Revenue Rehab: It's like therapy, but for marketers
May 24, 2023

Executive Burnout Roundtable: Recognizing, Recovering, and Re-entering

This week our host Brandi Starr is joined by Neelu Kaur, Karen Mangia and Hannah Holden for a roundtable discussion on executive burnout.  Neelu Kaur is the Author, Facilitator and Executive Coach at Neelu Kaur Leadership + Wellness. Neelu holds...

This week our host Brandi Starr is joined by Neelu Kaur, Karen Mangia and Hannah Holden for a roundtable discussion on executive burnout. 

Neelu Kaur is the Author, Facilitator and Executive Coach at Neelu Kaur Leadership + Wellness. Neelu holds a BS from NYU’s Stern School of Business, an MA in Social & Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and is a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Coach from the NLP Center of New York. She has 15 years of experience specializing in Adult Learning & Leadership Development in Financial Services, Consulting, and the Tech Industry. She focuses on leadership, mindfulness, and burnout management for individuals, teams, and organizations. Neelu recently published her first book, Be Your Own Cheerleader which focuses on self-advocacy for Asian & South Asian Womyn.

Karen Mangia is the President & Chief Strategy Officer at Engineered Innovation Group,  Karen is one of the most sought-after keynote speakers in the world, the Wall Street Journal best-selling author of four books, host of the Success from Anywhere podcast and a tenured tech executive.  She has also worked at Salesforce, Cisco, and AT&T in the past. Karen is a catalyst who uses curiosity creativity to empower individuals, teams and organizations to successfully define, design and deliver the future. 

Hannah Holden is a Burnout Survivor & Specialist at Hannah Holden. Hannah helps high-achieving consultants reboot from burnout with more energy, self-awareness, and intention so that they can love life again.  She brings over twenty years' experience in project delivery and consulting together with her passion for body-mind science, yoga, and mindfulness to help her clients prevent and overcome burnout. As Head of Business Consulting for a rapidly growing firm throughout the pandemic she has unique insights into the pressures experienced by consultants, people managers and business leaders.  Hannah's personal burnout experience serves as both inspiration for her mission and as inspiration for others to prevent and recover from burnout. She shares her experiences and insights, along with those of her guests on her podcast Burnout Isn't Necessary.     

Continuing with mental health awareness month, on the couch this week joining Brandi are Neelu, Karen and Hannah for an Executive Burnout Roundtable: Recognizing, Recovering, and Re-entering.

Bullet Points of Key Topics + Chapter Markers:

  • Topic #1 Burnout and the C-Suite [04:05] Hannah shares that a Deloitte study published in 2022 showed that 81% of the C-Suite who completed the survey reported that improving their well-being was more important at the moment than advancing their career. And further, that nearly 70% of those same respondents were seriously considering quitting their jobs to go and find something else based on their well-being. “So, I think that that just gives us a feel for kind of the backstory of what people have been experiencing”, she says; “people are prioritizing their well-being”.
  • Topic #2 Recognizing Burnout [13:30] One of the starting telltale signs for me,” says Karen, “is the ‘Sunday Scaries’”.  Other signals or signs she notes to look for: Struggling to wake up or constantly hitting the snooze alarm, not finding pleasure or enthusiasm in activities that were previously enjoyable, feeling that previously loved activities have become empty, and even dreading them, and escapist thoughts about removing yourself from the situation. 
  • Topic #3 Recovering and Re-entering from Burnout [22:14] Neelu recommends instituting routines to help you both with recovering from burnout and when re-entering work. An example she suggests is giving yourself an hour in the morning without your devices, because if you reach for your phone right away “essentially, if you do that,” she says, “you're training your brain to be reactive and distracted all day”.

So, What's the One Thing You Can Do Today?

Neelu advises listeners to “be your own cheerleader and [practice] self-advocacy”. She goes on to share that “specifically in AAPI cultures, we are taught just to keep our head down and our work will speak for itself. And that also plays into burnout”.

Hannah: Since her experience from burn out was connected to self-worth, Hannah’s ‘one thing’ is to incorporate something in your day that you do just for yourself. Prioritize you, she encourages.

Karen recommends listeners ask themselves what matters to them, “and then look at where you're spending your time, personally and professionally”, she says.  “When we feel burnt out, usually, we're not spending as much time as we need to on who and what matters”.

Buzzword Banishment:

Karen wants us to banish the buzzword catchphrase ‘best practices’. “Let's face it”, Karen says, “if these were the best for you…wouldn't you have already implemented them”?


Get in touch with Neelu Kaur on

Get in touch with Karen Mangia on:

Get in touch with Hannah Holden on:

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Intro VO  00:05

Welcome to Revenue Rehab, your one stop destination for collective solutions to the biggest challenges faced by marketing leaders today. Now head on over to the couch, make yourself comfortable and get ready to change the way you approach revenue. Leading your recovery is modern marketer, author, speaker and Chief Operating Officer at Tegrita Brandi Stars

