Health Podcast Post

Avoiding Burnout with Charlène Gisèle

George Grombacher November 3, 2023

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Avoiding Burnout with Charlène Gisèle

LifeBlood: We talked about avoiding burnout, how to survive success, determining what success means to you, the necessity of having strategies for recovery, and how to know if you’re at risk of burning out, with Charlène Gisèle, high performance coach helping professionals avoid burnout.       

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Charlene Gisele

Charlène Gisèle

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Julianne’s. Giselle is a high performance coach helping top performers avoid burnout and find sustainable success. Welcome to the show. Charlaine

Charlene Gisele 0:12
thank you so much, George. I’m really excited to be on the show today.

george grombacher 0:15
Yeah, excited to have you on, tell us a little bit your personal lives more about your work, why you do what you do?

Charlene Gisele 0:22
Hmm, why did I become a van out coach? Well, because I burned out. I think that, you know, to teach, you have to come from a place of genuine attend to city and that was something so important to me. I’ve been obsessed with being a lawyer and becoming an attorney since I was a tiny little girl. You know, some girls dream about being a princess. And I dreamt about being an attorney says a lot about how much of a geek I am. But that’s the truth. So it was, it was a very early on career choice. And I put all that I had into their career, my passion, my drive my hopes. And to be honest route, I actually loved that I loved everything about it. I even loved the fact that it was so fast paced, and intense and exciting, and the high performance of it all. And I was working at an at an American law firm at the time. But what I realized through a bit of a crash and burn experience was that I did not understand the concept of sustaining high performance. Although I was very ambitious, and I was very much driven, I did not really understand that there is such a thing as an equation of high performance. And there is such a thing as sustaining that high performance. And when you put it all in without having any kind of recovery strategy, actually might be counterproductive. And that, to me, was a complete shock if I’m being honest, because I like to think of myself as a very keen students. And I did take law school very, very seriously. And I was no top students. And when I joined, I was a top associate. Little did I know that I had such big gaps in my knowledge when it came to myself care.

george grombacher 2:27
What kind of law were you practicing?

Charlene Gisele 2:28
I was a construction litigator in the field of oil and gas.

george grombacher 2:35
And is that as a little girl Starlin that you saw in your mind’s eye that you’re gonna be a construction litigator in the fields of oil and gas?

Charlene Gisele 2:43
Well, as a little girl, one thing that I knew that I wanted to do was disputes. And I did know a very early on that I wanted to be a litigator, the construction element came in later, I was fascinated by architectures and pipelines, and perhaps a bit of an odd way. And it was a way to merge my intellectual passion for the law with my admiration for engineering and architecture and working on a project that is both tangible and growing, that you can see, and you can feel and you can almost touch. I really liked that. Since sorial aspect of construction law.

george grombacher 3:21
Yeah, I certainly appreciate. Okay, so what got you where you needed to be through law school successfully, as a as an associate, to, for lack of a better term, make your way and make your mark with the firm and to demonstrate your abilities and your your willingness to work hard, didn’t get you to the point where it’s going to take you any further or really be sustainable.

Charlene Gisele 3:49
Life accident, really, when I decided to be an attorney was motivated by my great admiration for my father. And a few years into my career, as I was building as much as one can, and really enjoying success without really reflecting on the other aspects of my life that I had neglected. My father had a burnout driven heart attack, while going to work on a Monday morning. And it really hit me that the way we worked was not sustainable. And it took that life or death moment to contemplate and reflect on the meaning of sustainable success. And one thing that I hadn’t ever appreciated before I visited my dad in the unit and had to be faced with the aftermath of the heart attack and a stroke and the possibility that he may die was actually how much do we think about the fact that the only thing that truly defines whether or not our success is sustainable is whether or not we are able to survive it. And that that brings quite a lot of morbidity into the question, but from a philosophical standpoint, I think that We often until we hit with a diagnosis or a live scare, we don’t really measure success against the mark of whether or not we will survive it and enjoy it.

george grombacher 5:13
Surviving success, those are two words that aren’t necessarily put together commonly, but very powerful.

Charlene Gisele 5:21
Indeed, her had never really been Assad. Until that moment where, you know, I walked into the intensive care unit on the Friday night because of course, I couldn’t fly on Monday, I was busy with work as a good attorney would be. And by the time I flew in, my dad actually had a stroke before my eyes. So it was quite emotionally traumatic. And if it wasn’t for that, I don’t think that thought would have even been generated in my head at all or ever.

george grombacher 5:51
Yeah, certainly, you’re just doing the thing from this is this, this is what I do. And sure, I’m tired, I don’t feel great. But that’s just that’s just part of the deal.

