Podcast: Burnout with Dr. Neha Sangwan

September 15, 2023
  • Brent Stewart
  • Brent Stewart
    Digital Strategy & Content Leader at Barry-Wehmiller

Here are some insights on the effects of burnout: 

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) officially recognized burnout as an occupational phenomenon in 2019. It estimates that over 75% of professionals worldwide experience burnout at some point in their careers.
  • According to Gallup, burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times more likely to actively seek a new job.
  • The American Institute of Stress estimates that workplace stress and burnout cost U.S. businesses around $300 billion annually due to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and healthcare costs.
  • A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that individuals with burnout are at a significantly higher risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
  • A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health revealed that individuals experiencing burnout were more likely to report personal conflicts and difficulties in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

These statistics were provided by our guest this week, Neha Sangwan, MD, CEO and founder of Intuitive Intelligence. Neha is a physician, engineer, author, speaker, and communication expert. She empowers individuals, leaders, and teams with effective communication tools that address stress, prevent burnout, inspire accountability and empower collaboration. Neha consults for top organizations like Google, American Express, and the American Heart Association. She has shared her work across three TEDx stages and authored two books: TalkRx: Five Steps to Honest Conversations for Connection, Health, and Happiness; and the recently released Powered by Me: From Burned Out to Fully Charged at Work and in Life.

You can find our more about Neha at her website

Neha has been a friend of ours at Barry-Wehmiller for some time now. She is incredibly insightful and has a unique, personal perspective on burnout, which could be one of the biggest challenges in the workplace.




Dr. Neha Sangwan: So for many years people have really been grappling with this. And so I'll just start with the research and just say that burnout can be defined as a triad. The experience of burnout is this amorphous, overwhelming experience, but the research says it's three things. First, it's exhaustion. So physical, yes, mental, emotional, yes, exhaustion. Now if it was that, the whole world would be burned out. But there's actually another component that comes in and the second component in the triad is cynicism.

And what that means is over time when you start to notice thoughts creeping in, like, "You know what? It doesn't matter how hard I try, I'm not going to make a difference. This doesn't matter anyway." And so when you start to have that cynicism, those thoughts that kind of creep in, that's a real alarm because now you're beginning the undermining of yourself and you're starting to believe that all your effort and hard work actually isn't going to make a difference. And what's interesting here is something called depersonalization that comes into the cynicism piece.

Where you start distancing yourself from social interactions. For me as a doctor, it would be around patients. I start referring to them as the guy in bed nine rather than Mr. Jones, because I'm trying to conserve my energy. It's not at all that I don't care. In fact, oftentimes you get to burnout because you care a lot and you're working a lot. But that depersonalization and cynicism is the second piece of the triad. And then the third piece is ineffectiveness. Literally you cannot function. You are now unable to do the job that you are being asked to do.

And so exhaustion, cynicism and ineffectiveness are the triad of burnout. And then one mistake that people really make is thinking, "I was fine in the morning and then at night I was burned out." That's not how your biology works, and that's not how burnout works. Burnout happens over time. So there's actually three phases that you go through to experience burnout, and the first one is the alarm phase. It's almost like you're jumping on a treadmill that's going a little too fast. That moment when you're like, "Oh." Your heart's skipping a beat, your blood pressure goes up, your adrenaline kicks in, your muscles tighten.

It's like that kind of an experience. Maybe you're a little more irritable to people than normal. You notice yourself snapping when you normally wouldn't, like, "Oh." The second phase is if that alarm phase continues on and it just becomes your way of life. You just start moving faster and faster without the rejuvenation and the break. Then you move into phase two of burnout, which is adaptation. And now you've made that alarm phase or even slightly faster on that treadmill, your normal way of living. And then it just takes one more thing.

Just one thing to have you go to phase three, which is the exhaustion phase, and you're sliding down the slippery slope of burnout to ineffectiveness. So there's a triad of burnout, the physical, mental, emotional exhaustion, the cynicism and the ineffectiveness. And then there's three phases of burnout that your body goes through. The alarm phase, the adaptation phase, and then the exhaustion phase.

