soon. But from where I’m sitting right now, you know, I think it’s helpful to know the way I define burnout. You can get a ton of different definitions. But burnout to me is when happiness leaves your work. And it starts at work. And when happiness leaves your work, there is a greater risk of happiness leaving your life. Because I think a lot of times people think that, you know, in the way the World Health Organization defines burnout, burnout happens to just workers. I don’t think that’s true, I think burnout can sometimes feel like, Oh, my gosh, I can’t hack it. Or I’m losing my oomph. Or, right, you’re getting fatigued or you know, things like that. Remember when we were scrappy, and we were great with the scraps. And you know, especially to veteran professionals, folks that have got, you know, a decade or so of work under their belt, emerging managers and leaders and in teams and things like that. One of the interesting shifts, I think, that I hear a lot from my clients is, you know, I used to be, I used to be, I used to be. And a couple notes on that, I just want to say out loud, you used to be somebody different. And now we’re all different. The only person really holding ourselves to the standard is ourselves. And burnout happens to what I call triple-play high performers. And high performers are not necessarily defined – The only way I can describe it truly is, it’s triple play, which means that they’re high performers in heart, like these people give a lot. So if you’re, if you’re feeling burned out, or you know someone that’s burned out, it’s because I think you care a little too much. And by the way, I like that. I want to keep people who like that. You know, the second part is, I think they’re high performing in their professional lives, in their organization, they tend to be traditionally successful. And by the way, success can look like a ton of different metrics. It can be a loyal employee, it can be a high, high sales earning employee, it can be a beloved – how about the glue on your team, right? The folks that just are legacy, and they’re so high value right now. And I think they’re high performing in their communities and with their connections and their relationships. And I know that’s, you know, one thing, Sarah, you and I really deeply connect on, is we just – the value of relationships and the value of community, whether it’s our given communities or our chosen communities, and of course, the built community that we surround ourselves with, and that we get to serve. And when you think about yourself as a high performer, when you’ve felt the winds of success, when you are great at work, and are rewarded with even more work, right?

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, right. That’s what happens.

Rachel Sheerin
1,000%. And productivity is the measurement, right? You’re like, well, everyone’s unhappy, everyone’s struggling, that’s just the norm. What we’re looking for is productivity. I just want to say out loud that the opposite of high performing is not failure, or it’s not a failure. It’s, it’s – I think, what’s – an apathetic professional, that’s the most dangerous person in America right now in in our teams and organizations is apathetic. And I want to say out loud, apathetic, it – It means something similar to indifferent, but it’s used in the context of action. When you’re apathetic, you just, you just don’t care, or you don’t act like you care. And that’s very dangerous. Because I think that burnout happens to people who do deeply care. If you, if you’re just clocking in and out, like, kudos, you know. But I think that because you care so deeply with, with your heart, with your teams, organizations, because you’re driven. I think that that’s where we’re seeing it, honestly, in very heart-forward industries like health care and education. Nonprofits, associations. I also see it with folks who are at the frontlines of change. And they’re leading the charge forward in the organization, or in culture, or their families. And this might be answering your question, but I do think that it starts with leading from the front. If you’re, if you are feeling burned out, if you’re, if you’re thinking, Gosh, what is – what is going on here? You got to phone a friend, just go ahead and frickin Who Wants to Be a Millionaire it, and call a friend, because I know that’s what if I could go back in time, that’s the first thing I would have done, I would have identified somebody who would not judge me as a failure, and instead, see me as somebody who cared deeply about what I did and wanted to keep doing it. That’s the truth.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s – you know, it’s like, I appreciate you defining it, because I think sometimes people could hear high performer and think, sort of, like a single lens view of what, what that would look like. And the other thing, I mean – I want to push, I want to push a little on the apathy a bit. Only because, sometimes that can show up when people are burnt out, or it can especially show up when people are dealing with depression. Right? And so like, and so, so noticing and, and you know, and I think that – I do, I appreciate that language of, like, when happiness has lost work. And, and maybe happiness looks different. And maybe for some people, they go, Well, I’ve never really been happy at work. But I think of it as, like, the sparkle in my eye. The light, right? Like even just the –

Rachel Sheerin
The connection.

Sarah Noll Wilson
The connection, right, that connection of, you know – Yeah, there’s some jobs we do that aren’t super, I don’t know, maybe, like, motivating, but I like who I do it with. And I like how we do it, and all of that. But when we’re starting to just lose that light, and lose that connection, and, you know, you – earlier you were talking about things you noticed in yourself of, like – or people might, you know, notice like, I’m sleeping, but I’m not actually getting the sleep I need. I’m – right? I’m, I’m maybe struggling with connections. I’m all of that. And, and I think that because it’s – again, it’s so hard when you’re in it. Again, because I think we have such a normalized hustle culture that you don’t – it’s easy to be like, What’s wrong with me that I, that I can’t? Or what’s wrong with me that I don’t want to? Right? And so how do we start to tune in more to our needs? And, you know, like you said for yourself, really working on, rest isn’t a reward. Right? It’s just, it’s something we all deserve. It’s – and it’s not necessarily for productivity, and so – so how can we start listening to, noticing those, those signals, those little, like, moments, I know for me, I can tell that I’m starting to hit a stress level that’s not manageable – We call it -my therapist and I would call it, like, the ribbons are starting to pop out, right? Like of a box, like – and my colleague Teresa made the observation, which is great when you have people who are willing to say, Hey, some of your cues that you might not be aware of – She said, when you start to get – when you start to hit a tipping point in your stress level, you start to feel like everything is disorganized. So when I hear you say like, Oh, we gotta get this organized, or this kind of feels all over the place, she said it’s usually because I think you are feeling that way. And so, so that, you know, I’m thinking about that, too, from the standpoint of just, how do we start to listen to those cues?

Rachel Sheerin
Yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson
So we can catch it sooner.

