Most workers are no longer employed in the manufacturing sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, we still follow productivity standards honed during an age when the majority of workers were employed in farming or manufacturing. Examples include measuring output, efficiency, mistake prevention and comparing one time period (or one company) with another.
We now work in a “knowledge economy”—in professional services like law, health, finance or tech, in which new ideas and creativity are prized and repetitive tasks can be outsourced to machines. But companies still urge workers to comply with metrics, objectives and key results (OKRs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) often tied to their productivity.
“How can we do more with less?” is often asked of us. It’s enough to put pressures on even the most productive knowledge workers.
The impact of this productivity-focused approach has shown up in research. A 2015 Deloitte Study discovered that 77 percent of respondents experienced burnout in their current positions (Deloitte 2015). Some clues you’re experiencing burnout include feeling depleted or exhausted much of the time, experiencing cynicism, having a quick anger fuse, and/or being less effective or more prone to depression symptoms at work.
When we do knowledge-based work—that is work based around ideas, creativity, focus, writing, or people—we need restorative time during and after our work day. When we don’t allow time to recharge and reflect in an unstructured way, it kills our drive and stifles our energy to move forward. Corporate life just isn’t designed for this type of recharge time and it’s not celebrated or cultivated enough. It’s not common to have “rest metrics,” only productivity metrics. Throw in constant strategy changes, reorganizations, and unclear communication from leadership and it’s a recipe for disaster for employees. Until these pressure-inducing work norms are addressed, burnout will continue to be a major issue in all sectors.
In my first book, “The Resiliency Effect,” I explored how the epidemic of workaholism and hustle culture keep us from the big things we want to do in life. Being busy and achievement focused is a coping mechanism. It can be a good way to maintain self esteem (or cope with other problem areas in our personal life) but unfortunately this road can lead us straight to overwork and suffering. That book further explores the root causes of some of these coping mechanisms and I share journal prompts and concepts to help facilitate change in yourself.
But I’ll be the first to admit, it’s hard to find to the time to do the necessary inner work to explore and remove these obstacles—which are often emotional in nature.
It definitely takes changing your values and priorities to do this hard work, as well as time. What greater time to do it than on a break or sabbatical from work?
We need to normalize work breaks! And people need to know *how* to take a fruitful break. My second book, The Art of the Sabbatical (working title) will tackle these things and more.
Extended work breaks seems like a dream! But nearly everyone thinks taking an extended break from work will be detrimental to their career, family, or financial lives. Based on my experience and research, extended work breaks (not just vacations) are the best catalyst to discover, learn and grow professionally and personally.
We just launched an exciting giveaway on Goodreads. Enter to win 1 of 100 FREE Ebooks! This is an inspirational summer read — find out how to create lasting resilience in your life or even take a work sabbatical. Don’t miss this opportunity to grab a copy, the giveaway window expires August 30.
As one Amazon user said: “This book teaches readers how to be resilient through some of life’s hardest lessons. Author Cady North shares great insight on financial planning, psychology of human behavior, and entrepreneurship to help her readers get in sync with their life’s purpose and passions. Highly recommend!”
We just launched an amazing giveaway on Goodreads. Enter for your chance to win 1 of 10 personally autographed paperback copies of The Resiliency Effect. Winners announced April 26. Start your spring off with an uplifting read about how to start living more of the life you should be living.
I felt compelled to write my book for a few reasons.
First, I’m a financial advisor in my day job as Founder and CEO of North Financial Advisors. I speak with hundreds of people each year about their hopes and dreams along with their finances. What I hear most often is that people desire to live their lives differently, more in sync with their purpose or dreams or simply to have more balance and happiness in life. We all can name these big dreams or big changes we want for ourselves. Yet, the vast majority of us aren’t living them. Why is that?
I wanted to find out the answer, and that’s exactly what I asked when I interviewed and profiled more than 50 people for the book.
I, too, had a dream that had long been put on hold — to work with people one-on-one with their finances.
