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The Correlation Between Values & Burnout

Posted December 28, 2022
rebecca hollis profile

Rebecca Hollis, Chief Growth Officer at ScoreApp, joins our host, Camela Thompson, in this episode of the Revenue Marketing Report. Rebecca shares her insights on how she found herself in her present role, the process she went through to discover her values, why sustainability doesn’t equate to a lack of stress and pressure, and how her values align with her current position.

How did you find yourself at your current company?

Rebecca is the Chief Growth Officer at Score App. She also goes by the nickname “The Changemakers Cheerleader.” Rebecca muses that this name stems from her writing in such a positive tone on Linkedin. Her career began in branding at Saatchi & Saatchi. In her spare time, Rebecca is a part-time coach of Team England Cheerleading. At the beginning of this chat, Rebecca reminisced about how she found herself in her current role.

“We’ve all had journeys, especially with our careers. That sort of going off on one path. Then, it meandered onto another, and you found yourself somewhere else. First, that’s one of the most beautiful things about life is when you think you’re going in one direction, something shakes your world and then pulls you into another, and you end up somewhere that you feel you always should have been there. 

“That’s kind of what I feel like I am now. 

“I spent my 20s chasing status through my job. I worked in London, and everything was about what you did, who you were, what you weren’t, and who you knew. I was very attached to who I was professionally and how I would climb that ladder.

“One day, I woke up and thought, ‘I’m doing all these great things. I’ve achieved a lot in my career. I’ve got a nice car and a home.’ But I still felt unfulfilled. All these things externally around me were great, but I just didn’t feel I was serving a greater mission. I had a purpose. I had a real vision for the future of where this was actually to go and take me. So I decided to look at something that really interests me, which was cheerleading. 

“I have been doing cheerleading since I was 10. I really believe in it. I think it’s great for young people. It took me all over the world. It taught me a lot of great things that actually led me to be in leadership positions. 

“I approached the world’s biggest cheerleading company called Varsity–an American company. I told them, ‘How about bringing the company over to Europe, and I will run the business for you.’ Lo and behold! They said yes! 

“So I went to my lovely, high-paying job and told them, ‘I’m going to follow a dream,’ which is exactly what I did. For five years, I grew the business in the UK and Ireland. It became the number-one cheerleading company in Europe. It was amazing fun. 

career journey

“But what happened was because I was so attached to the actual industry, and because I’d grown up in it, what I had done was take myself from one identity to another. So I went from this high-flying executive to this person in cheerleading that’s going to help everybody.

“I was so attached to every single role that everything I was really was about the role I was doing. I ended up burning out spectacularly. 

“When you burn out from anything, it can take a long time to come back from it. It can be really damaging and take you out of who you thought you were and throw you into a kind of abyss. That’s really what happened to me. I was losing a job and a role that I thought I wanted and needed and had worked super hard for. I threw in the towel for everything that I had worked for up until then. 

“I also felt like I was losing something I deeply cared about and that was ingrained in me from such a young age.

“I thought, so now I don’t do something that I love for work, and now I can’t do something that I’m passionate about. Who am I? What does it mean to be me anymore? What that did was it took me on a self-exploration of who I am and what I do. 

“That experience taught me that I’m not my job. I am who I am. A person of values. A person of principles. A person of passion. 

“All these things (values, principles, passion) stay with you for the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter the people that you’re around. If these are within you, you can take them anywhere. 

“So you never end up losing yourself. 

“The journey with my career and all of the things I have done so far has led me to do the things I’m doing now. Working at Score App. Working with people on passion projects that I deeply care about. Those things I really care about are interchangeable, and I’m no longer attached to the outcome. This, I think, is why I am thriving, and I love the people I work with since I’m not so attached to them any longer.”

How did you go about identifying your values? Did they jump out at you, or did it take some intentional thought?

Rebecca talked at length about the process she went through to discover her values.

“When I was 25, I had a bit of an awakening–a spiritual awakening. With my inexperience, I let that go over for a couple of years. I didn’t hold on to those practices. I didn’t hold onto the things that felt dear to me. 

“We all have principles. We all have values. But sometimes, we just park it, and sometimes we don’t prioritize them. 

“So when the burnout occurred and the dust settled (it did take a while for me), I went on an incredibly expensive trip on my own to Thailand and Cambodia, thinking I was going to find myself. I didn’t. I just spent a lot of money and a lot of time. When I came back, I just couldn’t get my head around starting something new because I hadn’t really moved forward.

“The thought of actually mobilizing myself to move forward when I hadn’t really done any work on myself didn’t make sense. 

“Fortunately, I didn’t need to step right back into work. I took myself away (but not so far away as Cambodia). I asked myself questions like, ‘What do I want? What do I need? What values do I want to bring? What would make me happy to get up every day? What would fill my life with purpose?’ 

“Once I started seeing these wheels in motion, once it was more at the forefront of my mind, I was thinking about it regularly. What I didn’t know at the time was I was practicing my muscle memory. I was practicing and implementing this in my everyday life.

“I didn’t know that’s what I was doing at the time, but it had a massive impact on me. This is when the wheels started to actually turn. And then, when the doors started opening, I asked myself if it might be a great financial reward; there might be some sort of accolade with it. But does it serve me, and does it serve others? And does it serve the greater purpose that I’d be going for? 

burnout

“That’s really what then started taking me on a completely different path that was far more fulfilling. My practices now stem from mindfulness. It’s about making sure I look after my body and mind. I’m investing in others. I have got quite a rigid way of doing things now, so I know what to do when I start feeling off. When that happens, I know I’ve dropped the ball in one of those areas, and it’s actually quite clear to pinpoint when I am feeling a little bit off.