Charlene Gisele 6:03
Indeed, all I wanted was carry on and push on harder and harder beyond the limits of what my body and mind could sustain. But it really dawned on me in that moment that it was bigger than me, it was bigger than my father. In fact, when I stepped away from the hospital, I started to reflect on all the people that I greatly admired. The attorneys that made me want to be the attorney that I was becoming. And I started to notice that there was more to the story that where you can see at surface level, yes, they’re shiny and bright and brilliant, and super smart. But they’re also super stressed. And a lot of them are navigating divorces, a lot of them are navigating diagnosis. And it just made me question, how could I become the person that actually bridged the gap between high performing law and sustainable wellness. And I became that coach, I became the coach that I wish I had, I became the coach that I wish my father had, and I became the coach that I hoped many attorneys could have, so that they can keep on doing what they love. Because ultimately, that’s my goal, when I work with top performing attorneys is to ensure that they can continue to shine at work, but also in life.

george grombacher 7:21
Makes it makes all the sense in the world I’m interested in, in in knowing how to know how to identify if I am burning out, and that I’m interested in it. I wonder if people really know, what does success really look like?

Charlene Gisele 7:41
That’s a really good question, George. One of the things that I’ve noticed is certain level of deterioration in different aspects of our life. The first aspect to watch out for that perhaps is an indicator of a professional being somewhere along the burnout spectrum, is when we see behavioral changes, behavioral changes can range anywhere drawed from increased consumption of alcohol to seeking thrill activities that a bit unusual to sleep deterioration to isolation to food related behaviors. Right. So that’s quite a wide range of topic. The second aspect to watch out for that I see very often with successful professional notaries as the attorney population is around that social element. Am I withdrawn? Am I actually cancelling out events? Because, well, most likely, I won’t be able to make it. So isn’t it easier if I just don’t show up or just don’t bother to make the plan in the first place. Or when things that you want us to laugh become burdensome, that’s also a really strong telltale sign. The third aspect is a lot more emotional. And that’s when that one’s burning passion for the profession. Turns into what I like to call the dooms and glumes it becomes a bit of a dread. You just go in on Monday thinking oh, here we go again, right. That’s really telling instead of getting excited for the week ahead, you start to dread the week ahead. That’s something to watch out for. And then the the other level is the professional. So you know, for some of that my client, it could be performance based, but most of my client actually continued to excel while they’re struggling. And that’s the bit that makes it a little bit hard to pinpoint because typically, Rockstar professionals don’t want to admit that there is problems. So what they do is they either brew or they bottle up, they bottle it all up. And there is a great level of, of shame and an almost taboo of, but why and how can I struggle doing that thing that on paper looks so shiny and bright. And this is really where the power of coaching comes in. Because my strong belief is that just like in sports, right when you see athletes get to the Olympics and win gold medals, you hear them talk about the fact that they’ve been coached, no one would go, Ah, this athletes got coach. So that must be a MIDI Ogg, mediocre athletes, not at all people go, Wow, what a great athletes and what a great coach. And that’s how they want gold. And the mindset shift for working with top performing professional is to go from, I can’t get coach because it’s an admission of the feather struggle to getting coached because I’m a rock star. And I want to continue to be one.

george grombacher 11:04
What a powerful shift that is. And it’s I mean, it’s so obvious once once you say it out loud, but not necessarily intuitive with which is interesting. When when you does the idea of looking forward to the week ahead, on a Sunday evening or Monday morning? How many attorneys are really doing that?

Charlene Gisele 11:29
Many? So typically, when I asked my attorneys just the other weeks, I was working with one of my client first coaching session, I said, So what are you looking forward to? The day to be over? That’s usually what I get as an answer. And that’s when I know there is quite a bit of work to do. And that’s where I come in, you know,

george grombacher 11:51
the day to be over where I’m not going to be over. And what’s what’s what’s possible.

Charlene Gisele 12:00
And what’s possible is be building mental fortitude. So think about it this way, when you see a top performing athletes, or a top performing champion, be it a footballer, beat a rugby player go in to play that will go in studying yet again. Ah, no, we’re gonna lose. I have a feeling this is going to be a bad one, isn’t it? Quite the opposite. They work with their coaches, they work with sports psychologists to top up that belief that they are going to win and they are going to perform. Because they’ve done that mental work, which is really that mental fitness, that mental fortitude, that actually adopt the belief that they’re winners, and guess what happens? They win.

george grombacher 12:54
And it’s not necessarily just doing a better job as an attorney, or whatever it is that I’m doing. It’s feeling good about the work also.