Rachel Sheerin
Yeah, it’s, I appreciate you – Before we move on, I appreciate you pushing back on the apathy. Because I do want to honor that, you know, a lot of times with different mental, you know, situations, I feel like – and in general, what I want to clarify is, I think it’s uncharacteristic apathy that we should definitely pay attention to there.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
Because it is stepping outside of that norm. Because we all have that self mirror, and that reflection of the identity of who we are. So Sarah, as you’re saying, you know, like, Ah, you know, like, what’s wrong with me? That’s such a vulnerable and real narrative. That’s so simple. And I would say that listening now, it’s like, well, that’s – we’re asking the wrong questions. Can we offer curiosity to ourselves, and by the way, model it to others? Because I know you love curiosity. Some of the questions I might ask are, simply, what’s changed? Being open minded about it. Is it relationships? Is it situations and circumstances? Is it, you know, pessimism or optimism? Is it values? A lot of us have had a major value shift. You know, it can honestly be influences as well. And how about, maybe it’s you that’s changed? Can we just, can we just love on the fact that the whole point of life is to change?

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right.

Rachel Sheerin
To grow.

Sarah Noll Wilson
To evolve.

Rachel Sheerin
Right? Yes! Like, why do we, we love change when we’re in an interview, and we say, how do you deal with change, and the, and the perfect candidate’s like, Oh, I love change. This is fantastic, right? We’ve all, we’ve all either believed the lie or loved the lie. That’s a lie. Maybe we’re still holding on to it. But from a, from a biological standpoint, we don’t love it. But we know that we’ve, we’ve got to, we’ve got to hold on to it. And we’ve, we’ve got to embrace it in some way, right? We gotta make it manageable. But when it comes to us changing, somehow, we’ve labeled ourselves into this ridiculous corner. One of my favorite things to whisper, or to joke with folks on, is to say, The key is in your pocket. Because if you’re feeling trapped, if you’re feeling locked in and caged in, right? And, you know, after a while you start biting at people, and it’s not good. It can go a lot of different ways. Personally, I went the throwing of laptops route when I was burned out. That was a super good credibility builder. Super fun. Um, I just want to say out loud, nobody was making me feel the way that I was feeling. It really was, it was me that had changed, and I just hadn’t taken, I think, temperature of a lot of that. You know, so if, if something’s changed, can – by the way, can we believe ourselves in it? I see doubt being high right now.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s – and I think that, yeah, honoring it. Giving space for it. Being okay. And also part of it is, you know, because I think what I – The belief that, that I hold, and when we talk about change is, we don’t dislike all change. There’s lots of change we like, right? But, but it’s that idea – I mean, we fear loss. And so, you know – and, boy, that goes back to what you’re saying, Well, I used to. I used to do this, and – and there might be, there might be some loss, there might be some mourning that needs to happen from the standpoint of, of, of accepting that maybe who you are physically right now, who you are mentally right now – But also having the – I think it’s such an act of courage for people to get clear, and to have conviction in what’s important to them. And you’re right, I think we’ve been through such a big values clarification that, that maybe who people are becoming or who they’ve evolved into, because of all of this – because, again, we’re, you know, it’s the, it’s the – Is it a Native American, like – You can step in the river, but even if you step into it in the same place, it’s not the same river. And, and we, we just aren’t the same people. And so, and, and that’s okay, and maybe there are things you’re not okay with, and you know, and so then what’s that exploration like? But – I’m trying to remember where I was going with this point. But – You know, there’s, there’s stress on the brain. The glitches are very real. But yeah –

Rachel Sheerin
Well to your point, honoring, honoring about the loving change, you know, Sarah, and I think you and I really connect that we do, we enjoy the creativity and the flow and the growth and all this kind of stuff. Yes, we love change. I just want to say out loud, I don’t think we love change outside of our control necessarily.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Exactly, exactly. Like, when change is done to us. And we don’t, you know, or even when, and even when it’s good change. Sometimes you’re like, Oh, company’s growing. Oh, what does this mean? Oh, what does this mean for me? And am I prepared? So keep going. Yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
Well, it’s very humbling. And I love that you’re acknowledging this, but even take it from a world view. There has been so much change that happened. And I, I would, I would pontificate – I would bet here – I don’t know, nine out of 10 people, three out of four people, they’ve, they felt the illusion of control being ripped, ripped – and reminded of how little we do have control. And that, I think – when it comes to change, we’ve all had to go through a lot of it. And some of us, it’s kind of like baking a chocolate chip cookie. You know, like, some of us are baking soda, and some of us are baking powder. And if you put too much in, you’re gonna have, like, these flat crispy cookies, which some people love. Other times, if you put too much of the other in, you’re gonna have, like, fluffy, gooey, barely baked cookies, right? And sometimes people just strike the perfect balance. And that is awesome. But I just want to say out loud that, that the change over the past couple of years, it all reacts in us very different. So it begs the big, big esoteric question here. When you’re burning out, what’s changed? And if not this, then what? If not me as I think I am, then who? Because you’re the one thinking about yourself more than anyone else. You’re the one who’s saying, Oh, well, you can’t do this. Oh, you have to do this. Oh, you said you were going to – You can – Any – Anyone, at any time, can pick something a little bit different. But it’s about is it authentic to you? Because remember, it’s not if you’re successful, it’s Will you love the success you get? And I think our happiness is success. I think that our safety is success. Our financial security, definitely success. And, you know, to me, I think about, Why do I feel like I have to continue on? What is it about suffering? Or how I’m feeling, insert however you’re feeling. What is it about fatigue? What is it about detachment? What is it about just powering through or sucking it up? Or whatever, insert vernacular here that we coach ourselves through whatever burnout feelings we might be having? Why do we think we have to do this to earn it? Is it that success is more valuable when it hurts? Is it that we’re – our gold stars will somehow be minted into a platinum coin that will get us into everywhere we ever want to be? Is it – Is it that when things feel heavy, I know that in the end, I’ve earned the lightness and happiness?