“I’ll think, ‘Hold on a minute! I’ve not been exercising enough, or my nutrition is off, or I’ve not been reading enough self-development books. I have not been meditating regularly.’ And it’s easy to pick those things up when you start feeling off.

“So one of the biggest things that I do now when things start to feel on top of me, I ask myself, what ball have I dropped? I’ve got a list of things from which I can see exactly what’s happened. I may not be serving the community, or I have not been doing things for others, and it’s been very self-serving. That doesn’t make you feel good. So it’s been my practice as a result of ensuring that you look after yourself.

“This does sound to some very selfish. A very selfish way of looking at life rather than just getting on with things. But I truly believe the people I know that look after themselves do it, which is what I never did in my 20s. Now I look after myself. I am my number one priority. My health and fitness for myself and for my family are my number one priority because if I’m in a good space, then I have so much more. 

“I’ve got an overflowing bucket that can help other people. I am in a good space for my life, family, and friends. Because you can’t pour from an empty cup. However, when your cup is completely overflowing, then you’ve got so much more to give to everybody else. Your team. Your peers, your family. Whoever it might be that’s around you.”

When & why does burnout happen?

“People think they’re not burning out because they’re not necessarily living in a heightened state of stress. What people don’t realize is when you’re under chronic stress, you don’t know you are in stress since you’ve been living in that place for such a long time. 

“How burnout looked for me was I felt lost. I felt disconnected, as if everything was out of my control. 

“I wasn’t sitting there every single day thinking, ‘Oh my God! Everything’s collapsing!’ I just felt really lost. I couldn’t make a decision. I had terrible brain fog, and I am normally a very decisive person. I am an extrovert. I know exactly what I am doing. I am a team leader. I am in leadership. I make decisions.

“I couldn’t make any decision at all. It felt like nothing hit and nothing stuck. And when you’re in a place where you are in real alignment, things, people, and situations just pop up, and you think, ‘That’s what I needed! That’s the person I wanted to speak to. Oh! Brilliant! I won’t go and do that thing because I’ve just met someone who said that wasn’t a great idea. And she’s probably right.’ 

“There are so many wonderful things that come up when you are in alignment, and it’s almost like your needs are transparent.

“Whereas when you’re in a state of burnout, you are so closed off because you’re trying to protect yourself that you feel smothered. You’re swimming with your nose just above the water line. And you think, ‘I’m okay,’ but you aren’t. You are living in a chronic state of stress. 

“Burnout shows up for people in very different ways. For some people, it happens really slowly. For others, it happens as a result of an event or circumstance. For example, losing a job or a death or a marriage breaking down, or whatever it might be. It comes in and just floors you.

“And it always takes you by surprise. Everyone thinks, well, that must be what burnout is, or that must be what hitting rock bottom is. But what you don’t realize when it comes to burnout is it can be very, very slow. It could be one of those events that kickstart everything. But really, what it could be is a catalog of very, very small things on your path that build up. And you’re unaware of it until it’s right there at the top.

discovering your values

“I think burnout looks like waking up every day and not enjoying it. You are having headaches. I had hair loss. Your skin is not great. You might be bloated. You’ve got brain fog (brain fog was my biggest thing). If you are not in peak performance, if you aren’t feeling good, then there’s something going on in your life, physically or mentally, whatever it is, that’s not good. There’s something going on in your life that you aren’t looking after and that you may need to focus on it. 

“My biggest advice is to take a step back, which seems counterintuitive. In burnout, you’re thinking, ‘I need to keep going.’ Step back from whatever you’re doing and take a breath. Take some time out because it’s in that gap–that little space in between–you’re going to find the answers. That doesn’t happen when you just keep ticking along.

“You will never have that little moment where the universe or yourself–-whatever you believe in–will give you the answers you need. By actually taking a step back, wherever that might be (maybe don’t go to Cambodia for three months), you’ll get more answers than if you keep pushing towards something that clearly isn’t in alignment with you.” 

Let’s discuss your values and how they align with your current position.

“Score App is a quiz or scorecard marketing software for your business. There are lots and lots of ways that you can use it. However, it’s really great for lead generation. 

“I decided I wanted to work with really smart people who care about what they’re doing and who care about other people. I want to work with a community of people that are passionate about what they do, and that is going somewhere. That’s exactly what I found with Score App, with the community, and with the people I work with. One of the co-founders, Daniel Presley, and I have been friends for 20 years. He called me up out of the blue, just at the right moment. He said I‘ve got this fantastic startup! I would love to see if it’s something you might be interested in.

living in alignment

“I knew him. I knew the type of person he was. He’s a fantastic entrepreneur. I knew the type of people that he hung around. I knew how he operated, and I thought, this is in alignment with me. Then the kinds of people that we work with are business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketing people–all the fun people that I like to spend my time with. So it’s total alignment.

“I didn’t look at what the company was and how established they were. I just looked at who the people are and what we will get from this. How much fun is it going to be? And honestly, it has been the most fun.”

For more expert interviews and advice, listen to the full Revenue Marketing Report episode at the top of the article or anywhere you podcast.

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