Charlene Gisele 13:05
Yes, yes, absolutely. And aligning your values, right? Because very often, when we’re starting to feel the frustration, anger, all those emotions resentment, my clients often use the term or just feel a bit grumpy or I have short fuses, or my wife has noticed that my mood has deteriorated. That’s the kind of words that I get. That’s actually because you have made a very big gap between who you are and what you do. My work as a coach is to make sure that my clients work on making that gap between who you are and what you do as close as possible. And when you bridge that gap, that’s where value in alignment lies. And really, that’s magic. That’s magic. Because suddenly you do what you do was that renewed sense of passion and desire, and you can truly be what you do and do what you all and that’s so beautiful.

george grombacher 14:17
So is that is that I am a fun loving, playful person. And I’m going to figure out how to interject that into my actual professional work, and is that I am also an active person and therefore as an active person, I need to be active throughout the week.

Charlene Gisele 14:36
That’s a really great one. That is one first step auditing your values. So what are your core values at a professional level and life level? If there is a gap between the two? Sometimes it’s sometimes one of one one of my clients leading value success, right? I want to be successful. You’ll figure okay. Yeah, Surprising, isn’t it? You want to be successful, I hear you, but specifically, what do you want to be successful at? Ha, I want to make partner or I want to make an equity partner, I want to make X amount of dollars a year. Okay, great measure of success. I hear you. But what else do you want to be successful about? And that’s where the reflection begins, right? Well, I want to be a successful husband, I want to be a successful father, I want to be a successful community builder. I want to be X, Y, and Z. And so then the next question really is, once you’ve audited those values, do you embody those values? And if not, what boundary do you need to set in place to embody those values. So going back to your example, which I thought was terrific around, fun, right? Fun comes up a lot. And very often for my clients, it’s almost either a distant memory, or a fantasy of an aspiration right, so far removed from their reality, they can barely touch it or feel it. And actually, what you can do to reintegrate FUN into your life is just setting a boundary. So I’ll give you a very concrete example of one thing that I did with my clients. Just recently, I asked him what, what’s your definition of fun? When do you feel fun? And he felt fun when he was playing golf with his friends. So of course, next question is when is the last time you played golf? COMM remember, right? So here we come coaching homework, this weekend, you’re going to play golf, and you’re going to schedule it as if you were meeting the law firms, most important clients, because then I know that he’s definitely going to show up. If we just build it as an aspirational hobby. He’s not going to show up. He didn’t show up for years, why would it change now. So it’s knowing what your motivators are, in his particular instance, it was continue to be brilliant, and bring fun into the equation. So we set those boundaries around it by scheduling that activity. And what happens is, on the Monday morning, then he felt more creative, he felt more engaged. So at first, you could say, What does golf have anything to do with law? Or the most interesting question is, but golf had a lot to do with him as a person. So when you rekindle your passion, outside of work, you also rekindle your passion for work.

george grombacher 17:41
Yeah, we do have a tendency to sort of segment or wall things off from one another. And Golf has got nothing to do with this. But it does, it has everything to do with all of it, because you are bringing yourself to all these things.

Charlene Gisele 17:55
That’s right. And you know, he’s a very strategic person. So by playing golf, he really also could be more creative in his strategies and found that actually, that generated new ideas that he could then apply, perhaps not in a linear way, but apply nevertheless, as an attorney.

george grombacher 18:19
A heart is it for people just to to recognize or to embrace that it’s okay to have fun, and it’s more so it’s important to enjoy your life. And it doesn’t need to be a struggle session or just not everything needs to be a slog.

Charlene Gisele 18:37
It comes back to the productivity equation. One of the fundamental law of peak performance in sports psychology is to really look at productivity and performance as part and parcel of an equation. So typically, if you have a whole lot of stress, with no adequate recovery, call it fun, call it recreation, call it release, whatever you might want to call it. It’s almost label independence, because it’s all about that release that recovery, then you are going to grow. So it will be going chronic stress of stress or high intensity stress plus, rest, leisure, release fun, equals sustainable performance. But very often, the equation is instead chronic stress, high anxiety, performance, anxiety, professional perfectionism, plus, no rest, no recovery, because I don’t have time for that equals burnout. And when I can flip that switch and get my clients to actually see that their reason equation to peak performance, that’s usually when the penny drops.

george grombacher 19:56
That makes a ton of sense. Well, Charlotte, thank you so much for coming. On where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you?

Charlene Gisele 20:04
I use LinkedIn quite a lot. So you will find a lot of my articles and publication and thought leadership on LinkedIn at challenges owl. And you will also find it on my website, WW dot challenges And you will get a lot of resources as well bead confidence recording beat ebooks. And of course, if you mentioned the podcast today, then I’ll be happy to send more material over your way.

george grombacher 20:31
Awesome. Well, if you enjoyed this as much as I did, show Charlaine your appreciation and share today share with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Charlaine It’s ch ar l e n e g i s e l and find her on LinkedIn as well and check out other great resources and find out if what she is working on is going to help you get closer to the life that you actually are wanting. Thanks again Sheldon. Thank you, George. Till next time remember to do your part by doing your best

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