Brandi Starr  00:33

Hello, hello hello and welcome to another episode of Revenue Rehab. I am your host Brandi Stars and we have another amazing episode for you today. Continuing with mental health awareness month. I have three amazing guests for our roundtable. The first is Neelu core. We have Karen Mangia, and Hannah Holden. Neelu is an author, a certified NLP Master Practitioner and coach from the NLP center of New York. She has 15 years of experience specializing in adult learning and leadership development in financial services, consulting and the tech industry. She focuses on leadership, mindfulness and burnout management for individuals, teams and organizations. Karen is one of the most sought after keynote speakers in the world. The Wall Street Journal best selling author of four books, host of the success from anywhere podcast and a tenured tech executive. She is currently the President and Chief Strategy Officer of engineered Innovation Group. Karen is a catalyst who uses curiosity, create and creativity to empower individuals, teams and organizations to successfully divine design and deliver the future. And finally, Hannah helps high achieving consultants reboot from burnout with more energy, self awareness and intention so that they can love life again, as a head of business consulting for a rapidly growing firm throughout the pandemic. She has unique insights from the pressures experienced by consultants, people, managers and business leaders. Her mission is to empower others on their personal journey from burnout to better health, Hannah Neelu and Karen, welcome to Revenue Rehab, your session begins now.

Hannah Holden  02:31

Hi, thank you so much for having us.

Brandi Starr  02:35

Thank you, ladies for joining me, I am really, really excited for our discussion, mental health awareness. And just really staying as mentally healthy as we are physically is something that I am really passionate about. So excited to bring all of your expertise to the couch. But before we jump into our topic today, I like to start off with an icebreaker, a little Gusau moment that I call buzzword banishment. And so Karen, I am going to pose the question to you what is an overused buzzword that you'd like to get rid of forever?

Karen Mangia  03:16

Best practices? i Let's face it said if these were the best for you? Wouldn't you have already implemented them? I mean, they can inspire you. But really, who knows? It's best who says it's best? How did they know?

Brandi Starr  03:31

And best for who I know, that's always been my thing is like how is what's best for me also best for everybody else as well. So I'm with you. I think best practices has been banished here on the couch once before. So we will make sure that at least for the next half hour or so we will not use the term best practices. All Awesome. Well, now that we have gotten that off our chest. Hannah, can you tell me what brings you to Revenue Rehab today?

Hannah Holden  04:05

So we're going to be talking about burnout specifically for executives. And I think that you touched on my bio earlier about my role in management consulting during the pandemic. And I think that managers and execs all had a really tough time and I was reflecting on it today. And we had this kind of trifecta of groups of stakeholders to worry about. So we had our employees to worry about because they were going through a tough time and we had people with existing physical and mental health challenges that were rearing their heads at that time. And then other people having new challenges that we had our customers that we had to get really close to to understand how things were impacting them and what that relationship was, what our relationship with them was going to look like as a consequence. And then we had our senior stakeholders above us within The business. And I think that all managers and executives would, would sit with say a similar thing. So regardless of what industry they were in, and I think it's really important when we talk about burnout, that we recognize that for the majority of people who then go on to experience burnout, this isn't something that happens overnight. It, it builds, and it accumulates normally over at least months, if not years. And so here we are, in 2023, unfortunately, the pandemic has passed, but these are people who have that in their not so distant history. And, and now here, we are trying to, you know, manage on a whole set of different you know, what does back to work look like? And oh, Karen, there's something that you talked about. So we've got all these new challenges to be facing. But I think that we've, we've all still got a level of that stress at the pandemic still in our system. And so I'm not surprised that burnout is becoming more and more talked about topic. And I have a couple of stats for you. So 81% of the C suite, we're saying in a Deloitte study that was published last year, so 81% Saying that improving their well being is more important at the moment for them then advancing their career. And that nearly 70% of the C suite were seriously considering quitting their jobs, to go and find something else based on on their well being. So I think that that just gives us a feel for kind of the backstory of what people have been experiencing and where they now Landon. And I'm not surprised that we are all talking about burnout, and and that people are prioritizing their well being.

Brandi Starr  06:38

Yeah, and I think you know, in addition to your three stakeholders, you listed, I think the other that people don't necessarily think about is we also had our families as a stakeholder because even though your families are not present at work, like those stresses, and the things that are happening at home, definitely pile on top of you know, everything else. But before we dive into that, I believe in setting intentions, it gives us focus, it gives us purpose, and most importantly, it gives our audience an understanding of what they should expect from our conversation today. And so Neelu, I'd like to pose the question to you, what is your best hope for our discussion today? What would you like people to take away?

Neelu Kaur  07:22

I would love people to take away that they need to be oops, be their own cheerleader. So self advocacy, around mental health asking for what you need. You know, many people are going through downsizing right now. So you're overworked, you're overwhelmed. And so being your own cheerleader, and asking for what you need will absolutely be a recipe for helping you manage your burnout. I love

Brandi Starr  07:44

that. And something Neelu that you and Hannah both hit on is where I'd like to start. You know, Hannah, you talked about the pandemic. And, you know, that was probably a level of mental and emotional stress that, you know, I think only happens once in a lifetime and not every lifetime. And it was really through the pandemic, that it became almost normal and somewhat acceptable to do what you're referring to Neela which is to be your own advocate, and actually articulate what you need and what you're going through. Like before the pandemic it seemed like you just you don't talk about it, like you deal with things the best you can you don't ask for accommodations, etc. So I'd like to first pose the question to you, Hannah, in terms of what you saw shift in the workplace and how people are coping and dealing with burnout. And then Neela, I'll pose it to you as well, in terms of the advocacy.

