Are you on the brink of burnout? Trust me, we’ve been there. As hearing care professionals, the drive to be at the top of our game can often leave us feeling drained, stressed, and ultimately burned out. The good news is, it doesn't have to be that way. In our candid conversation, we explore self-care strategies that you can integrate into your routine, making you more present, more fulfilled, and ultimately, more successful in your business. You'll learn about practical activities like exercise, meditation, and pursuing hobbies, inspired by the teachings of Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now". Our first step towards combating burnout begins with understanding that we have limited control in life and that's okay!
In this vibrant discussion, we also delve into the essential need for hearing care professionals to set boundaries and seek support. We share effective strategies to set boundaries with patients, stakeholders, and staff, including block scheduling and callback lists. Beyond setting boundaries, we reveal how delegating tasks to team members can be a game-changer in managing workloads. Not to forget emphasizing the importance of seeking support from mentors, fellow business owners, and professional networks. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well, it takes a support system to sustain a successful business. With the right balance of self-care, boundary setting, and support, you'll be well on your way to a healthier, more sustainable business without the risk of burnout. Join us as we share our journey and insights in navigating this path.
You're tuned in to the Hearing Matters podcast, the show that discusses hearing technology, best practices, and a growing national epidemic: Hearing Loss. Before we kick this episode off, a special thank you to our partners. Weave: the all-in-one patient communication and engagement pl atform. Sycle: built for the entire hearing care practice. Redux: faster, drier, smarter, verified. Fader Plugs: the world's first custom adjustable ear plug. Welcome back to another episode of the Hearing Matters podcast. I'm your host, Blaise Delfino, and thanks for hanging out with us today. I'm hoping you've had such a great week so far. I can tell you it has been insanely productive on our end and cannot thank you enough for your continued support, your continued partnership in spreading awareness of hearing health care. Now, if you've been part of the Hearing Matters podcast family, you know that we have a really cool mix, in our humble opinion, of episodes. So, we'll talk about hearing aids and we'll talk about best practices, but what we love to talk about, you know personal development, self-help and business development topics, and sometimes we'll have a guest on to talk about these topics. But today I am going to be talking about, solo, three strategies to avoid burnout, and let's just start with this - we have some schools of thought who will say burnout doesn't exist, because if you're passionate about something, you can never burn out. It's what you love. I am part of the camp that if you are passionate about something and your why is strong enough and your W-H-Y, your why should make you cry, you are still susceptible to burnout, like, at the end of the day, we are human, so you know that's not to say that you shouldn't continue to work hard, but personally I've experienced burnout. It is not fun, it is not cool. I never thought I would experience burnout and, as I've said in a previous episode, you know the hustle culture got the best of me, especially when I was a undergrad student and even a graduate student. But through meditation and personal development and growing up, you kind of learn, "You know what. Some of these things just aren't working for me" and I hope to enlighten you and shine a light on these three strategies to avoid burnout, because it is real, it can happen and it is not fun. And you know, as a former private practice owner in the hearing health care industry, I truly understand you know the challenges and demands that come with running a private practice. So, today let's discuss three strategies to help you, a private practice owner, even if you're a student, and, truthfully, anyone in any industry can implement these three strategies to assist in avoiding burnout, and the first one is really prioritizing self care. Number one is to prioritize self care. Running a small business requires a lot of time, energy, dedication. It's so important to remember that taking care of yourself is literally just as crucial as taking care of your business. So, you know practicing different self care activities that recharge and rejuvenate you, and these could be exercise, meditation, spending quality time with loved ones or pursuing, you know, different hobbies and interests outside of work. Self care is not selfish, it is essential. I remember when I first started working full time at the family private practice, I was going 110 miles an hour and you know I've talked about this in other episodes I definitely let my health go by the wayside. I thought I was healthy and you know I would implement intermittent fasting just to try to maintain my weight, and really it was a crutch so I didn't have to go to the gym because after a long day at work, I was literally drained from seeing and having the opportunity to help 15, 20 patients a day, you're drained. And I came up with all of these excuses of my business as my identity and this and that, and I really did not prioritize self-care and really started to lean into these different self-care practices like hiking. So my wife Autumn and I we would go on weekend hikes at Jacobsburg Park in Nazareth, pennsylvania, four-wheeling, not reading business books on the weekend, because, truthfully, it's like if I'm reading a business book then my mind automatically is going to go to okay, how can I apply that at the private practice? How can we help more patients? How can we scale? How can we create more brand recognition? I was literally doing nothing to really help myself prioritize self-care until I really do believe that was something that came out of COVID. Is it allowed me and, I think, a lot of other clinicians, to prioritize that self-care and be like, wow, I may not be as important as I think I am? Let's be honest, ego is the enemy. Let me lean into hiking, let me pick up an instrument, let