Transcript Ep 9 Burnout is a Sign You're Not Following Your Truth

Kellee  0:00  

That's a pretty big indicator you're going to burn out is, if you're doing more to care for others than you are for caring yourself. Remember that put your own oxygen mask on first before you help the person next to you? And I was doing none of that. So without the right help and doing too much, I was bound to burn out. But I think that it was more than just how much I was doing. It was also that I wasn't doing what was an alignment with my bigger purpose. And that was a big aha for me, that I could see in hindsight. Look, the best way to describe my experience is that I was running a 24/7 All you can eat buffet and everyone wanted something different than what the menu offered. It was far more demanding than I expected. And it left me little room for growth. Memberships are no joke, they take a lot of work. And they are going to twist you and turn you in ways that you do not expect.

Kellee  1:01  

You're listening to Unfold with Kellee Wynne this is an unpolished, imperfect and totally honest podcast, and I'm talking to all the artists, creatives, visionaries, and changemakers, who want to live a life by design and not by default. If you're ready to have thought provoking, eye opening and heart centred conversations, that explore the stories that made us who we are, and break through the boundaries of expectations, then you are in the right place.

Kellee  1:34  

Well, hello, hello. Welcome again, to Unfold with Kellee Wynne.  I'm really happy to have you here as we continue on the conversation we were having last week about burnout. Look, I know you know these things, but sometimes it's good to hear these things. It's really more about reminding you of the things that you already know in your heart to be true. And so I wanted to talk to you about where you might be getting stuck or hung up for those of you who are struggling. For those of you who've been through this before, and maybe you're coming out of it, but you can relate to the things that I'm talking about today. Are you stuck with joyless painting, right now? Joyless business? joyless connection? It might be because you're on the verge or burnt out completely. Look, the overworked, overwhelmed artist is a real thing. I know how passionate you are, and how much time you've put into making it work. Me to friend, me too. And everyone warned me that I would burn out. But sometimes we are a stubborn folk blinded by our own determination. 

Kellee  2:40  

How about you? Does your mind ever take a day off, it's hard for me to turn it off, and shut it down and really see the bigger picture. And that's why, it's very clear why I burnt out at the end of 2020. And that's what I wanted to be able to talk to you about today, how it happened, and how I recovered from it and what I'm doing now. Look, I love the process of not only being an artist, but an entrepreneur as well. I live, eat, breathe the stuff, but a word to all my creative friends without a break, without taking time to reconnect with the core of who you are. Well, you're simply going to get lost in this process. So I want you to let your truth guide you through your artistic expression of life. More than just the allure of success. Business is temporary. You are forever. You have to live your truth first so that you don't crash and burn later. Burnout only happens when you are not living your truth, it's a quote from Sahara Rose in her book, Discover your Dharma. And when I read this, suddenly, so much of what I was going through was clear to me. I had burned out hard. I couldn't understand it because I loved teaching. I love the people of my former art membership programme. I love running my business, but I just couldn't go on. So if you've been following me for a while then you probably know that in the early fall of 2020, everything came to a screeching halt for me. And I'm talking about this today on the podcast for those of you who are going through the same thing. I want you to know you are not alone. Making a conscious decision to change what you're already doing, is scary. It's a big upheaval. We look to the future with our goals and our dreams and we've set things in motion. We've made promises that we think that we need to keep. We're heading down a path that is known and understood, and we want to disrupt it all. But when we burn out when we hit that roadblock, when we are faced up against the wall, there's really not another choice. 

Kellee  4:59  

Making a conscious decision to change what you're doing is scary. But when you've hit that wall, there is no other option. But to find a better, healthier way forward, your well being just completely depends on you making that change. So at the time, the burnout felt like my skin was crawling, every time I tried to get serious about work, it was so serious, I had about an hour of customer support available in me per day. And that was the best I could do to reorganise everything that I had been building my entire business around. And I took the membership programme and turn it into courses, the best I could, through that process. I didn't even paint for many months. In fact, you know, I still continue to struggle to find my rhythm with painting, and making a regular painting practice. 