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right? I mean, even to that, like – I think about, you know, one of the things that we talk about a lot – Nick and I talk about this in our relationship, or we talk about it as a team, or with clients, is all of these rules that have been put on us, right? All of these, you know, you should, and this is what should happen, and some of those, some of those rules. Sometimes it feels like you have to and maybe you do have to play by them in order to, right, like have some stability or financial – and there’s also, like, I want to separate out, like, there are times, you know, depending on your situation, where you may have to power through for survival, right? You just may have to, you know, work the two jobs and you would prefer not to. And, right, like there are survival situations where we just – you do, you just go on autopilot and, like, What do I need to do in order to survive? And I think that in a –

Rachel Sheerin
It’s a pit stop, though. Not a permanence. That’s the hope.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Hopefully. That’s the hope. Right. And I think that that idea of, of rethinking, right, like, What assumptions do we make? I mean, and that’s that, you know, what assumptions do I make about – It sounds, it sounds so gross to say this, but I’m going to say it – is like, what, what assumptions do we make, to your point about, like, how much suffering that it needs to take to get there, how much pain or discomfort or busyness, right? I mean, it’s that, like, that’s the quintessential badge. And I’ve, I’ve been guilty of this for far too many years of, like, Oh, I’m just so busy, I’m so busy. And feeling like, on some level, that was like, oh, that’s – I’m successful. And, you know – and, over the last year – Well, I would say last year, I’m having to get reconnected with it, because I’ve gotten away from it, from – just what this year has brought, is really reexamining my relationship with rest. And being – and realizing that it wasn’t enough for me to just – because – to just, Oh, I just need to sleep more, or I just need to do some self care, you know, from a surface level. But I realized that for myself that, Oh, I have some fundamental unconscious beliefs that are holding, holding me back, actually, from understanding it. And there are times when I struggle with, like, am I, am I – Am I pushing the company forward enough? Are we achieving what people thought we would achieve? Right? Like, is it okay that I’m closing my laptop at six o’clock, or five o’clock, or three o’clock or whatever the case is? And I – Boy, and I intellectually know that that’s all bullshit. I know it is. But, but our unconscious beliefs – they’re, they’re not always logical. They’re not always rational.

Rachel Sheerin
Yeah, it’s amazing how much the American Dream is forced into all of us. That the idea –

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. Just work hard enough.

Rachel Sheerin
Yeah. Quote unquote, all you have to do is – and I love that it starts honestly, at least in most journeys with – go to school and get good grades. You know, I’m somebody that dropped out of high school myself. I love hiring, if anyone out there is currently hiring, I love hiring people with GEDs. You know why? Because most people go from K to 12. But folks that have had something happen, and they’ve still achieved that GED, they know what hard work’s about. They know, they have a lot more life experience than I think we give folks credit, credit for. And to me, one of the things you really brought out in me, Sarah, is just this idea of – and I really want to honor it, because I think a lot of us, especially if we are leaders out there, if you’re business owners, team leaders, maybe you’re an emerging leader, you know, and it’s the first time and you’re like, Okay, you know, excited to kind of just make a splash and be different than your predecessors maybe? Right, we’re all working, I think a lot of times, to be the change, or to keep legacy going. It’s your call, a lot of options. I want to say out loud that burnout isn’t a one time occurrence.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
It’s, it’s something – The point of it is to not get so far down the road that you lose what you love, that you’ve got to give it up, that you gotta throw some laptops and, and have have whatever kind of atomic meltdown you’d like to. Unless, by the way, I’m – I’m proof of it – You can survive it right? Some folks I know, honestly, are not that lucky. They don’t realize until they’re having heart attacks on the treadmill or at their desk, and it’s lights out for them. And I get – And I speak with the people that they’ve left behind. They knew, you know, that the folks – It’s amazing to watch leaders – we think we’re so good at faking it, but leaders – The day of being the perfect leader, the day of hiding it, it’s just – I don’t think it’s in service to you. And I don’t think it’s in service to your team, the kind of authentic leadership the world needs right now. But burnout, it is something that’s going to revisit you. It’s going to darken your door a couple of times. And what’s great about it is – I kind of liken it to people that come door to door and sell. You know, the first time that Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door – I live here in North Carolina, so they visit quite a bit – You know, I spoke with them for – at length. You know, they were extremely nice people, it was a beautiful day. You know, we talked and I listened, right, and I had questions, and all this kind of stuff. Now, they come around and I don’t talk to them as much. And it’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I blow them off. It just means that, said with love, I’m – I’m not going gonna subscribe, right? And that’s not a comment on any on a particular religion, it’s just a personal choice. And I think that’s – It’s a weird metaphor for it. But I think that’s a lot of times what burnout – The goal here, the goal isn’t to care less. The goal isn’t to, you know, quit and move to Costa Rica, unless that’s what you want to do. The goal here is to keep doing impactful work, and loving what you do, and loving who you do it with, and loving who you do it for. And when the fan – the flames start getting fanned, you’ve got this great little fire extinguisher to be like, meh. Or you’re like, Oh, yay, flames for a candle. I’ve just made this candle, right, or you gather everyone around a bonfire and have a moment to talk about it. And then you work on putting the fire out safely. So it is something that, you know – I mean, even me, I like to think I’m on burnout, I don’t know, 13.2 right now?

Sarah Noll Wilson
Sure, sure.

Rachel Sheerin
It’s a challenge. You know I tell myself, sometimes in the mirror, being like, Rachel, I thought we, thought we put this to rest. I’m like, I know! But we’re back again! Let’s do this one more time!

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s the, it’s the – Well, because, you know, your situations change. And when you figure out coping mechanisms, or you figure out strategies – And we were just talking just today. My colleague Amy and I were talking about this from a business perspective, is like, we figure things out, and then three to six months later, things change. And now we need to figure them out again. And instead of getting, you know, maybe frustrated, it’s – like, I liken – And when I hear you talk, I liken it to my experience with panic disorder. And I, I remember, fairly early on, when I started being more public, talking about my experience, I had this director pull me aside very quietly was like, Hey, can I talk to you? I think I might struggle with panic. And I’ll never forget, he was like, how did you cure it? And I was like, Oh, I – it’s always a part of me, I just have a different relationship with it now. And that’s not to say, you know, I don’t say that in a way to say, Oh, just accept that burnout is inevitable, but like, there are just going to be times when either internally we’re pushed, or, and/or externally, we’re pushed to a limit. And so how can we listen to those cues? How can we make adjustments? How can we – How can we figure out and find ways to recover more quickly? I mean, when I think about that, with my panic, it was, I couldn’t stop the panic attacks, but I could understand when they started to come, I could figure out how to ride the waves, I could work to recover from it. And, you know – and similarly, when I think about my, my personal journey with burnout – because I don’t, you know – I think I probably, when I – you know, when I think of a really like – the moment I was telling you, when I left, when I left my first real big, long term corporate company and moved on to another one, that was probably the most significant burnout that I was conscious of. I’m guessing if I were to ask Nick, he would be like, Oh, you’re on like, 20 point – you know what I mean? Like, he would have known. So let’s talk about that, actually. Because I know that that was something that, you know, when we think about the show, it’s conversations with ourselves and conversations with other people. And so how, what are some tips, what are some ways we can think about supporting somebody, when we might – either they’ve told us they’re experiencing burnout, or we’re perceiving, I think they’re getting a little – I think that that flame is getting a little dim – What are some strategies that you’ve found to be really impactful?