Neelu Kaur  08:53

Sure. And in the spirit of advocacy. My name is Neelu not Neela. Yes.

Brandi Starr  08:58

Okay. Perfect. Thank you. I try hard to get it right. So when I mess it up, I will rewrite it on my sheet so I don't mess it up again. Thank you.

Hannah Holden  09:08

Okay, so your question was about what did we see shift and and you hinted at one aspect, which was people, people talking more about mental health. So it was a huge crisis within the organization that I was in in terms of we were constantly assessing and reassessing how everybody was within the organization and trying to understand how best to support everybody. And so it meant that those conversations were being had a whole lot more like checking in with the team asking the team to check in with one another, trying to support one another as best we can, because you just nobody had been through that before. Right? And so you couldn't preempt how people were going to be impacted because everybody was impacted differently. Some people with homeschooling some people with not being able to visit their elderly relatives, etc. So everybody had different, unique experiences and impacts on their lives. But from a from a how are we managing people point of view, all of that had to come to the surface, we were having those conversations a lot more. So I agree with you that now we're in a situation where we can talk a lot more about mental health. I'm not saying that we've broken all of the taboos and that we're where we want to be. But I think that we are having far more conversations now.

Brandi Starr  10:27

Okay, and then Neelu, did you have any other thoughts in terms of what you're seeing around, you know, pre pandemic versus post and people feeling comfortable advocating for themselves?

Neelu Kaur  10:37

Yeah, I actually, I try not to live life looking through a rearview mirror. So I only really focus on what's happening now and going forward. So I really try not to focus too much on COVID. And the pandemic, I think we've, we've gone through that we've had our trauma, there's a lot of PTSD about that. And so if you're suffering in that way, please seek the help that you need. I think one component that that's probably not coming to the forefront here is that there's a cultural component to mental health and well being so in certain cultures, it's still very taboo to talk about it. So even if we're in a North American organizational climate of corporate America, there are still some cultures, specifically the AAPI community that do not feel safe talking about mental health and well being simply because there's no outlet for us. And there's, it's not something that we are culturally able to talk about with our family and our close friends. So I think when it comes to burnout, we really have to look at it through a cultural lens and see, you know, really be allies to those cultures, people that belong to those cultures, where mental health is still considered a taboo.

Brandi Starr  11:36

It's a really interesting perspective. And that is something that I had not thought about it and that it is very different for different cultures. Karen, anything you want to add to this, before I shift a little bit,

Karen Mangia  11:50

I think about burnout as living outside of your values for an extended period of time. Right. So when the environment that we're working in does not align with what we value, that I think is the match that lets the spark, where the flame starts low, and it starts to get higher, and something I'm encouraged about, is seeing more leaders, pressing pause, and not just making the assumption that everyone working on them or around them, buys into the company. Monitors now making it nice to ask their employees and to ask their colleagues and even their customers. What do you value most? Now? I mean, almost all of us experience some kind of shift in the answer to that question over the past couple of years by thinking about what matters. And when you ask someone about what you value, think about how powerful that is, just as a simple statement, when it's followed up with and reinforced by a follow on question, why does that matter to you so much. So I'm encouraged by people pressing pause to do that. And I think it's a conversation that we can have more often. And you don't have to always explain, you know, where that value shifted to the point that Neelu made in this present moment. And as an advocate for yourself, how refreshing would it be if your leader asked you, what you value asked you why it mattered. So much had a little bit more context. And we all know, I mean, some of the best relationships are the ones that we have that are based on shared values.

Brandi Starr  13:30

I agree there. So there's really three areas that I want to focus in our discussion today. And one is recognizing that you're experiencing burnout. In our session last week, that was one of the things that came up was that a lot of people, especially executives, don't always realize that they're going through burnout, and that that burnout is building, and the second is going to be recovery. So once you've gotten to that place where you are experiencing whatever level of burnout, like how you get out of that, and then more and more we are seeing especially senior leaders that are hitting pause and are stepping away for a bit, some call it a sabbatical, you know, there's different terms that people use for that, that period. And I've had people say, I've been considering that. But then I stress myself out about reentry, like what happens after the fact. And so those are the main things and Neelu just understanding your experience. From the cultural perspective. I definitely want to have you bring that to this conversation, because it is a different layer that we don't talk about all the time, is the fact that you know, what is you know, normalized or you know, could be considered a luxury in one environment, you know, could still be tab Whew, and not so much and another and I don't want to lose sight of that, as we kind of focus. So I want to start with recognizing burnout. And I'll start with you, Karen in, you know, what are some of the signs for people that are kind of like, ah, you know, is it regular, just regular stress? Or is it burnout? What do you say in terms of how you know that you're experiencing it?

Karen Mangia  15:26

One of the starting telltale signs for me, and I think you started to go in this direction is the Sunday scaries. You know, that feeling where it's supposed to be your leisure day, and then you start getting mentally consumed on Sunday of like, going back to this workplace and what's going to happen and starting to feel that anxiety, great example there. Another one starting to hit the snooze alarm all the time, are you suddenly literally starting to struggle with getting out of bed on a consistent basis. Another telltale sign is you're not finding joy or excitement and things you might have loved before, maybe you love to coach or lean people, maybe you love to do public speaking. And suddenly those things for you start to feel empty, meaningless, hollow. And in some cases, maybe you even start to dread them, I think about all of those as clues, along with this envisioning that you want to escape, right? Imagine, you're gonna get your car and drive away, you're gonna take this battle, you're never gonna do it, you just like to imagine, like completely removing yourself from the scenario. So I just tried to pay attention to a few of those signals, that that burnout has gone from a small spark, and now the flame is starting to burn brighter, and maybe it's time to use your phrase, press pause.

