Avoiding burnout - People's stories
#1. Wanting to be perfect
The Puzzle material and certified services are solely sold on the Puzzle website, and cannot be purchased from any other source.
The Puzzle is a proprietary methodology, protected by Copyrights.
This Copy is personal and cannot be shared or sold.
The Puzzle exists in 3 formats: audio, PDF and online.
You own the audio and pdf files relating to the theme you have purchased
The Puzzle online is available upon subscription, with clickable access to the full Puzzle.
Look up on the right hand corner of the pdf document: the icons inform you which format is available for that particular piece of information.
The Puzzle is not suitable to overcome physical or psychological abuses, nor mental diseases. I urge you to liaise with professionals for support should you be in such a case.
Explore the Puzzle framework
Witness how others have used the Puzzle and inspire yourself
1. Pick one Puzzle piece
2. Apply the tip(s)
3. Follow up on results
4. Acknowledge positive impact
Introduction - People's stories
All People's stories are written in the 1st person to reinforce their impact.
While anonymity is preserved, all stories are inspired by real facts.
People's stories are examples, to feed you with concrete cases of how the Puzzle has been used. They are not to tell you what to think, or absolute truth: they were created with the intent to illustrate how you can transform your life with the Puzzle.
Each People’s story is presented in the following way:
Part 1. The authentic life experience
Part 2. What that same moment could have been, leveraging the Puzzle
Part 3. Decoding the story through the lens of the Puzzle framework
Part 1 - I want to be perfect at work!
I am spending a lot of time at work. This is most of my life, not to say all of it!! I have no time for a social life. my family or my friends!
As I was checking how I felt before getting up this morning, I realized that I had not laughed in days!! Not even smiled! And that made me so sad! Then, as I was checking the news, I came across an article scientifically evidencing that loneliness kills!! This was really not my day!!
I hardly find time to do other things than work. I have a lot to do, and I am on my own: as no one is waiting for me at home, I don’t need to leave the office early. Also, I don’t think I am in a position to say “no”! I think I have to be constructive and positive in business environments, else no one will want to work with me again! I think it is wise to accept everything I am given, and be grateful for the work! Then figure how the hell I will be able to make it, because I am already overloaded!! And in the end indeed, I sleep less and I am tired. But I view this as an investment for the future, as everyone is happy with my work.
Also, I believe that I have to be better than others to be recognized and valued! And no doubt that goes with working hard! Things don’t come easy: I have to invest time and effort into work. And that requires all my attention, else I could make mistakes. And then back to square 0 again! No one will call me back! Work is a jungle, and some survive better than others!
I know there are a lot of people that say they have learned from their mistakes, that this is not the end of the world to be defaulting. But I don’t think so. In fact, the more mistakes others will make, the more work I will have, and the more valued I will be!! So keep believing in this idea, while I have my own standards of excellence! Personally, I deliver, and I do it perfectly.
I also make a point at being always well dressed and nice to people. First impression counts! If I complain all the time, then no one will want to be around me!! Of course, I also have my issues, I also feel tired at times - but how useful would it be for me to share?! I realize I am isolating myself by acting this way, pretending everything is always OK - but that is who I am! I have to be strong to succeed in life!!
Still, I hope that life will get better, because I literally do not have one second for myself throughout the day. I just go from meetings to meetings, do emails, build presentations, review documents,… And I do acknowledge this is not good enough, because I should be able to do more. I need to be faster at doing my job.. I have to both work at speed, and deliver the qualitative work my company deserves from me! I am just not sure how I can be more efficient, because I have no time to take a step back and think about it! I guess I just have to have faith in life: I am a good person, I am giving my best at work - I will be rewarded for all this.
There is no other way, and that is why I will keep working harder and harder! Regardless of how tired I am, this is the way forward. I have to keep up, else I will be left behind.
You have gained perspective how others have overcome their challenge leveraging the Puzzle!
May it inspire you.
WHAT NEXT ?!
More insights on the Puzzle?