Kellee  5:52  

But I want to know why I burned out on something I loved so much. And I think the truth is twofold. Let's just talk about the overwork. That's the upfront problem. I overextend myself for sure, I had not hired the right kind of help. And I was not very good at being a good manager for the team that I had. And here's a little pro tip for you. Finding qualified applicants that actually work in the field that they're meant to work in, rather than finding other artists or friends to do the job, is probably going to be a lot more helpful to you as you build and grow your business. But in my case, I turned to the people that I knew, and it also created friction, because I didn't know how to manage it, either. So he didn't have the right help to handle customer service, I didn't have all the the knowledge that I need in place in order to build the business as big as it was growing at the time. 

Kellee  6:50  

I also was doing all the things. I was doing whatever I could to support my business and my customers through the pandemic. And in 2020, we all know everyone had to do a major pivot. So well, not only was I trying to grow and build this grand idea of a business that reached all over the world and helped artists learn how to make the best art they could, I wanted to try to tackle everybody's problems during a global pandemic. And anyone who was feeling fear struggle, I wanted to be able to be there for them by creating the best that I could not just in my programme, but every other action that I took. And I really put the business and my customer first, I was offering live lessons regularly, I put together the very first virtual art summit on a on a moment's notice, I pulled that all together in less than a month. I was creating videos daily for the 100 Day Project. Yes, I chose to do the 100 Day Project and add videos to it. But my thought was, if I create videos, there's more that I can give to the world. And on top of that I was in the middle of writing my very first book, and running courses and the regular membership. So I was giving everything to everyone else. And I was not taking care of me. I wasn't even really present for my family either, who were I'm sure struggling quite a bit with great upheavals in their life. So this was a pretty big indicator you're going to burn out is if you're doing more to care for others than you are for caring yourself. Remember that 'put your own oxygen mask on first, before you help the person next to you'? And I was doing none of that. So without the right help and doing too much I was bound to burn out. 

Kellee  8:36  

But I think that it was more than just how much I was doing. It was also that I wasn't doing what was an alignment with my bigger purpose. And that was a big aha for me that I could see. In hindsight look, the best way to describe my experience is that I was running a 24/7 all you can eat buffet and everyone wanted something different than what the menu offered. It was far more demanding than I expected. And it left me little room for growth. Memberships are no joke, they take a lot of work. And they are going to twist you and turn you in ways that you do not expect. It doesn't mean that it isn't a beautiful way to serve. But when you don't know what you're in for, I don't think that you know how to expect how it's going to change you. I was very proud of my offer. And I cared a lot for my guests. But after spending more than a year trying to make it something it could never really be. I knew it was time to transition. 

Kellee  9:30  

So I did try to make a shift in my programme so that I could take the course and the lessons deeper than where we were with with basic lessons. But it didn't seem to connect with my members. And that shift was too abrupt. I also tried to make a shift within myself but I was confused and disconnected from the bigger picture. I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and my message was not clear at all. Messaging and clarity is really important in order to grow a business, and I was all over the place, and I think it just became very apparent to me in the fall of 2020, that I had no choice but to scrap it all, and begin to rebuild. So yes, I had a successful membership. But it was only successful in numbers and not successful in sense of health and mental well being. And so I had to stop and start with myself. But I had to go deep and knowing how much had actually changed within me, and try to figure out where to go next. And I have to be honest with you, it's 2022 now and I'm still finding my path, bit by bit slowly. 

