Updated: Feb 24, 2020
"I do NOT want to be the boss today" - this is usually how my stress, overwhelm and burnout cycle begins.
Outside of a few years of intraoperative monitoring and a maternity leave coverage for a local educational audiologist early on in my career, I have primarily been in private practice..in some form, either as an employee or as the actual practice owner.
Even 18 years after I pulled the trigger on practice ownership, there is always some underlying pressure. In the beginning, it was the pressure of my SBA loan. I had to use my house as collateral for the loan so if I failed, it meant we would lose not only the business, but the roof over our heads. No pressure, right?
I had absolutely NO idea how to run a business. I had no business background. There were no classes required in my university program. I had to bootstrap the knowledge by hanging out in libraries, talking to business people and taking stock of my fortitude to be willing to work as hard as I could.
As the primary breadwinner in the family, failure has been never an option. In fact, my mantra has always been that being the owner only allows me the privilege of being the last one out the door.
That said, I never want to actually be the last one out the door...
With failure out the window as an option, the choice was "survive" and if I am lucky, maybe even get a taste of what it means to "thrive".
But trust me, if I had continued at the original pace, I definitely would have spontaneously combusted a long, long time ago.
Burnout is a real thing.
Audiology practices of all shapes and sizes are under constant threat. Whether it be from outside forces trying circumvent our expertise, to dwindling reimbursement rates for our services, to the cult of personalities trying to sell you on their brand of "how to" help you grow your practice.
Feeling like you are under constant threat leads to burnout
Feeling overwhelmed and undervalued leads to burnout
Feeling like you need 10 side hustles to make it all work leads to burnout
In the days of 24 hours news and the sometimes brutal cycle of social comparison, it can feel like each day you take one more hit to your ability to stay centered and grounded.
Passion-driven and caregiving roles such as doctors and nurses (and I would argue audiologists and other allied health professionals as well) are some of the most susceptible to burnout.
So, how do you protect yourself from getting overworked and overwhelmed?
The basic answer is to train and strengthen your pre-frontal cortex and your parasympathetic nervous system to embrace choice, change and ease. To develop the ability to down-regulate reactivity in favor of elevated response.
I know what you're thinking...that sounds like a LOT of work, but truthfully it only requires a commitment to practice stillness.
Choose your seat, be still and focus.
Where to start?
1) Develop a strong meditation habit - I mean, really, take the meditation medicine already, would ya?
Meditation has deep physiological impacts on our parasympathetic nervous system and helps to regulate the energetic body for calm.
A regular meditation practice has been a key component in my own ability to notice, name and navigate the changes that are constantly being hurled in my direction, especially professionally as a practice owner.
2) Up-level that into your own 30-day meditation challenge - 5 minutes, every day for 30 days.
If you need a guided meditation, I highly recommend Insight Timer and it's free.
Admittedly, I'm biased, but my coach, Kristoffer (K.C.) Carter from This Epic Life has a bunch of amazing meditations on Insight Timer that can help anyone jump start a practice AND he often leads 30 day group meditation challenges #gamechanger
3) As my friend, Jim Knutson, always says, "Surround Yourself With Great People" #sywgp
Finding a community and if you are lucky, a tribe of folks who can share the struggle and encourage an elevated mindset that values collaboration over competition.
4) Expand your life experiences - retreats, gatherings and events - that do more than just give you time away from the day-to-day.
NOTE: You can catch me (and many other incredible speakers) teaching some pretty kick ass tools for Erasing Burnout at the Dr. Gyl's Courage Building Summit, May 14-15th in Chicago, IL -
a Dr. Gyl's WOMEN of WONDER event - Seating is limited so register while you can! Women only.