Brent Stewart: The cynicism part is something that I don't think I ever would have really pinpointed as part of burnout. Sometimes when I get cynical about things, I feel like I'm just being a jerk.

Neha: A lot of times... There's people who by nature are more optimistic, and then there's people who are less optimistic in the world. And oftentimes the way I think of that is depending on the lens, it's a combination of your family upbringing, your life experiences. And whether you view the world with glasses that come from fear and mistrust and skepticism or trust and optimism. Martin Seligman has a whole model on this, which is, which glasses are you looking through to form your thoughts? So that's one thing, that can just be a general experience.

In burnout, what happens is when your physiology, when you're being inundated by a lot of things, you feel overwhelmed. You've been doing this for a while, the patterns and coping mechanisms that you have in place, you've outgrown them. They're no longer working. So let's say I would have a glass of wine to take the edge off my day. No problem. Noticed that. Maybe through the pandemic it went up to two glasses or, "Here, could you just hand me the bottle?" So when you need more of the same coping mechanisms than you originally did to get the same effect.

That's a really good clue you've moved from that alarm phase into that adaptation phase, where now you're just trying to survive. And oftentimes that's when the cynicism really starts to creep in because you're starting to feel like you're losing ground. Where you're working as hard as you can, you're doing everything. You know you're using all the tools you've got, and somehow you're still not catching a break. And so to me, that sometimes comes in almost like a white flag from inside saying, "Oh boy, what I'm doing, it's actually not working, and now I need to move into more of survival mode. So let me..."

And people don't do this consciously. It's such a gradual experience that they oftentimes don't know that it's happening. It's almost that proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water as the temperature keeps going up degree by degree. Like, "Oh, it feels a little hot in here, but it was hot yesterday. It was hot this morning. It just feels a little hotter. I can handle it." And so we keep soldiering on, and when we do this, eventually our physiology says, "No more."

Brent: Your book starts out with your personal experiences with burnout. Tell us about your journey to this being a subject that is important enough to you to write about. Tell us about how you got to this point.

Neha: The first thought that came to me was where do I start? Because burnout is not something that happens suddenly. And I'm an engineer, right? I'm a physician, so I think of things from a scientific, practical space. And whenever I'm tasked with solving something that's complicated, something like our global overwhelm of burnout and where can I contribute to those gaps? What I do is I think about a problem in a me, we, world scenario. So what's my individual piece of this? How did I contribute to this? Not that it's my fault, not at all, but I need to understand my own accountability and how that played in.

Then there's the environment in which I grew up, I work, I live. And then there's world events like tsunamis and hurricanes and things like this that add additional chaos. So what I'd say is I'm the middle daughter of immigrants from India. I don't remember a time when adults weren't looking at me saying, "Honey, are you going to be an engineer or a doctor?" I literally grew up thinking there were two choices and when I figured out that they weren't mutually exclusive, I did them both. So I wanted everybody to be pleased, and I think this has a lot to do with me being sent to live with my grandparents when I was young.

Three months to two years old, my grandfather got an assignment in Africa with the United Nations, and my grandmother, who was taking care of me, took me with her to go be with him for two years. And at that time, I think the Indian culture really didn't think much about kids kind of being shuffled to extended family. That's part of how our culture is. And so I went there, had a wonderful time, was taken really great care of and all of that. But when it was time for my mom and my sister to pick me up and bring me back, that was a huge trauma for me separating from who I thought my parents were.

And I believe that after that is when my people pleasing began and I wanted to be such a good girl so that I would never get sent away again. And I only understand this much later, decades later. At that time, I did what a little being does to survive. And so I became this people pleaser. And as I moved on in my life, that carried on into my work life, that carried on into my friendships. Anybody had a problem, I was the first one to volunteer. So when I got into a healthcare system where I was serving others and it felt really meaningful.