Kellee  10:45  

A lot has changed over the last year and a half, a lot of stops and starts, a lot of ideas that I've been pulled back again, because I don't want to go down that same path of burning myself out, I don't want to make a choice that might lead me in the wrong direction, or lead my customer in the wrong direction. And this isn't about fear. This isn't about not wanting to take risks. Because I am a major risk taker, it's about making good decisions for myself and checking in over and over again, if I'm in alignment with where I want to go. So rather than jumping the gun, I take each step more calculated, and build on a very firm foundation. That's what I've been working on for the last year and a half. I'm healing myself, knowing myself getting clear on my vision, making sure that I don't backslide, and opening my heart to what the world needs now. What you need now.  This isn't about another paint by numbers, it's time to do the soul work we're all meant to do. That's really where I want to go. And so that's why I have to be cautious and where I started treading in the last couple of months. And the first couple months of this year, to be honest, as I start with a big flash and a bang and then start to fizzle, I realise I might be setting myself down that same path again. 

Kellee  12:10  

So I want to make sure that I move forward, my message is clear, my passion stays true to the vision that I have, so that I can serve you the best that is possible, both with my programmes that I offer, and with this podcast as we connect, and I'm going to read to you my very favourite quote in the whole wide world. And I think you'll all relate to this, probably needed on a poster. Émile Zola, who's a French author said, "If you asked me what I came to do in this world, I an artist, will answer you. 'I am here to live out loud'", my friends, this is my goal. 

Kellee  12:47  

So I'm sure you're sitting here thinking okay, so how do we get over these humps if we are stuck in block major burnout? we're not following our truth? We're heading down the wrong path, whether it's with work and a career that you've chosen, that you're not in love with, relationships that are holding you back, being in a rut with your artwork and not making your most remarkable art because you are sitting here thinking, what am I supposed to create that will make other people happy? 

Kellee  13:17  

And you know that it has to come from deep within your soul so that you can live out loud. If you are stuck in that place, if you are feeling the burnout, if the global events have depleted your surge capacity, if you have created a business that is no longer aligning with the future of where you want to go in this world, it is okay, I'm giving you permission right now to step back and take a look. To step back and investigate inside your heart and soul with what would really make a bigger impact. Because when you are not serving at your best ability, when you are not creating from the depths of your heart, when you are not creating a programme that you believe in 100%, you are not serving the best that you can to the people who are out there. 

Kellee  14:03  

When you are true to yourself. And when you show up as all of you, then then you are going to make an impact that you really, absolutely need to be showing up for. So I went back on my Instagram account and went back to the time and the things that I had written about when I burnt out because, you know, I'm creating a history of myself in a very public space. And I found a post that was really insightful about what I was doing to get through the challenges of burnout. It was a it was a great post. And so I'm going to read to you my eight steps that I took and still need to take to this day in order to get through burnout. 

Kellee  14:49  

Number one, give myself grace to work at a reasonable pace with a much shorter to do list every week. Slower, steady. It'll get When it gets done, as I have mentioned before, it is not urgent, it is not pressing, no one is going to die, if you don't get the work done. You need to just take a step back. Ask for grace. Give yourself grace. Honestly ask your customers, your clients, can I have more time? Tell yourself, Do I really need to do all these things? Give yourself a reasonable, much shorter to do list every week, what are the three things that are important? Put those three things on your list. 

Kellee  15:33  

After I write my to do list, this is number two. Honestly, after I write the to do list, I still eliminate half of the things that I write down. Because like I've said before, one hour of work equals three hours of energy. So when I think that I can do the podcast, do all the live videos, create art courses, answer all the emails, work diligently for my mastermind programme, and still continue to show up on Instagram daily, then I know that I've taken on too much. So what can I cut back? Obviously, too much. We always think that we can accomplish way more than we can. One hour of work equals three hours of energy. And that's why I say pick your three most important things. What is important, not what's just an urgent, answering the email may feel urgent, but it's not always important, what is important, what are the three most important things that you do this week. And one of those things might simply be self care. So make sure that you're setting reasonable expectations for yourself. 

Kellee  16:38  

Number three, when I'm really struggling, I talk it out with good friends, over zoom by text, long hikes, whatever it takes to process what happened and what will happen moving forward. And again, I've said this before, having somebody that you can hold you accountable, and can help you through your hard times. I have friends all over the world. And I think that that's one thing that's I feel very fortunate and blessed with Instagram is that, you know, social media and the way we're all globally connected, we can make friends anywhere. And I have had really amazing friends helped me through hard times, getting on Zoom calls, chatting through texts, some local friends that are artists as well that have made a huge difference in being able to help me see in a new perspective. 

