Outsourcing & Resources: As I mentioned before, you can do anything you put your mind to, but you can’t do everything! Focus your attention on what you are great at. Better yet, focus your attention on the things that bring you joy and abundance, and leave those other tasks for a virtual assistant. Best decision we ever made was to hire freelancers and assistants. Also be sure to use resources, apps, tools that make life easier. There’s an app for just about everything these days so find the ones that can simplify life for you.
Millions of Americans are returning back to work after being home during the pandemic. While this has been exciting for many, some are feeling burned out by their work. What do you do if you are feeling burned out by your work? How do you reverse it? How can you “get your mojo back”? What can employers do to help their staff reverse burnout?
In this interview series called “Beating Burnout: 5 Things You Should Do If You Are Experiencing Work Burnout,” we are talking to successful business leaders, HR leaders and mental health leaders who can share insights from their experience about how we can “Beat Burnout.”.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brandy Hollaway.
Brandy Hollaway is the CEO of The Phoenix Factor, a consulting and marketing agency established in 2017, for healthcare and wellness professionals. She is also the co-founder of The Telewellness Community. After 17 years in the fitness and wellness industry Brandy felt a strong call to help create healthier communities by helping health professionals ignite their brand and their business.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born and raised in Alabama. My grandmother owned a few businesses, so I guess that’s where I got the entrepreneurial spirit from. I grew up with a single mother and lots of help from my grandmother and other family members. I also went through some major traumatic experiences that I am now writing a book about. But I think those experiences gave me strength to get through anything as an entrepreneur.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
I really decided on fitness and wellness because I watched so many family members suffer from preventable diseases and sedentary lifestyles. I didn’t want to go through that. I loved helping people get healthy and lead better lifestyles. Then after going through a traumatic divorce and losing everything…and I mean everything. I lost my business, my house, my self worth…everything. I was suddenly a single mother with an infant and a 4 year old and no way to support them. After a lot of therapy and support I woke up one day and realized I didn’t want this to happen to others, so I started The Phoenix Factor. I wanted to help others ignite their passion, burn through obstacles, and rise up to make the world a better place.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
Honestly there were so many people that supported me along the way but I found the most direction in books by Tony Robbins, Mel Robbins, Jen Sincero, Gary Vee, Tom Bileyu and Alan Weiss to be the most help in building a consulting business.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
I have plenty of funny and interesting mistakes, but I think the most interesting part of it now looking back is that I wish I had allowed myself more mistakes in the beginning. I played it so safe and you can’t achieve success sitting in your comfort zone.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
This is my arena; I am the queen of #truthbomb quotes! But as for a quote that consistently keeps me leveling up would be, ” As you think, so you are.”. I played the victim for such a big part of my life, but it all stopped when I accepted that it was my thinking, and what I chose to do with those thoughts, that would be solely responsible for the quality of my life.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am launching a Telewellness Platform. I wanted to have a space for highly qualified, vetted wellness professionals to work with our healthcare clients and their patients. We want to become the Angie’s list for wellness options. The mission is to fill the void for people with chronic disease, illness, mental health needs, etc. You get 15 minutes with your doctor and when people receive a new diagnosis, they are lost. They don’t know what to do or who to believe. And let’s be honest, there are too many scams and myths out there. This could also help relieve physician burnout by supporting their suggested protocol and having a healthier patient return to them.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Perseverance is a strong trait for me. When I lost everything after my divorce and mental breakdown, I never quit. I hit rock bottom, but I kept my eye on the possibilities and opportunities.
Another trait that has been so beneficial is confidence. I don’t worry about what others think of me anymore because it’s none of my business. It’s not true, it’s their perception built on a little sliver of my life they see. And the minute I feel confidence slipping, I remind myself my only competition, my only true adversary, is who I was yesterday.
Lastly, I would say my truth bombs, or as most would call it- tough love. I wish someone had been tough on me when I was copping out due to fear and limiting beliefs. So now I do just that. I am never going to tell you what you want to hear. That’s actually a disservice if you think about it. I am going to deliver thoughts and questions to help you love yourself more and level up in every way. I tell my clients , “I am going to light a fire under your ass so you can burn through all the obstacles and limiting beliefs trying to extinguish your fire!”
For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority about the topic of burnout?
After spending 18 years in the fitness and wellness industry, with 11 of those as a corporate wellness facilitator, I can tell you I have seen and heard all the signs of burnout n executives, employees, entrepreneurs, and myself. I have spent the last 9 years developing mindset techniques and resources to avoid, diminish or eliminate burnout for my clients.
Ok, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about beating burnout. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define a “Burnout”? Can you explain?
I define burnout as an exhausted state that can project itself mentally, physically, and emotionally leading to a suboptimal lifestyle. Burnout silently extinguishes other important parts of your life until you wake up one day laying in ashes instead of rising from them.
How would you define or describe the opposite of burnout?
The opposite of burnout is the self-awareness to keep yourself functioning in a healthy state- physically, mentally and emotionally.
This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Some sceptics may argue that burnout is a minor annoyance and we should just “soldier on’’ and “grin and bear it.” Can you please share a few reasons why burnout can have long-term impacts on our individual health, as well as the health and productivity of our society?
This is the irony of the people that don’t believe that burnout deserves as much attention as a broken leg. The long term effects of burnout won’t be like a broken leg that never received a cast or care, so it now affects every other aspect of daily life and how you “feel” with the evolving limitation. As for the mindset of burnout, most people end up in an autopilot state simply functioning on the least amount of energy needed because they never stopped to refuel, recharge, reset or whatever was needed most at the onset. This eventually affects every aspect of their life and relationships in a negative way. As a society we have to change the messaging from “Suck it up buttercup!”, to “You can do anything, but not everything!”
