RPhCast, Episode Three: Avoiding Burnout And Still Achieving Your Goals


Shawn and Tammy from RPhAlly talk about burnout, trying to "overachieve", and how to avoid overworking yourself and your brain in this industry.

Shawn Bjorndal: All right, welcome everybody, this is Shawn from RPhAlly, and Tammy from RPhAlly. We are here to talk about overachieving, to high achieving something within there, Tammy, I'm like, I'm ready to listen on this. Ready to be a student of yours right now today, just so I'm gonna, I'm gonna give you the floor right away, because this is this is gonna be fun.

Tammy Davis: Okay, cool. Thanks. Hi, it's good to see you. And, yeah, this is something that really came to mind. After a lot of conversations. It's interesting over the last week. And so I want to just kind of just jump into this and say that this difference between overachieving and high achieving is the story. It's the story that we tell ourselves. And if we look at an overachiever, and, you know, you often hear words of overwhelm, not knowing, basically, it comes down to a lot of overwhelm, I was even talking to a mom of three kids. And just the idea of adding one more thing to her self care was just overwhelming. It was just like, it threw her brain into overload. And so the distinction again, is really the story that we tell ourselves. And typically, I would sum it up by saying overachievers are driven by fear. And high achievers are inspired by trusting in themselves, they're willing to take what it would they need to do to take care of themselves. Obviously, both are focused on the outcome. But I see that we what we've done is we've created a culture, of overachievers, through all of the gamification and rewards that we get from children now into the workplace, and, and all over social media, everybody's striving to get that ribbon and gold star. And when we're afraid that we're going to lose somehow, it typically is related to age, sometimes it's money. There's a number of reasons that we can come up with, but like I said, overachieving, the best illustration I have is an overachiever will get to the finish line, fall to the ground and barely be able to get out after a couple of words, where the High Achiever will get to the finish line, cross the line, grab a bottle of water, suck the bottle down and be able to go the distance, you know, and the only difference is, is the person who is in the as a high achiever, they will come at this and realize that I need to take a break, I need to give my brain a rest. And here's a really good example of that your brain will do it for you. The brain requires a lot of energy to get this whole thing going. We I think, and I make I'm speculating, but it seems to me that we think our brain is only used for thinking, but we don't realize that it's it's processing everything that our body is currently doing right now. It's regulating our heartbeat, it's regulating our breath, it's digesting food. I mean, it's doing all of these things. So the energy is necessary. So when we get into this, push, push, push, push, push, because there's a goal and, and I do understand this in the workplace. So I'm not being insensitive at all, there are goals that must be required. And this is something that we can work towards, in future conversations about how do we cultivate that culture at work, where we can, you know, begin to build time in to give that brain a break, because ultimately, what happens in overwhelm? This is something, believe it or not, that I was not aware of, until I went into some programs to talk about how to become a TEDx speaker. And one of the things that the instructor was talking about is the brain will start to shut down. This is where we get brain fog and overwhelm, the brain will literally conserve its energy because you have now dipped into pushing and pushing and pushing, and overthinking and over strategizing and over planning and everything else that we're doing, and the brain will naturally conserve its energy in order to maintain the rest of the body function. This is why I describe it in my own head because I can I am a recovering overachiever. It's the reason why I have the burnout channel is because it turns into white noise in my head. I find myself irritable, and I cannot function I really can't think clearly. So that's truly the definition, the difference in the trade off. The reason I chose the word trade off is as a high achiever, we are willing to trade off those non essential actions those things that, you know, that we tell ourselves are important that maybe we can just not do it for right now. You know, Southwest Airlines, you know, made it fairly big, especially through the pandemic, because they had made a number of trade offs in the way they were going to operate their company that actually sustained them financially, through the all of the the shutdowns that we were experiencing, Southwest was able to actually hang on. And so I look at that as a high achieving example, because when we are willing to trade off some of the actions or some of the things that we tell ourselves are necessary, and be willing to take a chance on ourselves to sustain that energy, the outcome, the goals will still be achieved, but they're going to be achieved, probably sooner, and they're going to be in you're going to be feeling far more effective and you're going to be able to go, Okay, let's what's next, as opposed to like, oh, man, I need a vacation. My belief is that when we go on vacation, it's not about going to rest, it's about going to enjoy the scenery. You know, what if we actually give ourselves a chance to rest while we're working? And by rest, I don't necessarily mean sleep and take naps, I mean, give our brain a rest. You know. And so I wanted to suggest that a really good way to begin to distinguish this first off is to begin to identify our story. You know, what is our story? What is really driving us? What is motivating us? What is that carrot, that ribbon, that gold star that we're working for, not that the outcome is not important, but maybe there are some once we began to realize what that story is, we can, we can identify what comes next, Shawn is the emotions, the emotions, and I'm actually going to be speaking on clubhouse tomorrow about how we can use our emotions to reinvent our reality. And in this case, when emotions aren't bad, you know, emotions are a point of wisdom that if we realize that, okay, there's some upset going on right now. And we take the time to recognize that story, we can turn that upside into something that now creates, it creates initiation, we can we can create, we can innovate something new, we can create something, we can reinvent ourselves, for goodness sake, when we realize that, well, I don't need to do this, I don't need to feel this way. This doesn't, I am not afraid, I know that I can do this, it might be that fast. It doesn't have to be a long drawn out process. It could be that quick, once we realize that that's the story. We can go, I'm done with that. I don't want that anymore. I know I can do this. And I know I can do this from a different platform, and a different you know, from different from a powerful, you know, be convicted in it. And that is really ultimately what it comes down to. It's trading off the non essential stories that we tell ourselves, and reinventing ourselves in that moment, to become the high achiever and still attain a goal, but from a different position that we can sustain our energy, and now bringing in other people be that resource and that leader. So that's ultimately what it comes down to when it the difference between overachieving and high achieving.

