Revenue Rehab: It's like therapy, but for marketers
May 17, 2023

Executive Burnout: Turning the Tide for a Healthier Leadership Journey

This week our host Brandi Starr is joined by Lisa Kelly, President and Founder at Workplace Wellness Centre of Excellence and Ruvi Makuni, Global Workplace Wellness Specialist and Certified Stress Master Coach at Fit.Active.Toned.    As...

This week our host Brandi Starr is joined by Lisa Kelly, President and Founder at Workplace Wellness Centre of Excellence and Ruvi Makuni, Global Workplace Wellness Specialist and Certified Stress Master Coach at Fit.Active.Toned.

As the President and Founder of Kelly Wellness Consulting Inc. and the Workplace Wellness Centre of Excellence, Lisa has been cultivating healthy changes in workplaces and individuals across the globe for over 25 years. Through her WWCOE certification and training programs, consulting, and corporate solutions, Lisa’s mission is to create an innovative and collaborative landscape for Workplace Wellness that fosters inclusive and responsive wellness solutions benefiting employees, employers, and communities.

Further, as a Certified Executive Coach, Lisa supports the well-being and professional growth of senior leaders. She holds both a Master of Education and a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Diploma in Natural Nutrition, a certification in Personal Training, and multiple certifications in Executive Coaching. Lisa was recognized by WELCOA as a Top 100 Health Promotion Professional through their 2014 DISH contest.

A Global Workplace Wellness Specialist and a Certified Stress Master Associate, Ruvi Makuni is passionate about supporting organizations to empower their teams so they can thrive in their careers without sacrificing their health. To that end, she facilitates holistic and multi-dimensional Stress Management and wellness initiatives in the workplace.

In her role as a Personal Trainer for busy professionals in 2014, Ruvi observed many professionals were suffering physically and mentally from the toll of their go-go-go lifestyles.  Witnessing this inspired her to pivot her career and since then to make it her core mission to highlight the impacts of stress on modern day professionals and instruct organizations on how they can support their employees in managing stress and preventing burnout.

Ruvi’s primary focus and specialty has turned to helping organizations implement Stress Management practices. She also conducts individual Stress Management coaching to help professionals embrace mindful supportive habits, behaviors and actions that can be applied in and out of the workplace to help cope with stressors.

On the couch Brandi, Lisa and Ruvi will tackle Executive Burnout: Turning the Tide for a Healthier Leadership Journey.

Bullet Points of Key Topics + Chapter Markers:

  • Topic #1 What is Burnout? [07:01] Burnout is identified in three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion, or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativity, or cynicism about the job and, and reduced professional efficacy.
  • Topic #2 Preventing Burnout [13:53] This starts with stress management and finding tools to decompress, shares Ruvi.  Lisa encourages carving out time to decompress during your workday; a 10-minute walk around the building, some breathing techniques; “slow down to speed up” she recommends.
  • Topic #3 The 5 Stages of Burnout [19:42] Lisa and Ruvi share that the five stages are as follows: Stage One: Initial Burst of Productivity; presents as high levels of adrenaline and positive stress. Stage Two: Negative Consequences; This includes feelings of irritability, nervousness, experiencing insomnia. Stage Three: Physical Exhaustion; signs include poor diet, lack of exercise, inadequate sleep. Stage Four: Fundamental Mood Shift and Health Crisis; Challenges such as autoimmune issues and other health problems may start to manifest. Stage Five: Depression; lack of enthusiasm for work, and a struggle to find joy in activities.

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

Ruvi’s one thing is to “identify what areas or the stresses are currently in your life,” she urges, “we can't fix anything if we're not aware of”.  
Lisa’s one thing you can do today is to source support. Ideally before you are in one of the five stages already noted, but in at any stage know that there is help there for you.

Buzzword Banishment:

Lisa’s Buzzword to Banish is the term “crazy busy”.  “I always wished we would just eliminate from our vocabulary,” she says, “because it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy”.

Ruvi wants to replace the phrase ‘work life balance’.  “I prefer work life integration or harmony”, she says, “because balance [that] that can be challenging at times”.


Get in touch with Lisa Kelly on:

Get in touch with Ruvi Makuni on:

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Intro VO  00:06

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 Starr

Brandi Starr  00:34

Hello, hello hello and welcome to another episode of Revenue Rehab. I am your host Brandi Starr and we have another amazing episode for you today. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I am excited to have some experts with me today. I am joined by Lisa Kelly and Ruvi Makuni. Lisa is the president and founder of Kelly Wellness Consulting Inc, and the workplace wellness center of excellence and has been cultivating healthy changes in the workplaces for individuals across the globe for over 25 years. Lisa's mission is to create an innovative and collaborative landscape for workplace wellness that fosters inclusive and responsive wellness solutions, benefiting employees, employers and communities. As a certified executive coach, she supports the wellbeing and professional growth of senior leaders. Ruvi is a global workplace wellness specialist and a certified stress master associate who is passionate about supporting organizations to empower their teams so that they can thrive in their careers without sacrificing their health. As an in home personal trainer for busy professionals in 2014, Ruvi started to notice that many professionals were on a never ending treadmill suffering physically and mentally from the toll of the gogogo lifestyle. She thus pivoted her career and made it her core mission to highlight the impact of stress on modern day professionals and how organizations can support their employees in managing stress and preventing burnout. Lisa Ruvi, welcome to Revenue Rehab, your session begins now. Thank you. Thanks. Nice to be here. Yes, I am so excited to have you guys. Mental health is something I'm very passionate about, and tend to be outspoken about my own mental health. So really excited to have you guys on the couch today to dig into our topic. But before we get there, I like to break the ice with a little whoosah moments that I call buzzword. banishment. So we'll start with you, Lisa, tell me what buzzword would you like to get rid of forever?

Lisa Kelly  03:03

Well, it's a buzzword that I hear so much. And it's I guess it's two words called crazy busy. And how many of us have used those words? I'm crazy busy. I'm super busy. I'm crazy busy. And I thought it was really fitting for the topic and talking about executive stress and mental health. So yeah, it's one that I always wished we would just eliminate from our vocabulary because it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. We just further ingrain the fact that we are stressed when we use those term. Right?

Brandi Starr  03:30

Well, guilty. That is one that I definitely can say. I use all the time. I actually think I just said it this morning. There you go. So we're gonna put that one in the box and not crazy busy. Yeah. Really? What about you?

Ruvi Makuni  03:48

Well, I wouldn't necessarily banish it. But I've instead of work life balance, I prefer work life integration or harmony. You know, pivoting from because balance is, you know, that can be challenging at times. So I prefer to use work life harmony,

Brandi Starr  04:07

like that as well. That is one I have learned over the years to do better at talking about that integration or that harmony instead of balance because balancing does kind of imply that something's always falling. And that's not the goal, because that is stressful. Which I think leads us to why we're here and so now that we've gotten that off our chest, Lisa, I know that I asked you guys to join me here but I'd love for you to tell me. What brings you to Revenue Rehab today.

Lisa Kelly  04:43

Well as you introduced us, we are both certified executive coaches. I'm a certified executive coach and rubies through my program as certified executive wellness coach and as your read out, quite adept at stress mastery, and we both are and we work in tandem, you know in serving and supporting the executives. And so May, as we know, is mental health month and I thought, you know, at your invitation to speak on the topic of executive wellness and executive burnout, I thought it was really, you know, timely topic to be bringing out and especially because leadership burnout is on the rise. And while some executives may not use the word burnout, many are, according to statistics from Deloitte and Gallup, like up to 70% of executives are experiencing, you know, burnout or actually considering leaving their workplace. It's kind of scary, because these are our leaders. Right? Yeah, it's an important topic we need to have in discussion around.

Brandi Starr  05:42

Awesome. Yeah, that 70% Number is both high and scary. And so I also 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 discussion. And so Ruvi, if you can give me what's your best? What's your best hope for our conversation today?

Ruvi Makuni  06:06

Well, I hope that we can share some, you know, some tips with executives, and even just people in general can actually take away and start implementing daily, you know, to help manage their stress, I always think it's, you know, it's great to actually take a proactive approach to burnout. So if there are things that you can start doing to prevent you to getting to that burnout stage, but in addition to that, also looking at, you know, taking a good look at how are things going today for you, you know, how have you been on that gogogo treadmill, and you, you can tell that things are not going well for you. So perhaps this can be a pause, and give you some encouragement to take a pause, reflect and hopefully we can share a few strategies to start, you know, implementing some changes today, this month, as well.

Brandi Starr  07:01

Awesome. Well, I want to start first, by having you both to define or give us your view on what burnout is, because it's a term that a lot of people use. And you know, as Lisa said, a lot of people don't necessarily identify with burnout, but they may identify with what it means. So let's level set on what is burnout? And I'll let either of you begin.

Lisa Kelly  07:27

Yeah, well, if I may, I'd like to recite the World Health Organization because they actually created a diagnostic category, and known as burnout. So they put it in as a condition or health issue, if you will, because it becomes so prevalent, and they actually cited as an occupational phenomenon. And I just saw that, and that was kind of, you know, stood out for me. But really quickly, it's a syndrome that conceptualizes resulting from chronic work stress, that, you know, has really not been identified or successfully managed. And it's really characterized by as they identify three dimensions, right feelings of energy depletion, or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negative negative negativity, or cynicism about their job and, and reduced professional efficacy. And, you know, I just want to give an example, I heard the Google one of the Google's wellbeing directors, it's sheer, and another podcast, his experience with burnout. And he said, for him, he knew he was in a, you know, a significant state of burnout when he could not get out of bed in the morning. And he just was all he could take to get out of bed in the morning to go to his work. And hopefully, we want to prevent people from getting to that point, right. There's different stages. But if you're at that stage, that's pretty significant and serious.