The business runs a little bit on a chronically understaffed way of doing things to make their numbers. And so when someone would say, "Hey, so-and-so called out sick and we need someone to cover the night shift." Even if I had just worked all day, I would raise my hand because I wanted to be a good team player. I wanted to please the people around me. I wanted to get an A. My own people pleasing nature played into this. And it was something that when I burned out at the tender age of 33, I really had to take a good hard look at.

Now I told you it's me, we, world. So let me tell you a little bit about the we here. I already told you a little bit about family and culture and how that we played into shaping me. The second part of the we here was healthcare is something else. We're in the business of life and death. We don't ever get classes on how you handle people's fear and emotions or any of those things. We get taught about their physical breakdown of their body, and we are supposed to use our super intellect that's been refined until we're well over 30 to help save their lives.

And we're supposed to zero out the emotions and keep moving and being really efficient whether someone makes it or whether they pass away. That's a really big load to carry. And then when you do it in an environment that's high stress, crisis mode and understaffed, that often has bullying going on behind the scenes. Of course patients wouldn't know that, but that is what's happening in many cultures. And it was unspoken, unattended. If someone was a physician partner or a chief, head of the nursing division or ICU it is common practice for people to be treating each other in quite a tough way.

And so there's this tough environment where you really can't fail, but the stakes are really high. That would be the we in which I was working. And then you look at the world and the bigger pictures of no policies that don't have backup plans and the way hospitals are run to make budget and the friction sometimes between physicians and nurses. And now you can see an entire pressure cooker. That one day I walked in and it was the final day of my rotation and I had had 18 hospitalized patients. I was holding the pager that takes all incoming transfers from the region.

So if someone has a trauma patient coming in, if there's a liver transplant patient, I'm the one that then needs to sort that out while I'm taking care of my 18 patients. So I came in at 6:00 AM, distributed all the patients. And by 11:00 AM, I had only seen two patients. That's awfully slow, but I wasn't aware of that. I just kept getting pages and I kept answering them and I kept doing my job. I turned to the nurse and I said, "Nina, can you please give me 40 IV milli equivalents and can you administer it to the gentleman in 636?"

It's only now that I realized that was some depersonalization going on for me, a little bit of distancing. Trying to refer to people by room number rather than name. And she looked at me and she said, "Dr. Sangwan, are you okay?" And quite honestly, that was the first time I had any indication that I might not be. And I said to her, "Why? What do you mean?" And she said, "That is the fourth time in under five minutes you've asked me the same question and I've answered you every time." That right there is ineffectiveness. I am now not functioning.

And now when I look back, I'm like, wow, five hours. We're in a time warp where I only saw two patients and I was handling all of these incoming transfers, but I didn't realize how little had gotten done. Because for me, that chaos was the norm. And so I didn't even realize that I was moving so much slower. So headed to the bathroom and called a colleague and just said, "Hey, Roger, can I talk to you?" He's a psychiatric colleague. The only reason I knew to call him was because a dear friend of mine six months earlier told me he had helped her when she was struggling.

So I thought I was going to him for a drive by consult, like, "Hey, I think I asked someone the same question a couple of times in a row. Should I just slow down, get a lunch break, maybe I haven't eaten." And he said, "I'll see you at the end of the day." And I just looked at my pale face in the mirror and I said, "How about now?" And he said, "Come on over right now." One hour later, he had tapped into my people pleasing, the bullying going on in our environment and all the factors that he could see had gradually ramped up this stress to a point that my own physiology had shut down. And boy, I was sent home that day.

I remember pleading with him, I remember saying, "No, but wait, I was just stopping by to see what we could do about this, but I've got 16 more patients to see." And this was the kicker. He said, "Oh, don't you worry. Those patients are going to be seen. It just won't be by you." And I think that's when I understood the gravity of what was happening in that moment. And there I was, one hour later I went from running the hospital and the patient's in it to one hour later standing in line to get my prescription for Prozac. And I remember driving home too, and the prescription's on my seat.

