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Show Notes

Are you feeling burnt out? Struggling to connect with others in a meaningful way?

In this episode, David visits with Jim Young, and they dive into the causes of burnout, and different types of intimacy that can defeat burnout, including emotional, experiential, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy.

Jim explains that intimacy is the antidote for burnout, and expansive intimacy is about being intimate in appropriate ways with people all across your life.  We’ll also discuss the benefits Jim has found with improv, the role of leaders in wellness culture, and other strategies for overcoming burnout.

Tune in to hear how embracing your introversion and creating intimate relationships can contribute to a long, healthy, and happy life, and gain insights on how to prioritize self-care and connection. Don’t wait, listen now and start taking steps towards a more fulfilled life.

– – –

Jim Young is an executive coach, facilitator, author, professional comedian, and speaker. Jim leverages his experiences from the corporate C-Suite to help leaders and organizations build healthier and more equitable workplace cultures. His recent book, Expansive Intimacy: How “Tough Guys” Defeat Burnout, provides a roadmap through the malaise of burnout into a new, more expansive, form of success that spans all aspects of life.

Contact Jim:

Website: www.thecenteredcoach.com
LinkedIn: 
www.linkedin.com/in/thecenteredcoach

Get Jim’s book: Expansive Intimacy: How “Tough Guys” Defeat Burnout

Watch for Jim’s new podcast, Expansive Intimacy, coming soon.

– – –

Contact the Host of the Quiet and Strong Podcast:

David Hall

Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster

quietandstrong.com
Gobio.link/quietandstrong
david [at] quietandstrong.com

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Timestamped Overview

[00:07:45] Book about male burnout and the importance of developing close, intimate relationships as a way to overcome it. Emphasizes the concept of “expansive intimacy.”

[00:13:00] Value the amount of connection you need, don’t compare to others. Some troubling statistics show zero close contacts for some people. Expanding one’s circle can slowly build intimacy.

[00:18:45] Boundaryless introvert/extrovert started “power introvert nights”, with low lighting and relaxing activities to decompress and feel energy settle. Explored and added other mindful practices such as morning yoga and journaling.

[00:22:13] Intimacy includes emotional, experiential, intellectual, and spiritual connections, and practicing appropriate intimacy with different people in your life is important.

[00:24:36] Introverted family found joy and connection in improv classes, leading to a regular improv troupe comprised mostly of introverts.

[00:26:47] Improvisation is a natural ability that gets taught out of us as we grow older, but with practice and rehearsal, it can be learned and incorporated into performance using skills, techniques, and structures.

[00:30:56] Preparation time is key to feeling comfortable while speaking, as rehearsing in the mind can appear as though speaking off the cuff. Learned this lesson through a solo college presentation on an unfamiliar topic.

[00:33:28] Having intimate relationships with emotional and understanding support is crucial for a sustainable and happy life, according to 80 years of data from the largest study of adult development.

[00:35:09] Leaders can create conditions for wellness in the workplace by being open about their own struggles with burnout and mental/physical health, modeling vulnerability, and making it an active conversation in the organization.

[00:36:49] To combat burnout, be honest with yourself, seek support from others, and employ strategies such as prioritizing physical health and changing beliefs that keep you in a pattern. This involves a continuous process of making small changes with the help of a therapist, coach or HR resource.


Q&A About this Episode

1. What types of intimacy did the speaker discuss as helpful in overcoming burnout?

Answer: The speaker mentions emotional, experiential, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy as examples.

2. What is the concept of expansive intimacy?

Answer: Expansive intimacy is the idea of being intimate in appropriate ways with people across all aspects of your life to combat Burnout.

3. What importance does the speaker place on preparation time?

Answer: The speaker values preparation time, whether written out or rehearsed mentally, and emphasizes its importance when giving presentations.

4. What inspired the author to write a book on Burnout?

Answer: The author was inspired to write a book on Burnout a couple of years ago after focusing on it in their coaching practice.

5. How has the pandemic affected the prevalence of Burnout?

Answer: During the pandemic, Burnout became more prevalent and talked about.

6. What does a Gallup study reveal about people’s social connections?

Answer: A Gallup study showed that there is a decline in close personal friendships society-wide, with some people having zero close social contacts and others having only three or fewer.

7. What benefits can improv have for introverts?

Answer: Improv allowed the speaker, who is an introvert, to explore themselves, connect with people, and experience the joy of play.