Brandi Starr  16:43

And, you know, I think that escape one, it reminds me of a conversation that I had with someone because I talked on the last session that I went through a depression a few years ago, and it got really bad. And I didn't even realize how bad it was until it was really bad. And, you know, travel is one of my passions. And I had someone asked me, Are you traveling to escape from something? Or are you traveling to go to something? And at first, you know, I was like, What's the difference, you know, didn't really seem like a thing. And it wasn't until I came out on the other side of it, that I recognized that there was a period where vacation for me was a way of escaping from all the things in life that had burnt me out. And then you know, being on the other end. Now, when I vacation, I'm not escaping, I am running to new experiences. And I think that that that escapism is a key nuance there that I hear a lot of people, you know, realize they're having, but it's always just like, Oh, I haven't had a vacation in a while or oh, you know, I need a day off. And sometimes it really is more than that. And what I'm hearing you say,

Karen Mangia  18:02

sometimes it is the sign. And that's where Curiosity helps. And asking the people you love and trust to show up in your everyday life. I mean, you mentioned the power, the transformative power and the awakening power of someone who cared about you asking you a question that gave you pause. And when we observe this in other people with whom we have a trusted relationship, of course, it's critically important to ask some of those questions and then make space to get curious. You know, I find so often we default to this grand gesture, right? I need a huge vacation. I need a giant sabbatical. I need a whole weekend on the couch of doing nothing. And maybe if you pause for even five minutes to get curious about why am I starting to feel this way? And how consistent is this pattern? May we all have off days? But how consistent is this pattern? It's very insightful.

Brandi Starr  18:51

And then Hannah, is there anything you'd add to that definition of how you recognize that you're experiencing burnout?

Hannah Holden  19:01

So I think that you've Yeah, you've touched on quite a few one that comes up for me is showing up physically. So it taking longer than it used to recover from an exercise or a type of exercise that you like, or when there's something going round, you feel like you're kind of you know, you're feeling like it's you're low on your own, like your immune system isn't up and running as it should be. So you feel like you're always taking a hit and it takes you a lot longer to recover from things. That's it. That's kind of a sign of chronic stress and chronic stress then tipped you over into burnout. I think there's a sense of kind of a sense of wanting to withdraw, a sense of feeling unseen or misunderstood. I think that people who ultimately end up in burnout are more likely to be self critical. So there's a there's a lot To have an internal dialogue around, you know, I, I don't want to go to social events because I might not be good enough, I might not be this, I might not be that. And so there's a, there's a withdrawing and the feeling like you can't make a difference, the feeling like I've tried everything, and here we still are, and I'm still and I'm not having the impact I thought I was gonna have I'm not achieving the things that I thought I was gonna have a sort of a disillusionment with that feeling like, there's a sense of in efficacy I give up. There's no point that kind of that sense of disillusionment, I guess, is a good word. Okay.

Brandi Starr  20:41

And then Neela, do you see anything different among different cultures? That may you know, that everyone, it may not show up everywhere in terms of signs of burnout? Well, I

Neelu Kaur  20:52

can't speak for all of the cultures in the whole world, but I can speak from the culture that I come from. And before I do that, though, I want to say one other thing that I would love to add on to that is the inability to focus. So if you are struggling to complete a task, and you're and you're like, reaching for your phone, and then you're reaching for your iPad, and then you're on your computer, and then the door rings, and it's just this constant sense of overwhelm, that is definitely a telltale sign that you need to pause and do one thing at a time, because our brains really can't do more than one thing at a time. And I think, you know, a segue into that overwhelm is, you know, from it from an API perspective, you know, in the US, and in Canada, it's very, we're very individualistic. So it's usually just your family, your you know, might be your partner your children if you have children. But in Asian cultures, Asian and South Asian cultures, it's more of a multi generational approach. So you might be in a home, where you have your in laws you have, maybe your parents are there too. And then you have your children, if you have children, your partner, and it just becomes more of an overwhelm. So those are the times when, if you're struggling in that way, and you're overwhelmed, and there's just so much going on, if you're working from home, that's when that's also an indication that you may want to speak to your manager and share what's going on at home. So that not only is he or she aware of it, but that you can have that open dialogue, because it's very important, we just assume we're in North America, and we assume everyone sort of has similar lifestyles. And that's definitely not the case.

