Why Are You Burning Out?

Want to know why you’re constantly burning out? It’s pretty simple really. After studying and using DISC for over the last 10 years of my career, I’ve noticed this pretty impressive pattern starting to develop.

If you’re not familiar with DISC, you can read about it here.

For those that are familiar with DISC, you will be aware that if you’ve undertaken a proper assessment you have what’s called a “Natural Style” profile and a “Perceived Need to Adjust” profile (as pictured below).


So, what are these 2 profiles able to tell us about this individual above.

You can see in Profile II, which is their Natural Profile, the individual has an extremely High S and High C. This persons profile would be classified as a SC given both the S an C are above the middle section of the graph.

The behavioural traits of someone that is a mix of and S and a C would be someone that is

  • Helpful
  • Calm
  • Relaxed
  • Careful
  • A thinker
  • Perhaps sometimes a little slow

Now, compare those traits to their “Perceived Need to Adjust” profile which is a High C and S – note they are the same behaviours just switched around.

What this profile is telling us is that the person has the perceived need to adjust who they are naturally to meet the demands of the environment or role they are currently in at work.

Their natural S drops yet their C increases. (Note, we look at the numbers on the bottom of the graph not the positioning of the graph). This would tend to indicate that the environment or role they are in they feel the need to be a lot more organised, it is either a highly processed or systematic role, they want to be in control, they are dealing with a lot of facts, data or important information and have a desire to deliver only perfect results.

Given they already posses a High C in their Natural Style, it would not take too much additional effort for that person to be engaged in that type or quality of work, however they need to be aware that if they are put under too much pressure as a C, there are certain behavioural traits of their higher Natural default style S that could appear ie: without clear deadlines they could become slow. If they don’t have enough information, will not be comfortable to make a decision – analysis paralysis etc.

If, for example the “Perceived Need to Adjust” profile in this instance was in fact a High I instead of a High C, this would be a much more significant shift from their Natural Style and therefore take a lot more energy as being a High I and dealing with people being an enthusiastic people person, isn’t something that comes as naturally to them. It does not mean they are not capable of doing the role, they absolutely are, it just means it will take more energy and it will not be as sustainable long term and there is a greater risk of them burning out. Make sense?

I am a first hand example of this. In my previous life as first a Lawyer and then Head of HR for various companies – I know odd mix, but hey, for years, I had my Natural Style as High CI. I loved information, detail etc, hence the Lawyer and High C, but also I also loved being around people. My perceived need to adjust however was High I followed by a High C. Given I was Head of HR, I felt the need to be more “visible” and enthusiastic than what I actually sometimes wanted to be and that I probably needed to be which in turn lead me to burn out….twice.

Now, I am quite a comfortable mix of DCS, which if anyone would have ever told me I would have had an S or D in me, I wouldn’t have believed them, but secretly I think I’ve been working towards slowing down but also being more confident in who I am. I turned 40 last year and well it’s safe to say am in a pretty good place. I no longer feel the need to have a position with a specific company to demonstrate my self worth, my priorities are about my family, making sure the kids feel safe, confident, loved, that I’m there for them yet being able to also have a sense of purpose which is passing on the gift of knowledge I have gathered throughout my career,  so it can help others short cut what can sometimes take years to figure out.

So, I’ll leave you with one question, if you’re not happy in your role at work, not sure you’re In the right role, feeling lost or not loving what you’re doing, constantly feeling exhausted, it’s definitely not the only reason to do a DISC profile, but it would be highly beneficial to be able to uncover what’s going on inside that brain of yours.

I could continue to share hundreds of stories of light bulb ah ha moments so many people have after completing profiles, but this blog would end up being way too long, so I will work on getting some of the most fun ones together and share them separately. Till then.

The History of DISC

For those of you keen to understand the background of DISC, I thought I’d put together a little a snapshot of how this impressive tool came to life and is able to add such great value to our lives today.

DISC dates back to the early 1920’s when Psychologist William Moulton Marston graduated from doctoral studies at Harvard in the newly developing field of psychology. In 1928, he released the findings of his studies and published a book called Emotions of Normal People, which showcased his extensive research and theory behind the DISC model.

What he discovered was that we have both behavioural styles that are natural, internal, and innate, but alsoa style that is able to be largely impacted by a particular environment we may be in at the time (related to our work).

He found that human behavioral characteristics could be grouped together in four main divisions and people with similar styles tend to exhibit specific behavioral characteristics common to that style. Marston named four dimensions of behavior, and created a means to identify these and as such the acronym DISC was born.

D = Dominant

Strong, Direct, Bold, Decisive, Healthy ego, Solved Problems, Took risks

I = Influential

People People, Enthusiastic, Optimistic, Talkative, Impulsive, Emotional, Pursuasive.

S = Steady

Loyal, Good listener, Team player, Authentic, Steady, Predictable, Understanding, sometimes slow

C= Comp

Detail and data focused, Analytical, Lover of facts, systems and processes. Had very high standards.

For the most part, we all have the four styles in us in varying degrees of intensity represented as by the graph.

We have what is called our “Natural Style” ie: what comes most naturally to us, who we are at our default and we also have what is known as our “Perceived Need to Adjust” – which is based on the circumstances on any environment we are in at any given time. They may be the same, they may be different. There is no profile that is right or wrong, better or worse than another. All it is, is information about ourselves.

