The Lucky Titan

Burnout Proof Your Life With Michael Levitt

August 05, 2021 Josh Tapp
The Lucky Titan
Burnout Proof Your Life With Michael Levitt
Chapters
The Lucky Titan
Burnout Proof Your Life With Michael Levitt
Aug 05, 2021
Josh Tapp

Michael Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of The Breakfast Leadership Network, a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout media firm. He is an in-person and Certified Virtual Speaker, a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, a Fortune 500 consultant, and author of the new book BURNOUT PROOF.  Michael hosts the Breakfast Leadership Show, a top 200 global podcast on iTunes. Michael's A Top 20 Global Thought Leader on HR & Culture with Thinkers360. and a former Healthcare executive, overseeing $ 2 Billion budgets.

Social media and other links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bfastleadership/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bfastleadership
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bfastleadership/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS08gscC9Ciz4-7nFY9zj5g
Blog:  https://BreakfastLeadership.com/blog
Interviews:  https://BreakfastLeadership.com/media 
Podcast:  https://open.spotify.com/show/4fJZLyoYQ82T3DR4OPqRIb

Books:
Burnout Proof:  https://amzn.to/37prw48

369 Days:  How To Survive A Year of Worst-Case Scenarios:  https://amzn.to/38Zd807
Burnout:  How You Entered The Path To Burnout: https://amzn.to/2GQWFyZ

SpeakerHub:  https://speakerhub.com/speaker/michael-levitt?b=s (includes testimonials from past talks)
Certified virtual presenter:  https://www.espeakers.com/certified/virtual/index.php?speaker_id=41976
espeaker:  https://www.espeakers.com/s/tcon/speaker/profile/41976
500 Speakers: https://500speakers.com/k:levitt

Speaker reel:  https://youtu.be/6dlZLVzZRyc
My Smartphone Burnout talk:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG1UdJZr9ww
Leading Through Change Without Burning Out (Virtual Conference) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQWFYSJohrI

Show Notes Transcript

Michael Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of The Breakfast Leadership Network, a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout media firm. He is an in-person and Certified Virtual Speaker, a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, a Fortune 500 consultant, and author of the new book BURNOUT PROOF.  Michael hosts the Breakfast Leadership Show, a top 200 global podcast on iTunes. Michael's A Top 20 Global Thought Leader on HR & Culture with Thinkers360. and a former Healthcare executive, overseeing $ 2 Billion budgets.

Social media and other links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bfastleadership/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bfastleadership
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bfastleadership/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS08gscC9Ciz4-7nFY9zj5g
Blog:  https://BreakfastLeadership.com/blog
Interviews:  https://BreakfastLeadership.com/media 
Podcast:  https://open.spotify.com/show/4fJZLyoYQ82T3DR4OPqRIb

Books:
Burnout Proof:  https://amzn.to/37prw48

369 Days:  How To Survive A Year of Worst-Case Scenarios:  https://amzn.to/38Zd807
Burnout:  How You Entered The Path To Burnout: https://amzn.to/2GQWFyZ

SpeakerHub:  https://speakerhub.com/speaker/michael-levitt?b=s (includes testimonials from past talks)
Certified virtual presenter:  https://www.espeakers.com/certified/virtual/index.php?speaker_id=41976
espeaker:  https://www.espeakers.com/s/tcon/speaker/profile/41976
500 Speakers: https://500speakers.com/k:levitt

Speaker reel:  https://youtu.be/6dlZLVzZRyc
My Smartphone Burnout talk:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG1UdJZr9ww
Leading Through Change Without Burning Out (Virtual Conference) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQWFYSJohrI

Josh: What is up everybody, Josh Tapp here again and welcome back to the lucky Titan, today we're here with Michael Leavitt, this is going to be a really fun interview because today we're here really talk about getting rid of burnout and really kind of, in my opinion, getting rid of that haziness, that fogginess that kind of prevents us from reaching that next level in our business so just to give a little bit of background on Michael, Michael is the host of the breakfast leadership show, it's a phenomenal podcast, make sure you go check it out but this guy has worked with a lot of big corporate leaders, helping them to reduce the burnout within their organizations as well, so Michael, say what's up to everybody, we'll hop in. 