Brandi Starr  08:46

Yeah, I can definitely relate. And I think one of the things that, you know, the energy depletion is probably something that, you know, is a common symptom. And the distance but that last one that you hit on in just feeling the negativity and cynicism, like that is one that sometimes you don't really recognize as burnout. And, you know, I can think of different times in my career where I've hit that wall and bent on that treadmill. And just, you know, as you said, that almost like I had memories kind of play in my head of like, oh, yeah, I became the negative Nancy, you know, and it just, it was like, everything was always wrong, and you know, like, nothing was ever going to go right. And it was just, and I'm not that person. I'm extremely upbeat and optimistic, you know, just in general. And at that time, I didn't recognize that as burnout. To me it was everybody else was the problem. The company is the problem that this is the problem. And that really is a symptom there. Really, I'd like to hear your perspective as well.

Ruvi Makuni  09:54

Yeah. To add to that, it certainly adds to the dynamics of the company if you have one. person who's feeling negative or definitely start infiltrating the culture of the company. But also, it's important to realize that we do have workplace burnout. But we have a situation now where you know, people are dealing with workplace stress, in addition to home stress, you know, we have burnout from whether it's taking care of a loved one, or relationship burnout or even academic burnout. So it's a combination of so many factors, you know, if you have an individual who's juggling, you know, home, family life, and work life, all of those, if you're just working on one component, the stress of you know, work might be manageable, but sometimes it's over committing to so many different things that can cause that overwhelm and burnout. And so that, you know, I guess that's where we can lead into boundaries. You know, as we'll talk about shortly, I'm sure.

Brandi Starr  10:54

Oh, yeah, that b word is my favorite word. I've been through a lot of therapy. And that I think, is one of the biggest lessons that you know, I have had to learn is setting proper boundaries and realistic expectations of what I can and can't accomplish. So yes, we will definitely get to the B word. Yes, I want to give you guys a thought that I hear and let you guys react to it. So I'm in a lot of, you know, communities and slack groups and things where I'm interacting with other executives. And, you know, it's a tough gig, like, you have to do the actual job. So running marketing, in this case, but you know, executives of all type, you know, all types, you have to do the actual job, you have to manage people and deal with all the people challenges, you have to be able to manage up to the CEO and sideways to your other peers. And, you know, there's like all of these different aspects that come with being in a leadership role. In addition to all of the aspects, as you mentioned, of if you have a family, a spouse, you know, like all of the other things, and I've heard some people say that, it just comes with the territory, like, you know, executives have the higher paychecks by comparison, and, you know, lots of different perks. And so some people will just say, it's just, it comes with the gig, like stress is just a part of it. And it is what it is. And, you know, I'm a believer of like, That can't just It can't just be what it is. But we'd love to hear your thoughts on people that are just like me, like it just, I just got to deal with it.

Lisa Kelly  12:49

Yeah, well, when we just deal with it, that's where unfortunately, we many of us end up in that burnout state, you know, and it can creep on us. And I'll be you know, you said you talk a lot about your state, I just my husband, I just finished authoring a book, which took about two years for the pandemic. And I didn't realize it, but on the end stage this winter, I was facing the early, very early stages of burnout. Now I'm an executive wellness coach. And I thought, Oh, my gracious, it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. You know, I'm when we talk about maybe we can bring in the word boundaries, like I got so engrossed in what I was doing. I loved it, you know, so, but it took his toll. And I didn't put the boundaries on setting. I mean, there was some nights, I was working till three in the morning on my book, you know, where I should have just gone to bed early. So I didn't put those boundaries in place, and I didn't have those non negotiables. Or if I did, I just didn't listen to them. So I think, you know, bring up that boundary word. It's so so key, right? And just have, what are our boundaries going to be in our work and in our life?

Ruvi Makuni  13:53

Yeah, absolutely. And to add to that, I think it's important to understand that stress in itself is not a bad thing. You know, we need that stress, you know, challenges for motivation. Imagine if we had no stress. That sounds great, but we do need a certain amount of stress. It's when chronic stress becomes unmanageable, that's when No, You know, we may say comes with the territory, but we can still implement some strategies to cope with stress or whether it's, you know, we're not whether it's 510 minutes per day, you know, just to break that stress cycle. One of the things I've always been passionate about is really reinforcing the message to that. As a personal trainer, you know, for our physical health and our mental health, you know, we want to, I've always shared this quote, we spend the first half of our life sacrificing our health for our wealth, and then the second half using our wealth to regain our health. So when we reflect on that it's important to in some capacity, whatever that means to each individual person to start, you know, incorporating those as Stress management techniques to prevent burnout.