me just and truly self-care. Could be watching a favorite TED talk. Anything that is going to allow you to recharge and rejuvenate is self-care. Now, of course, you don't want to implement any self-care that is destructive or anything of that nature, overindulging in certain things, but at the same time. It's so important to find out what works for you, what is going to recharge and rejuvenate you because I know what it's like to be a private practice owner, especially when you're starting out and there's different cycles of business and implementing these different self-care strategies will allow you to build up that sense and feeling present. One of the books that I read that really helped me with self-care and understanding that self-care was not selfish and is not selfish is the Power of Now by Eckert Tolle and the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. But let's start with Eckert Tolle's the Power of Now. So, in summary, it is so important for us to be present right now. Don't think about the past. There's literally nothing you can do about that. Don't think about the future. We think we can control everything. There's very few things we can control in this life, especially as private practice owners and undergrad and graduate students. We can try our best to implement different strategies and position ourselves to obtain a favorable outcome, but at the end of the day, we really don't control much in this life. So the Power of Now was a book that really helped me understand that self-care and living in the now, even when I was running the private practice and doing some of these self-care activities. I would feel guilty doing them like well, this is taking away from my business, but over time I learned like this is essential for my business and I do that today, in that to give you 110%, I need to fill my cup first, and that's something that was a little difficult to learn and understand. As a business owner, but also in life and as a husband, I want to make sure that I'm showing up the best I can for my wife, autumn. So filling the cup with hobbies that fulfill and fill my cup are going to then spill over into all of these other really important aspects of my life, of the podcast and my career in hearing healthcare. But as a husband, the whole nine yards it really does start to filter into everything, and I really do enjoy meditation. So that was something that I made sure that I did in terms of a self-care aspect. So spending time in nature too. I mentioned the seven spiritual laws of success. I first read that book before the pandemic. So there was a stretch where I was working. I worked like 31 days straight, I mean Saturday, the whole nine yards, like I was literally burning out. And I remember one of my favorite artists. He goes by Mike M-I-K-E period. He used to be Mike Studd, but he posted this book on his Instagram and I was like, oh, I'm going to read it. It's a short read and this book absolutely blew my mind. I read it before the pandemic, so it's interesting how everything works out and I was able to implement these different laws throughout the pandemic while my business was shut down, navigating a business through COVID, and it really talks about spending time in nature to reach that pure potentiality. So meditation, spending time in nature, talks a lot about the law of karma. In order for us to do good, we definitely need to feel good, and that does come with getting enough sleep. I use a Fitbit. It allows me to track my sleep and I will tell you getting enough sleep is part of self-care. Seven to eight hours of sleep are you waking up? Are you hydrated? So it is okay to take care of yourself, because if you don't take care of you, no one else is going to. We are the main character in our own story and, yes, your family and friends do really care about you and they love you, but at the same point in time, they can't do these self-care activities for you. So take a deep breath. You're a small business owner. It's okay to set aside a couple, you know, half hour to an hour, whether it be every day, every other day, for you what's going to fill your cup. So, strategy number one prioritizing self-care. And also get that sunlight. Get morning sunlight, get evening sunlight, get that vitamin D. Get out, go walk, go be in nature. Put your phone down. Okay, this phone that I'm holding into my hand is bringing me nothing but a bill. Yes, I understand there's entrepreneurs out there that I make X amount of figures because of my cell phone. That's phenomenal, man. But guess what? There's a lot of people that this phone is so self-destructive and it's stealing time from family, your friends, and again, it's bringing you nothing but a bill. So I'm not going to go off on a tangent there. But number one prioritize self care. Number two the second strategy to avoid burnout setting boundaries. Man, is this hard? Well, it's difficult if you're not effective at it or good at it, but the first couple of times you start to set boundaries as a business owner, it feels a little weird. Not going to lie, I was on a coaching call a couple of months ago and we were. We were talking about the importance of setting boundaries and how to do it effectively, how to do it diplomatically in a sense that, like you, don't come across as an individual who doesn't care about the person but the importance of setting boundaries. You know, if you give someone an inch, they're absolutely going to take a mile, and it really is easy for small business owners to fall into the never ending work cycle, blurring the lines between work and personal life. I will tell you, I've been there. It's like I was in the room but I wasn't present. Ok, because my mind was thinking about the business. It was thinking about the patient that I'm going to see tomorrow and, oh my gosh, like I know I fit them well with custom hearing aids and I know I did really your measurement effectively. I hope they don't return them like what I had to tell my brain to just chill, calm down and enjoy the moment. You know, setting those boundaries and we need to establish clear boundaries and stick to them. So, for example, this is probably going to be the hardest thing for our, our hearing care providers out there, because I was guilty of this as well, as you know set designated work hours and days off and communicate these boundaries to your