8. What is the speaker’s opinion on leaders’ roles in creating a workplace where wellness thrives?

Answer: According to the speaker, leaders are the most essential resource to creating a workplace where wellness thrives.

9. What are some strategies for addressing burnout?

Answer: Strategies to address burnout can include physical health, time management, and reaching out to others such as therapists, coaches, or a well-trained HR person.

10. How can people prioritize stillness and inward-focused practices?

Answer: The speaker learned to prioritize quiet and stillness by incorporating “power introvert nights” on Fridays, practicing morning yoga and meditation, and journaling.


Podcast Transcript

Jim Young [00:00:00]:

Yeah. When I was in those years where I just thought I always had to be on the go and productive and connecting and not taking any of that time to let things settle out and sort out and it was exhausting. It’s no wonder I burned out and thank goodness I survived it. It was really taxing to try and live that alternate life.

David Hall [00:00:35]:

Hello and welcome to episode 117 of the Quiet and Strong podcast, especially for introverts. I’m your host, David Hall, and the creator of quietandstrong.com. This is a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced normally. Will our each episode on a Monday. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. Leave a review. That would mean a lot to me. Tell a friend about the podcast. Help get the word out there that introversion is a beautiful thing. Jim Young is an executive coach, facilitator, author, professional comedian, and speaker, jim leverages his experience from the corporate C suite to help leaders and organizations build healthier and more equitable workplace cultures. His recent book, Expansive Intimacy How Tough Guys Defeat Burnout, provides a roadmap through the malaise of burnout into a new, more expansive form of success that spans all aspects of life. All right, well, welcome to the Quiet and Strong podcast, Jim. Jim, we’re excited to have you on today.

Jim Young [00:01:40]:

David, I’m so glad to be on and pick up the conversations that we’ve been having.

David Hall [00:01:46]:

Yeah, sounds good. So we’re going to get into the work that you do as a burnout and leadership coach and the book that you’ve written. Tell us about your story and the experiences that led you to being a burnout and leadership coach.

Jim Young [00:02:01]:

My story, I could probably start at a lot of junctures, including nine years old or 20 years old. I’ll pick it up from my corporate years. I spent about 25 years in the corporate world in it, a lot of that in leadership roles. And when I was around 40, I really got onto the burnout spectrum. I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t even know it while I was in Burnout, but I went through a phase of probably about five to seven years where I was in and out of Burnout or along that spectrum before finally hitting a complete wall in 2016, 2017, and having to eventually in 2018, just get out. So I encountered severe burnout and realized that I was really struggling with how to fit my work into my life. And so I reinvented that part of my life and became a coach, which allows me to have independence, be there for my kids, and work on things that matter. Eventually led into writing an entire book about that transformation and that whole process.

David Hall [00:03:16]:

Yeah. So what is burnout? Describe that for us if we go.

Jim Young [00:03:20]:

With the clinical definition. The World Health Organization in 2019 defined burnout as a workplace syndrome of stress that’s become unmanageable with three core symptoms exhaustion, which is frequently emotional exhaustion, emotional, mental, physical. All of those can be present. But emotional is key. There a sense of cynicism or a negative outlook, and also a sense of professional. Inefficacy is the words that they use. A lack of accomplishment, inability to get things done. So that’s the clinical definition, and that’s really similar to what I experienced. I was just completely exhausted. I couldn’t get any motivation for the work that I was doing. I didn’t feel like I was doing enough or the same quality of work anymore. And I really started to get cynical about it, like, this is never going to get better. Everything’s terrible. And it went on for months and years in my case. And one distinction I want to draw out is I’ll hear people say, like, yeah, I was feeling burned out yesterday. That’s a misnomer. Burnout is not a day by day thing. It’s a chronic issue.

David Hall [00:04:33]:

Your focus is more on men, and how is burnout different for men?

Jim Young [00:04:39]:

What I typically say when the gender question comes up is that the way burnout affects people is the same, regardless of what your gender is, the symptoms are the same. The way that men might get into it, I think, is different than the way that women might experience or what are the causes that tend to get people of different genders into it. And that’s a lot of what I wrote about in the book.

David Hall [00:05:04]:

If you don’t mind sharing what was causing your burnout and how did you get out of it?