Rachel Sheerin
Yeah. Well, I want to, I want to pause for a moment before – I’m excited to give some tangible tips. And say that, you know, one of the things I think often about is the link between burnout and loving your work, and grieving someone or something you love. Because it takes a great – it takes a lot of love to be so incredibly sad, and so incredibly lost and lonely. And to anyone out there who is grieving the loss of someone they loved or something they loved, maybe someone they used to be, maybe you’re still out there grieving, maybe you’re grieving a title or a position or a team. You know, I just want to honor that and say I’m so glad you loved really, really deeply. Because I do believe that is – that’s one of those things, if I could choose between being burned out, and just not loving what I do – If I could choose between not, you know, being a daughter that does not have a dad who’s alive anymore, and having to go through grief just so I had him for a couple decades, I would always choose the highs and lows. And I think that that’s what makes the world and a life experience so deeply rich. And worth it, you know? And so when you think about burnout, you know, because it’s paid work, it’s unpaid work – I think when it’s someone close to you, you know, acknowledging, first of all just acknowledging privately to yourself that, hey, this is happening and getting really, really clear on, you want to help, but they might not receive the help. Or they might not know it yet. Because, again, if you were to ask my family, they’d – like Nick, right? King Sheerin is what we call my husband around here. He saw it from a mile away.

Sure. Probably months before you did, right? Like –

1,000%. But you know what, I always win, I always conquer, I was – no one could tell me anything about slowing down or taking a break or shifting my – So you know what, people don’t like to be told what to do. I can respect that. What I would say, the best gift you can give them is honestly being, being curious, taking time slowing it down. How about asking just better questions? How you doin’, gets the B word. Busy. I’m busy. I’m busy. So busy. It’s so busy. Ah, gold circled, circled. So instead, what about, you know, if it’s, if it’s your partner or someone you’re really close to, how about, What was the best part of your day? Um, what surprised you this week? What’s something – What’s something that you heard someone struggling with? That you provided a solution to? What’s your favorite part about what you’re doing now? What do you miss the most? What’s hurt you? This, by the way – Leaders? You want to ask – to me, the most impactful leadership question that you can ask your team right now is, Hey, I know we’ve been through a lot together. Is there anything that’s hurt along the way that we need to repair? Oh, oh, the love, the love of you even asking and acknowledging because –

Sarah Noll Wilson
And then being open to listening to it. And taking ownership, right? Like, asking it’s easy. Doing something about it is hard. But it’s in that act that you can start to heal it.

Rachel Sheerin
1,000%. And I’m a big believer in, know better do better. I’m a big believer in, I’ve got to, you know, we all have to vocalize. We all have to vocalize what it is that we need and give our leaders the trust that they will hit it out of the park for us. That they can, that they can soothe it, but – I can’t say, you know, either A, I can’t say anything, or B, I tell them, Well, no, it’s actually this. This is the problem. This is a problem. It’s a leadership responsibility to first of all create the the space in which to have the convo. But then to ask, you know, to dig deeper. I know, we’re both fans of the Coaching Habit, you know that, And what else? Right? Because it’s, it’s rarely – I think about fights with my – King Sheerin, my husband, a lot. And it’s never about the thing we’re fighting about.

Sarah Noll Wilson
No, it’s always like, it’s always – Yeah, no, it’s always something else. Right? Like, there’s always – It’s that – And I think especially, you know, knowing that a large part of our audience, maybe identifies as female or, and – is that asking for what we need is really hard. Because we’ve been conditioned –

Rachel Sheerin
Even knowing.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Exactly. Like, even – and I – And, you know, when we, when we do our work on elephants, we talk about, right, like, when there’s an issue in a relationship, it’s usually because there’s a need that’s not being met. I can’t tell you how many women will say, I don’t even know what I need, because I’ve just been so conditioned to take care of other people and to, you know, nurture and take care of their needs. And you know, and that’s the part of that conditioning. Some of that’s the giving, the loving, right, all of those, all of those factors that, that wrap up into it. And, and again, I think it is such an act, it’s such an act of courage. And you know, one thing, one thing I would add that I’ve experienced that is really helpful, because it can be hard for people to accept help. Because again, I don’t want to be seen as a failure. I don’t want to be seen as weak. I don’t want to put a burden, right? This is something we talk about on our team a lot. Like, I don’t want to be a burden. And so this is a muscle the three of us in the core group are really working on, right? Of just – and, and one of the things, one of the things that my colleagues have done for me is, Would it be helpful if…? Right? So if you see somebody struggling, like, you know, we had lost a family member during the pandemic, which is – It’s horrible to lose a family member under normal circumstances, but then when you can’t get together and do your normal rituals and being together, it just, I – it’s just hard. And they’re like, Well, what, what can we, can we, you know, like, what can we do to help? I was like, I don’t even know. And then Teresa said, I feel like carbs are always good. So would it be helpful if I made some cinnamon bread? Yeah, if I made some cinnamon bread and we dropped it off? And I just was like, Sure. And I think that’s, that’s something else we can think of, especially – And I think that’s a really important thing as leaders is that if you are noticing your team members – because they’re, they’re more than likely not going to tell you, because it could, it could impact their performance review, it could impact their, their money, it could – even if you say it doesn’t, it absolutely could. Because, like you said before, the person who gets the most work done is given more work, and, right? And who is rewarded, right? Sometimes the person is just in the office long enough, not necessarily the person who’s working smarter. But, but, but that’s a really powerful question. As leaders, we can ask is, because we have authority, we have power, we have things that we can do for people that they might not know, realize, or think they can ask for. So I think that, like, Hey, I’ve noticed… – You know, I also love, like, how the how are –

Rachel Sheerin
It’s the multiple choice question, instead of asking the open ended?