clients, employees and stakeholders, and because by doing so, you create space for rest, relaxation and the activities that bring you joy outside of work. One of the challenges that a lot of small business owners have and a lot of entrepreneurs have and I'm guilty of it, but I've learned not to do it is you identify with your business and I get it when you, when you are a founder, it's very easy to do this. This is, this is who I am. You are not your business. Your ego is probably going crazy right now, but I will let you. I will tell you. You are not your business. Yesterday made a post on LinkedIn talking about the law of detachment, and this is probably the hardest thing to do is when you set those boundaries OK, letting your patients know these are set hours and some patients are not going to like your work hours, and I get that. And as hearing health care providers, we are some of the biggest empaths out there. Like, truthfully, we are so empathetic. We want to help every single patient. If you look up empathy in the dictionary, you're going to see a photo of a hearing care provider, because we love helping people, but that that can come with a cost, because if you're not setting these specific boundaries whether it be you know modes in which and ways in which patients can communicate with you, the hours with which you're working it is so important to set these boundaries. Now you might be in a different cycle of business. You might be in the startup phase. I know there's one of my LinkedIn connections. She just started her own private practice, I think four or five months ago. I've been there. I know the stress that you're going through, but what was really cool to see is she commented I think it was about the three strategies to avoid burnout, because what inspired me to do this episode was a LinkedIn post and she was like you know what? I'm in month four or five and I'm really implementing these different steps to set me up for future success, which was great to hear. But setting those boundaries not only with patients, but also with stakeholders and front office staff and it's going to feel weird at first. But and what I loved when I was working in private practice and I'm sure you get this all the time, or if you're thinking of starting a private practice, you're going to get this when you first start, your patients are going to call the front office, front office is going to pick up and they're going to ask to speak to you. And I love this because number one our patients, our family, like we love helping our patients on the road to better hearing. But there would be times where I really had to start to set that boundary because I wanted to help this patient. It was more so on the um, the call back list, and there were some patients who it was a quick question but I had another appointment scheduled. So it was very hard for me because I want to help as many patients as I can. I don't want them to feel like they're not being heard. But setting that boundary up front of you know, if a patient calls and they ask to speak with me, chances are I am going to be in an appointment with another patient and setting you know we would set specific days and times where I would return phone calls to patients maybe who had questions, who just got their hearing aids. So block scheduling definitely does help with setting that boundary. Because guess what, if you just took a call and it only lasted two or three minutes but it was not a good call, now you have to go in and do a case presentation to someone who's never worn hearing aids, where do you think your mental is going to be? Probably not in the best space, unless you're, like, really good at reframing and snapping out of it, block scheduling and setting those boundaries of listen. When I am with during the day, unless it is a true emergency true, true emergency I'm most likely with a patient. Put them on the call back list. I will return the phone call within 24 hours. So setting those boundaries is really important for you as a hearing care professional to give to your new patients, to your current patients. And again, setting boundaries, it is the most difficult thing to do, but once you learn how to do it effectively, it's going to not only help you from a mental standpoint and feeling a little less on edge, but your business is going to run much better as well, and that could even be, like I said, ways in which that your patients communicate with you. Your patients feel connected to you and hearing healthcare is so different than any other profession out there because we have such a it's such a different patient provider relationship than it is with, like, say, your primary care physician you see for 15 minutes once a year at your physical and then that's it. But hearing healthcare is so different so I can't tell you what boundaries to set. I can only share my experience. But I will say that that was that was one of the biggest ones was patients calling in and having a question and just making sure that you call them back. The third strategy to avoid burnout delegation and seeking support. Delegation is not giving your employees more tasks and then you stop with that. As private practice owners, we wear multiple hats and we try to handle every aspect of our business. I will tell you this right now trying to do it all Canon will lead to burnout. I can say that. I've been there. It's happened. So learning to effectively delegate tasks to your team members or considering outsourcing certain responsibilities to trusted professionals is a strategy that will help. So seeking support from mentors, fellow business owners or professional networks that's very important too from a support standpoint. Surrounding yourself with a support system can absolutely provide valuable insights and guidance and encouragement, and, chances are, someone's been running a business way longer than you have. So you can literally buy 10 years, five years of time, by leaning into vulnerability and asking a fellow business owner to share with you. Hey, how should I solve this problem? Drop the ego. The ego's the enemy. Let's start with delegation again. What delegation is not creating additional tasks for your team members so you can just chill and scroll on Facebook, linkedin and text your best buddies about the upcoming golf tournament this weekend? That's not delegation, guys. Let's be honest, that's