And I'm looking over at it and I'm thinking to myself, "I don't know what's going on here, but I don't think it's a Prozac deficiency." And so I took those meds and I put them in my top drawer in case someday I would need them. But see, this is the trouble about a doctor becoming a patient. I start deciding my own treatment plan. But what I did was weekly I started... He took me off, I went on leave for a few months. And he talked to me every week. And I started to unravel what has now become the book, Powered by Me: From Burned Out to Fully Charged at Work and in Life.

Because I realized how little the traditional medical world knows about burnout, how little I knew. That they could help me kind of not fall off the cliff, but they couldn't really help me with the underlying patterns that got me there and help me when I go back in the ring for round two, whether it's 10 days, a month or three months later. How do I have new tools so that this doesn't happen again? And right now people aren't getting that. And that's what this book is.

Brent: It's interesting as you talk about the kind of almost disassociation that led to you talking to your colleague and sparking something in you that you knew something was wrong. There may be a lot of disassociation when it comes to burnout in terms of how our actions in the midst of that affect other people. So how does our burnout affect other people?

Neha: So many ways. I'm just lucky. I'm lucky that the nurse could see what was happening, that the psychiatrist could shake me into reality and just stop me because I could have hurt a patient that day. I could have written the wrong medication that day. I could have hurt myself. I don't remember anything from the ride home other than looking at that medication thinking, "Okay, I don't get what's happening here, but something's really wrong." So what's amazing, Brent, is that I think we're so conditioned. I want to make people proud.

I want to be somebody who's thought of highly in high regard amongst my colleagues, amongst my patients. And sometimes our outward focus on what success means and our loss of our inner clues, connecting to ourselves, picking up our own body signals, carrying what success means to me. Those go by the wayside as we gradually get conditioned in society to think about things like faster is better and you got to do more with less. And people over profit, actually profit over people is what people say.

And when we get conditioned into a society that rewards you, reveres you, showcases you, appreciates you for these types of phrases and beliefs. I think sometimes we get a little, I mean brainwashed might be a strong word, but boy, burnout was a wake-up call to me. I started to question how had I gotten this far away from listening to my own body, mind, heart, spirit and purpose? Because boy, stopping me was a really good idea, stopping me in my tracks before I heard other people. Listen, I'm going to snap at other people. They're going to, "Gosh, Neha, what's up with her?" I'm going to cut corners, not because I'm lazy, but because I need to survive.

You could imagine if I had stayed that day and I had to get through 16 patients and wanted to get through them before midnight, those notes were going to be a little shorter. My curiosity with those patients was going to be a little less. I was going to be making statements asking fewer questions and trying to get through those notes pretty quickly. So it's about survival. It starts to become about your own survival. And I think the reason the research focuses so much on making it about the work stress, like the WHO. In 2019, finally said that burnout is a syndrome.

A collection of symptoms that we would call a syndrome, and they really name it as unmanaged stress in the workplace. Now, if there's one thing I've learned burning out myself and treating tens of thousands of patients in the last 20 years, it is that burnout is not confined to the workplace. Somebody at home can have a special needs child and be burned out. Someone at home can have a cancer diagnosis and be burned out, through years of chemo and all these things. You can be going through a lot. You can have aging parents and young children.

And that can be this chronic experience that over time you start to feel burned out. But my curiosity around that, anytime I see that, I think this definition of burnout will evolve. That's my prediction because I think what people might be afraid of is if they say that burnout can include both your personal and your professional life. That it can include me, we and world, not just the we, the work environment. I think they're afraid that people will either blame themselves or be blamed by others. That somehow it's your fault and this couldn't be anything further from the truth.