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
It’s like, you know, I know, you and I both have nieces and nephews. It’s like, peanut butter and jelly or chicken fingers for lunch.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, right. It’s not, What do you want?

Rachel Sheerin
Yeah, because kids have no clue. Right? They’re like, I was just watching Elouise, and I – yeah, like, who knows, I want a dinosaur. Too bad, no dinosaur. And to your point, you know, I think when it comes to organizations, you’re spot on. You know, asking questions, providing solutions, you know, understanding, there was a great HBR – Harvard Business Review article that came out today that said, you know, employees – or employers think folks want, you know, better work life balance. But what employer – employees really want is to be valued at work and to feel safe at work and things like that. It’s not just compensation and flashy work life balance stuff –

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. Because if you, if you value somebody, you’re gonna make sure that they have time for their family. I mean it, like, because if –

Rachel Sheerin
It’s both, it’s all.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s both. It’s all of that, right? Because if you – If I, okay, you cut my hours, but it’s 30 hours in an incredibly toxic environment, well, guess what? It doesn’t matter that I’m only working 30 hours. I mean, at least it’s a little less painful. But yeah, like people want to be seen, heard, and valued.

Rachel Sheerin
Yeah. And –

Sarah Noll Wilson
Which seems so simple. But it’s not.

Rachel Sheerin
It – Well, you know what? Yeah. Well, listen, we’ve gotten away from it as the glorified corporate practice. Glorified – It’s not applauded, right?

Sarah Noll Wilson
No.

Rachel Sheerin
And to me –

Sarah Noll Wilson
I don’t think we got away from it. I don’t think we ever were by it. Like, I think we – You know what I mean? Somebody was like, Ooh, did you hear that empathy is finally is on the list? I was like, Well, empathy was always important. We just never valued it. I mean, yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
I – Well, and I always, like – I – To me, I think there’s always going to be examples that we should have followed, instead of the ones that we did.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Sure. 100%.

Rachel Sheerin
And to me, I think that’s where I’ve actually learned the most. It’s from cultures who, you know, five years ago, when I started, they were wanting to talk about it, and in organizations that are already, you know, preventing burnout. You know, someone’s out there now listening, I’d say, you know, number one, make sure that everything you – every communication you have, and every – I think training and talk is really focused on the person and the professional. There’s no one way to do something. Not everybody needs the same thing. If you are talking to a person and supporting them as a professional and a human being, listen, we’ve all got blurred work, work life value lines, anyway, all right, but helping and seeing somebody as an individual, and as a person, supporting them and the goals in and out of work. I think that means a lot. There was a favorite client of mine. And I’ll never forget it, I – This particular client, at their holiday party every year, they throw, it’s huge, you know, rent out a great space, great food bar, all the stuff. And these folks are on the road a lot. They’re an event company that tours around the country 50 weeks a year, pretty much. These folks work hard. And in the holiday celebration, they have a slideshow of every person who’s – of every child of an employee that’s graduated high school, every baby that’s been born, every new marriage, and every degree. Now, mind you, it could be of a spouse, partner, whatever.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I love that.

Rachel Sheerin
And, and this company, this owner gives $1,000 Savings Bond to every baby that’s born. And you want to see loyalty. I mean, I cry every time I see it. You want to see loyalty? Love on someone’s children. Because, you know, you call – This particular organization calls themselves family, and they mean it, because they eat together. They sleep together. They drive together. This is a family, because they’re touring all the time. But to tell me that you’re investing, to reward folks for getting a high school diploma – doesn’t matter when you got it, where you got it, how you got it. $1,000 check right there. For folks, by the way for folks that get an additional degree and things like that, you know, they don’t necessarily compensate monetarily, but they give a gift, they award, they recognize. What’s beautiful is they recognize the organization it took to get there. Yeah, the, the parents are up on stage, they, you know, they have grandparents – all the – you know, you just, that’s how you do it, folks. You know, to me, one future wish that I have about culture, and organizations and companies in general, is that, instead of just saying, Here’s our benefits package, instead, what about if we create a buffet of benefits? Because, yeah, compensation is important, right? Everyone needs to be able to be financially secure and things like that. But here’s the thing, is it more time off? Is it – Is it the flexibility to work from home? Is it – Is it an FSA that’s fully funded? Is it saving for your kids? Is it doubling the retirement? You know, retirement plans? Some folks will tell you it’s, it’s $12,000 a year or 19,5 a year. I’m here to tell you right now, if your company really wants to do it, you can save $56,500 a year. All right? And that’s a big benefit for someone like me who graduated in ’08 – hashtag recession, babies, you know? Like, I didn’t save for retirement until a couple years ago, because I wasn’t part of any large corporation that offered it. That’s just not my path. But to make up for it now – And I’ll be damned – because I just want to say out loud, I get leaders in organizations who have got a chip on their shoulder, or a very elephant-like memory. You know, it’s an elephant’s curse a little bit to remember so much. Oh, well, you know, people didn’t want that, people didn’t like those. We gave all these gifts nobody appreciated. Guess what? You didn’t ask if they wanted the gift.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
And you didn’t help people realize that it’s about so much more than money.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
So much more.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s, it’s – Yeah, I mean, it’s like, to me, to me, that, like, financial stability, like, that’s, that’s just, like, your foot in the door. It’s just your foot in the door, right? That, that’s a non-negotiable, right? Take care of that –

Rachel Sheerin
It’s a bare minimum of work.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s a bare minimum. And, you know, going back to the story that you’re sharing about the company, and you know, and maybe people are listening, going like, Well, we just don’t have the funds, or we don’t whatever, you know, like, but the the thing is, is, you know, when – It’s always, it’s always interesting when people are like, We really want to, we want to, you know, support our team members’ mental health. And, like, So what kind of Lunch and Learn can we do? And I’m not, I’m not saying that Lunch and Learns or trainings aren’t important, having conversations about it, exploring tools and tips, all of that isn’t important. But I’m like, Well, let’s let’s start evaluating, like, the psychological safety in your company. Because if you want to impact, right, somebody’s mental health, are you creating an environment that is safe is inclusive where they belong? Right? Not just that they’re, you know, are invited, but do they belong? And, and, and I mean, you are tapping into my heartstrings of, you know, like, I think about this from development, right? That was my world, leading the leadership development efforts. And our whole philosophy at my last company, at ARAG, at the time, I don’t know where they’re at now, but at the time, was, develop the whole person. Develop the whole person, not just for the role, not just for the benefit to the company. And so we fundamentally changed – Before, it was just leaders got training, our customer care reps didn’t get – right? And, you know, who got coaching? The executives got coaching. But, right, underwriters didn’t. Or whatever the case might be. And it was such a fundamental shift, because, you know, and even just – and again, I think that, like, sometimes what can happen is, we think we’re doing it, or we think we’re doing enough. You know, but then I hear people use words like insubordination, or they’re a subordinate. Like, Well, no, they’re a human. They’re human.

