When Grit Isn’t Enough: Protection from Burnout and Suicide

Neon sign with the word burnout

Mike Ivy is not someone you would expect to contemplate taking his own life.

His experience and accomplishments communicate grit and resilience. A trauma, critical care and acute care surgeon by training, Dr. Ivy grew up in the U.S. Navy. His father was a submarine sailor; Mike joined the Navy to pay for medical school and served nine years active duty. Following the Navy, he completed a fellowship at Yale in surgical critical care then held a series of increasingly senior leadership positions at hospitals in Connecticut. Presently, Dr. Ivy is Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the Yale New Haven Health System, which comprises more than 26,000 employees, including 6,685 medical staff.

Preparing for Re-entry into the Physical Workplace: Lessons from NASA

Astronaut Franklin R. Chang-Diaz works with a grapple fixture during extravehicular activity to perform work on the International Space Station

Astronaut crews living and working in space experience as a matter of course what many of us experienced unexpectedly during the SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic. Consider these similarities:

  • They are physically isolated for a long period of time from family, friends, and the majority of their work colleagues.
  • Their daily in-person interactions are limited to the few people they live with and their other interactions are intermediated through digital technology.
  • Their home also serves as their workplace.
  • They are surrounded by a dangerous environment that poses a threat to their physical health. (For them, the dangers include a lack of oxygen in outer space; for us, the danger has been the risk of contracting COVID-19.)

GovExec Daily Podcast Appearance: The Utility of Breaks and Breakdowns

Stressed man sitting outside having a breakdown

Recently, Katie Stallard and I wrote about the benefits of taking breaks and even of giving yourself time for a “breakdown” when you’ve pushed too hard. It’s a topic that’s relevant for many working professionals who face pressure to keep producing high volumes of work without sufficient rest.

GovExec Daily invited us to discuss this topic further in a new podcast. Listen to our conversation and consider what steps you can take to give yourself – and those you lead – the space to recharge.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Having an Old-fashioned Nervous Breakdown Might Be a Good Thing

Man reading and relaxing outdoors

Should the term “nervous breakdown” be embraced again? One of my (Michael’s) favorite journalists, Jerry Useem, provides a fascinating look at the history of the nervous breakdown in this article he wrote for The Atlantic titled “Bring Back the Nervous Breakdown.” Where Useem lands aligns with my thinking as an advocate for fostering connection, both for its positive effect on individuals and for how it improves the performance of groups, as well as what I share with clients about the harmful effects of stress and disconnection.

Finding Brave Podcast Appearance

Kathy Caprino Podcast Banner

Recently, I had the privilege of being a guest on the Finding Brave podcast hosted by Kathy Caprino. A therapist, career coach, and author, Kathy is on a mission to help listeners – particularly professional women – access the courage they need to honor their true passions, talents, and values in life and work. 

Thriving Through the Ongoing Pandemic

Family laughing together at home

As the pandemic moves into year two, would you say that overall you are thriving, barely surviving, or hanging in there, treading water, but feeling worn down or worn out some days? Is thriving even possible in the midst of this period of adversity, when life has been so disrupted by a persistent and mighty virus, we’ve experienced heartache and loss, and worried about our own future and the future of our democracy in the U.S.? I believe that we can thrive, especially when we do so together. The individuals who will look back when the pandemic is finally over and feel they did more than just make it through will have several attributes in common.

Watch the Recording of My Recent Webinar With getAbstract

Michael Lee Stallard speaking with getAbstract webinar host

Recently, I had the privilege of being the guest speaker for a webinar hosted by getAbstract, one of the leading book summary organizations in the world.

Our topic was “Remote Work, Rising Stress and the Critical Need for Connection” – a timely discussion for today’s environment. The webinar was attended live by 2,004 professionals eager to learn how connection can help their teams to thrive this year.

If you missed the live webinar, you can now watch the recording on demand. I hope the conversation sparks some ideas to keep you and your colleagues happy and healthy in 2021.

Connect to Protect Yourself from Harm of Social Isolation

Isolated businessman who is suffering from burnout

This excellent New York Times article, “We’re All Socially Awkward Now,” makes a compelling case that ongoing social isolation due to the physical separation required during the COVID-19 pandemic is diminishing connection skills and having a negative impact on emotional and physical health.

Research on isolation of inmates shows those who coped best understood that social isolation was not good for them. Instead, they intentionally connected with others by writing letters, etc.

How are you safely connecting with others throughout the pandemic?

How to Prepare for Rising Stress Ahead

Message stating "You Got This" written on asphalt

When a big storm is forecast to come our way, Katie, my wife, starts to plan ahead, just in case we lose power: non-perishable food in the pantry (check), flashlights with working batteries (check), gas in the car (check), some cash on hand (check). She reminds family members to charge up their phones and laptops. The havoc the storm may, or may not, cause is unknown but she has taken proactive steps to get us through.