In fact, your highest performers are often the ones who are the most dedicated, are the most caring, are the most meticulous, are the ones that oftentimes burnout due to their sheer caring about wanting to do a good job. So it's not true to say that. It's actually a mistake. And yes, there can be enormous implications. You can lose money, make a bad deal, make a poor decision, hurt other people in the process, lose relationships, lose a job. Lots can happen. And in healthcare, the stakes are a little higher than money. They're human lives.

And so you can just imagine the level of pressure we put on ourselves not to make a mistake and how horrifying it is when we realize, "Oh my God, how could my judgment be so far off?" That's really what was going through my mind.

Brent: In talking about the me, we, world aspect of it. We've just come through a generational experience in terms of a pandemic, and there's so many aspects of that me, we, world that was part of our experience during the pandemic. Are we doing a good job of processing those years and understanding how it relates to maybe some of the burnout we're experiencing now or some of the traumas that we haven't dealt with now?

Neha: Well, I call the global pandemic a heart attack. It was a global heart attack that we went through from my vantage point. It's almost like a wake-up call, where if you could have denied up until then that you had ever had trauma or that you had ever gone through something stressful enough to bring you to your knees and have to rethink everything you ever knew. The pandemic did that. And much like my patients in the hospital, boy, when they have a heart attack and they're on the other end of it. I walk in the room and they are like, "Doc, I never thought I was going to be the 56-year old with a heart attack or the 48-year old with a stroke or the 72-year old with cancer."

And so there's this part of them, they're like, "Help me understand how I got here." And what's happening in that moment is crises change how we view the world, our framework, what we believe to be true is no longer true. We never thought this thing could happen to us, to our community, to our work, to the world. And overnight we all wouldn't be able to fly and we would be afraid of breathing air that other people were breathing. I mean, there were so many levels on which fear and crisis, trauma and forced change occurred. And here's the good news, it reset the playing field.

We all had to think about those beliefs that you got to be at work five days a week and nope, you can't take it from home. Keep work at work and home at home. Well, guess what? Work was home. So what are you going to do with those boundaries so that we could keep emotions out of the workplace when someone's kid and dog are running around behind them and you're realizing that you're getting to know them when you just wanted to keep everything professional. And so it broke down a lot of these societal strategies and coping mechanisms that we use to stay separate. And it literally physically separated us and taught us the importance of connection.

The other thing that I think really happened is we're a culture and world focused on data and external physical things we can see. And what the pandemic taught us was know something invisible that doesn't need a passport to get in, the invisible connections between our hearts, our emotions. All these things that were invisible like a virus and emotions and our connections. Those things matter. Those things matter as much as the physical world. And I think we really cracked open as a world to the potential of being able to reduce some of the stigma around mental health, around burnout.

And so many people who were in that, you know how I spoke to you in the beginning about the three phases, the alarm phase, the chronic adaptation phase, and then the exhaustion phase, where you slide down the slippery slope of burnout to ineffectiveness because that one more thing happened. I think people really realized, "Oh my God, I was hanging on by a thread for me." And for me, other people had to tell me. I literally thought my biology could go on forever. I was somehow superhuman without eating and sleeping and anything.

I could take care of the next emergency that wheeled into the emergency department. So I think what people kind of realized is, "Oh, these things I don't make important. They're actually really important." And when they were in relationships that they were surviving, they needed to be with that person 24/7. And they were like, "No, this doesn't work for me. I've outgrown this." And so what I believe the pandemic did was catalyzed, it stopped us in our tracks just like my few months off of leave. It gave us a chance to reflect and feel rather than do.

And boy, in that time did, we change as a society. There's some people who are still fighting it. There's people who are saying, "Nope, everybody has to go back to work and this is how it is." Except you can't really undo what has been done, transformation and evolution and behavioral change. When you integrate it into who you are realizations that you make, awarenesses. You really can't undo those. And so what you really want to do is kind of sit with that discomfort and start to ask yourself, now that I'm aware of this, whatever this is for you.