Brandi Starr  15:02

I love that thought because it is so true. Like, you know, I was just talking to some girlfriends about, you know, in our 20s, like, our diet was like, not good pizza. And you know, we were in great shape and all these sorts of things. And now in my 40s, you know, I'm eating kale, and, you know, smoothies, and all these sorts of things, but it is just like, all this extra effort for supplements and personal trainers and, and these to try to regain some of that youthful, like, you know, feeling that we had in our bodies. So that's a really good way to think about it. And when you flip that is a good opportunity for us to make the changes sooner than later. We've gotten the young people listening to to learn ahead. Yeah.

Lisa Kelly  15:53

You know, and no, may just add, I love quotes. I love that one that Ruvi, we actually shared it in our book, have you want to come back to it, but a couple couple little things here is to really zone in on wants one know, what's the smallest thing you can do today to make a big difference. And for executives, it may mean and I do this all the time with executives, like coaches, you know, even maybe sometimes work with their admin assistants, like you need to carve out that time. I'll give an example. One coach, one executive, I coached I said, How do you decompress during the day? What's your, you know, your health break or whatever? And he said, Well, I walked to the washroom. You know, that's it, you know, we can do better than that. So it's, it's a case of maybe just carving out that some of that, that's pockets of time that you could have, even if it's just 10 minutes just to put on a little meditation or to walk around the building. But to go, it's typically with executives, and I'm sure those listening here that they're probably the very much the same as our meetings are back to back. Now some exhort organizations are getting better now putting hard boundaries around, you know, the 50 minute meeting, and making sure they have a hard stop. So they have that 10 minute buffer. But I know a lot of executives, I coach, they're literally like hanging up the phone and going to another zoom call within a matter of a minute or two are eating their sandwich, you know, chasing one meeting to the other. Right? So it's really a case of as I said, here, you know, we kind of slow down to speed up. So if there's one takeaway, I'd like to say today is just we need to slow down to speed up. And what's that one thing, just one small thing we can do today, that can make all the difference?

Brandi Starr  17:24

Yeah, and you know, I didn't realize just the huge benefit of even a short walk until I got a dog. And, you know, I got a dog and then just happened that I got him right before the pandemic, but it was like around noon, he needs to go out. And you know, that's the time for his walk. And you know, we'd take a 1015 minute walk nothing major, but I was started doing that every day because he needed to go. And you're right, just because sometimes it would just be that 10 minute break. Yeah.

Lisa Kelly  18:01

And that's all you need.

Brandi Starr  18:03

And that reset of just getting the fresh air, walking, moving, you know, that space to just think about whatever comes to mind. You know, not having to talk to people like that really did make such a difference in my day of being able to just decompress. And the fact that it happened in the middle of the day, it was like you get all wound up. And then you decompress and get all wound up. And then you can decompress again. So that Yeah, there's definitely a lot to what you're saying in making just those small.

Lisa Kelly  18:39

Yeah, and have someone be accountable. Like you have many have admin assistants, or someone or a co worker, set your phone, say, you know, like, this is a non negotiable at 12 o'clock, I am walking my dog, you know, that dog needs to go out and come heck or high water, I'm out at 12 o'clock.

Ruvi Makuni  18:57

And you know, those works and getting outside to that can also improve our sleep as well. Or if we're not going outside frequently, that can impact our sleep as well. So I think we don't realize just how you know, our work life can start impacting the rest of our life, some sleep, even if we're stressed after a long day, and we don't decompress, we can take all that stress into our time with our family, you know, we're not present with those moments, through the weekends, even you know, so it can really start to filter into all areas of our lives. And so it's, you know, just breaking up those, just incorporating those small, incremental stress techniques can help.

Brandi Starr  19:42

Awesome. And Lisa earlier you mentioned your book, and I want to come back to that. Because I know in your book, you talk about the five stages of burnout and so I'd love to hear a little more about that and you know, start to have a little framework as we discuss around what that looks