Michael: What's up, everybody, glad to be here today. 

Josh:  Yeah, we're excited to have you here, Michael. So I want to start this off, Michael, just by asking you first off, tell us your story about your pivotal moment when you realize that burnout was what was killing you and your company?

Josh: Yeah, burnout for me was a pretty significant event back in 2009, for two years prior to that I was a healthcare executive for a Start-Up Health Care Organization and I was working 6am to 11pm, seven days a week for two years, wasn't taking care of myself, I wasn't eating right, I wasn't getting any exercise because you know, if you're an executive, you get the great parking spot so I wasn't getting anywhere near the 10,000 steps a day that you're supposed to get, it just wasn't taking care of myself, I wasn't doing things in life that I enjoyed doing, because I was working so many hours, that I quit doing things that were beneficial to me and it all came to a crashing halt in May of 2009, where a period of 369 days changed my life forever so over a period of year from May 2009 to May 2010, the following happened to me, I had a heart attack that should have killed me at age 40 17 weeks later, I lost my job during the Great Recession, then a few months later, my car was repossessed and then a month after that my home was foreclosed so heart attack, job loss, car, repossession, home foreclosure all in a year and all of those things happened because I was burned out, I was making mistakes at work, wasn't taking care of myself and it you know, nearly destroyed my life completely, I mean, pretty much dead and from that moment, I realized I had two choices, number one I was alive, which my cardiologists who put the stents in my left anterior descending artery, which has a nickname is called the widow maker, he told me before he put the stents in, you shouldn't be dead right now, you are very lucky to be alive and I asked him if he skipped bedside manner class in medical school and he laughed, and we all laughed and had a good time with it but I knew that I was very fortunate and I had an opportunity to take stock and how I was living, which I knew at that particular moment was not right and make the necessary adjustments in my life and I did and that's what I did and I created a life that was free from burnout, I went back into healthcare, my parents wanted to have me committed, like, why are you going back to the field that nearly killed you because I knew that I could do a better job and I did and I stayed in that career for several years before I went full time with breakfast leadership and I realized as I was healing myself and getting better and all of that, that a lot of my peers were doing the same thing that I did and it scared me and I thought, Okay, I got to do something about this and warn them because I don't want anybody to have their own year worst case scenarios, and started talking with them more and more and realized, okay, this is a bigger problem than I thought and I started researching hole, boy, this is not just a healthcare issue, this is a global issue and I decided, Okay, I need to do something about this, I started researching writing about it, which led to launching my breakfast leadership show, which led to speaking engagements, which led to writing books, to all the work that I get to do today.

Josh: See, and I love that because I think for you, it's that transformational story, first off, it's always fun to hear those and kind of the origin story of why you decided to get into that type of service offering because I feel like especially in the corporate world, people look down on burnout, right, oh, no, you're just you're not being tough rub some dirt in it right but, you know, I was really intrigued by your methodology and everything so I want to ask you this, Michael, what are some of the key indicators for those of us who don't know for we're in burnout, that would kind of prove to us that we're in burnout.

Michael: Common Signs that I see in most people that are burning out and one is their lack of quality sleep, you're just not sleeping well and you haven't in a long time, because the stress that you're under, is just keeping you up, you're tossing and turning all night another sign that I see along with the fatigue and being kind of in a fog, as you mentioned at the beginning, you're more forgetful, you don't have clarity, you're making mistakes at work another sign often is irritable, because you're frustrated with life, you're frustrated with yourself, you're frustrated with every situation, little things become gigantic things to you, because you're just so irritated and again, similar to what happened with me, you quit doing things in life that you enjoy doing, you just, you're not enjoying those things anymore and it could be simple things as you know, going for a bike ride or going golfing or in my situation, I was a season ticket holder for the Detroit Tigers, it's pretty easy to go, I already paid for the tickets, I paid for the parking, I had the beer and the food vouchers already paid for all I had to do was show up, and I quit going, because I was just too fatigued and wiped out and I regret that because I missed us when the Tigers were good, you know, they're not so good right now but they were better back then but you know, I can't imagine today and if I had the opportunity to go to game all the time, I would all the time, but I quit going because I was just completely burned out so if you're not doing things in life you enjoy doing, then you're using Well, I'm just working too much, might be something deeper than that.