What tools do I need to up level, to move into the next evolution of living a life that matters to me, that's purposeful, that includes maybe not just me, but those I love and lead. It's really this incredible opening of the next level of consciousness in our world. So that's how I see it.

Brent: Throughout the time we've talked, you've talked a little bit about the workplace. What are the long-term consequences of denying or avoiding burnout in the workplace? Not only from the leader's aspect, their internal burnout, their personal burnout, but also just kind of the ignoring of it of the people that we lead. What are the long-term consequences of that and how can we be more aware of what's going on?

Neha: Well, I think we were all forced into something pretty rapid change and adjustments in our lives. And I think what we learned as humans is we can do hard things. We can do hard things. We survived, right? We made it out. And once we know we can do hard things, we develop a level of confidence and courage. And personal power is really what I speak of. Not positional power, a name on a door or a title that other people give you, but personal power. Me knowing who I am, what I value, what matters to me, and then making decisions based on those values.

And people realized how important flexibility, their own free time, some breaks, slowing down. They really could feel their own health and their bodies. And they started getting curious. They started having more real conversations. They started being trusting themselves in each other more to speak vulnerably. The three words, how are you, used to be, "Oh, I'm fine." And everybody would keep going. Boy, during the pandemic, you say, how are you? Boy, you got an answer, you got a real answer. And so I think proof came in much more clearly for individuals as well as workplaces.

And I think this hiding things under the rug, not really caring if people are exiting, not really counting engagement and productivity. Of course, we counted our bottom line and metrics and we'd say things like, "If so-and-so doesn't want to work here, then they can leave." Well, then we had the great resignation, and that was a real sign to me that people's level of their own personal power. They had already been through something really scary. They're less afraid now. On top of that, what we're doing is having more honest conversations.

So the things that you wanted to sweep under the rug and say phrases like keep work at work and home at home, so that you don't have to deal with what employers think are too messy of emotions or judging other people for showing up as who they are if they're burned out. Now, it's not only because we have five generations of the workforce in and 30% of our workforce will be Gen Z by 2030. We need to pay attention to helping everybody learn to navigate their emotions, learn to manage their energy. And that's why I took Powered by Me and I broke it into wherever you are on the spectrum from burned out to fully charged, at work and in life.

You want to figure out where you're having a net gain and a net drain of energy on a physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual level. And once you do that, you can figure out where you need to focus. And then I give you these practical personal tools to do that. And I think organizations that aren't paying attention to what the next generation wants and needs, they're not paying attention to how are you going to bridge the divide across these five generations of workforce? How are you going to give them a common language? But more importantly, in our families, in our education, we have not given the next generation.

And really a lot of us in the older generations, we have not given or provided the tools for us to function. We just would zero it out and say, "Oh, that's not important. Focus on the technical aspect of your job. Focus on what you do and just do it well and keep all that stuff out of work." No, it's all one human being showing up as an integrated human being, and they have a hundred percent of their energy. So if there's a net drain of energy going on at home, let's say they're having trouble with a teenager. They can't really set boundaries, they're struggling, they're staying up at night.

Do you really not think it's going to affect their performance at work? And by the way, when you teach them boundaries with their 16-year-old, they just learn boundaries in the boardroom. So I don't put all these rules around what I coach on and what I'm willing to speak about if it's on someone's heart and mind. We need to help equip them to be people who are agile, resourceful, resilient, and it's our job as companies. The ones I think are going to do well in the world now. The ones that are really just going to take off are the ones who invest in their people like Barry-Wehmiller does.

The ones who care not only about who they are at work, but care about who they are as a human. The past has been about the wallet and the head and the intellect. And this is something Raj Sisodia has said many times, which is the future is about the heart and purpose. So if you're still stuck on worrying about the bottom line next quarter and someone's technical skills. ChatGPT and AI are here, and the world is changing. The next generation cares about their heart and purposeful work.