A story I tell in the opening chapters of my book is how this dream of mine languished for about 8 years. I was too busy, too focused on the wrong things and too caught up in what other people thought of me and what I “was supposed” to be doing. My self worth was tied to my accomplishments, achievements, and full calendar. This all dates back to how I grew up and the experiences and adversities I experienced as a child and young adult.
I often found myself burned out, but then quickly wondering, “what’s next?” I easily moved on to the next thing rather than doing the inner work necessary to get at my biggest dreams.
I bet you can relate, as I’ve heard so many stories at this point, it almost feels like a ubiquitous human condition. At it’s core, this book explores ways which people have overcome these kinds of adversities to live their biggest dreams. It gives you the “how” related to your mindset and inner journey. Then, the taking action part is up to you.
Second, there’s truly a limit to the number of people I can work with one-on-one. I only take on a few new clients each year to my financial planning practice. While I’m able to help coach clients to do some of their deep inner work to not only discover their big dreams, but start living them, the collective dent I’m able to make is quite small. My hope is that offering a book will be a way for many more people to be inspired to start living their big dreams.
Third, I think more people should be business owners and starting a business is one big dream that many people have. The problem is there’s this assumption that being a business owner is hard, draining, and a hustle. Yes, there are challenges, but when done right, being a business owner is a great way to get more freedom back into your life. My book challenges many of the assumptions about business ownership. Dozens of the people I interviewed or profiled in the book have their own business and it was great getting their thoughts on “lessons learned” to incorporate best practices in my book. While my book isn’t about “how to start a business,” it’s more about how to get yourself and your mind in the right place to explore what’s possible and create something that will be sustainable in the long-run.
Finally, I wrote this book for me. It’s not easy to work through the inner stuff as much as we focus on our outer accomplishments and achievements. About 6 months before writing this book, I was looking at my own charitable giving strategy and looking for national trauma-informed non profits doing work to expand people’s knowledge about many of the topics I explore in my book. It didn’t exist. The closest thing I could find is ACESAware.org and that’s mainly a California organization. That told me that we need more awareness first – Part 1 of my book dives deep into how adversities and trauma we (or our families) experienced can be holding us back in ways we’re not even aware of.
What I discovered on my author journey was that there is power in vulnerability. As humans we learn so much through story telling and relating to others, far more than when we memorize facts and figures. While it’s scary to share so much of my story and my past along side all the people I interviewed, developing the courage to do so has changed me for the better.
Do You Want to Write a Book?
There’s a whole host of reasons I think everyone should consider writing a book. First, it’s a fantastic way to organize all your thoughts about a topic and dive deep. The best way to learn is honestly to write or teach about it. It forces you to fully understand both the big picture and the micro details, filter out what’s most important and then share it back to people in a way they can relate. That’s powerful.
Whether you’re a business owner, employee, manager or aspiring to any one of those things, a book can be a great way to develop a higher level of credibility. It’s much easier to earn media appearances, speaking gigs, and business referrals as an author. Having a book on someone’s shelf is much more memorable than a business card. It can be a door opener to creating new connections and opportunities. It’s so much easier to explain, “What do you do?” when you wrote a book on it.
There’s also a fair amount of self-discovery that comes along with writing a book. It can help you answer your “why,” it can help you make an impact, it can help you get comfortable with uncomfortable stuff. I thought writing a book would be a very lonely process, something I did on my own. But as it turns out I joined an author community, had a ton of help, and during a global pandemic managed to expand my network and my reach.
Beware…the minute you start thinking about stretching yourself to do something like this, your brain might say, “Wait a minute! That sounds scary / risky / painful, isn’t there something else you should be doing?
I urge you to instead do one small thing to explore this dream or any other dreams you have. Can you spend 10 minutes researching, writing or talking to a friend about it instead of immediately shutting down the idea?
What’s your big dream? What’s one thing you can do to make tiny, incremental progress on it?