Lisa Kelly  20:07

like. Yeah. And this, thank you for asking No, we titled it was an article that ended up becoming in our book. And it was through an interview with Mr. Carlos, who was a managing director of wellness orbit. And he very succinctly and aptly, you know, pointed out the five distinct phases of burnout. So really quickly, the first two are, you know, we're starting on that burnout, burnout path, and we're riding the adrenaline is high, and we're getting so much done. And we're riding on that positive stress cycle, right. But then, as we that becomes short lived, that burst of productivity, and there are consequences and negative consequences such as, you know, we run out of steam, we get irritable, angry, nervous, we're getting lots done, but we then start taking out on others maybe get insomnia that really talked about. So then we enter that third stage of burnout, where the emotional stress really starts to manifest as physical exhaustion. You know, we're on that treadmill, we can't stop, we're tired, we can't sleep. But we start to experience different health issues, which may again, be contributed to poor diet, lack of exercise, poor sleep, and we're so craving that piece, we're exhausted, but we just feel we can't stop. But then what happens when we get to phase four, a fundamental mood shift and health crisis can start to happen, right. And you know, our bodies just start imploding. And we start noticing things like, you know, autoimmune issues show up or a whole, you know, any other, really, of course, we want to try and prevent getting to that stage. But then, if we don't nip things in the bud, and maybe get the support of, you know, an executive wellness coach, like ourselves, or a therapist or whoever, depending on where you are, in your burnout phase. You know, when we hit that fifth phase, we are really, sadly, almost at that, you know, to start with depression, or maybe in the throes of depression. And as I cited earlier with the Google director, who was on the podcast, sharing the story, he was to the state where he lost all his joy, his enthusiasm for work, he realized he's in a depression, and he just could not get out of bed in the morning. And can I just share a little story that he shared, which, you know, maybe we can talk about it or just leave this for what it's worth? Well, what really struck me about his story was that he shared with and this is not to throw shade on Google or anyone because I know what happens. But he shared a story that when he came back, he took a sabbatical, took a leaf. But when he came back the leaders and everyone would ask him how his sabbatical was. And he said, it wasn't a sabbatical, it was a mental health leave. And that really struck me because there's still it just reinforced again, that stigma that still potentially out there that we cannot use the words mental health leave that for whatever reason, right, that they had to call it a sabbatical. And he just really he highlights that, you know, that really brings that out. So I thought, you know, so yeah, there's five stages. And there's that. But also, of course, we want to prevent getting to that, that fifth stage of depression, and we want to be able to be comfortable and saying, I need a mental health leave.

Brandi Starr  23:08

Yeah, and I want to dig into that stigma a little bit. You know, it's so funny. Like, like I said, I'm very outspoken about my own journey. I've gone through depression. You know, I deal with anxiety. And I speak very openly about it. And you know, my I remember my mom asking me one time, when she overheard me telling a stranger about my depression. She's like, Why do you keep talking about that? Why are you letting people in your business? You know, they're going to judge you. And she was like, so concerned about it? And my response was, that's exactly why I talk about it. Because most people from the outside look at me and perceive me as having it all together. You know, I've even had people be like, Oh, you don't have problems, your life is just perfect. And like, No, we are up as of Yeah. And so that is one reason that I do talk about my own struggles and journey is to help remove that stigma. And I think that stigma is that much greater when you are in a leadership role. Because you are sort of, you know, especially by those that are under you kind of put on this pedestal as the one that is leading and guiding and has all the answers and it's almost like, How do I tell these people who, you know, air quotes look up to me that I'm struggling? You know, how do I tell my peers you know, because especially, you know, leading marketing it there's been a lot of conversations about marketing, not having the proper seat at the table not being taken seriously. So then if you know you're struggling with these things, as well. You add a layer of being a female executive, or, you know, someone who presents his female being a minority on top of that, like there's all these layers. is that, in my opinion, make it so much more difficult to be able to say like, Hey, I'm struggling?

Lisa Kelly  25:09

Well, if I could just add there and let defer to Ruvi, of course, give her some airtime, but I have a executive coach who we call mentor each other. And he was a CEO of a health care. And he works a lot with CEOs of healthcare. And he said, you know, we were talking about preparing for this interview and about the term burnout. He's like, I'd be honest, I don't know if I've ever heard an executive say, I'm burnt out. That's not to say they weren't burnt out. But they've never used the term burned out. And I thought that was that struck me is really interesting.

Brandi Starr  25:36

Yeah, people say I'm stretched, then, ya know, I'm stressed,

Lisa Kelly  25:40

an employee may likely say they're burnt out. But you know, he said, I've never heard a senior leader or an executive. And I thought that, you know, but many are by the statistics I shared earlier, right. But they've never used that term. So I thought that was interesting.

Ruvi Makuni  25:52

Yeah, well, one of the myths of burnout is that, you know, you're weak or someone who's burnt out is weak, and which is actually not true, because some of the most motivated, energetic productive employees are the ones that are actually burnt out. So that is one of the common myths. And I think the fact that more and more people are starting to talk about it, you know, making it and we start to realize that I'm not the only one who's struggling. And in some areas, and especially in some companies, the more conversations, the more training that they have, the more resources that they provide, and it creates a safe space, you know, for the employees to feel that. And communication is key, you know, if you have a supervisor that you can go to and say, you know, I'm really struggling, and I need, you know, some support, and not just, I mean, it's great, I love the idea of, you know, taking a mental health day, but if it's if someone is completely is, you know, at that stage five, burnout, it takes more than just one day, you know, it may need actually diving in looking at, you know, their workload, looking at their shifts, you know, things like that. So, but I think it really does start with creating that safe space.

