Break Out of Burnout With FLOW
The following article from April 5, 2022 is the first in a series of three from Dr. Ivan Joseph the Vice President of Student Affairs at Wilfred Laurier University, Championship winning coach, former Men’s Head Coach and Athletic Director of Ryerson University and current head Coach of the Guyanese Women’s Senior National team. The award winning coach and author shares his lessons from his current journey.
This morning I’m writing to you from Guyana, South America. I am here doing service by volunteering to coach the Women’s National Team as they participate in the World Cup Qualifiers. I choose this as my service to give back to my birthplace and also because it helps restore me. It fills my cup when I’m worn out and tired and have lost the bounce in my step. And let’s be honest, a lot of us could use restoration right now.
I choose the word RESTORE intentionally because the quality I’m describing is different from relaxing.
I love coaching, teaching, mentoring and improving organizations and my community. Coaching soccer is not work for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pushing myself and everyone around me here to be excellent. We are dialed-in and following a rigorous training schedule. It’s on my mind round the clock right now.
I am in a state of FLOW.
Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, introduced us to Flow. It’s the mental state of being fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
I want to introduce the possibility of using your vacation or committing chunks of free time this year to dig in to flow to restore yourself.
During the past two years, many of us have found ourselves in the COVID languishing state.
This week I had a conversation with an athlete—a high performer who was worn out and tired and couldn’t get motivated to train. I see it on my campus with our students whose efforts are waning and just in general around me. People’s tempers are shorter. We’re bored. We’re lonely.
This athlete was a wife, a coach, a professional with a second part-time job to make ends meet. As my dad would say, she was burning the candle at both ends. And when she had a moment to catch her breath, she wanted to do absolutely nothing. The problem is that doing nothing doesn’t restore you. Restoration is about filling your cup back up with the things that give you joy and fill your soul so that you can go again to empty your tank. Relaxing just stops your tank from emptying. It doesn’t fill it back up.
The problem is: doing nothing doesn’t restore you. Restoration is about filling your cup back up with the things that give you joy and fill your soul so that you can go again to empty your tank. Relaxing just stops your tank from emptying. It doesn’t fill it back up.
I propose that instead of escaping your home office to lay around somewhere else, go find your flow and improve the lives of others. Or use your time away to learn something completely novel.
Instead of seeking relaxation on your next holiday, seek restoration.
Emotionally speaking, these are steps you can take to move yourself out of a state of languishing. By stimulating the emotions of interest and excitement, you will naturally change your own mood. Your brain chemistry (dopamine) will actually benefit. This better mood will linger and it will be contagious.
Identify what gets you in the groove of flow. Find an organization that pairs with your passion and expertise. Or finally take the time to learn that skill you’ve wished you had—immerse yourself. Even if it’s just for an hour a week.
Give of yourself, your time, your talent, your resources or your vacation. Improve yourself. Spread that contagious emotional state of joy with others. Bring your friends. Synergy is powerful. Let’s work together to change the emotional environment from fear and loneliness to hope and excitement.
About Dr. Ivan Joseph:
Dr. Joseph is the Vice-President, Student Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University where his role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities including enriching the student experience, strategic planning, fundraising, marketing, and development of sports facilities. Dr Joseph served in similar capacity as Vice Provost, Student Affairs at Dalhousie University before choosing to return home to be closer to family.
Prior to that, he was Director of Athletics at Ryerson University where he was lauded for leading the Ryerson Rams to first-time national championship twice and first-time provincial championship several times. He is also recognized for spearheading the transformation of the historic Maple Leaf Gardens into a multi-functional athletic and recreational centre for Ryerson University. The Mattamy Athletic Centre was recently identified as one of the top 10 historic stadiums in North America alongside the Coliseum, Madison Square Gardens and Churchill Downs.
Dr. Ivan Joseph is also a keynote speaker, award-winning performance coach, author and recognized educator and mentor. His TED talk on self-confidence – with over 20 million views to date – has been selected by Forbes magazine as of the 10 Best TED Talks for Graduates about the Meaning of Life. Dr. Joseph is author of You Got This: Mastering The Skill of Self-Confidence. The book made Amazon’s Top 10 Most Gifted Books in Business Mentoring & Coaching category in 2018.
As co-founder of Ivan Joseph Leadership, Inc., Dr. Joseph travels extensively around the world to speak to organizations and teams about the power of self-confidence in leadership, career, sports and life, how to build cohesive teams that exceed expectations and harnessing the power of diversity to fuel high performance teams.
Dr. Joseph has a Ph.D. in sports psychology from Capella University.
Follow Dr. Joseph on Instagram and Twitter @DrIvanJoseph.