Jim Young [00:05:11]:

For me, what I realized was causing my burnout, I’ll go with the deepest level of that answer, which was shame. I was constantly trying to live up to some ideal of what it was to be a man in our society. And it was impossible for me because the expectations didn’t match who I really wanted to be. So I was always striving to do more, to provide, to gain status. And I exhausted myself in the process because I didn’t want anybody to see that I couldn’t rise to that level. I couldn’t handle it. And it was a deep seated shame of, like, I’m not man enough. And I think I interviewed about three dozen men for the book that I wrote and their stories. There’s a ton of symmetry around that same topic of, like, it’s about achievement and this constant drive that we have to man up.

David Hall [00:06:13]:

Okay. And so is that unrealistic expectations that you’re putting on yourself?

Jim Young [00:06:19]:

Oh, 100%, yeah. And there are internal factors that drive burnout, and there are external factors as well. So for me, some of the internal factors or the risk factors that I carry is being a perfectionist, which is closely related to shame, being a people pleaser, low self esteem. I’ve gotten better in that area over the years, but back then, just really didn’t feel like I measured up. And so I was always trying to cover over that. And those were inside jobs that I felt like, boy, nobody should know. I would use my perfectionism, I’d use my people pleasing to try and make people think like I was worthy of them. And so there were a lot of my own internal expectations that I was mapping out to what I thought society wanted me to be. And then at the workplace level, there were just demands that kept coming at me and opportunities sometimes that kept coming at me that I thought, well, I better say yes.

David Hall [00:07:26]:

Right? Okay, so let’s talk about your book and get into how you defeated Burnout for yourself and how other people can do that. So your book title is expansive intimacy. How tough guys defeat burnout. So tell us more about that and what inspired you to write it.

Jim Young [00:07:45]:

I got inspired to write the book a couple of years ago. I had really pivoted my coaching practice to focus on Burnout, and I realized that there was a story that I wanted to tell, in part during the pandemic, I think the curtain got ripped open on Burnout. It was everywhere that was being talked about. And I started to see a lot of great resources, but a lot of them were very specific to Burnout for women. And I wasn’t seeing anything that was about Burnout for men. And I really wanted to explore. I was like, I know there’s something different about it for men, and what is it? And so I went through the process of writing my story, and the first two things that I saw was, well, I know I experienced a severe case of burnout. And what got me out of it, what changed me eventually, because it wasn’t like there was this light bulb moment or one day things, we flipped the switch. I realized that over a period of years, I started to develop close, intimate relationships with people. I started to open myself up and be my full self, reveal who I am to friends, to family members, to my kids, to colleagues, even to a new romantic partner. I went through a divorce. And so establishing a new romantic relationship by doing that, by letting people in on what I was feeling, what I was thinking, what my ideas were, what my fears were, all of those things, it lightened the load for me. I didn’t carry the same kind of stress. And when something comes up, I have a place to take it. And so Burnout doesn’t live here anymore when I’m practicing expansive intimacy. And so that’s the idea is expansive intimacy is about being intimate in appropriate ways with people all across your life. And there’s more to that. I can go further, but I want to pause because I don’t know if you have any questions there.

David Hall [00:09:51]:

Yeah, let’s go deeper into that. And just something that comes to me is, yeah, we are afraid to let people in sometimes, and we’re afraid that people will think less of us. Do you find that was that the case as you let more people in? Did you find that they thought less of you or not?

Jim Young [00:10:11]:

What I discovered was that so much of what held me back from creating those intimate connections was shame. And shame had been a factor in getting me into Burnout and keeping me in burnout, but it was also keeping me away from revealing myself to people in ways that would let them really get to know me and create those intimate bonds. And so as I started slowly at first reaching out to people and kind of opening up, what I found was that people actually really wanted that. They wanted that kind of connection for themselves. And obviously you have to reach out to people who are safe in your lives. You don’t want to just go telling your story to people who haven’t earned the right to hear it. But when I did that, what I discovered was this massive wave of acceptance for me, just as I was not who I could be or what I was supposed to be, just me. And it was so liberating.

David Hall [00:11:06]:

Yeah. You started talking about my next question. So you’re still not necessarily opening yourself up completely to everybody. You’re still somewhat selective, but more so than you had been. Am I understanding that right?

Jim Young [00:11:19]:

Yeah, completely. And as somebody who’s also on the introvert spectrum, I don’t do well if I’m trying to broadcast everybody. I’m trying to connect with everybody. And so for me, I was with three friends the other night, and we were sitting around for a couple of hours, and that’s a great setting for me. We started to get into a really deep conversation about mental health, and there were men and women in this conversation. We were talking about the different ways that mental health stigma affects men versus women. And I’m learning about them and they’re learning about me. And it’s that kind of setting where I know they’re trusted people. It’s a small conversation, so there’s not all this noise going on around me. I actually have a lot of people that I share intimacy with, but it’s always in a really small setting, which I guess makes sense because intimate conversation, we kind of need that little space.

