How to Get your Bounce Back With Amanda Crowell | UYGW042

When the hustle and grind gets you down, you need RESILIENCE! When you feel burned out, that can feel like a monumental task… but I’ve got your back. Over the next 5 weeks you will receive two short episodes every week, each one with a resilience tip from someone who is striving—just like you– every day to do Great Work. In this kickoff episode, Amanda gives you her favorite framework for deciding what the best strategy for feeling better would be, based on how exhausted you feel. This framework will provide relief and support to help you get your bounce back anytime you feel run down or burned out.

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Do you want 2023 to be the year you finally get to your Great Work? Join me on January 17th for Unleashing Your Great Work 2023, an online jumpstart to doing the work that matters the most to you without sacrificing everything else. 

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About the Host:

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist, speaker, podcaster, author of Great Work, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda’s TEDx talk: Three Reasons You Aren’t Doing What You Say You Will Do has received more than a million views and has been featured on TED’s Ideas blog and TED Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.

Amanda lives in New Jersey with her husband, two adorable kids, and a remarkable newfiepoo named Ruthie. She spends her days educating future teachers, coaching accidental entrepreneurs, and speaking about how to make progress on Great Work to colleges and corporate teams. To book Dr. Crowell to speak or inquire about coaching, check out or email





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Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Welcome, everybody to unleashing your great work. On this special Nine episode series, we are focused on resilience. What is it? How do we find it? And if we've lost it, how do we get it back? So listen in, because we know that great work is so much more dependent on our resilience than it is on our hustle.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

When I was in educational consulting, one of my favorite projects was for the office of continuous improvement in the New York City Department of Education. Continuous improvement is the term that the education sector uses to describe process improvement. Other industries do this kind of work, too. You've heard about it if you've read the book, Toyota kata, or if you're familiar with the term quality improvement, which is what they call it in healthcare. So improvement science is a close cousin to most of the process work popping up in companies all over the world like Kanban, and KPIs and agile project management. And it's the foundation of the kind of growth coaching that I've been doing in my business for the past decade. The general idea is that if you look closely at your existing workflow, and then measure and tweak the moments within that workflow, you can have an outsized impact on your ultimate sort of holistic quality of the work that you're doing. In education, for example, you might like track the workflow of a student who's doing Math Worksheets. So first, you give them the worksheet, then you give them instructions, then you support their work through group work or conferencing. And then they turn it in, then you give them feedback, then they respond to the feedback, then the greatest input, and then the grade is communicated to the student. And those were the moments inherent in students doing a worksheet, and each and every moment in there could be improved. So it's basically an operationalization of the idea that big changes, or big things happen through like little changes, which I have found to be really true and very empowering, and all the different environments where we're doing that work. Because you know, anyone can handle a little tweak. So maybe we actually can make things better. You know, it's a very empowering experience. And when I worked with school teams, what we would do is typically, first we would look at their workflow and identify the moment and that would happen before. And then we would do a six or eight week, what we called an improvement sprint. And then that whole whole thing would be rounded out with like a sharing event where the team would come together and share with that, like other teams at the school or like the administration or whatever. It was a really fun process. It truly was, it's empowering, it's exciting. You can see and feel the impact of the changes that you're making, your team is talking to each other in more productive ways than ever before. It's all truly great. But also, it's very, very tiring. When you've done an improvement sprint, and you're there like at the end, sharing what you've learned, you are not ready to turn around and do it again, you need a break. Now in that consulting world, we call this phenomenon improvement fatigue. And it's not just a consequence of improvement science, you can also get improvement fatigue because of too much personal development in your life. Too many goals too many, trying to make yourself better than maybe you get it from too much feedback at work, right? Like every single thing you do, you have like, oh, make this little tweak, make that little tweak, it can get really exhausting. And really, truly, you can get that kind of improvement fatigue from just too much pushing yourself at work. Too much grinding too much hustle too much productivity, too many sales calls too much data analysis, too many zoom meetings, it can all just get to be too much. When this happens, our desire for change and improvement in our enthusiasm for getting better. As well as our ability to bounce back from setbacks, recover our energy and respond to requests with diplomacy and grace. All of this begins to disappear. in psychological terms, we say our resilience has become diminished. And it's to be expected and it doesn't have to cause you any trouble. As long as you're thinking about your resilience in strategic terms. As long as you're noticing when it begins to flag and making room for recovery and enjoyment and fun. In addition to keeping up with your to do list and your goals. The problem is a lot of us do not keep good tabs on our resilience and it can seep away without our entirely noticing. That's why over the next five weeks, I'm releasing two episodes each week. And every single one of them is focused on resilience starting with this episode right now, right here, because resilience matters. It matters because it feels terrible to be exhausted and rundown And it matters because the work that you are called to do your great work is way, way more dependent on your resilience than it is on your ability to grind away at the hustle. This is because great work requires creativity, innovation, collaboration, and willpower. And every single one of those things is entirely dependent on resilience. If you take the resilience away, you end up with old ideas, exhausted teams just trying to finish it already. And a desire to take shortcuts, so you can get it over with this is the ultimate improvement fatigue. Now, the great news is that your resilience wants to exist, you want to feel good to be enthused and alive and happy. Your body and your mind desire to feel that happy dog wiggle. Resilience is like the planet or your body. If you give it any support at all, it will self heal. As long as you don't continue to injure it every day by running on empty and avoiding fun because there just isn't time and forgetting to feed it and exercise it or let it watch the office. As long as this isn't how you are treating yourself, your resilience will recover. And you will get your own wiggle back. Now, how exactly to support your resilience depends in large part on how depleted it is. Let's think of your resilience like a basketball. If you're a basketball is pretty pumped, it's ready for the game and it wants to be played with it wants to have fun, it wants to be bounced really high and thrown from friend to friend. If you're just feeling kind of blob, but you're generally okay then this is probably the state of your resilience. In this case, you don't need rest as much as you need fun. Ask yourself, what do you love to do? What would you look forward to? Is there a concert you can attend a book signing, you can go to a comedy club, a fiction book you've been meaning to read? Can you get your friends together for a game night? What will get your blood moving and give you something to tell people about for weeks to come? Make time and do those things. Now sometimes your resilience is more like a basketball that isn't really bouncing anymore. It sort of does. But it mostly doesn't. This is a ball that needs some care. It won't take much to get it back on its feet, but it's not ready to charge into a fun filled extravaganza, I find that this is how most people go into vacation. They're in Hawaii, or they're on the cape or they're in the hotel, but they aren't really ready. They need a few days to just relax enough to be on vacation. When this is the case, give yourself that time. If you give yourself a day or so before you expect yourself to have fun. So you can just rest you will get way more out of your time off. In my mind, one of the most extravagant ways to do this, the way I love the most actually is to give myself a whole day in bed while I'm a mom, so I can't give myself the whole day. But I'm gonna give it everything I can get up send the kids to school. And this it truly works better on a day before a vacation begins before the kids are home or they can go to school. Everybody else can go to work but you stay home and then I'll come back from dropping them off, put my pajamas back on, get into the bed and do whatever I want. I could sleep and then read and then sleep again.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