I had a client I recently liberated from our, our catalog. I wish them well, but they would use “enemy.”

Wow –

Rachel Sheerin
Because it was a veteran – It was a veteran-owned, based company. I respect and admire a lot of, a lot of them. But I didn’t realize that that had carried over into the vernacular, in the thought, you’re either with us or against us, right? And Sarah, if I may, I’d love to share a tool. A very quick audit. You can use it for yourself. You can use it for your organization. Speaking to your L&D folks out there, you know, HR pros. Let me tell you right now, I’m a big values-based person. I care about values. I think that values is how we show up, we make a legacy impact a lot of time, right?

Sarah Noll Wilson
And not just espoused values, because let’s be real, a lot of companies have espoused values, and then they have hidden values. Like, oh, do you actually value openness, or do you value, like, tolerating really terrible behavior?

Rachel Sheerin
Well, you know, I live in the south. Well, you know, and this is gonna speak to you. I live in the south. So you know, when I talked about values, and I asked people, What do you value? A lot of times people are like, friends, family, faith. You know, it’s like a Garden Ridge sign in your bathroom. You know, like, okay, okay, sure. But let me tell you right now – inauthenticity is a big stickler point for me. I think – I’m very, I’m worried that the world oftentimes sacrifices themselves at the altars of work and burnout and success, and lead a life that is so disingenuous, they don’t even see it. And so I kept thinking, you know, through my research, through these conversations, and, you know, here I am, friends family faith. I hear it very often in my local community. And I’ve discovered the way that you check yourself – do you check what you value? Look at where you spend your money, and where you spend your time. And that will show you what you value. And here’s the thing, where you spend your mind is a bonus.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
You can’t, you can’t tell me friends family faith, if you’re, if you’re not tithing, if you’re not volunteering, if you’re canceling on girls night, if you’re missing a dinner and tucking your kids into bed. I’m not judging you. I just want to say that out loud. I’m very open minded. You can value whatever you want. I’m just letting you know that where you spend your money and your time, that shows everybody –

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
Everybody, what you value.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right, and that, and that applies to individuals and organizations, right? Because if we say we value – I don’t know, we say we value mental health, but we don’t spend any time or any money on that – Then, like, you don’t –

Rachel Sheerin
What, the pizza party and the one Lunch and Learn doesn’t –

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Sarah Noll Wilson
That’s not, it’s not –

Rachel Sheerin
How about no meetings Fridays? How about unlimited PTO with quarterly four or five day weekends? How about that? How about creating templates? I know you and I are big advocates out of office messages. How about creating templates that encourage people to share their joy, because joy shared is joy multiplied. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see folks using my templates. And they’re like, I’m currently on a site tour with clients, you know, giving them 110%, like I’ll give you soon. Yes. How about the out of office that’s like, I’m currently in the most magical place on Earth. Listen, Disney folks – I know you’re a big one, Sarah –

Sarah Noll Wilson
I don’t know. We’re not gonna get into it, but I may be on a farewell tour with all the changes they’re making. But that’s a conversation another day.

Rachel Sheerin
Fair enough. You know, but here’s the thing, when you, when you hear someone’s on vacation, I just want to say out loud, if you get that out of office notice that’s sharing that, and you don’t think, Good for them – You might be, you might be a little burned out. You might be taking things a little too serious. Check yourself.

Sarah Noll Wilson
And also, as an individual, if somebody has a negative reaction to that, boy that’s on them. That’s on them. You know, one of the things that as I’ve been evolving is, you know, continuing to find, set boundaries. And you know, because it’s one of my sort of internal worries is disappointing people. You know, and it’s, and it’s so – It’s, it’s in my DNA, right, that I will sacrifice myself so that I don’t disappoint people. And –

Rachel Sheerin
The narrative of someone saying, Wow, and Sarah had so much potential. We really believed in her. Yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. Or even just, like, I don’t – Yeah, I don’t even, I don’t even know if I’ve ever, like, even extended it beyond just, like, I don’t want to disappoint people. And it was interesting, because, so, for those of you who enjoy when we are talking about, like, our out of office, that’s courtesy of Miss Rachel. But there was a time when the inquiries that were coming in of people wanting to pick my brain, to have coffee dates, to whatever, it just became overwhelming. And I don’t say that in any, like, Oh, look at me and look at all the people who – I mean, that’s not what I mean. But, but it was the reality. And, you know, and I was actually talking with my dear friend, Vicki, and she said, Well, what would it look like to – Like, can you physically have these? I was like, well, physically, I guess, mentally and emotionally and physically, probably not. And, and so I, I, it was the scariest email to send. But I just said, I really appreciate it. Right now, I’m focusing on my time being focused on my work and my family. And I’m being, you know, thoughtful about what I say yes to. So at this time, I’m not taking on these – And a funny thing happened is that every single person I sent that message to wrote back and was like, Damn, I need to do that. Or I’m really proud of you for doing that. And, and just, you know, I’ll share –

Rachel Sheerin
Inspired, loving, supportive. Not disappointed.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Not disappointed.