David Hall [00:12:23]:

Yeah. And you mentioned you’re a fellow introvert, and we do tend to like there’s definitely a myth out there that we don’t like people, which is really crazy. Of course we do just we might really tend to love those smaller group settings, deeper conversation, but we definitely need people. So while we’re on that topic, as an introvert, we need connection. What do you say to people that maybe don’t especially introverts, that don’t have all the connection they need? They don’t have this intimacy with enough people to support them.

Jim Young [00:13:00]:

I guess the first thing that comes to mind is not worrying about what enough is to anyone else. I think a lot of my struggles over the, you know, in the past were around comparing how I interacted with people or how I socialized with how other people did it. And so I needed to have lots of friends, or I needed to be able to go to a cocktail party and work the room. And I think the amount of connection that each person needs is what they need, and there needs to be no judgment. So if you’re the kind of person, if you’re highly introverted and you want to have three close people in your life and you feel fed by that, it’s totally fine. I think there are some studies out there. I read a study a couple of years ago that Gallup did on friendship and the decline in close personal friendships society wide. And some you know, some troubling statistics showed up in there and and one that really struck me was there are a lot of people who have zero close social contacts. And then there’s also a significant number of people. I think it was around 20 or 25% of men in this particular study that had three or fewer close social contacts or close friends that you could go talk to real things about. And that when you have that few number of people in your life, three is actually not much better than zero because of availability. And so taking a little bit of risk to expand that circle and find who are the people who I feel safe with, I feel comfortable with, and just making a little bit more connection and and taking your time. Like, you know, intimacy doesn’t grow overnight, but it grows in, you know, small encounters where we just reveal ourselves a little bit more, a little bit more, and we can test the waters. And I think as an introvert who’s probably a little bit more towards the midline of the spectrum, I still need to go step by step.

David Hall [00:15:07]:

Did introversion for you have any part in your burnout?

Jim Young [00:15:12]:

Absolutely. I think it was my ignorance of my own introversion that was a huge driver. I didn’t know that I was an introvert until probably 2015, 2016, when I read Susan Cain’s book Quiet and Understood for the first time, like, oh, I’m an introvert. That’s why all this stuff doesn’t make any sense and why I feel so drained and it feels crazy, and I feel like a failure. So I think all of those like me trying to live up to these expectations of as I think she puts it in her subtitle, a world that can’t stop talking. I was trying to meet the world where I thought it was, and I didn’t know that there was this other thing I was allowed to be.

David Hall [00:16:02]:

Yeah, I highly recommend Susan Kane’s quiet as well. What drew you to that book? How did you find it and start reading it?

Jim Young [00:16:12]:

Remember, a good friend of mine who is a teacher, public school teacher, had been reading the book, and she was struck by I think there’s an example in the book I might not be remembering that accurately, but just how as a teacher and an introvert, she realized that the system wasn’t designed for her. She didn’t have the quiet time in between classes. She had to go and do a Pod meeting with other teachers between classes and how she would get to the end of the day and just be exhausted. And she had found this book and she said, I wonder if you’d appreciate this, because we had talked about certainly not introversion, but we had talked about stress and things like that. So she recommended the book to me, and I just remember devouring it and thinking, wow, this is a game changer for me, just this realization that I could be an introvert.

David Hall [00:17:12]:

Yeah. So many people like yourself, guests on my show and other people I speak with for the longest time thought something was wrong and books like that. And that’s why I podcast, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you or anybody else where we just need to understand our strengths and our gifts. What’s a gift or strength that you figured out you had because of your introversion?

Jim Young [00:17:40]:

There’s a couple that come to mind. I had people consistently throughout my corporate career. I was always in management and leadership roles almost from the start. And what people would consistently give me for feedback was that I had this calming effect that I would and I think it’s because I’d be sitting there quiet, taking a lot of things in, and not get ruffled by fluctuations in what’s going on in the business. And the other thing that I consistently got feedback on, which I think is one of the beautiful gifts that most introverts possess is I think I’m a really good listener. I really care about what other people are saying, and I want to really take in not just the words that they’re saying, but the meaning behind it. And I think that was always felt by the people that I worked with, in particular people that I was managing and supporting.