DISC has become and is now known as the universal language of behavior because of it’s simplicity and sincerity.  The language is so easy to understood and apply.

Every day, I never cease to be amazed the insight it brings to individuals, teams and organisations.

I tell what is also super interesting, the lie detector machine was also the brainchild of  Dr. William Moulton Marston and he also developed the female superhero archetype Wonder Woman, but hands down his most enduring contribution to truth-seeking is the way he enables the theory of DISC to reveal behavioral truths that can have profound effects on every-day people.

It’s hands down my most favourite behavioural tool to use. I’ve even gone so far as to not take on any new clients anymore until they have completed a DISC profile. The benefits are truly beyond insightful.

If you’re interested in having your DISC Profile done, reach out. You absolutely will not regret it.

What it really takes to be a Conscious Leader

I’m often asked “What is Conscious Leadership”? How do I know if I’m a conscious leader or not, so I thought I’d shed a little light on the topic.

The difference between these two styles of Leaders:

  1. Conscious Leader – A leader that is making decisions and is fully aware of how their decision or behavior is potentially going to impact others.
  2. Unconscious Leader – A leader that makes decisions completely unaware of how their decision or behavior is going to impact others.

I’m sure we’ve all worked with leaders and team members that lacked self awareness – If I’m honest sometimes I am quite jealous of people who are blissfully unaware…for a minute or two, then the reality hits home, that it’s actually not as great as it appears.
But it can be incredibly frustrating working with a team member or leader who lacks self awareness. I came across this diagram – I can’t take credit for it, but it’s a perfect example of how when you have people in leadership roles or in a team with various levels of self awareness how challenging work can become.

Let’s start with those that are not self aware (the bottom right hand quadrant). When a leader and employee both lack self awareness, chances are it’s the blind leading the blind. They’re operating in a pretty reactive state, nothing is really being achieved, there is probably a culture of blame, victim mentality and well it’s not at all engaging. It’s chaotic.

Now, lets move to the employee being self aware and working with an unaware or unconscious leader (top right hand corner) – Hello frustration. Did you know that frustration with a direct leader is one of the biggest causes of employees resigning from their roles? It can be quite hard to try and have an impact when you’re working with someone who is unaware of how their behaviour and deiciosn are impacting the team.

However, when a leader has self awareness and an employee does not (bottom left quadrant) – there is an OPPORTUNITY for the leader to develop the employee. To mentor, coach, stretch them to think differently, ask questions, and start to unlock that self awareness within. This can be via feedback, coaching, a DISC Profile or opportunity to be exposed to new projects to challenge what they currently don’t know they don’t know.

Where the magic happens is when you have a self aware leader and self aware employee. Hello potential. With self awareness comes someone who truly knows themselves. They’re honest and upfront about where the excel, what they need help with. You can cut through the BS, have more honest conversations about what is best for the business and each other, build greater rapport as there is no confusion about the part they are each going to play in achieving success.

Pretty simple hey?

Self awareness – definitely one of the most valuable asset leaders and employees can have. Do you agree?

How to Bring the Best Out of your Team

It really is so easy.

So, it’s a New Year, but sometimes it’s not about everything being new but it’s about mastering what we’ve already got.

Just like a car going in for service we too need to give ourselves a service, a tune up so we can perform better. So, what do you need to do this year to help yourself perform better? Is it going to the gym, a walk, meditating, taking time out of the office to plan, to spend time in the sun or by the water or write on the beach (as I cheekily am now).

Personally for me there are 4 things I need to do:

  1. I need to be organised. I need to know the kids are sorted, I’ve got clarity on what needs to be done by when and how it’s going to happen. I need to make sure I prioritise my time, so I’m not working till midnight every night. It’s pretty easy when you love what you do to get carried away once the kids go to bed and you’ve got time to yourself. For some reason my creative juices start flowing about 10pm…. and it’s game on. But it’s doesn’t work to well come 5am when the kids wake up and the day starts so I’m trialling a few other options right now.
  2. I need some time to myself – to think, to write, to get to the gym, brainstorm, implement, learn and grow. I need this most days. Even when I’m pushed for time, the difference a 20min hypnosis (a form of meditation) – can make is incredible.
  3. I also crave time in or by nature – Ideally the ocean or beach, but I will never say no to a mountain esp if it’s covered in snow! If I’m super lucky I’ll get time by the ocean in the sun to write as I am today.
  4. Lastly I need time with my husband. To connect, talk, share and just be. It’s not easy when both parents work full time – whether you work for yourselves, someone else or look after kids full time, its so important to prioritise time with your partner. I always like to know what’s going on in his world – because ultimately it’s actually our world.

So, enough about me, now all about you. Do you want to know the secret for bringing the best out of your team? Actually it doesn’t even need to be your team, it might be your partner or even your boss.

Here you go….ASK THEM. Yep that’s right stop second guessing what they need from you and ASK them.

Do they need clarity on something? Time? Direction? Autonomy? Flexibility?

I reckon the best conversation you can have with anyone important to you in your life is to ask them what they need from you to be able to perform better or be a better version of themselves. You’ll be blown away with how simple it is and how easily it can be achieved.

So, STOP guessing and start asking.

Go on, do it. Ask, ask now.

Love to know what you got asked to do.

PS. My husband got asked to take the kids for a few hours so I could get organised and have an hour to myself! Surprise Surprise.