Rachel Sheerin
Maybe a little.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Maybe. But you know what, like, the thing is – You know, and for those of you who are maybe joining us for the first time and you’re thinking, I struggle with boundaries, go back to the episode I did where I interviewed Farah Harris and we talk all about boundaries. Because, you know, people who get upset at you setting your own boundaries have no problem enforcing their own, right? The, the – one of the things that has been such a provocative shift for me, was the – I’m gonna, I always forget the author’s name, but it’s the book called 4000 Weeks. It’s a – Time Management for Mortals. Yeah, great book. I mean, I read half of it, because that’s what I do. And then I get what I need out of it. And then I move on. But, but, but related to that burnout of, you know – I know for me, the the tendency was to just keep taking on, keep saying yes, to not want to disappoint people, right? Or having a hard time – Yeah, so the book is Oliver Burkeman. The author is. And, and, you know, for me, it was like, Oh, I got good at saying no to other people. But I had a hard time saying no to myself. It was like I would Fastpass my ideas. And one of the concepts he talks about is just, humans, we have unlimited imagination. And we live in a world of unlimited possibilities. But we have such limited time. You know, which goes back to your point of, like, where are you spending your time? And realizing that, like, you will, you will drop balls, you will disappoint people, but can you hopefully be at a place coming from – And I also realize, as I’m saying this out loud, there’s an incredible amount of privilege in me having this choice, because not everyone does. You know, but just knowing, like – So, am I going to disappoint the person who wants to meet with me, or am I going to disappoint my mom?

Rachel Sheerin
I’m going to vote the person that wants to meet with you.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. And that might be different for someone else. Someone else may be like, Oh, mom can totally wait. You know, like –

Rachel Sheerin
Totally. 1,000%. Hey, listen, if somebody’s absence from your life gives you peace, we are cool with it. We’ve all gotta have our boundaries. But, you know, speaking with love too, you know – I want to say that, you know, where you’re spending your your time and your money – you know, it’s a great, I think, accountability tool for ourselves. Because sometimes we do, either we self sabotage, or we create situations that are just unnecessarily difficult or making things harder. It’s tough. Again, the key is in your pocket, right? You’ve got it. But I just want to say out loud, I can’t say that I value health and go through the McDonald’s drive thru. I just can’t do it. It’s, it’s not about weight. It’s not about fitness. It’s just about being healthy. I cannot keep drinking dollar Dr. Peppers at the rate that I was. And I only realized that because, here I am, and I’m going through the dollar drive thru, you know, five, six years ago, and I’m thinking, yeah, look at me, I’m only getting, I’m only getting a Dr. Pepper. I’m not getting all the emotional food that I want to eat. But here’s the thing. If I’m on a, if I’m on a quest for health, is this really – is this counterintuitive to what I’m doing? Right? And no judgment, I can make a choice. And I still hang out with the Doctor once in a while. But it’s a great kind of accountability tool. Because I think one of the things organizations can do, leaders can do, individuals can do, is, you know, we talk about vulnerability, right? We talk about empathy, and courage, and all this kind of stuff. I just want to say, you know, one of my clients, I work with them monthly, they’re one of the nation’s largest mortgage companies. And when we started working together last year, I said, Okay, you know, like, let’s get all the leadership on a call. This is, this is important. And, you know, the HR directors and things like that. They were like, oh, no, no, no, this is just for the employees. The employees are burned out.

Sarah Noll Wilson
That’s like, that’s like, that’s like development trap number two on my list. Like, the leaders don’t need it, the employees need it. The team members need it.

Rachel Sheerin
Yes, this is yours. And I said, Okay, I said, here’s the agreement that I’ll make is I’ll do, I’ll do a couple sessions. And then I want to survey your employees privately. And I want to hear what they say. And we gathered together a couple months in, and the C suite has traditionally not wanted to discuss burnout, talk about weaknesses, all this kind of stuff. You know, they they throw around, Oh, regulations, blah, blah, blah, et cetera, et cetera. But, you know, being – humility is about admitting that you have limits. And it’s granting permission for others to have the right to say that this has been hard. And this is what I do. It also, too, by the way – Joy? Joy is about saying that you have the capacity for it, in my opinion. Like, when you share your joy, joy does get multiplied. And, you know, they provided programming, but they weren’t providing voices. And it’s not enough right now for leaders to say, hey, we hear you. You know? Here’s this. What, what the new normal – the wish that I have is that we say, Hey, I see you, we see you, and we’re right here with you. And we’re going to move forward together. And forward isn’t a path up. Forward, it can be a roller coaster, right? For high growth, fast growth companies. I think it can be a path in a wooded lane where you’re clearing, you know, you’re clearing the future paths you’re going on. It can be a well worn path that’s just a little different this time around. But I want to say out loud that organizations – I do think, and I know you’re passionate about this, Sarah. If we’ve not got it from the top down – Just – Just a simple question here. Do you want people to have it as hard as you’ve had it? And if so, why? It’s – Difficult things didn’t – It forged us because we were forced.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right.

Rachel Sheerin
But it didn’t make you successful. It didn’t make you great. It didn’t make you worthy. It didn’t change your value. It just just made you a little heavier, gave you armor that may or may not be appropriate for this trip.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah.

Rachel Sheerin
And we’ve, we’ve got to self regulate on that as leaders.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I think that’s a really beautiful place to wrap up our conversation, Miss Rachel, because I think it’s clear that we could keep chatting.

Rachel Sheerin
Oh my gosh, I know, I’ve loved this.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I – There’s so much, there’s so many beautiful insights. And, you know, and also, yeah, there’s, there’s, there’s a lot to unpack. And, you know, and we’re looking at burnout through, you know, some, some lenses, and we know that there’s some lenses where things may be out of our control, and, right? And, like, and how can we, how can we still, even in those moments, show up? You know, alignment with our values, and how do we want to show up? Rachel, I want to ask you the question that we ask everyone, which is, you know, as we know, this is a show about Conversations on Conversations. What is a conversation you’ve had with yourself or others that has transformed you?

Rachel Sheerin
I knew you were gonna ask this question. This probably – I’m not gonna lie. This is that part of magic, I think in podcasting, and having public, earnest conversations that I just think you do such a great job and bring it out of people. You know, the one I’m tempted to share with you is, is one that I share in my TED talk, it’s about my dad and being surprised when the people that love you want you to be happy. They don’t realize you’re struggling so much. I think for a long time I kept on a solid face. But I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go with something different. I thought about it in the shower this morning. New Orleans. We both love that city.

Sarah Noll Wilson
My favorite.