From your experience, perspective, or research, what are the main causes of burnout?
First and foremost I think the main cause of burnout is when we carry a false belief that we shouldn’t put ourselves first. I think this is why we see so many women experience it trying to wear all the hats without leaving room for the most important one — self care. A lack of self awareness ,and not establishing boundaries around mental and physical health, leave the door wide open for burnout.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. What can an individual do if they are feeling burned out by work? How does one reverse it? How can you “get your mojo back?” Can you please share your “5 Things You Should Do If You Are Experiencing Work Burnout?”. (Please share a story or an example for each.)
The 5 things I suggest if you are experiencing burnout
- Time blocking
When we become overwhelmed or stuck on autopilot, we lose sense of the essentials and how much time they actually take. I am a single mother with a 9 and 12 year old as well as running 2 companies so trust me when I tell you I have experienced burn out and this simple tip will save your sanity. Write down everything you MUST do daily… and I mean everything. Put it into a schedule with allotted times. Then put your additional tasks, appointments, etc. Schedule 3 minutes of breathing or 10 minutes of walking outside listening to an uplifting book, podcast, or music. The little things ARE important. My business partner taught me this technique and I was blown away how much time I was just busy being busy for so many years.
2. Outsourcing & Resources
As I mentioned before, you can do anything you put your mind to, but you can’t do everything! Focus your attention on what you are great at. Better yet, focus your attention on the things that bring you joy and abundance, and leave those other tasks for a virtual assistant. Best decision we ever made was to hire freelancers and assistants. Also be sure to use resources, apps, tools that make life easier. There’s an app for just about everything these days so find the ones that can simplify life for you.
3. Coming back from burnout with the 3 R’s — Recharging, Reassessing and Refining
Unfortunately we are usually in the thick of it with burnout before we realize something must be done. I have learned that it’s best to dive right into solutions instead of stressing your mind and body further with mulling over the problem.
So ask yourself 3 questions each day.
- What needs to occur today for me to “feel good” physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, etc.
- Assess who or what am I allowing to drain my energy and how can I alleviate that?
- Refine your habits and actions. This may be a great time to consider a health coach or similar specialists to help you develop habits that contribute to your ultimate desired outcome in life and business.
4. Knowing it is ok and necessary to ask for help
This is a conversation that truly needs to be had daily in and out of the workplace. The stoic nature can survive without alienating our need for connection and support. Can you imagine the true domino effect of a community that is taught that asking for help resembles weakness and avoiding the problem or ‘sucking it up” resembles strength? And you probably have seen it whether you realize it or not. It’s a learned limiting belief that needs to be left behind in your burnout recovery journey.
5. Establishing a mental health routine to maintain a keen mindset. Again, this has been a taboo subject for long enough and needs to become a staple at the table for wellbeing. Therapy is a great place to start but take the steps to install daily routines, habits and tasks that contribute to a healthy mindset.
What can concerned friends, colleagues, and life partners do to help someone they care about reverse burnout?
The truth bomb to this question might sting a little but we must remember that it’s not abut us, our opinion or what we think is best. We all have the same basic needs but below that surface, we need very different, very specific options that may not make sense to anyone but us. To truly support someone in reversing burnout, is to let them know you support them , ask them what they need and offer help when they are ready to ask for it.
What can employers do to help their staff reverse burnout?
Create a safe space for employees to practice new awareness and routines to get through the burnout. Don’t draw attention to their recovery but don’t ignore it either. I am a firm believer in having an onsite specialists to be available for these situations. Create a committee that learns additional skillsets to help with recovery. Empathy must be present on every level .
These ideas are wonderful, but sadly they are not yet commonplace. What strategies would you suggest to raise awareness about the importance of supporting the mental wellness of employees?
When I present to companies, I ask them a simple question. “How many of your employees are calling in sick and how many are actually calling in stressed or overwhelmed?” I proceed to ask them if they know what it costs them in the present and the long term effect of allowing the issue to go on. Raise awareness by offering an anonymous poll and ask how many times someone didn’t finish their work or do their best that day because of stress and overwhelm. Now ask your self if you want to contribute to on site options so the employee can return feeling better and more productive, or cover the losses for an extended period of time?
What are a few of the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they try to reverse burnout in themselves or others? What can they do to avoid those mistakes?
I think the most common mistake is attempting to reverse burnout with a cookie cutter approach. It just doesn’t work and can make things worse. Avoid this mistake by seeking out a professional that can help you build your own recipe for success that fits your needs, schedule, specific issues, etc.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would want to create a movement for abused woman and children to receive support, ample support, so that they can heal, recover, and lead healthier lives. It took me 40 years to speak my truth and I would have given anything for someone to give that gift at a much younger age. Gaining financial education, skill building options and mental health support would truly make for a better future for so many. Creating Victors out of victims!
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
So many come to mind but it would have to be Tony Robbins. He doesn’t know it but he saved my life. Back when I lost everything, I would drive to a job I hated and think of ways I could crash my car and make it look like an accident. One day I was listening to one of his YouTube videos and he was talking about how he finally had to let go of the pain, the abuse, the misfortune so that he could have a better life. I ugly cried that day and made up my mind to rise up!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Follow me me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok but remember my last name is HollAway not hollOway
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!