I could get up and eat get back in bed, watch a few episodes or whatever strikes my fancy go back to sleep. You get the idea. This will reinflate the basketball when it's starting to give up the bounce. And then you can have fun. Now, some people hear this idea and they react with a lot of strong distaste. It might feel like lazy or selfish or it is generally not okay. And so instead they just keep abusing their basketball. Bounce. They yell and the ball tries it really does. It really does try to balance. It pumps itself up with coffee. It's forcing smiles it's showing up in body. But slowly, mind and spirit are evacuating before long. The basketball is just flat. It's under a bunch of leaves in the driveway. It's been stepped on and run over and no one's even expecting it to do much anymore. This is burnout. Your resilience is a memory. You are cynical, exhausted and teetering on the edge of hopelessness. It hurts and it's only going to keep getting worse. You can end up with back pain and headaches and anxiety and depression all because your resilience has been sent out back to die. But all is not lost. We can recover. Trust me I know this because I have when you get to this point, we need to take our basketball inside. Look at it closely. patch up its holes, pump it up with just a little bit of air at a time so it doesn't have a big trauma response from too much too soon. And then just place it gently next to the heater with a bowl of soup. Slowly feeling will return to its little nubby skin and it'll begin to trust that feeling of air inside, then it wants to feel better. And it has enough enthusiasm to read a book and watch some Netflix, then it remembers that it likes to play games. And before long, it's watching basketball on TV, give it enough support. And you'll be surprised at how quickly that basketball wants to be on the court again, bouncing and bounding and bringing joy to the world. So I realized I fully personalized that basketball, but really, I was talking about you. When you feel like that defeated and left to cry, you need to take the whole situation in hand and take care of yourself like a sick child. Don't expect yourself to have too much fun right away. First you need to recover, then you can follow that wiggle back to its full force. Now, you might think that there simply isn't time to recover from burnout, because if there was, you wouldn't have gotten burned out in the first place. And honestly, that's the real problem. There's never enough time to recover from burnout. But unless you're cool with a life of misery and exhaustion, you need to make that time now. I'm recording this during the holidays in the United States. So sometimes there's an opportunity to give yourself a break at this time of year. But if you're listening to this at another time of year, or you work in retail, and the holidays are your own personal nightmare, then you need to strategically look at your life, and find a time to recover a few days in a row if possible. But a hardcore boundary around a particular time of day every day can also work, you need to do it. And then once you've recovered and you're feeling better, you need to manage your resilience the way you manage your budget, or your diet or whatever it is that you keep a careful eye on. You have to build a habit of maintaining your resilience, giving it fun when it needs a good bounce and giving it rest when it starts to flag. This is how you avoid full scale burnout. And now, once you're out of full scale burnout, you will also have the energy to begin an improvement cycle so we can change whatever it is that is systemically causing you to lose your enthusiasm in the first place. Do you need a new job? Do you need a new city? Do you need a new wall color? Those things too will be so much easier to find when you are more resilient. So over the next five weeks, I want you to come back here to the unleashing your great work podcast for more ideas about how to build your resilience. There are 10 short episodes just like this one. These in this episode are my ideas. But I'm not the only person with good ones. I've invited eight other people to tell us how they are able to rebuild their resilience and get back to their great work. I think you'll enjoy them. And if you have a great idea, come over to Instagram or LinkedIn and tell me everything we have to help each other when it comes to great work. And I'll see you in just a few days.


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