Kellee  17:27  

And also hiring help hiring help can make a big difference. Again, I've said this before hiring the right coach, the right life coach, business coach, mentor, and even in my case, hiring the right assistant who's been an incredible game change to the way I run my business and how I live my life. I couldn't do the work that I do without Lisa, without my coach and without my husband and without my friends. And so when you feel like you're all alone, you've got to turn to the people who are there and ask for help. 

Kellee  17:59  

Number four, I am making very small reasonable changes daily instead of trying to overhaul my entire life at once. It's much easier to stick with healthy habits over a lifetime when it's done incrementally, which again, I have mentioned this and it is a great reminder, as I go back to this post that I wrote at the very beginning of 2021 as I was coming out of burnout. Um, yes, it's just so true that you can only do so much at a time if you cut back all of your calorie intake to 1200 calories and you run five miles a day and you're also getting up at 4am to get all the work done. And you're spending an hour meditating and then you're going out and serving, making all the art. Look these are like like crazy ideas that some of these business gurus would tell you that you need to do in order to be successful. 

Kellee  18:51  

Read 10 books a week, I don't know what they're telling you, but they they have these habit trackers and and get up early and do all the stuff. And I know there are things that I need to take every day. But some of the small steps and looking back in a year since I wrote that post originally that I can say I do differently. With the exception of maybe the last two months in winter, I regularly get out and go hiking. I have started changing my habit to include healthier foods, including obviously a lot more fish and a lot less meat, a little bit less sugar, and smoothies daily packed full of extra nutrition. So these are like little health habits that make shifts along the way. 

Kellee  19:34  

I'm also learning how to meditate which I find to be one of the most helpful things for my entire well being and reading and listening to audio books, putting in good into my head and to my ears and sitting with this for a longer periods of time rather than the quick snippets of instant satisfaction of the social media. So these are little daily habits. This is not a complete overhaul. It's just a little bit at a time, I still have a long way to go. But if you keep that in mind that should it's not all or nothing, just a little bit at a time. 

Kellee  20:08  

Number five, I'm allowing myself to question everything I believe or think I must do to be good. And that's a daily confrontation I'm willing to face. And this one's like a great revolution, Revelation.  I mean, it is a revolution, to be honest, it's a revolution to stop having to be good at everything. Perfectionism, it's killing us. And I even went through this again, like one year later, after making this post, going through it again, and showing up on Instagram, and being my real authentic self and saying, I don't have to be perfect at everything, these small reasonable steps I was talking about in number four that applies to right now, I don't need to be perfect, I don't need to be good in everything. I don't have to follow all the rules. And sometimes I swear, and sometimes I just don't really care what other people think. Because being true to myself, being true to my values is far more important. And I'd rather be for a few than for everybody. 

Kellee  21:09  

And some of that means standing up for Black Lives Matter, and for the LGBTQ community. And for liberal thinking, where we include all and we help and support all we don't need to exclude anybody. For creativity ruling supreme. For loving your family deeply, but imperfectly. For not having to do all the things as a mother. For making a lot of money, this is something that society and the patriarchy wants to shun us for? What? How dare she be an independent thinker who has a successful business, and makes millions of dollars, all while doing her best to serve? Yeah, that's not how, you know, the Amazons of this world want us to be, but I'm here for it. And I can change the world by changing how I think and everything that I was taught to believe, now that that actually will shake up any burnout, because burnout comes from not living your truth. So when you question yourself, and you're willing to put perfectionism on hold, in order to be more truthful and aligned, you're going to get over burnout, a whole hell of a lot faster.