Lisa Kelly  27:08

And you said, at what point more communication like we heard about, and we've seen cases of leaders doing videos and vignettes of themselves during the pandemic, right, and that they're doing this and I actually cite one in a book or give me permission, he said, like, I'm taking a mental health lead day, and he's the CEO of an organization, he's came out and he did a video or a message. And he said, I encourage any employee that needs a mental health leader to take it. And he really set the bar there and set the tone. And so we need more of that, because I think it happened during the pandemic, but now we've been such playing catch up mode and everything that I'm fearful that we stepped away, and we're losing that sight of the importance of really tending to our well being and it's back to business at hand. Right?

Brandi Starr  27:50

Yeah, and I think that's one thing that we do here at Tegrita is, like, as a leadership team, we are all very, very transparent with our own struggles. And, you know, there have been times where I've sent to slack like I'm taking a nap, like I have hit a wall, I'll be back in an hour to like, I need to just good for you. Or, you know, and what I have seen, because, you know, in a lot of companies and executive being like, I'll be back, I'm taking a nap would be frowned upon. But what I have seen with our team is exactly what you said, in that everyone else is a lot more transparent. Like, my team knows, I struggle with anxiety I've had, you know, I've had people come to me and be like, hey, my anxiety is really triggered when this happens, what have you done to you know, deal with that, and, you know, people that I don't normally talk to on a day to day, but they see, you know, my own transparency. And so I do think that that is so important as leaders, because, you know, early in my career when I did struggle and did deal with burnout, and you know, being on that, go go go treadmill, or hamster wheel as some people call it. I don't think I ever felt comfortable being able to, you know, say that, like I might call in sick, and you know, you do the fake. I would never, you know, in the early stages of my career, say like, I need a mental health day like, you know, I'm really struggling here.

Lisa Kelly  29:28

Yeah. And I think you know, if I could just give because I always like to give takeaways, I know we'll wrap up in a second here, but we did a contract a six month contract with a team of executives in a hospital during the pandemic, and once a month as part of that, along with the individual coaching we supported them with you know, employee wealth or executive well being we did a executive wellness circle where we would do stress mastery, healthy eating different things, and it was just so heartwarming to see them open up and to laugh. And you know, they're in Say space. And they you could tell that this was just something they were just was new to them. And they had never experienced this before. And it really opened up that that level of communication and understanding each other and opening up their vulnerability. And I thought, you know, right on, like, we need to do more of that. And that's certainly,

Ruvi Makuni  30:19

because everyone thinks that they are the only ones struggling. But in reality, we are all probably dealing with this similar issues in just different you know, different circumstances. But

Lisa Kelly  30:29

I put on that armor, right. It's executive, right hulk of armor.

Ruvi Makuni  30:34

So I love what you do Bradley, how you communicate, you know, and you have that safe space in your with your team? Because I'm sure that enables them to come to you as well. Yeah

Brandi Starr  30:46

Yeah, we have we thankfully knock on wood have really low turnover. And I definitely would attribute like being a safe space, where people can, you know, be authentically themselves. As one of those things. I want to shift to my last question. And Ruvi, I'll start with you. But then Lisa, I definitely want to hear your thoughts as well. We've talked a lot about what burnout is and how people get here. I want to talk about measures of how do we avoid it, you both talked about the importance of like, not waiting until it gets bad to, you know, trying to cure it, but actually thinking about prevention. And so what measures can we take to try to avoid experiencing burnout?

Ruvi Makuni  31:39

Well, I would say, number one, identify what areas or the stresses are currently in your life, we can't fix anything if we're not aware of it. So you know, just writing down a list of everything, maybe commitments, you know, or things that are stressful or challenging, right now, and then taking a really good look and seeing where can some adjustments be made? How could Could you perhaps clear your calendar? Can you start saying no to making to overcommitting? So starting from number one, taking a look at your calendar for this month for me? You know, where in your calendar? Or what areas can you take a good look at and start making some changes?

Lisa Kelly  32:26

I like that No,

Brandi Starr  32:27

is a complete sentence. You know, sometimes sometimes we forget that.

Lisa Kelly  32:34

Yeah. And if I could just add to that. And of course, being an executive wellness coaches and specializing in stress, mastery and burnout, and all those two areas, seek out to support, it could be a buddy, it could be an executive wellness coach, like Ruvi or an AI. And just to give you another little personal story, like coming out of my burnout, Ruvi, you know, we work together quite closely. And, you know, I would make myself accountable to her and I say, Ruvi, here's some personal goals. And you know, we're on WhatsApp, and we've really back and forth, and she nicely would come back the next day. So how did you do with that goal, and it was amazing. And accent, I'm an executive wellness coach, but it doesn't matter. I mean, we all have our personal issues, and our families, you know, we're fallible, right, and so, you know, reach out to someone it could be, if you're really in in stage, the fifth stage, reach out to a therapist, you know, you really do need that. And, and otherwise, you know, maybe an executive wellness coach, or someone like yourselves, or just a buddy at work, just have someone that you can talk to and share, because that's really the first start starting point, is just acknowledging it openly communicating and then get some accountability or get some support. Right? Yeah.