Brandi Starr  22:14

And that is a great point. Because there are multiple cultures, in addition to the Asian and South Asian culture, where multi generations in a single household is very much the norm. And I do know that especially now that, you know, a lot of people like working from home has become, you know, kind of the standard for a lot of people, that does pose an additional level of stress, like, I can remember seeing just different videos and tic TOCs of, you know, the grandma walking behind the Zoom call, and you know, you can visit me there was one guy, he was like a, like young adult, so probably in his 20s, he was on a interview for a job. And you see his grandma, like stirring a pot of something like walks behind them. And she's just like, you know, I'm assuming she had like, a headset in or something, but she's just like rambling on. And like stirring and is literally like pacing back and forth behind him. And you can see just his stress level rise in this video, because he's trying to make a good impression. And, you know, it's like, those sorts of things have become the norm. And can be, you know, challenging for people. So I want to shift gears a little bit and talk about recovering from burnout. So, you know, especially with the pandemic, and you know, all sorts of other stress, a lot of people have gotten there, and, you know, hopefully recognize that they're there. And, you know, some of the things that are obvious, you know, seeking therapy for if you've hit a level of depression, you know, in some cases, medication is right for people, like those are kind of the obvious things that people talk about, I'd love to hear, you know, outside of therapy and medication, what are some ways that people can really recover, and not just mask you know, not just get better at dealing but actually recover from burnout and I'll let whoever start has a strong thought there.

Hannah Holden  24:28

So I was gonna, I would start with rest, deep rest, like really nourishing take pause and, and take pause for a period of not just, you know, two minutes, but really acknowledging where you are in terms of your energy levels, and it's likely to have taken somebody years to get to a point of burnout. And don't expect one decent night's sleep to reverse years worth of chronic stress. So I think there's a bit of a way Pick up and smell the coffee and the realization of how long it's taken you to get here and how long it might take to get back out. And rest is where I would start.

Karen Mangia  25:09

And Hannah to extend the thought that you shared there. You were, you know, we've been talking about overwhelm, and how do we get out of this? I think sometimes we struggle to create the space for rest. Because in that motion of feeling overwhelmed, we start to feel that everything is important, right? Everything else equal importance, your role with your family, your job responsibilities, making the Pinterest perfect dinner, whatever that looks like for you. And something that I coach people on a lot, just to create space, to rest, to reflect is to pose three challenge questions and kind of a bonus question to your calendar and your to do list so that you can distill, what do you truly need to focus on? And how do you reclaim some space so that you can rest and reflect and recover? So I like and I do this with my own calendar and to do lists, by the way? Does it have to be? Does it have to be me? Does it have to be me right now? And bonus question for the wind does it have to be a meeting, even something that you could take off your calendar, 130 minute meeting, and then you rested instead? is a start? Right? It's like I'm making one choice at a time to try to move myself out of the overwhelm and reclaim that time and space for myself.

Brandi Starr  26:30

And I think that also trickles into what happens at home. Because sometimes the lack of rest comes from we work really hard all day at work. And then we go home, and we essentially work really hard at you know, being a parent or a caregiver or, you know, volunteering or you know, whatever all of the things are. And that doesn't have to be me questions. Someone else recommended that to me. And I really started looking at that at home. Like I used to spend half my Saturday cleaning my house doesn't have to be me. No, there are tons of companies out there that will come in and do a way better job way faster than me. And you know, obviously not everyone financially has the luxury of doing that. But that's just one example of extending beyond just your calendar to think about doesn't have to be me. What could my kids be doing? What could I be paying someone to do? You know, what could I like? My mom is retired. There's things that I've delegated to her. And it gives her a full day and she feels accomplished instead of watching TV all day. So it's like a win win. So that you know, that's a great question to ask to free up that time for rest is what can I move off of my plate, whether it's your work plate or your home plate? Neelu anything you want to add there?

Neelu Kaur  28:01

Yes. So I feel like one of the things that we struggle with are routines. And so in my work with mental health and well being I use concepts from ru VEDA, which is an ancient healing system based in India, and our VEDA talks very much about daily morning routines and evening routines. And so there are some morning routines that can set you up for success. And similarly evening routines that help you really rest. And so one of the morning routines that I think we we overlook, and we don't, we don't value as much as we maybe need to is that ideally, you want to be one hour in the morning without your devices. And normally people use their phones to set the alarm or that's the first thing they do when they wake up, they reach for the phone. And essentially, if you do that you're you're you're training your brain to be reactive and distracted all day. And you're setting yourself up to be in that overwhelmed reactionary place. And so often people say I cannot do it for an hour. Then I said, Okay, let's try 30 minutes. And in that 30 minutes, it's your time, whatever you need to do, if you need to move if you need to drink your coffee, like whatever works for you. But ideally, device free because I think that sets you up for a more calm, more measured sort of like, intentional day ahead. And similarly at night, it's an hour before you go to sleep, it's wine downtime, device free, that the time where you don't want to talk about bills or, or issues with your partner like you really want to give yourself that just that luxury of bliss time at night, one hour before you go to bed. And that can set you up to have restful, restorative sleep.

Brandi Starr  29:31

Ah, as you're talking, I'm like, oh, set myself up for failure. First thing I grabbed for in the morning and then there's a word game that I play on my phone at night to fall asleep. So it's literally the last thing that I'm doing. So you've already given me an action item of what to try to do is to take the phone out of there and I think that's a really key point we have become so dependent on our devices, you know, for everything you got a question you asked Google, you know, you need to, like keep your calendar. You know, I've even seen some people who journal in their phone or on their iPad. So it really is for everything but you are right it is it is super distracting, because while you're doing one thing, there's notifications for all the other things coming in as well.

