I have a confession to make. While I love Brené Brown – I heard her speak at Serious Business a few years ago and have appreciated her messages and her Ted Talks ever since – I do not love her books. I struggled through Daring Greatly last year, and I just finally finished struggling through Rising Strong (which I started reading in January).
Yet I am glad I struggled through it – because one of the concepts she mentions really resonated with me: the idea of “Permission slips,” like the ones I used to have to get as a child to be excused from school or gym class…
Per Brown, “permissions slips” are great not just for children, but for adults as well, and are to be used in both personal and professional situations. Permission slips are a great way to establish trust during a group conversation, or if you are using them for yourself, to understand what might get in your way.
Brown mentions for example writing herself a permission slip some time ago: “I wrote my first permission slip on a Post-It note the morning I met Oprah Winfrey for the first time and taped an episode of Super Soul Sunday. It said, ‘Permission to be excited, have fun and be goofy.’”
I used this concept in a strategic team meeting yesterday, specifically mentioning the following permissions:
- Permission to engage with emotion
- Permission to feel both excited and scared
- Permission to question everything
These set the tone for our meeting, and many questions began with “I need a permission slip…”.
What will you give yourself (or your loved one, your kids, your team members) permission to do and feel today?
Burnout. This could be a four-letter word. While I have never spent time thinking about what this word really means, I think I have come close to burnout twice in the last 5 years. Is that good or bad? I am not sure.
What I am sure of is that for me, Dana Campbell’s (CEO of Optimize Corps) talk on burnout earlier this week at the Women in Wellness Leadership conference was the highlight of the day.
She defined the symptoms: to be burnt out, you need to have 2 of the following 3:
She reminded us that we contribute to our own burnout, with the following:
- Incorrectly defining success (we should all have our own, genuine definition of what success means, beyond “keeping up with the Joneses”)
- Celebrating busyness (I gave up the word “busy” for Lent one year, I think I should give it up altogether).
- Striving for perfection
- Allowing ourselves to be distracted from our goals and purpose
She made us rank ourselves from 1-5 (1 being great, 5 being abysmal) about how we feel on the following parameters:
- Workload (how overworked are we really?)
- Control (burnout feelings increase when we feel out of control)
- Values (are our businesses’ values in line with our own?)
- Fairness (how fair is our work or family environment)
- Reward and recognition (are we being recognized for our efforts, at work and at home?)
- Community (apparently the #1 thing people need at work is a best friend – how do we feel about our work community?)
(If you are all 4s or 5s, you are in or close to burnout).
So how do we beat burnout? By being resilient: by having the skill and capacity to be robust under conditions of enormous stress and change. She reminded us of a truth we probably all know – that avoiding stress or change is not a strategy. She also reminded us that resilience is like a muscle – it can be trained, it can become stronger.
How do you train for resilience?
- You create white space. Give yourself time. Silence. Unscheduled moments. Alone time.
- You objectively face reality. Objectively and calmly. Not with the anxiety blinders on.
- You find meaning in suffering.
- You fill your tanks. Whether that is through sleep, exercise, time alone.
- You claim your truth. You identify what is most important to you, what you are great at, what you need.
- You see possibilities where others don’t. Instead of focusing on the problem, open your mind to solutions.
Thank you, Dana, and thank you Julie Keller of American Spa for putting on this conference, and for finding such amazing speakers.