Josh: And I love all of those indicators, I mean, we're talking, your lack of sleep, your fatigue, forgetfulness, irritableness and it's interesting, because all of us have probably seen as you're talking some of those signs within ourselves and in my opinion, the burnout, and I'd like to hear your opinion on this but burnout is something that it's something you manage, you never get rid of it and and for us, it's just realizing, when are you getting to the edge when you kind of get to that tipping point where you're ready to quit?

Michael: Yeah, I agree and you know, burnout is basically prolonged stress, if you don't have prolonged stress, you can't burn out, you can't just go from zero to burnout, it doesn't work that way, it's prolonged stress, you're overwhelmed, you're unable to meet the demands of life, you're fatigued, both physically and mentally and of course, it impacts pretty much every aspect of your life and if you can control those things and keep them in check, then the likelihood of you burning out are going to be significantly diminished, if you if you are of course in tune with how things are going, we all have busy seasons and the type of work that we do sometimes there's busier periods and others but if it's constant, and it just doesn't let up like in my situation was for over two years it never let up that can really take a toll on you.

Josh: I completely agree. Well, and for you, Michael, what's can you walk us through your framework and how you actually help people to get rid of burnout?

Michael: The first thing I do is I asked people how they're spending their time and for many of us, we don't really track our time. Yes, we may have appointments on our calendar but we don't really track how we spend our days and that is a really good sign on the over whelm that many of us find ourselves in with smartphones and technology, we're always connected and of course, during this pandemic, we're really always connected because we're working from home, or many of us were anyway and constantly connected with either our clients or you know, all these other things where we're used to before maybe go have lunch with somebody there was built in breaks and buffers, well now with us being homebound all the time, we're constantly looking into cameras, and we're doing all the kind of work in there, we're not taking those breaks like we were before so I have people document their time and again, for me my original curve is public accounting so easy for me to do so because I was billable ahead to bill every 15 minutes so I know how to document my time but the key thing is, is you have to find time for yourself care and schedule that Michael Hyatt you know, the author and former CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing has a saying what gets scheduled gets done and if you don't schedule your self-care, your well-being time, you're not going to do it and when people hear self care, they may think I'm talking about yoga and meditation and moments of Zen, sure if that's work, if that works for you awesome, go ahead and do it, self-care is also doing things in life you enjoy doing like golfing, or you know going on nature trail hikes or going for a drive or going on trips or going to a concert or going out to dinner, watching Netflix, that's self-care if you enjoy it and it brings you joy and fulfillment, do it but schedule it because when you do that then you are guaranteeing that you were making your life a little bit more harmonious than it is now and stuff just all work and another pro tip that I like giving people is for that self-care time or that me time pick your favorite color and it doesn't matter if you're using an electronic calendar or paper one color coded with your favorite color and the reason why you want to use your favorite color for that is your brain is naturally attractive did see that color, so you can look at your calendar, and you can see how you're spending your time, if you don't see enough of your favorite color, you know, you need to make an adjustment and you can look back a couple weeks or look ahead a couple of weeks or even this week and you go, okay, I'm not seeing my favorite color. Hmm. Okay, what can I do to adjust that and again, it's, it's an eb and flow kind of thing. You know, there's, you know, people hear the phrase work life balance, not possible work life balance is trying to stand an egg up on its thing and make sure it doesn't tip to the side, it won't, unless you use some kind of prop to do it, it's gonna tip, you can't balance an egg, just like balancing life, it's going to happen full, there's going to be days, they're going to flow easier than others but eventually, once you get in tune with how your energy levels are, and how you schedule your time, it's going to help you have a little bit more harmonious life and also give you the elbow room for opportunities and as entrepreneurs, we often miss opportunities, because we're so busy and focused on what we're doing, we drive right by something that could actually grow your business 10x 100x, who knows, if we're too busy, we may not see that opportunity.