Hannah Holden  30:27

And so I love what you were saying about the morning and evening routine routines, I could have just been clapping. But I was just thinking that I think one of the things that people are then doing by grabbing the device is they are being influenced by external stuff, right? So we're just constantly being influenced by the external stuff. And by not doing that we're allowing space to go hang on a minute, what's going on for me what's coming up for me today? Like, where am I? Where am I mentally, where am I emotionally, and without that that's, you know, people in in burnout are, that they're super busy, they're in their heads, they're, you know, constant to do lists, and they've disconnected from the physicality of their body and how they really are. And if they don't have those moments where they can listen to whatever is bubbling up from them, rather than just constantly being stimulated by external stuff, then it's going to be really difficult to notice where you are with your burnout or stress or wherever.

Karen Mangia  31:33

Yes, and it's so true. I mean, you have to quiet the noise to get the signal, right. So you can actually hear, I've loved what you said there about what am I thinking and what am I feeling and it feels more empowering, when we choose how we want to show up for the day or our agenda, or the first thing we do versus that feeling that it's just pouring in on you like rain, and now you're subject to everyone else's demands. I love what you said there, I think that's so critical.

Brandi Starr  32:00

And that is something that happens a lot as an executive, you think about as soon as you check that email from your phone, there's always something there's a fire and emergency, you know, somebody that being snarky, or whatever it is. And that ends up setting. Like that's the first thing that you got to address. And it is then allowing external people or things to determine what your day looks like, instead of you know, maybe you needed to knock out something important before ever checking email, or whatever that is, and you are right there that that is dictating and allowing something else to dictate our day, I want to shift back to something that Neelu brought up earlier, and you talked about Be your own cheerleader, I love that as a title. And I think that self advocacy, especially in the workplace, for what you need, is something I have seen brought up multiple times as a tactic for recovering for burnout. And you know, you think about it, if we have a physical limitation, you know, if I have to have my leg amputated, and I no longer can stand at work, it's completely normal for me to ask for some sort of accommodation or modification, you know, for that physical situation. And so for our mental health, there is that opportunity as well. And so I'd love to hear some thoughts and Neelu, I'll start with you. Because that's, you know, clearly your jam based on your book title. But then I'd like to hear from all of you as well, in terms of how do executives, those that are, you know, heads of companies, they've got people depending on them, they've got to manage sideways and manage up, like how do they effectively advocate for their own needs to be able to pull themselves out of burnout? So Neelu, I'll start with you.

Neelu Kaur  34:02

Can you repeat the question? So your question is, how do the executives create cultures where they are? Can you repeat the question?

Brandi Starr  34:08

How can how can executives advocate for themselves as a way to recover from burnout?

Neelu Kaur  34:16

Well, I mean, if you think about the tone at the top, right, like the tone at the top dictates what happens below. So if the executive is not taking care of their own mental health, that is only sending a message to the people below them, right. So one of the things is if you're if you're in that executive position, it is really beneficial not to respond or send emails at the wee hours of the night it could because it does send these messages to people that they have to respond and that's just going to impact their burnout. So I think there's a multi layered approach. And I think first and foremost, before you can help anyone else in your organization, you have to help yourself and you want to have those morning routines, those evening routines to wind down so that you are mirroring what you want the organization and people in the organization to do

Brandi Starr  35:00

Anybody else have thoughts on how you can advocate for yourself in the workplace?

Karen Mangia  35:06

A very simple conversational framework, because sometimes, you know, we worry about what will people think right? In our kind of hustle a whole was on culture, you know, if you say, I need a break or an accommodation to your point, not because you broke your leg, but because your whole soul is breaking down, right? It's just what I need. So that, right or if an employee says to you, I'm super burnout, what do you need so that we can start to navigate the burnout or understand the source? What I've discovered is when leaders use that framework to speak into the conversation, whether that's to the EAA, who helps support their calendar, what I need, so that I can feel refreshed and ready when I show up in the morning is no meetings before 8am, or whatever that looks like, or speaking into the organization, what I need so that I can help us grow the company is no more meetings on Fridays, from three to five with me, that's the reason they don't have to state the sources burnout. But it's, it's powerful just to use that simple framework, and 99% of the time people go, Okay, that's great. And to the point that Neela made, it sets the tone of it happens to me too, as a leader, I am not a superhero, that is absolutely immune to this topic of being burnt out, I need it to so I'm going to communicate what I need to be the best leader I can be for you.

Brandi Starr  36:27

And I like that framework as well, because it also addresses what Neela was talking about earlier in that cultural component. So if you are someone where there is still stigma behind mental health burnout challenges that you have that framework of saying I need, so that doesn't require that you even acknowledge that you're struggling, it just saying this is what I need in order to do that, like, you know, my job is that and this is what I need in order to do that. And so you're able to address it without having to like confront the problem publicly. So I really like that I need so that is definitely a key takeaway for me. Hannah, anything to add?

Hannah Holden  37:16

Um, I, I'm just happy nodding away here. I think that the most important thing here was something that Neelu said about how we need to, as leaders set examples into the rest of the organization, I think it's so important because, yeah, like you say, if you see that your bosses logging on at 5am and emailing, then you feel that that's required of you to so you know, if if perchance somebody does have to log on at that time, where you can set your emails to send at 9am. And it looks like you're just hot off the market? 9am? You know, yeah, I just think that setting a great example, and being humble as a leader and having honest conversations, and I love that framework that you shared with us, Karen, I think having those types of conversations and setting those examples are really, really powerful.