SB: I love it. You know, this is very enlightening for me. So thank you, Tammy, I, you know, I'm thinking of myself, you know, a couple different startups going, will soon have a third. And it's kind of like, okay, that's one bucket. And okay, so I need to find that place where I'm not overachieving, I'm just at that high achieving space. Right. So that is very cool. And you touched on it a little bit with like, talking about the workplace, right, where you need to find your rest, let your brain rest within the workplace. Can you just talk a little bit more about that just to make sure our colleagues who are in those environments can can really captured like what they should do for next steps as far as leadership, but I mean, can you just speak to that a little bit, Tammy?

TD: Absolutely. So what I'm going to suggest, and I came prepared for this question, because when I was when sitting in a corporate setting, you are required to take breaks. You aren't we know our built in breaks. And so the idea here is literally to put the phone down, literally to walk away from the computer. And I have oftentimes I've had clients sit and eat in silence. The point here is, is that like I mentioned earlier, the brain gets into that state of overwhelm and it starts to conserve that energy and when we are stressed. What happens is it changes the way the digestive system slows down, slows the digestive process down so we're not breaking down the sugars in the proteins efficiently. And so we're almost starving, we know that we're, we've depleted the brain of energy. So it's going to shut down faster. So as in the workplace, we can, during a break, take a moment to eat in silence, or to listen to some music, or just literally just turn off the thinking process and give yourself a chance to maybe even engage in something like a conversation. That's fun, enjoy it and not make an excuse like, well, I don't have time, give yourself permission to have fun, even if it's for five or 10 minutes, because that's enough of a break, because here's the thing. When we are having a good time, consider your posture. Now, this sounds like a really strange thing. But when we are when we are sitting up more erect, and our chins up, there's a reason why they say chin up buttercup, because it takes the pressure off the vagus nerve, that dorsal vagus nerve creates a rigidity, and it keeps us it keeps us in that fight or flight. It keeps us in that stress mode. But when we can just relax a little bit and just let ourselves lighten up just a tad takes the pressure off that nerve. And now the brain and the gut are communicating more efficiently. And again, it sounds really simple, but it is a very beneficial, just shift in posture and what we're doing very briefly, and it doesn't have to consume any amount of time because you already have the time allotted to you to give that to yourself.

SB: I love that. And I want to ask you a question. Very simple because you touched on it. So does this device right here activate your brain? Yes. So that would like sitting in the break room and scrolling through social media is not going to help you relax, and rest your brain.

TD: Nope, no matter how many times you laugh at a reel. And here's why. Think about that for a minute you have a phone and what do you what do you it's down. So look where your chin is. You've just put all that you know. And so yeah, what it does is it does a couple of things in the brain. It and this is what's interesting that dorsal vagus nerve actually affects dopamine in the brain that affects the way that dopamine is being used. And that we obviously know is the reward hormone that gets hung up.

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