David Hall [00:18:37]:

Yeah. So how did understanding your introversion help you out of burnout?

Jim Young [00:18:45]:

I really started to realize that I needed some different boundaries in my life. I think I was kind of boundaryless as an introvert and extrovert’s clothing. And one of the things that I started to incorporate in my life sort of by happenstance, I noticed this pattern of I would have these Friday nights when my kids were with their mom and I didn’t have anywhere to be, and I would just spend Friday night at home by myself. I would turn the lights down low. I don’t like bright lighting. I would order some takeout, and I’d put on some soft music and I would just relax. I would completely chill out. And I started calling them my power introvert nights. Eventually and it was this total just decompress. Like I would lie on a yoga mat on the living room floor and I would really almost just feel all the energy just kind of settle in my body and some of the stress seep out. So I just started to learn that it was okay for me to not have to have a plan on Friday nights and get together with people because that’s what the expectation was, that I had a need to be quiet and still and mindful, and that’s extended. I’ve just continued to explore, okay, what other practices do I need? And I’ve got a morning yoga practice, yoga and meditation that helps me really just kind of gather myself for the day. And I’ve journaled a lot over the years and just finding lots of different practices that let me be inwards instead of outwards.

David Hall [00:20:26]:

Yeah, I think we’re going to definitely talk about some other things as far as burnout goes. But if you can truly understand yourself and that you need that time, some people would be like yourself where, yeah, Friday night alone could be awesome. And you’re not going to do that all the time. You’re going to want to spend time with your kids, with other people, significant others, friends, but sometimes it is what you need to spend that time. Sometimes we need time to recharge, we’ve had a little bit too much and we need some time alone. But I’ll always say, I talk a lot about that. There’s so much more to it. We need time to focus, to plan, to dream. We need a lot of quiet time because we have introverted strengths that we need. And if you’re not giving yourself that time, that can be a huge factor in Burnout. If you’re trying to live somebody else’s life, it doesn’t work.

Jim Young [00:21:23]:

Yeah, when I was in those years where I just thought I always had to be on the go and productive and connecting and not taking any of that time to let things settle out and sort out and it was exhausting. It’s no wonder I burned out and thank goodness I survived it. It was really taxing to try and live that alternate life.

David Hall [00:21:49]:

Yeah, I’ve definitely learned to find quiet time here and there for lots of reasons, and you can’t be available at all times to all people. It doesn’t work and definitely could be a factor in Burnout. You talk a lot about how intimacy can be an antidote for burnout. So let’s talk more about that and what are the different types of intimacy?

Jim Young [00:22:13]:

That was one of the first things that I discovered when I had this little bit of a light bulb moment of like, oh, intimacy was the thing that when I pieced it back together, I was like, oh, it’s intimacy that got me away. From Burnout, and I started doing some research to just understand intimacy. And I ended up doing a YouTube series two or three years ago where I wanted to do the Men’s Intimacy Minute. I wanted to kind of share what I was learning about the fact that intimacy is not this narrow slice that our society tends to think of it as, which is usually sexual intimacy with a romantic partner. You’re getting intimate that there’s all these different varieties, including emotional intimacy, letting people in on knowing, like, yeah, I’m just really feeling sad today. I got something going on, or experiential intimacy, which is super easy to access. It’s just going out and doing stuff with people, but really being intentional about like, we’re sharing an experience, and it could be a hike in the woods. It could be sitting down and working on a puzzle together. There’s intellectual intimacy and that conversation I had with my friends the other night where the four of us were just sitting around and we’re talking about things like mental health. We’re in our heads a bit, but we’re commingling emotional intimacy. There’s spiritual intimacy. One of my favorite ways of thinking about spiritual intimacy from kind of an agnostic standpoint is I perform improv comedy. And every third Saturday of the month, I’m going to be on stage with my teammates, and there are going to be 60 people who come to the theater, and we’re all convening on this one place with one thing in mind, which is laughter, which is going to lift our spirits. So I think of it as a spiritual experience and there’s spiritual intimacy. There’s all this connection that we’re sharing. So there’s a really big range of types of intimacy. And that’s where we can when I said earlier, practicing intimacy in the appropriate ways with different people in your life, that’s a lot of what I’m talking about is kind of like this Rubik’s Cube of, okay, in this setting, these are the appropriate intimacy tools that I can bring out.

David Hall [00:24:28]:

Okay, so you brought up that you do improv.

Jim Young [00:24:31]:

Yeah.