And so it's really about how are we going to equip our workforce and our people. It's really our human force. How are we going to equip them with the skills they need to elevate and adapt quickly to a world moving faster by the day?

Brent: How can we prevent burnout and how can we start healing from burnout?

Neha: Well, listen, I'd say the first thing is what Barry-Wehmiller teaches all over the world, which is listening. The first thing we have to do is learn to listen to our bodies. Our bodies are talking, our physiology, our biology is talking to us all the time. Heart racing, stomach turning, muscles clenching, short, shallow breathing, our headaches. Our body's talking to us all the time. Most people get a double latte to override that, have a chocolate chip cookie for their three o'clock energy dip.

The first thing I'd say is you got to decipher the data coming to you from within you rather than overriding it, because those are the early signals that tell you something's wrong. I had become so good at being tuned into the outside world and what the outside world needed that I had no idea I was shutting down. And so whatever coping mechanisms, whatever ways that you've gotten here until now, thank them. They've gotten you through a tough time. They've allowed you to endure but it's time for you to spend a little less time together.

And it's time for you now to tune in and to start tuning into your body earlier, because that's the name of the game. And once you can decipher what throat constriction, sweating, all of these things mean to you, there's signals that you're getting out of your own comfort zone. You want to be able to understand that. And I go into that in detail in chapter four, pretty early in the book. Then once you understand that, it's really going to be about figuring out where you have... We got to personalize this to the human who's experiencing it.

So your pathway to burnout, even your pathway to not being at optimal health or fully charged is as unique as your fingerprint. So we have to personalize it to you. So you need to do an assessment, right? An assessment where it just takes a few minutes. I mean, for goodness's sake, if you're burned out, you don't have a lot of energy to do some long questionnaire, right? You got to do a quick assessment and zero in on where you're having a net gain or a net drain of energy. And once you figure that out, it's about really practical tools.

Whether it's soft belly breathing, to kind of unhook your fight or flight system. Whether it's guided imagery to kind of use your mind and your body to shift into a place where they can be in harmony, and you can start thinking a little more creatively. The first thing we have to do is stop the way that things are being done and give you a moment to pause, reflect, figure out what's happening uniquely for you, and then equip you with some tools that are really going to help you. So a really interesting fact is that your body doesn't know whether your thoughts are real or imagined.

And what I mean by that is think about you having a nightmare at night. You're dreaming and someone's breaking in, they're chasing you, you're falling over a cliff, whatever it is. When you wake up in the middle of the night and your heart's racing, the sheets are thrown off and you're sweating. What's actually going on? There's usually darkness, silence, and nothing's happening. But your own mind, your body doesn't know if those thoughts are real or imagined. So it responds to your thoughts as if they are real.

Now, the beautiful piece of this, people that experience, anxiety, insomnia, all these things. There's a whole section in the book on emotions and how they relate and thoughts, your mental energy. If this is you, here's the good news. You can also use your thoughts to bring your mind to a safe place, a place that's comfortable and safe for you and your body will follow. Scientifically you want to understand how your biology works. You want to partner with your body, not push through it.

There's all sorts of ways that the moment you discover this and you start to tune into your body, rather than tune out of it. Boy, you're going to have a whole new set of data and ways to up level how you function in the world. And so I'd say healing from burnout is a unique journey, and that's the real important piece of why this book took me 20 years to really decipher and simplify and hone it in for people. Because we've really got to help them where they're at, and we have to help them by personalizing burnout to them uniquely and then helping them turn it around.

So the engineer in me, it's pretty much the science of medicine with the art of communication and the practicality of an engineer. I get to make the invisible visible. Companies can do this all at once. You can literally do this in town halls all at once. This doesn't need to take three to five years where you work with the CEO and the C-suite and then you go to the next level of leadership. Our world is about transparency, truth and trust now.

And the companies that are ready to do this and create experiential learning and teach everybody these skills, we all need to learn them. And so why wouldn't we learn them together and use it as a way to connect us all in the me, we, world.







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