Josh: I love that and there was you just gave so many good nuggets right there and I hope people took advantage of that, go back and listen to it, take some notes, because I love the color coding idea, I think that really gives like you said, it gives you a reason to want to do it subconsciously, let alone you know, the, I guess the physical world so I want to ask you this too, what do you feel about overdoing those things, like how do you feel about overdoing the self-care, I know for myself, so for me, I had a guest on here a long time ago, and they were talking about this, this concept of self-care and that, for me working out and yoga, things like that, or yoga, especially that kind of stuff was not calming to me, or it just made me frustrated working out was something I like to do, it's not something I love to do, but going and playing a sport with some friends absolutely,  I could do that all day every day but the problem I see with myself is sometimes I slip into a habit where I spent too much time doing those things so, walk, walk us through that.

Michael: Yeah, that's that's perfect, you know, if especially if you're an entrepreneur business, and you've, you've got goals and things you want to accomplish, you know, my favorite color is blue, even though here I am an all black and I like blue so if I look at my calendar, and I see, you know, a week that is really loaded in blue, if it's a vacation week, I get it but if it's a week where I'm looking at it going okay, well, I'm alright, I'm taking a lot of time off here, do I need it, you know, check with yourself, see what your energy levels feel like? How do you feel? You know? Are you rested? Are you getting good sleep? Have you been eating? You know the right foods for you? So you're not feeling bloated or, you know, rundown or things like that and if you are and everything feels good, then you have to check yourself as okay, why am I desiring this is their hobbies or tasks or things I need to get done and I'm procrastinating on those why is Brian Tracy told us many years ago Eat That Frog first, you know, there's something that's on your to do list as an entrepreneur, business owner, and you've been putting something off and you've got the time to do it, get it done, or delegated, like get it done, because it's hanging over you and you're thinking about it constantly, you're like, Oh, yeah, I should do that and, but then something comes up and you're so keen on the go play game, you know, pick a basketball or you know, I'm gonna go, you know, golfing with my buddies, or whatever the case may be. And there's nothing wrong with that but again, going back to the work life harmony, you have to harmonize what you're doing, you know, from a work standpoint, your business, your growth, your plans, and goals and keeping them in alignment.

Josh: Yeah, and I love that because you do have to kind of, like you said, it's the eb and flow, you have to keep track of where you're at and I love this conversation, because I used to think so black and white when it came to this stuff, you know, it's like, well, I've either burnt out or I'm living life and it's just not it's just not the case, you know, it's it is a constant thing. You have to check yourself and how frequently do you personally recommend that people look at where they're at, analyze it and plan

Michael: at minimum monthly, if better at the end of the week, you know, look at your week, looked at what the things were accomplished, what you know, what things went, well, what things didn't, you know, have a debrief with yourself, but do it in a non-judgmental way because we are our own worst judges, we can beat ourselves up like I didn't get that done again this week, or while I really screwed up that client call or I didn't land that client deal because I wasn't prepared or the presentation didn't look right, well, you know, there's those things are gonna happen, you're not going to you're not going to hit 1000 you know, Ted Williams, you know, hit you know, little over 400 you know, for off and on during his career. So that means, you know, five to six or seven times out of 10, he did not get ahead. He's in the Hall of Fame, you know, a lot of people are so think about those stats. So, again, you know, figure out, you know, what works for you in setup systems and rhythm and understand where things are, you know, another thing that I do with my schedule, for me, and everybody can do this, even if they're working for somebody else but especially as a business owner, you have control over your schedule, you can dictate when you do things, and for me, I know when my energy levels are good, and when they're not as high as they could be so I designed my work days that way more for me are the mornings tend to be task driven, anything that I'm working on the afternoons tend to be more meetings, conversations, follow ups, that type of stuff and each day of the week, I have themes of what I do things, it's good for me, because that way, your brain is not doing these hard turns for different tasks that aren't somewhat related and when you can do that, your brains already ready because you're in the flow of doing the work that you're doing so you're like, Okay, Okay, the next project, I'm gonna do this, okay, and I'm going to do this and it's not this hard, you know, 15 different directions, which tire us out and stretch this out, because you were usually we're literally using different brain power to do certain tasks, if you're doing the same type of thing throughout a particular day, it makes it easier on you, so you're less fatigued when you do that.