Brandi Starr  38:06

And so the last thing that I want to talk about is re entering. So for those people who have gotten to a point, whether it's either reactive or proactive, where they have needed to step away for an extended period of time. There's a lot of stress that comes with the re entry process. And so anybody have any advice on how to successfully re enter, you know, with new habits and patterns.

Hannah Holden  38:39

So I think I'd start with a bit of empathy that I get it but I so I personally have had burnout and have gone back in and I've been very tentative about. And I've chosen to structure how I've worked in a different way. So when I first went back into work, it wasn't in a permanent capacity, it was as a contractor so that I would have more control over what I said yes and no to and I didn't feel like I was subject to other people's decisions and and a porn for them to play on the chess piece, because kind of thing. So I think it's perfectly normal to feel a bit of anxiety and a bit of concern. And having been through burnout, I think it's very common for people to worry, what could I end up back there again, and I really don't want to end up back there again. So I think first of all, don't don't feel like yeah, it's normal to have those concerns. And I think I'd like to talk a bit about values because I think that's a really important thing to consider when you're going back in. So are you going back into the same job that you took a sabbatical from? Or are you now looking to enter in a different job and now that you've had this experience, and you've no doubt had an opportunity to reflect on your personal values and where does family come and where does work come and do you want to try Like you're used to, or do you want to work the hours that you used to? Or do you want to work in an office? Do you want to work from home? Like, how does that all map on to what's important to you now that you've been through this experience, and which companies or which roles within companies are gonna support your new understanding of what's important to you? Karen, you probably want to you could probably add to that, because you also talks about values earlier. But I think it's a good thing to reflect on. And to kind of make a bit more of a conscious choice about the role you go back into and the organization that you go back into.

Karen Mangia  40:36

I love what you said, Hannah, about being thoughtful about your values. And also what is your reentry plan, I mean, it doesn't have to be you go back to the exact same job as a full time employee at the full schedule you were at before. And somehow, because you took this respite, you're just now able to handle all of it, right? Reality is the triggers are probably still there, and you hit on kind of the routines, rituals and boundaries to set yourself up for success. What I would add to that is seek support. So find a trusted accountability partner, this could be your significant other, your executive coach or mentor, and speak that plan to them. You know, here are my values, here are the new habits and routines that I'm setting myself up with, could you check in with me, from time to time of am I honoring this commitment to myself, clearly important to have someone who you trust and who you know, has your best interest at heart, but it does help, right? It's kind of like, we go to the gym, when we're signed up for the class with other people, or we have the trainer, you know, you've made a commitment to yourself, and now someone else is going to help you uphold that commitment that you made to yourself.

Brandi Starr  41:41

I love that the values are so important. And I think you both called out a good point in that reentry does not mean going back to the same role. I mean, it may be a good fit, and you just needed that step away. But I do think as a part of that time away, that reevaluating what your values are, what is important, because I do think we all go through shifts, like I can remember a point in my career where making the highest salary was all that mattered. And, you know, that was where I was. And now there's so much more like I could never go back into an actual office. And you know, put on clothes every day, like there's those things that are just no longer who I am. And if I have to make less in order to, you know, uphold the rest of my values, then it's kind of like, well, so be it. And I think everybody has that, whether it be with age, life experiences, change in family structure, you know, all of the different things of life lifing impacts what's important to us. Neelu anything you wanted to add on this one?

Neelu Kaur  42:48

Yeah, I love all of the points. And I want to bring up another one, which is it comes from Buddhist philosophy, which is a discipline mind is a happy mind. So I feel like given all of the the podcast, the outlets, the media in terms of burnout, and burnout management, there's so many suggestions. And it's like, pick one or two or three and discipline you like really commit to those on a daily basis. So if one of them is that you're not going to grab your phone, do that every day, and really commit to that right or pick other things that you feel will be beneficial. And pick three small simple steps that you can take and just carry it through with discipline.

Brandi Starr  43:24

I like that as well. Because there is so much advice that we can get burnout, trying to follow the advice not to have burnout.

Neelu Kaur  43:32

Right. So going through the list, you know, make your list whether it's through ru VEDA with the morning routines and evening routines. It's like here's a long laundry list. And I'm going to choose three things I'm going to do every day, whatever is manageable for me, given my environment that I live in.

Brandi Starr  43:47

That is great, great advice. And you know, in the spirit of advice, talking about our challenges is just the first step. And nothing changes if nothing changes. So in traditional therapy, the therapist will give the client some homework, but here at Revenue Rehab, we like to flip that on its head and ask you to give us some homework. And so I think you all have given amazing advice throughout this session. And so at this point, I want to distill it down to the one thing or one thing each, if you've all got something, but I try and make sure that that our listeners walk away with a clear next step. You know, so if someone is approaching burnout, recovering from burnout or re entering after burnout, a lot you guys give your one thing, what's our one action item there? Who wants to start?

Hannah Holden  44:43

I don't mind starting. So for me, I feel that the root cause of my burnout was a self worth issue. And part of my recovery was that every morning I was going to do something for myself before I did anything else. And it was because I was worth it. And that was all part of it. And by doing that, I was reinforcing the message to myself, I'm doing this myself first because I'm worth it. And so it's part of the morning routine that you were talking about. But, but other kind of a commitment to it from a, perhaps less of a discipline is a good word, but it's like, I'm inspired to be disciplined, because I'm worth it rather than I'm gonna make sure that I do this and beat myself up. So a morning routine, but because you're worth it, and something that you feel, you feel like it's filling your cup, as you do it something that, yeah, it's for you.

