The stress-vulnerability model is often used to understand the causes of mental health issues and burn-out.
As you can guess, two dimensions are involved: “Vulnerability” refers to our basic sensitivities and is determined by our genetics as well as life experiences. “Stressors” refers to the situations or challenges faced in our lives.
Many employers are focusing more time and money on preventing negative stress instead of treating already burnt out co-workers. Great for the individual and the bottom line!
However stress prevention is often focused on the situational stressors, such as workload with very little attention given to understanding individual vulnerabilities.
A study from 2019 published in the Canadian Journal of Nursing Research found that ambition or “being passionate about doing well” is a strong vulnerability factor for burn-out. Key themes for situational stressors were “teamwork,” “manager,” and “work and personal circumstances.”
In summary the study shows that a discrepancy between individual vulnerability (ambition) and situational stressors can lead to burn-out. Therefore, burnout prevention needs to target the individual’s vulnerabilities as well.
Through my own Achievement Detox and coaching of high performers, I have learnt a couple of things when it comes to ambition and burn-out:
- Like any overused strengths your ambition or achievement superpower can damage your health, relationships and even your results.
- Learning to control your need to achieve does not mean turning your ambition off, you’re simply using it in a smarter way
- By taking your achiever hat off once in a while and letting other unique personality traits such as your creativity or kindness shine, you become a more interesting and productive person.
Do you or your team want to work smarter to prevent burn-out? Book a webinar, workshop, or coaching session with me.
Source: Vulnerability and Stressors for Burnout, September 2019. The Canadian journal of nursing research
Had a dry run of my new webinar; Achievement Detox last night. A couple of amazing friends were my guinea pigs and gave me really useful feedback!
All went well except a couple of technical hiccups.
Next week is the first session with a larger audience! Fingers crossed MicrosoftTeams works better for me then.
So far the webinar is only in Swedish but I’m introducing an English version after the summer.
If you or your company are interested in achievement addiction and need inspiration for your work with creating a sustainable work culture – do let me know. Happy to tailor workshops or webinars to your needs.
You’ve probably heard the boiling frog story from at least one overpaid management consultant. You know the story where one frog is put into cold water that is slowly brought to a boil, therefore stays in the water and dies. The other frog is thrown into boiling water, jumps out and lives.
The wrong job can certainly be like water slowly heating up. We feel more drained, out of place and demotivated over time but if we’re not uncomfortable enough, we don’t make the change. Grass is never greener, we tell ourselves.
Recent times have thrown many of us into boiling water. Even those of us not directly affected by the Corona virus have had our daily lives turned upside down. We’ve seen industries fall apart over night and might be questioning the relevance and value of our jobs. (Is it too late to train as a nurse?)
However painful, scary and challenging a sudden change is it can also give you incredible clarity and an insight into what matters. Extreme circumstances can help you make some bold moves.
To continue on the frog metaphor; a sudden pain can help you leap () out of a negative situation and discover a completely new venture, approach, or career.
Are your uncomfortable enough to make the change?
I help clients match career options with their values and needs and offer tools like network mapping. Give me a shout if you think career coaching might be useful for you. First session is free.
There’s something in the old saying, to stop and smell the roses. Noticing and enjoying the simple and beautiful things in life. But to be able to smell those flowers, you must plant and nurture them. You must take charge of your life – which in itself can be excruciatingly stressful.
So how can you get rid of negative stress?
We know that talented, driven and self-critical people are high risk for stress-related exhaustion disorders. But killing your ambition is difficult. Redirecting it however, setting different goals, can be life-changing. Use that drive and your performance personality to form and achieve new goals. Feel-good goals. It can be to laugh out loud every day, meet a new inspirational person every month or meditate once a week. Then go out there and deliver -like only you can!
There’s no vaccine for life crisis and unforeseen drama. You can however control how you handle setbacks. Choose to be kind to yourself. Try to see every obstacle as fertiliser for your roses; without shit in your life, there will be no personal development :).
To stop living a stressful life can be as difficult as becoming debt free or getting rid of an addiction. It requires conscious actions and sometimes you need help. Maybe book a couple of sessions with a coach. Hint hint me!
1. The Mariana Trench of Love
I expected I’d sit and watch the baby for hours but I was not prepared for the bottomless love I feel for Otto. (The Mariana Trench is the world’s deepest oceanic area). He still feels part of my body in a way. Even more surprising is the intimacy I now feel with my partner. I thought the baby cuddles would fill my closeness quota, but no. I feel even greater love for my partner and want even more hugs and kisses. A very pleasant surprise.
2. Helicopter Mom Deluxe
I was convinced that I would be a chilled out mom. Someone who doesn’t use hand sanitizer before every meal or obsess over how warm the baby is. But how wrong I was. I have a helicopter mom default setting and almost feel physical pain when he cries. If someone coughs in the supermarket (the longest trip we have taken so far), I wish that there was industrial power antiseptic spray I could use.
3. Prestige flestige
I was happy to discover that I left most of my career and life performance anxiety in the delivery room. The fact that it took two weeks before I updated the blog after giving birth didn’t bother me at all. A nice side effect indeed. A sort of must-dos detox.
4. Total world isolation
I never understood the so called baby bubble before it hit me. People told me to ‘enjoy the bubble’ or ‘we’ll see you when you’re out of the bubble’. The less charming side of this bubble is perhaps that you don’t have time to read a newspaper, watch your favourite series or use conditioner when you shower. On the other hand the rather pleasant side of the bubble is that things that world affairs or my housing cooperative politics seems completely unimportant. That said, I couldn’t ignore the terrible saga of the US presidential election. On election night I for once appreciated the night feedings so I could follow the news coverage.
5. The mother of efficiency
I now have two settings. The first, a distraught, apathetic zombie-like mode that is often on after a rough night. The second, a hyper efficient mode when I can empty the dishwasher, pay the bills, do the laundry, update Instagram, call mom and bake a pie, all while Otto sleeps. I, who am usually a task master and have spent my life chasing efficiencies and multitasking, am in awe of myself as a new mother.