Rachel Sheerin
And, right? Anyone listening, it is, it’s magic. If you’ve been there, you get it, and if you don’t, you got to book, book a trip soon. And the thing about New Orleans is that every single Uber driver will either tell you their life story, try and adopt you, or want to come party with you. I think those are the only three options, the only three options I’ve experienced. And one time that I landed, it was, it was, you know, BC – before COVID – It was good times, and I got in the car, and this woman’s name was Angel. She had angels everywhere in the car. And she started talking the instant I got in that car, and she wouldn’t stop. She made me look, like, very introverted. And, you know, she’s calling me Rachel Baby Love. And, you know, basically, I’m feeling adopted by her. And, you know, as we’re driving downtown, we’re having a great convo. You know, she’s telling me about her son, who was a gospel singer. And, you know, unfortunately, he was murdered a couple years ago. And you know, she’s like, bring up YouTube, you know, subscribe to his stuff. It’s beautiful, you know. And so we’re listening to her son, we’re talking about, you know, some of her – the favorite way for her to make gumbo, and how I shouldn’t, you know, believe all these other people that say one way, and her way, all this kind of stuff. And, you know, eventually we get to, you know, I asked her, Do you like driving Uber? She’s like, Yeah, I love it. She’s like, I’ve done so many things in my life. And she’s like, What do you do? And of course, there’s that awkward moment where I’m like, I’m a keynote speaker. And I specialize in burnout, right? And she’s like, that’s interesting. And I asked her, I said, Angel, you know, have you ever been burned out before? And she – I thought she might not have heard me. I thought maybe she was on the phone for a second. Because it was a long, it was a long pause for her. And she goes – and I think it’s so telling of New Orleans and trauma and experience and tenacity. She looks at me and she goes, Baby Love, in New Orleans, we’re either drowning or were burning out. But that’s the cost of living and loving. And in that moment, a couple things happened. I think, number one, I think that my love of New Orleans comes from their resiliency. You know, my grandparents lived on the Mississippi coast and they lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. And they, my grandmother lives in Texas now. She didn’t stay. But not New Orleans. You meet a lot of folks. You – I think, I think that intrinsic darkness and light, and that intimacy and that knowledge, and that honoring of it, and that embracing of it, and celebrating despite the darkness is really, really powerful. I also think, too – The cost of loving and living, I chew on a lot. What is, what is that cost? Cost is grief. The cost is burnout, the cost is – God, days, days that you close your eyes and you feel so supremely grateful to be living in this exact moment, you can’t believe you’re so – whatever the word is – lucky and blessed, I get emotional thinking about it, you know? That the, the way that you think about, what is the cost of living and loving? And to be honest, I don’t know, I don’t know that answer until I think it’s the end. Right? But I just want to say, I think the bet – the bet that angel made, the bet that so many people out there listening are making, is that it’s going to be worth it. Whatever the cost is.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I love that. And it – One of our previous guests, Paul, he, he said something a little – He’s like, that’s the price. It’s the, you know, like the hard stuff is the price to get to the good stuff. And, like, and I think that that’s a powerful – like, it goes back to the point you made in the very beginning of, how do I embrace the complexity? Right?

Rachel Sheerin
It’s simple, and it’s complicated.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right. And, like, and, and embracing it all. Rachel Sheerin, you’re such a gift to this world, you have been such a gift to me. I am so grateful to be in conversation with you today, to introduce our audience to you. But I’m, I’m grateful to be in conversation with you anytime that we need to. And I’m, I’m so, I’m so so so deeply – yeah, just thankful that we found each other all those years ago.

Rachel Sheerin
Back at you. The universe conspired.

Sarah Noll Wilson
They did.

Rachel Sheerin
It did a good job.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. So, for people who are sitting here going, huh, I want to, I want to learn more about the work that she does, or I want to, I want to hire her for an event, or I’m just curious to learn more. What is the best place for people to connect with you?

Rachel Sheerin
I am super active on LinkedIn. So come find me there, Rachel Sheerin. If you want those out of office templates, go ahead and visit Rachel Sheerin dot com forward slash O.O.O. – stands for out of office. You can download them there. But honestly, the best thing that you can do to support me is add me on LinkedIn because I want to cheer you on. I want to answer your questions. And I want you to sign up for one of Sara’s upcoming workshops.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Oh, look at you.

Rachel Sheerin
No, I’m serious. I’m serious. I cannot tell you how many times I have referred someone, you know, talking about where you want to invest in – you are making it so accessible right now to help. And to embolden, I think empower, I think activate the power folks have in them. It’s really going to be transformational. I’m going to be a virtual front row. So I hope folks will join me there.

Sarah Noll Wilson
You’re amazing, Rachel Sheerin. Rachel, thank you so much for stopping by the show and being you and helping us all reconnect to ourselves. So thank you.

Rachel Sheerin
Thanks. Thanks, Sarah.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Our guest this week has been Rachel Sheerin. And there’s so many notes that I took. A couple of things that resonated really deeply with me was when she talked about how she thought she could outrun it, she could outwork it, she could deny it. And that definition she shared of burnout of, when when we lose our happiness at work, that impacts our happiness elsewhere. And I just had never thought about it through that lens. And so there’s a lot of things I’m going to still be chewing on, and realizing that our self care evolves, it changes as we evolve, and how can I continue to prevent burnout in myself, my colleagues, and those around me. We want to hear from you. You can reach out to us at podcast at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. You can find me on social media where my DMs are always open. If you’d like to find out more about the work that we do and how we can help you and your teams have the conversations that matter, check us out at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. You can also pick up a copy of my latest book, Don’t Feed the Elephants!, wherever books are sold. And if you’d like to support the show, please consider becoming a patron. Visit patreon dot com slash Conversations on Conversations, where not only your financial support will sustain this podcast and our amazing team that makes it possible, but you’ll also get access to some pretty great benefits, like swag and Patreon only content. And if you haven’t already, please rate, review, and subscribe to the show. You can do so on iTunes, Spotify and other podcast platforms. This helps us get the word out and to continue bringing on amazing guests each week like Rachel Sheerin. A big thank you to our incredible team who makes this podcast possible. To our producer Nick Wilson, sound editor Drew Noll, transcriptionist Olivia Reinert, and marketing consultant Kaitlyn Summitt-Nelson. And just a big, wholehearted thank you to our guest, Rachel Sheerin. This has been Conversations on Conversations. Thank you for listening, and remember, when we can change the conversations we have with ourselves and others, we can change the world. Take care, everyone. Please make sure you rest and rehydrate, and we’ll see you again soon. Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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