Deep Dive into each Puzzle piece for more information
Seeking for inspiration?
Apply the Puzzle tips yourself, or leverage the Practice Book for guided steps
More insights on the Puzzle?
Part 2 - I am perfect as I am!
I am spending a lot of time at work. This is most of my life, not to say all!! I miss having a social life, family and friends. I wake up sad every morning, as this is starting to be too much! Why could I not be happy too?? Suddenly, I heard a little voice in my head whispering: why not?! And that made me smile! For the first time in a long time, I smiled! And these few seconds felt good. Interestingly, I never thought I could have fun on my own! Acknowledging that I had the capacity to make myself happy was a good surprise!
These past years, I hardly found time to do other things than work, because of lots of good reasons - including being single, and not being equipped to say “no”.
Until today, when I saw this sign on a billboard while going to work: it referred to the power of saying “no”!
And it got me to think: is it powerful to say no?! Is it not rather aggressive? Or admitting defeat, that I can’t handle all what I am expected to do?... So many interpretations of the same answer were intriguing: I thought the world was a lot more black and white!
But then is it powerful to say yes?? I thought so, that is why I say “yes” to any work I am asked to do. But right now, it felt more like going with the flow, and avoiding creating any conflict.
I felt like I was accepting everything from work, at my own cost. I was adding so much work on myself saying “yes” to everything, and was on the edge of breaking. Still, I was not fully convinced I should say no…. But maybe it was worth digging, as I felt so touched by all these thoughts?! Maybe I had a Cold Case?
I had to make sure, so I started digging! Why is it better to say yes than no? It is not! Why is it then better to say yes? Because everyone likes me then. And how is it when everyone loves me at work? Too much!! Then everyone starts wanting me to work for them! And how would it feel if I could say “no”? Safe.
I would set boundaries. And how is it when I am safe? I feel good. I can relax.
Am I then ready to say “no”, to feel good and relaxed? No!!
Why not?! Because the consequences of saying “no” are too scary!
What happens if I say no? People will look at me like I am weird!
And how is it to be weird? No one would want to work with me, plus I would end up being fired!
Why would they fire me if I say “no”? Because I would then be a lazy person!! Nice people say yes, lazy people avoid work. And I want to be on the good side!!
Can I think of anyone who is only and always a good person? No. Then why would I, alone, have to always be a good person? Because then I would be perfect!
But if I cannot recall a single person that is solely a good person, and while some people are successful - then could it be that a perfect career is made of both good and bad? Maybe…
Could I give the name of 3 persons I know, whom I consider as good people, and that also fail at times?! Barack Obama, my Mum, and one of my good friends.
So is it possible then to be a good person, and have both good and bad sides in you? Yes.
And have people stopped talking to any of these 3 persons, because they failed at times? No.
And did anything terrible happen as they could not achieve their goals? No.
Keeping these thoughts in mind, do you feel more ready to say “no” at times? Yes!
Plus, if I am lucid, lately I am so tired that I am making more and more mistakes, do I not? Yes.
And what happened then? Not much.
So if not much happens when I make mistakes, then is it worth all this extra pressure I put on my shoulders to do everything to perfection? I guess not...
Could it be true that it is OK to make mistakes, and then correct them when they are spotted? Yes, it is OK.
Could I decide to do an excellent job (i.e. do my best), and stop seeking for perfection? Yes! That is a good compromise, and it fits with my standards to do qualitative work!
Still, I remain convinced I have to look and be strong to succeed in life!!
And how strong do I feel these days? Not quite!
How do I feel? Vulnerable. Exhausted. Drained. So could it be that putting all these efforts to look well, never speaking about my issues - could it be that this recipe I have always applied, no longer works for me? Yes.
Could it be that I should explore other options that would suit me better? Yes.
How about opening up to someone I trust? OK
How would I then feel? Lighter. Supported.