David Hall [00:24:31]:

How did you get into that? Especially as an introvert?

Jim Young [00:24:36]:

I followed my kids would be the first part of that answer. And my kids would all identify as introverts as well, especially my oldest, who had some social anxiety, I think, intermixed there. And we sent them to an improv class, and it really lit them up. They just started to change and really kind of find themselves. And my other kids followed them into that and started doing those classes. And I thought, I want to try this too. And I got in there and I loved it because they were these small encounters, you and one other person most frequently. Sometimes they’re larger scenes with three or four or five people in them. But it was exploring myself. It was revealing an emotional point of view to another person and listening. I got to use some of these skills that I was actually really good at, and it was super fun. So it created this space where I felt safe to connect with people. I felt the joy of play, which I think is important for all of us. And actually, I have a team of six people, my improv troupe, that performs regularly. Out of those six, I think one of them might identify themselves as an extrovert, but I’m not sure if she is or not. The rest of us totally introverts, no question about it. In fact, most of the improvisers that I know would say that they’re introverts. That is a great outlet for us, for some of those energies. It’s safe, it’s contained, it’s connected.

David Hall [00:26:16]:

Yeah, it’s funny because, again, we bust lots of myths on this show. And I hear so many people say, well, introverts can’t be actors, introverts can’t be comedians. And I don’t know the numbers, but there’s a high amount of actors and comedians that are introverts. And we have a lot of great stuff going on in our heads. Just it’s silly to say those kinds of things. Would you say that you were a natural improv or did you have to learn how to do it? Or what would you say there?

Jim Young [00:26:47]:

I definitely had some natural ability to do it. I actually think almost all of us do, because if you look at any three year old, they are an improviser, right? They do. And we then get it taught and socialized out of us. And I had held on to a fair amount of that. I’ve always been a playful person. I’ve always loved humor and comedy. I just had never given myself permission to be a part of it in that sort of way. And there was a lot to learn. People might have a conception of improv as well. You just get up there and you do whatever. There are skills and there are techniques, and we rehearse. And people are always surprised when I say, yeah, I’m going to improv rehearsal. They’re like, Wait, but isn’t it all made up on the spot? I’m like, yeah, absolutely, 100%. The content is always made up, but we have to develop the relationships with each other. We really pay attention to the moves that we make, and so we’re calibrating and we’re getting used to each other, and there are structures that we use. It’s something that I had to learn how to channel that innate ability, and the more that I spend time in it, the more it just feels like it it kind of pours out and it’s really free and easy.

David Hall [00:28:10]:

Yeah. You know, I’m glad that you brought up the three year old example because I had a guest on my show, Richard Newman, who teaches communication skills, and he talked about sometimes we say to be yourself, but sometimes we really have to look at that because we’ve learned things since we were three or four years old that aren’t true. We’ve learned, like, oh, you can’t do this or you can’t do that, and sometimes we have to unlearn those things. And you look at the three year old, and maybe it’s a very introverted three year old, but still they’re just all over the place, and they haven’t learned things that aren’t correct about themselves. So sometimes you have to unlearn and just embrace who you really are, but maybe not who people might have told you that you are.

Jim Young [00:28:57]:

Totally. I oftentimes talk to my coaching clients about beliefs because our beliefs are such big drivers of our thoughts and our actions, and I always break out the example and just a spoiler alert in case there are any young kids listening to the episode, I always break out the example of the Easter Bunny. Right. A lot of us believed in the Easter Bunny, and now we don’t believe in the Easter Bunny. Our beliefs can change, and it’s just really looking at, like, how did I develop the belief that I can’t be a guy who gets up on stage in front of an audience? What’s true about that and what’s not? And what do I want? Does that feel like it would actually serve a need and a desire for me? And if so, then I can change the belief, and I got to go through some discomfort to get there. But there’s a lot of reward on the other side of that, too.

David Hall [00:29:53]:

Yeah, I think so many people are not fully embracing their talents because of things that they learn from other people. So that’s powerful.

Jim Young [00:30:02]:

Yeah. And maybe improv is an easy example because sometimes that fear as well. They’ll laugh at me, and that’s the goal of improv.

David Hall [00:30:11]:

Yeah, improv. We definitely talk a lot about giving presentations and public speeches, and a lot of that plays into that, too. We get in our heads that, oh, we can’t do this. And I’ll say that introverts, of course, extroverts, too, but introverts can make amazing public speakers and give amazing presentations, but they have to tap into their natural abilities. For me, I can give a great speech. I do need to prepare much differently than my extroverted colleague does, because I’ve observed that, but it could be amazing. But I know that in the past, I felt like I couldn’t. And I know there’s so many other introverts and extroverts that feel they can’t, but we absolutely can do lots of things that maybe we’re not doing.