Kellee  22:19  

And number six,if I'm willing to question myself and my must also be willing to let go have expectations of others, expectation leads to disappointment. And this is the ultimate lesson and letting go. And in all honesty, this is one of the most important lessons I've ever learned in life. Again, it's not a new concept that I've never I've approached this with you before, we can only control ourselves. But this also means how we think about everybody else, when we expect something out of somebody else, when we expect the results are going to be a certain way, even something is expecting how people will respond to your artwork, or to the course that you're just put out or to something that you wrote, or to the email that you sent, or expecting the people that you work with to respond a certain way or to think a certain way and the way that they're going to work with you. All those expectations, they're sabotaging your happiness. And they're also sabotaging you from recovering from burnout. So when you can let go, that ultimate let go of what other people are doing, and what you expect out of them. It's actually freedom, freedom, because you are able to just be who you are, how you are, without having to impress that belief, or that feeling on anybody else. So I am letting go of expectations of others. And that means I'm also a lot less disappointed. 

Kellee  23:43  

Number seven, listen to myself, really listen to myself and not dismiss any of my instincts when all the outside influences stripped away, listening to myself and trusting that I know the way is the only way that I'll find answers to what comes next. That's that little bit of intuition that we're told that we're supposed to tap into. This isn't about allowing fears to interrupt our patterns of thinking and our trauma response and cause us to doubt everything, this is actually when you get clear and you get true. And you let go of all the shoulds in the shouldn't that other people are telling you, all of the expectations that you have of other people and you just get really true and tuned in to yourself. This is different than questioning everything you believe this is now believing in everything that is true in your heart, your integrity, your desires, your dreams.   Listen to that part of you, that part of you that has been part of you since childhood. When you wanted to run off and be Indiana Jones and travel the world and have adventures and find great archaeological artefacts. This was me as a child, this grand adventure. I also dreamed of being a teacher and a mother and an artist and a business person. And when I put that all together, I realised that truth of my, my sweet little childhood dreams, are still who I am to this day, that I want to create adventure for other people, that I want to connect other people around the world and something greater than what we are. I listened to that truth and myself, and I know I'm on the right path. 

Kellee  25:25  

And finally, number eight. Really, honestly, the secret to it all is gratitude. So no matter what's happening in this world.  No matter what my feelings experiences, knowing that they're real, but still having a reality check on all that is good with life, that naturally turns the entire story around. In hard times, and good times, they can happen at the same time. And we can find that appreciation, that gratitude, that joy, in efforts in something so simple as to look at that pile of dishes in the sink and say, hmm, I could choose to say, dammit, there's dishes in the sink again, or I can say, oh my goodness, I have running water to wash dishes that fed my family, that food fed my family. And dirty dishes are a sign of a healthy life. It's all about how you look at it. And you look outside, and you say, Oh no, it's snowing again. Or you can say Look at the beautiful, white. And let it all soak in each moment, you have a choice to be grateful for what's in front of you, or to be grumpy, or to be angry, to be disappointed. Right, choose gratitude. Because that is that is presence that is being in the actual moment. And that is when you're going to find yourself happiest. 

Kellee  27:00  

So I just wanted to say, you know, my heart is 100% still into mentoring and guiding artists on their journey. I believe there's a better way that I can serve a deeper, more holistic way, one that will light you up and one that preserves my energy so that I can be at my best when I show up for you. Think of this as one big, dazzling catered event each time. This is going to be far more in alignment with where I need to go in my future. Something memorable, insightful, transformative. I'm here for the artist who's done playing it small. Because I'm done playing it small and I am done serving the food line. I am ready to go big. And I want to know, are you ready to live out loud with me? Put your burnout to the side start healing. Stop yourself before you go over that cliff this next time. Ask yourself what really matters? Are you on the right track? And are you following your truth? 

Kellee  28:05  

Thank you so much for joining me for another episode of Unfold with Kellee Wynne and I think that you're going to appreciate the next couple of episodes we have because they're interviews with artists that are going to shed some light on how they found their voice, not to be missed. And I will be back with you soon. Thank you so much. Till the next time we meet.


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