Change Fatigue: 4 Simple Strategies on How to Navigate Constant Change without Burning OutNov 13, 2023
“I am extremely busy.”
“ I have so many things on my to-do list.”
“ I don’t know how I will be able to finish them all, and new items keep adding.”
“ It’s just impossible to keep up. I work long hours every day, I work evenings, weekends, even when I am on vacation. And still, I feel I am constantly falling behind.”
This high potential, hard working leader was on the verge of tears as he was sharing with me how he is feeling. Many high potentials and great talent are hitting a wall as the constant grind and even increasing workloads and expectations drive them to burnout or quitting their jobs.
So, here is the truth: How we were taught to work is suited for a simpler, stable, and slow-paced jobs, not for this Never Normal environment (Peter Hinssen) : Our world is constantly changing, increasing in complexity, always connected, and ever more interconnected with an insatiable hunger for speed.
The solution is not to do more, quite the opposite. As a transformational leadership coach and mentor, I share these 4 strategies with my clients to help you avoid burnout and change fatigue:
1. Reduce noise and distractions:
Simon Sinek famously said: “We’re actually a very old-fashioned machine. The human animal is a legacy machine living in a modern world”. We are not designed nor equipped for the high speed, ever connected, ever changing, ever intense world we are living in today. Each distraction robs you of a portion of your energy and concentration, increases your stress and anxiety and diverts your attention to activities irrelevant to your work and your aspirations.
Do you constantly check phone every time you get a notification? Do you feel anxious before meetings? Do you take every call and respond to every text message? Do you have a to do list that keeps getting longer?
My tips: Remove your phone and computer notifications, dedicate a specific limited time during the day to check and respond to emails and texts. Remember that the appropriate time to respond to emails is one (1) business day. Identify sources of distractions in your work environment that regularly interfere with your ability to concentrate and feel serene and balanced.
2. Plan sacred quiet Moments.
Working harder when we are feeling exhausted, overworked, and overloaded is a recipe not only for burnout, but also for poor performance. We experience confusion, reduced creativity, and impaired reasoning, which impacts our decision-making and problem-solving skills. Jim Collins Author of many best-selling Business Management books links disciplined action to disciplined thought, which does not happen when we are submerged in an ocean of distractions and noise.
Quiet reflective times enable clarity, creativity, introspection, and emotional regulation. Winston Churchill, Brene Brown, Warren Buffet, among others are known to create pockets of solitude to think about important issues before jumping into action. These sacred quiet rituals can stretch to days of solitude in nature, or shrink to regular brief moments, in the car, between meetings, doing pleasant activities like cooking, walking or sports.
Without distractions, we can look inward, listen to our needs, name our fears, see our blind spots and biases, make sense of the data we collected, and connect to our intuition. As more options become available to us, a clearer path forward emerges as we confidently and boldly forge ahead.
What about you? Do you have trouble finding quiet moments for disciplined thinking? How do you find clarity when things get muddled? How do you find a way forward when you feel stuck or bombarded by millions of competing demands at the same time?
My tips: Plan and book your calendar for recurring quiet moments. Find a sacred activity that suits your schedule and personality style. let go of that thought and let your mind wander. Surrender to the present moment and let your mind wander away from your work and responsibilities.
3. Set Intentions for your work, instead of goals.
In times of change and transformation, I shift from setting goals to setting intentions. A goal is future oriented, specific, and linked to a desired future state. Goals are best suited when there is clarity and stability around us. The path to achieve them is linear and there are no unforeseen circumstances that may derail our progress. If we hold on to a goal when things become uncertain and volatile, we feel more stress, frustration, and anxiety. Every little setback becomes bigger and insurmountable.
Instead, intentions focus on what you wish, how you feel, and what you want to learn. The answers to these questions become your inner compass. Just like a ship crossing unpredictable waters, you can adapt and adjust no matter the challenges or setbacks, find new paths to get to your destination or willingly take detours to ensure safety and avoid unnecessarily depleting your resources. When dealing with complex transformation and change, intentions work best because you are never limited to a specific outcome.
Do you set goals or intentions? How do you cope when your goals get derailed? How do you get back on track? How do you feel when you experience a setback?
My tips: Knowing your context will help you choose between setting an intention or a goal. Notice how you are feeling when a goal keeps getting pushed. Look for patterns of resistance and setbacks to learn about what needs to change in your approach.
4. Scan for weak signals and new patterns
In times of change and transformation, it would be a mistake to rely on the past to predict the future. Past knowledge and expertise led us to our current problems. We need to see the issue with new lenses and start looking for unusual patterns of information. This is a difficult task because high performing leaders, teams, and organizations “…are perfectly designed to get the results they get!” (From Arthur Jones).
Weak signals on the other hand live in the periphery of our lives. We don’t notice them when we are busy or exhausted until they become huge tsunamis that command our attention. To see things differently and spot weak signals, you need to be open, available, disciplined and connected to the right networks.
How about you? How are you finding time to scan for future change and disruption? How will you know when the next big thing is coming from? What shape and form will it take? How will you prepare for it?
My tips: Set aside at least a week every 3 months to explore new things. Nurture proactively your network to connect with thought leaders and futurists from different fields and backgrounds. Engage in new activities that are not related to your field of expertise or company’s core business.
Keep in mind that these 4 strategies build on top of each other:
1. To find new patterns and spot weak signals, we need to be open to see things as they are, expand our attention and not be attached to a specific goal, solution or outcome that will lead us down the wrong road.
2. To set a good intention, we need to be clear about what we want to explore, to let go of the myths we believe.
3. Planned solitude enables disciplined thinking, mindfulness, and the space to explore what we feel, what we need, what we intuitively know, and what we need to learn.
4. And we can’t experience sacred quiet times if noise and distractions are present and competing for our attention and action.
If you need help overcoming these challenges, let’s work together. Your first step is to schedule a free, no-obligation call where we’ll:
• Chat about your change vision.
• Identify what might be causing your change fatigue.
• Develop a roadmap to achieving your change vision without burning out.
• And if I’m the right fit to help you, options for how we can partner together in a way that maximizes your time and budget.
Ready to embark on your own transformation journey?
Prêt à vous lancer dans votre propre aventure de transformation ?