Jim Young [00:30:56]:

Yeah, absolutely. I know that preparation time, whether it’s actually written out for me or if it’s just that I’ve prepared it in my mind, and I’ve really gotten a comfort level with it. I think that’s a lot of what I need is I can speak what seems like off the cuff, but really what’s happened is I’ve rehearsed in my head. It’s something that I know about and I’m comfortable speaking about, and I think that was. I got that lesson in college, actually, sort of in a really weird way. We had a class project where we all had in groups, we had to read a book together and then do a presentation to the class. And I wasn’t a great my attendance record in college was not always awesome. So I had missed a couple of classes, including one where the professor had taken one of the book options off of the list because not enough people were interested. And so on the day we were choosing books and committing to our project, we should have already been reading the book, which I hadn’t. I chose the book that was off the list. And she’s like, Well, I guess you’re doing your project yourself. I was like, oh, no. And so I got this opportunity to do a presentation on my own of something that I didn’t know, and it was really uncomfortable. But when I started later on to do presentations on things that I just knew the content, I was like, oh, I can do presentations. It’s not going to be like that again.

David Hall [00:32:31]:

Yeah, you’re bringing back some bad college memories for me too. That’s something I started to learn in college, is preparing. And also when I give a speech, it’s definitely not I’m not scripting it, it’s not memorized or anything like that, but I am thinking about it ahead of time. And we give speeches and presentations because we know something. We’re experts in something. We have to remind ourselves, I’m doing this because I know something about this, and if I think about it ahead of time, what’s the points I want to make? What does this audience need to hear just doing that? We can be amazing speakers along those lines. We do want to accomplish amazing things. Right? So how do we do that? I think in the book you call it your roadmap to success. How do you do that without burning out? How do we accomplish all the great things that we want to do and not burn out at the same time?

Jim Young [00:33:28]:

Yeah, the crux of the book is that we can’t do it alone, that we need to have those supports around us. And again, your mileage may vary on how many of those and how frequent you have them. But just having those resources to provide you the support at the deep level of not just administrative kind of support, but emotional support and understanding, where are you trying to get to and what’s the hard stuff that’s in the way and what do you need to help overcome that? And so having that intimacy across the spectrum and it could be a colleague, it could be your family. To me, that’s a sustainable antidote for anybody. And again, it’s flexible because if you really prefer to keep to a few people, cool, but just make sure you’re reaching out. You’re letting other people in. There’s a study, the Harvard study, of adult development is the largest study of human happiness, and health is probably another aspect of it in human history. And one of their key findings is that intimate relationships are the number one predictor of a long, healthy, happy life. So the data is out there. Like the study is over. This study has been running for it’s not over, but the results are in. 80 years of data has shown us that close connection with other people is what sustains us.

David Hall [00:35:00]:

Absolutely. And then how can we help others, maybe on our work teams? What can leaders do to prevent burnout as much as we can?

Jim Young [00:35:09]:

Yeah, I love that you asked that question because I think that leaders are in the workplace, so they’re the most essential resource to creating the conditions where wellness is going to thrive instead of illness. And that includes burnout or other mental health issues or physical health issues. I think the biggest thing is leaders opening the conversation, being willing to say, hey, I know that people are struggling. If they’re struggling to reveal their own struggles at whatever level feels appropriate for them can have a hugely powerful impact. I have a client who I work with who recently told his whole company 70 odd people about his burnout and how it was so challenging for him and what he’s doing to overcome it. And there was a palpable response. You could see that the room started to see him differently and connected to him on this human level. And there was this additional layer of care in a culture that already is very people centric. It amped it up even more. So I think leaders modeling by saying we are vulnerable, people, stress can get to us, to points where we become unhealthy, we have needs and so we’re here to support that. And we don’t always know what it’s going to look like, but we want to make that a conversation that’s active in the organization. Instead of brushing it aside, sweeping down to the rug and saying, just keep going.

David Hall [00:36:41]:

What do you say to that person that’s listening, that is feeling burnout right now? Where do they start to get out of it?