Brandi Starr  45:41

Love that incorporating your self worth into your morning routine. So we've got our first one thing, what about the other two?

Karen Mangia  45:52

Say, ask yourself one question, what matters. And then look at where you're spending your time, personally and professionally. When we feel burnt out, usually, we're not spending as much time as we need to on who and what matters. So that begins the process of being able to release some obligations, and maybe even relationships that no longer serve you to make room for the people and experiences that do.

Brandi Starr  46:20

Oh, I have had that conversation with my therapists on more than one occasion, because that was definitely one of my challenges was spending all my time on the things and people that were not in the what matters category. So I definitely love and can advocate for that one thing. And what about you need Neelu,

Neelu Kaur  46:40

I would stick back to the first the circle back to the same thing I said, which is Be your own cheerleader and self advocacy. Because in specifically in AAPI cultures, we are taught just to keep our head down and our work will speak for itself. And that also plays into burnout. Because Keep your head down. Just keep doing all of this work. Don't speak up, don't share that you're struggling. And that is a recipe for disaster. And so my, my parting words are Be your own cheerleader, ask for what you need and speak to people that can understand your situation.

Brandi Starr  47:09

Awesome. Well, ladies, I have enjoyed our discussion. But that's our time for today. Before we go though, I do want to make sure that our audience can connect with you. So I want to give each of you kind of 30 seconds for the shameless plug on how people can connect with you. And if what you've said, has resonated and they are seeking help. What ways you can help. So I'll kind of go in order on my screen. And I'll start with Hannah.

Hannah Holden  47:39

So So connect with me on LinkedIn, Hannah Holden. If you put in Hannah Holden burnout, I'm sure that I'll be amongst the top. I also have a podcast on burnout, which is called burnout isn't necessary. And just DM me on LinkedIn if you've got any questions, or if you want me to recommend an episode or something, and yeah, let's let's start a conversation. Thanks.

Neelu Kaur  48:03

Awesome. Neelu What about you? Yes, LinkedIn is also the place to find me i Neelu core and also my website, new And if you reach out, and I can't help you, I will forward you on to someone that can. So I'm happy to be of service to all of you.

Brandi Starr  48:18

Perfect. And last but not least, Karen.

Karen Mangia  48:21

In keeping with the theme, you can find me on LinkedIn, Karen, mangia, and you'll see the link to my website there. The books on Amazon, I invite you to subscribe to the success from anywhere podcast. And I love to hear what people are discovering. I mean, what did you use from our show that changed your life? I love those stories.

Brandi Starr  48:39

Awesome. Well, we will make sure to link to all of your LinkedIn and your websites in the show notes. So wherever you are listening or watching this podcast, you can connect with our amazing guests. I hope that everyone has enjoyed our executive burnout roundtable. I can't believe that we're at the end. We'll see you next time.

Outro VO  49:04

You've been listening to Revenue Rehab with your host Brandi Stars. Your session is now over but the learning is just begun. join our mailing list and catch up on all our shows at revenue we have dot live. We're also on Twitter and Instagram at Revenue Rehab. This concludes this week's session. We'll see you next week.

Hannah HoldenProfile Photo

Hannah Holden

Ex-Management Consultant, Burnout Survivor and Specialist and Podcaster.

Hannah helps high-achieving consultants reboot from burnout with more energy, self-awareness and intention so that they can love life again!

Hannah brings over twenty years' experience in project delivery and consulting together with her passion for body-mind science, yoga and mindfulness to help her clients prevent and overcome burnout.

As Head of Business Consulting for a rapidly growing firm throughout the pandemic she has unique insights into the pressures experienced by consultants, people managers and business leaders.

Her mission is to empower others on their personal journey from burnout to better health and a deeper sense of connection.

Hannah's personal burnout experience serves as both inspiration for her mission and as inspiration for others to prevent and recover from burnout. She shares her experiences and insights, along with those of her guests on her podcast Burnout Isn't Necessary.

Neelu KaurProfile Photo

Neelu Kaur

Author / Facilitator / Executive Coach

Neelu Kaur holds a BS from NYU’s Stern School of Business, an MA in Social & Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and is a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Coach from the NLP Center of New York. She has 15 years of experience specializing in Adult Learning & Leadership Development in Financial Services, Consulting, and the Tech Industry. She focuses on leadership, mindfulness, and burnout management for individuals, teams, and organizations. Neelu recently published her first book, 'Be Your Own Cheerleader,' which focuses on self-advocacy for Asian & South Asian Womyn.

Karen MangiaProfile Photo

Karen Mangia

President & Chief Strategy Officer

Karen Mangia is one of the most sought-after keynote speakers in the world, the Wall Street Journal best-selling author of four books, host of the Success From Anywhere podcast and a tenured tech executive. She is currently President & Chief Strategy Officer of Engineered Innovation Group, having previously been at Salesforce, Cisco and AT&T. Karen is a catalyst who uses curiosity creativity to empower individuals, teams and organizations to successfully define, design and deliver the future.