Burnout is a choice Craig Johns

Burnout Is A Choice

BURNOUT IS A CHOICE – Whose Responsibility Is IT?

Burnout is a choice. It is often misdiagnosed, usually by self. It’s become somewhat of a trend word that captures any feeling of tiredness, exhaustion or fatigue. In some cases it’s even used as a label to help people feel like they have a sense of belonging or take a day off work.

Evidence from the World Health organisation, Gallup, American Medical Association and many more reputable organisations have completed research that is showing there is a real issue with Burnout in our society. The numbers vary across research, however they are compelling enough that we do need to place a large microscope and our full attention on Burnout.

People need to realise that Burnout is totally avoidable if we take a proactive approach to life. It’s now time for employers to stop placing the responsibility on the employee and employees need to stop blaming the employer. Burnout is a choice and is totally preventable.

What is burnout? Photo Credit - Devin Avery (Unsplash)
Photo Credit – Devin Avery (Unsplash)

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It’s both an individual and a company issue, not one or the other.

“Have you ever over done it, in your life … for all the right reasons?”

Burnout is a choice. We decide whether to work longer hours, at a faster pace, not take a break, remain in a toxic environment or with a manager who micromanages us. People choose whether to stay in relationships, start a family, take on too many activities, train too hard when tired, watch too much Netflix or scroll on social media. It’s our choice to decide what we eat, how often we exercise, and whether to let our brain relax and allow our body to rest and recover. 

“If you haven’t come to the realisation yet, no human can do it all.”

Workplace burnout is often misdiagnosed when people might just be exhausted, tired or stressed. According to the World Health Organisation’s definition of Workplace Burnout, there are 3 dimensions required to for diagnosis:

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  2. Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  3. Reduced professional efficacy

There are many possible reasons why people can find themselves diagnosed with Workplace Burnout or a company creates an environment which leads to a higher percentage of people achieving Burnout. In every situation it comes down to choices.

Craig Johns Burnout Is A Choice - New Parent Working From Home

New Parent Working From Home

Two weeks ago I found myself living on 10% of what I am capable of.

Ten months of being a first time parent, disrupted sleep patterns and co-owning and leading a global start-up that has seen accelerated growth. Take into consideration working from home and working away from home, owning a home with the pressures of inflation on finances and more.

Struggling to focus and find the energy to do anything I had noticed myself becoming cynical, having negative thoughts, being highly critical and focusing on the obstacle rather than the opportunities. Now, I am not the only one in this type of situation.

I had been observing these changes happen throughout the year. Hoping that I would get through the tiredness, the brain fog and negativity. Sometimes even though we are aware of something, it doesn’t mean we always take action.

It took two of my closest friends and colleagues to ask the question, “how are you doing?”. The conversation that took place with both of them and recommendations they shared, gave me the realisation that I needed to take control and make a decision. Why, because Burnout is a choice.

Craig Johns Burnout Is A Choice Keynote Speaker

Making A Different Choice

This week I have made a choice. A choice to spend 5 days at a friend’s house in Melbourne to have long and uninterrupted sleep, relax, live a lot healthier, read a book and free my mind. It is definitely not enough to bring me back to 100%. What it will do is bring me back to operating at 60% or more which will get me through till Christmas where I will have extended time off to get back to 100% for 2024.

Having a high achievement mindset, very large drive and the determination to take something to the next level, you sometimes push the boundaries too far. The problem with fatigue is that it’s really very hard to detect over a period of time.

As an athlete you have a strong trigger to let you know when you have got rest and recovery wrong. You aren’t as fast, strength reduces, you react slower and make mistakes. It’s mainly physical and you notice it.

In the corporate world, unless you have a physical job or you face a catastrophic event, it’s a mental fatigue. Your mental fatigue reduces so slowly that your body daps to it and you don’t know what’s happening until too late. Your body thrives on small doses of stress and until you remove it, your body thinks everything is ok. Have you ever fallen sick when you go on holiday?

“I have learnt the hard way … energy is like money … if you keep spending it rather than investing … you will end up with an out of control debt! … How are you investing your energy!”

Energy Management Craig Johns Burnout Is A Choice

Proactive Energy Management Prevents Burnout

We must proactively plan and manage our energy and stress over time, to enhance the performance and productivity of ourselves, our company, and our relationships. It starts with learning how to schedule, focus and invest in your energy.