Brandi Starr  33:47

And then I want to in, you guys brought up something to do earlier that I want to bring back up and that's the B word, the boundaries, you talked about boundaries and non negotiables as a way to prevent burnout. And so I want to you know, we touched on it a little bit earlier in our discussion, but this is one like understanding and really enforcing your own boundaries and what is non negotiable for you. I know it's made such a huge difference in my own life. So I'd really like to have you guys focus to address the B word. Because I know from just talking to others, that boundaries, especially in the workplace, is something that's difficult for a lot of people. Yeah,

Lisa Kelly  34:35

well, you know, again, I was talking to my co my mentor there earlier and we were talking about executive stress and burnout and he said, You know, one thing that he coached us a lot especially around time management, because poor time management right leads to poor energy management or vice versa. And so one thing he said he really coaches around a boundary is to eat the frog first thing in the morning. Eat That Frog first thing in the morning. So tackle your most challenging things because what happens says procrastination, right? We don't, we want to avoid that, obviously. And so when we don't just address things head on, we procrastinate. And that we ruminate, and then that just compounds and compounds through the day through the week, we keep putting it off. So whatever it is, whatever the challenging assignment is, just tackle it, get it done, get it off your plate. And that for me is a real key boundary is that like I if there's something that I know I pressing, I have to do, or I've been putting it off, I just get it done. I just tackle it first thing. And this is amazing how it frees your mind and just frees you up to do other important work, right?

Brandi Starr  35:36

And then Ruvi, what about you? What are your thoughts around the B word?

Ruvi Makuni  35:39

Yes. So I, I took a different take on this with one of my clients, because she, you know, she's always doing everything for everyone else really committed to everyone else. So I, we, you know, in our discussions, I said, Okay, let's put one boundary in place just for you. What did you love doing that you don't do anymore? Because you know, you've decided that? No, you don't have the time for that. She said, Well, I used to love painting. You know, as a child, I used to love painting, but I just don't have the time or I'm not that creative. And you know, I just don't think I could do that anymore. And then I said, why not? You set that boundary on yourself that you can't do it. You don't have the time? How about we reframe that and include something that you enjoy every day or every week rather, where it's just something for you, you take yourself out whether it's painting in the park, it doesn't even have to be perfect. And I think we've lost the idea that we can be happy that we can have fun, you know, it doesn't have to be all go go go that even just incorporating something creative for yourself, even in the kitchen, you know, that is a boundary that you can set where you decide I'm going to spend some time with me, I'm going to do something that I like. So we can look at it that way too, especially for people that find it difficult to say no, we'll start saying yes to you. So that's the

Brandi Starr  37:04

way I love that I received that same advice years ago. And it caused me to change my schedule. So like now, on Fridays, I realized that my Friday afternoons were ridiculously unproductive, like, it was almost like I'm here. But you know, I'm just here. And so when I got that advice, I actually like based on my you know, I'm divorced. And so based on my schedule, for my son, I always have Friday afternoons free, like I'm, you know, don't have my son. And so I changed my schedule, so that on Fridays, I stopped working at one o'clock. And so from one o'clock to six o'clock every Friday, I know that I have that time to do what I enjoy, whether it's happy hour with a girlfriend, scheduling a massage, you know, whatever it is that I feel like, you know, laying on the couch, reading the book, or sometimes laying on the couch and sitting still, you know, I know that I have that corner of time every week. So you know, I might miss out on lunch a couple of days, or I might have a couple of late nights or, you know, whatever the case may be that same advice led me to say you know what, I really wouldn't get much done on Friday afternoons anyway. So you know, my job is not suffering because it really wasn't productive. So now I as a person, am experiencing that benefit and that's a hard boundary like every blue moon I adjust my schedule for something important. But generally speaking, my team knows get it from me, you know before one o'clock on Friday or wait till Monday like it you know it people have learned that. So talking about our challenges is just the first step and nothing changes if nothing changes. And so, in traditional therapy the therapist gives the client some homework and I guess in this case you guys kind of are the therapists we always flip that on its head and ask our guests to give our audience some homework and so I am a believer in taking action I always like to have a clear next step. So we'd like to have the one thing that people can do to move the needle in the right direction and I know you guys have given us a number of suggestions throughout this episode, but I'd love for you to quickly distill it down to one what is the one action item Yeah, I want our listeners to take

Lisa Kelly  39:31

well I think we've talked about it but just to really you know bring it all full circle is to just look at your calendar today. And where is some where will you commit to your health and well being and where can you block out 10 minutes 30 Ideally an hour or maybe like in my case it might be taking one day I never used to I used to always work through Sundays recently I threw it you know Rubin hours discussion I just committed to just taking Sundays completely off now. And I do not and that's part of my recovery process. I need that I want to get back to church and do things, fun things for me. So it's for me, I scheduled that that full day, I may have to work a little extra in the evenings do that. But now I know I have a full day to decompress and recharge. And that's working so well. Yeah. So just look for that one, one hour, one half a day, or maybe a full day, whatever. But just some me time to decompress, recharge, and, you know, realize that life is worth leaving.