Jim Young [00:36:49]:

Yeah, I think the starting point is to really be honest with yourself. So go look at the definition of burnout and say, do I have all these symptoms? Does this really feel like what my experience is? If you know you’re there, then I think starting to reach out to other people, it’s not something that we’re going to solve on our own. I like to describe that burnout is something that happens over the course of thousands of decisions over several years. So to think that we’re going to do one thing and change it or that it’s going to happen quickly, is a falsehood. I think we need to start looking at what are the strategies that I need to employ? And there are a lot it could be around your physical health. It could be around your time and schedule. It’s certainly, I think, around reaching out to other people, depending on where you are, how burned out you might be, working with a therapist might be something that’s going to be a really big lever to help you start to move forward and say, okay, what am I doing now? What am I believing now that is keeping me in this pattern? And what would have to change in order for me to get out of it? So therapists, coaches, sometimes it could be a resource in a workplace, like a well trained human resources person, but just being willing to say, okay, this isn’t working. I know how it feels, and I want something different and starting to make changes at the smallest level and continue to make them.

David Hall [00:38:22]:

Yeah. And I love that you brought up that it’s a journey, and it could have been a journey that was years in the making and it’s not going to change overnight, but you can make progress regularly to get out of that. So I think that’s an important thing to remember, that you decide, I’m going to make some life changes. That’s amazing. But it’s going to take some time.

Jim Young [00:38:44]:

Yeah. And there’s a couple of influences. There’s actually several, but two that jump right to mind for me that were key in me getting out of burnout is I did about eight years of intensive work in Alanon twelve step recovery programs. I had spent a lot of my life in relationship with alcoholics, and there was a ton of impact for me on that, and it’s related to my burnout. And what I learned there, though, from a principal standpoint, was things like one day at a time and these small practices to focus on what I needed and how the slow change happens and it’s incremental. And then the other is habits and just starting to define what are the bad habits that I have. It could be mental or they could be behavioral. And what are some of the ways that I want to change those? What are the new habits that I want to create about being more healthy, being more mindful, being more connected to spirit?

David Hall [00:39:43]:

Yeah. So is there anything else from your book or from your coaching that we haven’t talked about yet that you want to talk about?

Jim Young [00:39:53]:

We’ve covered a lot of ground in a short time. Yeah, I don’t think so. My coaching focuses on organizations and usually men who are dealing with Burnout. I also do expansive intimacy coaching, which is helping people understand, like, all right, what are the blockers that I have in my life that are keeping me from the intimate connection that I want? I guess the thing we haven’t talked about that’s new for me. It’s going to be a reality. In Late April is a podcast that I’m launching by the same name as the book Expansive Intimacy I want to be like you’re doing, opening up important conversations around key topics. And for me, one of the topics that’s most central to me is how do people, and men in particular, bring more intimacy into their day to day experiences? Because I just have seen over and over again the healing powers of it awesome.

David Hall [00:40:47]:

Yeah, that’s great. And I’ll look forward to listening to your podcast. That’s amazing because there’s too many people that are feeling burned out and don’t have that intimacy that they need and don’t understand what they need. So we’ll be looking forward to that.

Jim Young [00:41:04]:

Yeah. Thank you, David.

David Hall [00:41:07]:

So if people want to find out more about you, the coaching work that you do, your book, where’s the best way to connect with you?

Jim Young [00:41:14]:

The best way to connect with me is on LinkedIn. That’s where I spend my time in terms of social media. And if you search for the centered coach on LinkedIn, you’ll find me there. There’s lots of Jim Young’s out there, but there’s only one centered coach, and then my website is Thecenteredcoach.com, and that has all the information that anybody could more information than anybody would actually probably want about me and my services. The book, my story, the podcast will have a home there as well.

David Hall [00:41:42]:

Sounds great. And I will put that in the Show notes. Yeah, I know there’s a lot of David Halls out there, too, so the centered coach, indeed. All right, Jim, this has been a wonderful conversation. Thanks again for being on.

Jim Young [00:41:54]:

Yeah, thanks so much for having me.

David Hall [00:41:56]:

David, thank you so much for joining me. I look forward to further connecting with you. Reach out at david@quietstrong.com or check out the Quiet andstrong.com website, which includes blog posts, links to social media, and other items. Send me topics or guests you would like to see on the show. If you’re interested in getting to know yourself better, there’s now a free typefinder personality assessment on the Quiet and Strong website. This free assessment will give you a brief report, including the four letter Myers Bricks code. I’ll add a link to the Show notes. S there’s so many great things about being an introvert, so we need those to be understood. Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be strong.

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