  1. Schedule Your Energy – Schedule your recovery and energy before meetings to ensure you have sustainable energy and performance. Plan your day, week, month, year and career with a 3:1 work to recovery ratio. Schedule only 20% of your work time in meetings. 
  2. Focus Your Energy – Determine what are your priorities every day, ensure you are grounded and present, and decide where you focus your and other people’s attention
  3. Invest In Your Energy – Create boundaries, remove contamination, develop routines and remove 3 things every time you add something new into your day or life. 

It’s Everyone’s Responsibility

Burnout is a choice. Both for the individual but also the company. It is the responsibility of both to be proactive in preventing burnout from occurring. As a company how can you schedule, focus and invest in the energy of your employees? As an individual what choices will you make to avoid burnout in your life? Burnout is a choice. Schedule, focus and invest in your energy.

Craig Johns High Performance Leadership Expert

Craig is a 10x National Champion, International coach and CEO turned high performance leadership expert, international speaker and and Inspiring Great Leaders Podcast host.

He is the CEO & Managing Partner of Speakers Institute Corporate, a high performance leadership expert, and a leadership, high performance and workplace culture keynote speaker.

Learn more about how Craig is working with a diverse team of exceptional human beings to inspire great leaders at www.speakersinstitutecorporate.com.

Book Craig as a Keynote Speaker and learn how to become a high performing leader by going to www.craigjohns.com.au for more on the Gravity of Leadership, LIONSHEART Mindset, Break The CEO Code and Atomic Pressure.

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High performers Cultivate more powerful traits



By Craig Johns

It doesn’t matter what industry, the high performers are far more effective at cultivating more powerful traits. We touch on eight of those highly effective traits that unleash their potential and rise above the rest.


High performers look to consolidate and improve the efficiency by focusing on increasing the ‘outputs that matter’. They reduce products, services and other outputs that don’t matter and focus on making the main thing, the main thing.

Being able to see four or five steps ahead, understanding what the needle-moving requirements are that will get them there, and determining what the distractions are that they need to avoid, allows a high performer to always be in control of their destiny. They are also effective at identifying the must-have skills needed to accomplish those steps, and then will work obsessively to develop them.

Photo by MontyLov on Unsplash


To perform at your best you need to be a proactive listener and observer. If done effectively you can extract up to three to five times more information than the normal person.

Improving your listening and observation skills requires the discipline to reduce distractions and be proactive in focusing your attention. Most people aren’t aware or don’t understand how unobservant they are.

Keep phones and other attention seeking distractions out of meetings, conversations and other communication tasks. Take notes during conferences and meetings, and keep a journal to record your activities and reflections. Make eye contact during interactions with others and practice active listening skills.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


During times of hardship, taking a large risk, facing fear, dealing with the unknown or coping with judgment, high performers speak up for themselves. They share their truth and also speak up for others more often.

High performers honor the struggle, as they know that struggling is a natural part of the process when dealing with challenges. They can handle the struggle, because they expect it. They show up and appreciate the hard times and don’t complain during the process.

Rather than focusing on changing the world, decide on whom you’re doing it for and then work hard for them. Be prepared to serve for someone who needs help and then develop the kind of character that will help them deserve the outcome they desire. 

Photo by Zeyn Afuang on Unsplash

Fail Fast

High Performers view themselves as imperfect, and allow for mistakes and subsequent learning. They embrace failing, tend to fail fast, and use failure as a learning opportunity.

Under pressure they have the ability to assess their actions differently than the average person. They are able to let go quicker, whereas low-achievers tend to fall into a ‘broken record’ of embarrassment, guilt and shame.

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Raise necessity

Do you know what your purpose or what your underlying reason why is? Determine ‘why’ it is important to succeed every single day. Be bold, put yourself out there, and place your identity on the line.

A deep sense of identity, with performing with excellence, is a necessity for high performers. They will bring their focus back through raising the necessity so they enter with a high level of intention, so they perform with excellence. They will ask themselves “who needs me to be on my A-Game right now?”, whether it is family, team, peers, customers or end users. How often do you prime your mental ability to perform an activity well?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Fully Commit & Seek Clarity

Most people avoid expressing all their thoughts and feelings when dealing with situations of high pressure. This can lead to unnecessary miscommunication and tension as the recipient feels they have heard all that was meant to be said, and responds accordingly.

A high performer seeks clarity more often as they want to understand why. The average person will jump to judgment based on only 5% of the available information, and therefore can easily mis-read the tone of an email or conversation. These judgments can truly harm us, especially in the digital age, where we can be quick to read and respond with emotion.

It is valuable to grasp what the intention is, what is important and what matters? By using self-reflection, evaluation, and making changes more often, you can sift out distractions and refocus on what is important.

Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash

Develop Influence

You learn more about yourself when you teach others. Through teaching people how to think and challenging them to grow, you change their lives. When you impact someone else’s thoughts, in a positive way, you have influence. Remember to tell them to be their best.

The more comfortable someone is around you, the more likely you are to be able to influence them. Be relaxed and create rapport with the person you are trying to influence, as you are more likely to persuade them if they like and trust you. Listen to the people you are trying to influence, ask the right questions, be aware of their body language and be patient.


Generate More Energy

If you want to perform at your best you need to develop the ability to switch off, recharge and maximize your ‘transitions’. Transitions are the times in your day when you switch from one task to another, such as the time in between meetings, driving to and from work, grabbing a coffee and eating lunch.

High performers will generate energy during the day, rather than losing it. Try giving your mind and body a break every 45-60 minutes. Where possible, plan and schedule chunks of time to recharge. Take a quick break, close your eyes, or meditate as the short psychological break can release tension and focus, so you are primed for the next activity.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

How are you going to cultivate more powerful traits in your life and remove the traits that are less productive and supportive of a happier life?


To learn more about proactively planning your recovery and scheduling your energy, please DOWNLOAD the Break the CEO Code Whitepaper


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Rockstar of Efficiency



By Craig Johns

Wouldn’t it be great to be a rockstar of efficiency? The type of life you lead is absolutely, one hundred percent, a direct result of the choices you make. There is nothing more annoying than someone continuously telling me they are ‘so busy’, ‘life is so crazy’, I can’t believe people keep ‘asking for more’, my staff are ‘on edge’ right now, it’s not if ‘they will break’ but when.

So why do leaders, the captain of the team, continue to make choices that overload the system in the belief that the more we do, the more productive we will be and that the business will be better for it? It is all fine if you want to just be mediocre, develop a tired culture and see talented people flow through a revolving door.

Have you ever noticed that highly successful people, in general – as there are some crazy outliers, seem to have it all together? They remain calm under pressure, are great at juggling a hundred balls at once, manage a cohesive team, time is effortless and success seems to follow them like a magnet.

Photo by Eleonora Patricola on Unsplash

You might think highly successful people have no life outside of work, they sleep less than five hours a day and must have a real disconnect with their family. It is generally quite the opposite and they live their lives like a high performance athlete.

In general, highly successful people are rock stars at delivering efficiency. They are extremely effective at cutting out worthless and non-practical aspects of life such as watching reality TV shows, attending every meeting at work, accepting all invitations that come across their desk, and indulging in activities that don’t support the end game.

Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

Time is used wisely and effectively. They set small goals each day that have a definitive time period, which creates urgency and a drive for completion. You will find that they keep team goals and projects less than three months to ensure that their staff are highly motivated and are less affected by other distractions.

Successful people are in control of their schedule and methodical about balancing their calendar. Scheduled meetings are limited to less than twenty percent of their week. They are very particular in setting aside blocks of time with no distractions so they can absorb information, allow their creativity to flow and focus their attention on the most important projects.


They are accountable to themselves and take control of situations rather than laying blame on someone else or something external. The leader occupies the driver’s seat, and they ensure that the right people are on the bus and most importantly sitting in the right seats.

The strengths of their team are established, gaps are identified, and everyone in the team knows their role. Team members are empowered to use their strengths for the good of the team and ensure everyone is paddling in the same direction.

Photo by Cynthia Andres on Unsplash

So what’s next for you? First you need to identify what are the non-negotiable’s in your life and at work that if you took them away would reduce performance and affect the desired life.

Then take a hard look at yourself and identify the things in your life and work that if you took them away would not have a negative effect on the way you want to live your life and the goals you have set? Once you have identified those, set out a plan to slowly eradicate those aspects one at a time.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Next work with your colleagues to establish what could be taken out of daily work activities to free up more time for growth and innovation, or to enable your mind and body the adequate recovery time so that everyone can turn up every day and deliver high performance. As per the first step, you need to work out a gradual plan, with an end date, to remove the activities.

To ensure that you become a ‘Rockstar of Efficiency’, you then need to form consistent habits over a period of 6-12 weeks, so they become ingrained in your every day life.

Life is short, maximize your time on this earth and make a small difference every day. Remember everything you do and every decision you make comes down to a choice. A choice that you have total control over!

Photo by John Torcasio on Unsplash


To learn more about proactively planning your recovery and scheduling your energy, please DOWNLOAD the Break the CEO Code Whitepaper


Are You Living Link
People Are Our Greatest Assets Link
It’s All About Trust Link
Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong? Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
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