Josh: I love that, what I want to flip the tables here a little bit, especially because you've had this is really your area of expertise, how is this different when you're dealing with your employees, for example, because almost everybody listening to this has at least one person working for them, how do you help somebody else accomplish this because that seems to be where you really shine?

Michael: Yeah, that's, that's a big thing because employees doesn't matter if it's one employee or a team of 10, or 100, or 1000, or even larger, they tend to emulate their leaders, you know, what are the leaders doing are leaders sending emails, at nights and weekends are they working 6070 hour weeks, well, the employees then will say, I guess I have to do that too and that's not healthy, even you know, within the last couple of weeks, the World Health Organization released a stat from 2016 data that indicated globally over 700,000 people die every year and I'm guessing that number now is probably closer to a million every year but over three quarters of million people die every year of heart disease or stroke, because they work more than 55 hours a week, that's the common element and we know from a productivity standpoint, in an eight hour day, the productivity that we get even out of the best of us, maybe half of those eight hours so working an extra eight hours every day, you're not getting 16 hours of productivity, you're not even getting eight, you might get five or six so what's happening, the other 13 interruptions, lack of clarity, system design flaws, a variety, different things so we could talk for a month about all of those but ultimately, what you want to do is an employee, you want to make sure that they have all the tools that they need to do their job, that they can access you when you need them and then you get out of the way you hired them to do a job, let them do the job, don't micromanage because that means you're taking your time directing that person more than you need to and just make sure they have the right training the right tools, clarity on what they need to do, and let them do their job and sometimes, especially new leaders struggle with that because they're not good at delegation, I know I was horrible at it but now the pendulum has swung completely other way where anything that lands on my desk, okay, who besides me could work on this and I if I can delegate it, I will but another thing that's really important so you don't burn out your team, is you need a way to track of what you've delegated, because often we forget which is okay, here, I'm gonna give this to Susie and I see you know, Susie's working 60 hours a day or weeks feels like 60 hours, a 60 hour weeks. And her like, why is she working so much what's going on and then you look at all the work you delegated to her, oh, boy, that's a problem. So you have to keep in check what you've delegated in, and make sure that it's manageable and achievable by your team so they can be successful because if your employees are successful, your organization will be successful and it's it's simple, but much like you know, the work life harmony and preventing burnout, it's an ongoing thing, it's not a set it and forget it type of thing.

Josh: Love that, learn the tools, teach the tools get out of their way beautiful. Well, Michael, you know, we've covered a lot of different topics and I hope everybody got some really rock solid nuggets when it comes to avoiding burnout and managing that stress that you can't you don't have to be to the point where you were at during that 369 day, I guess would say hell experience but I want to ask you this first off, where can people get access to you?

Michael: breakfastleadership.com is the best place to find me. 

Josh: Love it. So everybody make sure you go visit breakfastleadership.com also go check out his podcast, the breakfast leadership show, it's on all of the platforms, make sure you go look at that leave a review rate it, it's give them a five star this guy has amazing content. So, Michael, just to kind of wrap this up for us, it’s one beautiful bow, could you leave us with one final parting piece of guidance for our audience.

Michael: We need to quit living life like we're trying to squeeze 24 ounces of ketchup out of a 16 ounce bottle, it's impossible; we're trying to give more than we have. So we have to make sure that we take care of ourselves first because if we do that, then the work that we do, the opportunities that we have in life are going to be so much richer and more fulfilling, if we take care of ourselves first.