Ruvi Makuni  40:22

Yeah, definitely.

Brandi Starr  40:25

Any other action for you, Ruvi,

Ruvi Makuni  40:27

or Ruvi? Yes, I one thing I've seen work really well is when people just start taking a 10 minute walk every day, just start for 10 minutes. And within a week, almost always, I hear, Oh, my gosh, I went 20 minutes, this time I went 30 minutes, it's so much easier than I realized. So start incorporating that 10 minute walk, and you will not regret it.

Brandi Starr  40:52

Awesome. So for those listening, we got two action items, we're gonna start walking from 10 minutes every day, which is totally doable. And the second is we're going to take a close look at our calendar, and we're going to find some corner of time that we can consistently block out for me, Tom time. Yeah. Well, Lisa Ruvi, I have enjoyed our discussion. But that's our time for today. Before we go, I'm sure there are some people listening who are like, oh, I need to talk to you more. So how can our audience connect with you?

Lisa Kelly  41:32

Okay, well, I'm available again, you know, you can connect with me through LinkedIn, Lisa Kelly on LinkedIn, or through our website, workplace wellness center of excellence. So that's workplace wellness, And, yeah, and you can learn more about our book through there our podcast, and you know, our programs, the services, especially our executive coaching, services and our programs.

Brandi Starr  41:55

Awesome. Anything you want to add Ruvi.

Ruvi Makuni  41:58

The best place for me is on LinkedIn, Ruvi Makueni. And yeah, to add to what Lisa said, but LinkedIn will be the best one.

Brandi Starr  42:06

Awesome, well, we will make sure to put all of those links in the show notes. So wherever you are watching or listening, this podcast, all the links that Ruvi and Lisa have shared are there so that you can connect, continue to learn from them and if you're interested to be able to work with them as well. Ruvi, Lisa, thank you so much. I have enjoyed our discussion, but we it's time to go I can't believe we're already. Yeah,

Lisa Kelly  42:36

well take care of one. Awesome. We will see

Brandi Starr  42:39

you next time. Okay, bye.

Outro VO  42:43

You've been listening to Revenue Rehab with your host Brandi Starr. Your session is now over but the learning has 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.

Ruvi MakuniProfile Photo

Ruvi Makuni

Global Workplace Wellness Specialist | Certified Stress Master Coach

Condensed Bio:

As an in-home Personal Trainer for busy professionals in 2014, Ruvi started to notice that many professionals were on a never-stopping treadmill, suffering physically and mentally from the toll of the go-go -go lifestyle. She thus pivoted her career and made it her core mission to highlight the impacts of stress on modern day professionals and how organizations can support their employees in managing stress and preventing burnout.


Ruvi Makuni is a Global Workplace Wellness Specialist and a Certified Stress Master Associate who is passionate about supporting organizations to empower their teams so they can thrive in their careers without sacrificing their health. To that end, she facilitates holistic and multi-dimensional Stress Management and wellness initiatives in the workplace.

Earlier on in her Personal Training career, Ruvi conducted several workshops for an organization that was grieving the loss of an employee who suffered a heart attack at just 29 years old. During that process, she started to notice that many of the professionals were on a never-stopping treadmill, suffering physically and mentally from the toll of the go-go -go lifestyle. She thus made it her core mission to support the health and wellbeing of the organization’s employees so that they could still meet organizational goals without sacrificing their health.

After seeing the detrimental impacts of stress on professionals, Ruvi’s primary focus and specialty has turned to helping organizations implement Stress Management practices. She also conducts individual Stress Management coaching to help professionals embrace mindful supportive habits, behaviors and actions that can be applied in and out of the workplace to help cope with stressors.

Lisa KellyProfile Photo

Lisa Kelly


Lisa Kelly, President and Founder of Kelly Wellness Consulting Inc. and the Workplace Wellness Centre of Excellence, has been cultivating healthy changes in workplaces and individuals across the globe for over 25 years. Through her WWCOE certification and training programs, consulting, and corporate solutions, Lisa’s mission is to create an innovative and collaborative landscape for Workplace Wellness that fosters inclusive and responsive wellness solutions benefiting employees, employers, and communities. She has extensive achievements in Workplace Wellness, leadership, and culture development with corporate and government sectors as a global Workplace Wellness certification provider, trainer, and consultant. As a Certified Executive Coach, she supports the well-being and professional growth of senior leaders. She holds a Master of Education and a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Diploma in Natural Nutrition, a certification in Personal Training, and multiple certifications in Executive Coaching. Lisa was recognized by Welcoa as a Top 100 Health Promotion Professional through its 2014 DISH contest.