I chose to talk to my parents, and to a colleague I trusted at work. Both surprised me: they were so happy I talked to them! They told me they saw I was exhausting myself at work, but did not know how to bring up the topic. They worried I would burn out if I did not slow down. As a start, we agreed that we would meet 1h every week and just do nothing!! Just the idea of sitting down and chit chatting felt like a rainbow in my life!
I also decided to start small at work: as I was asked to double check a presentation before it would be sent, I told my colleague that I would not have the time to do it. My heart was beating really hard, as it was the first time I dared say “no” in the office. And guess what? Absolutely nothing happened! The colleague moved on and found someone else to help her. I was in shock, and then I felt really proud of myself!! I will definitely explore saying “no” a lot more, in my own way and at my own rhythm.
I no longer hope that life will get better: I know it will! I no longer want to feel like the hamster in the wheel. It is a terrible place to be in! How would it feel if I could regain power over my life? It feels like a dream. How would it feel if that dream was accessible? I would be thrilled. Does it feel like this is the right way to go? Yes! How about keeping this feeling, and bringing it up when I need comfort? That will certainly help me keep directionally correct! Today is the beginning of my transformation: I have decided I will change my relationship to work, and have partnered with my Ego to achieve so. Together, we can move mountains!
Part 3 - The Puzzle decoder
Let's decode this People's story with the lens of the Puzzle pieces.
I can choose to only show a little part of who I am, instead of pretending all the time that I am perfect. This is quite some pressure on my shoulders! Plus, while this is what I show, I do know inside that it is not the case. It is worth taking a step back and asking myself why I have to behave in such a way? What would happen if I behaved differently? It is scary to change: it can feel like exposing myself. Still, if I am exhausted, then maybe I am not on the right path?
I can do little experiments, and slowly introduce some changes with people I trust. Witness what happens to be myself in a safe environment.
My Ego does play a role in keeping the status-quo! It is scary to change habits, whether it is working hard or acting as if I am perfect. I have been doing this all these years because I was convinced this is the right way - and yet I am in a dead end. I probably even see people around me that do make mistakes, are relaxed about it and do have a good career too! If they can do it, I can too!! They have nothing more than I do - proof being, they do make mistakes!!
When I am ready to show how perfect I am as I am, then I shall bring my Ego along. Partner with it, and ask it to scan people’s reactions while I experiment. Use its extraordinary concentration to miss nothing, and see for myself how it goes! Rest assured that nothing terrible happens when I do what is right for me.
Checking with myself regularly what emotion I feel and how my body feels - is a good practice! It helps me find another source of information than the warnings my Ego brings to my filter.
It also helps release the mental pressure I am putting on myself.
For instance, doing sports or forgetting myself in an artistic activity, as when I dance, draw… gives my brain a break, as when I do so I do not think! And that can be precious, at a time when I think too much!
My Compass is often set on fear when I put a lot of pressure on myself. I fear that something really bad will happen, unless I am 200% committed at work. Logically, I understand that it seems over-the-top, but still I can’t help it. In such a situation, I may have a Cold Case to think about. Working really hard could be the symptom, while the root cause is elsewhere. This potential Cold Case will continue to come back and pollute myself, until I have solved it.
Be aware that while today I associate all this stress and pressure to work, I am the one putting it on myself - as no one asked that I behave this way. So if it is in myself, it is likely that I will keep it with me - to my next job, when I go home, meet with friends, etc. Good news is that if I imposed this rigor on myself, I also have all the resources it takes to remove the constraints!
In the meantime, do protect myself. And, in particular, do start saying “no” to additional work if I am not able to do it. No one will thank me for burning out: there is not a single good reason to do it! So it is worth transforming my relationship to work!
Look around: notice that some people have a different life than mine, and still seem happy about it. Seek for these differences, and observe them with curiosity. How for instance are some people successful while working less? Are there alternatives to working hard?! See for myself that there are other paths to live a good life.
Also allow myself to think that I too could have a different life. Do not delay being happy at a later stage. Do not link my happiness with a future event happening (ex. when I will have my next job, or when I will meet someone). I can decide to be happy right here and right now. I have the power to live well without waiting any further!