not. That's just you being lazy and not wanting to have a pulse on your business and sure I'll have some entrepreneurs. Hey, man, you know, if you really want to scale, you know you'll delegate. Yeah, of course, but your hand needs to be in the delegation process. So, for example, let's just say you want to start to delegate clean and checks to one of your newer hearing instrument specialists. You say well, so, megan, she took over my position at Audiology Services in Nazareth, pennsylvania. So I'd say, okay, megan. What I believe would be in the best interest of our patients, but also the practice, is you taking over the clean and checks. This is what makes up a clean and check, and this is why a clean and check is so important for our patients. We usually have our patients come in two times a year at least for their clean and check appointment, so we would have a clean and check checklist. I personally walked her through every single step that is included in a clean and check, whether it be, you know, firmware update check or redux treatment the whole nine yards wax guard change, cleaning the microphone ports, all of that. And then I had her show me so you go through each step, okay? Then when she had patients come in for their clean and check appointment, she would do the clean and checks and for the first you know week I would cross check. So I would make sure, okay, did you do this, this, this? Oh, you know, let's make sure. Just a friendly reminder put how many micro leaders of moisture that the redux system removes. So while I am delegating that task as the business owner, it allows me to focus on more of the strategic initiatives. But guess what? I now have full trust and confidence in Megan when she's implementing and conducting these clean and check appointments. I know they're done right, I know they're done to the standard with which I'd like to see them, and I actually do them. And she feels confident and that helps her number one build a stronger relationship with the patient. She's able to learn, she's able to troubleshoot. So when you are delegating a task, why is this important. How does this help this team member even grow in their career, even grow in the office? Very, very important. I'm a huge fan of delegation, but it has to be done correctly. If you put the time in to delegate tasks effectively, you are going to go further, faster 100%. Now let's touch on this seeking support piece and again we talked about three strategies to avoid burnout, and implementing these strategies is not going to happen overnight. It's going to take work, but guess what Work works. And if you're committed to doing this and you're ready to take that next step towards building your business, again, what are your goals? Whether you want to be a multi-location business, whether you just want to have one solid location, whether you want to have a lifestyle hearing, healthcare business where you work four days a week and you're so happy about the business with which you're building, that's up to you. We wanted to discuss, review these three strategies that myself and fellow team members have implemented and continue to implement to really live a fulfilled life in all arenas. Seeking support is often the hardest thing. It's important to know yourself and to audit yourself. For example, what I'm very good at is if I don't know an answer or if there's a problem and I don't have a solution. I am totally fine with reaching out to someone who I know whether it be a mentor, a colleague, a friend who will have the answer to that problem. It is okay to ask questions and had a mentor who would always say you know, be curious, get your curious on. And that really has helped me in my career. You know, as I grow in the hearing healthcare industry, to seek support. The minute you think you know everything, you actually know nothing. So the minute you think you know everything, you know nothing. Seeking support is really important. We talked about these professional groups. So if you're a young professional, get linked up with your young professional counselor through your local chamber of commerce. You know those are like-minded individuals there. We have these Facebook groups. You know there's so many individuals in the hearing healthcare space that host different Facebook groups, for example, the Oddboss Facebook group. You can go in there. You can ask a question about whether it be billing or a certain system or process or software. Maybe you should you want to consider using Within like one hour, you're going to have a couple of answers and that is a group that's there to support you. And again, if you are in the startup phase, lean into that vulnerability. It's very scary, it's very hard, but you are buying time by asking questions you know and asking the right questions. Asking questions from providers who have been in business 10, 15, 20 years. It's going to cut your learning curve definitely in half, for sure, because experience is the greatest teacher. And guess what you get to ask the right questions, if you implement what they suggest, it's not only going to be in the best interest of your business, it's going to be in the best interest of your patient. So again, today we discussed three strategies to avoid burnout. Those include one, prioritizing self-care. Two, setting boundaries Really important. And third, delegate and seek support. Again, I'd encourage you, implement these three strategies to avoid burnout. And I know there's some schools of thought and there's some camps that'll say burnout doesn't exist, because if you're really passionate about what you do, you'll never burn out. Personally, I don't think that's true, because I love hearing health care and I love entrepreneurship. But I was burnt out and I've experienced it and I was able to get out of that and continue to serve my patients to the best of my ability. But it is not a fun feeling, it's not a fun experience and hopefully this episode can help you so you never burn out and, again, by prioritizing self-care, setting boundaries and seeking support, you truly can proactively address burnout and create a healthier and more sustainable work-life balance. Remember, taking care of yourself is not just beneficial for your well-being, but also for the success and longevity of your small business and life in general. You're tuned in to the Hearing Matters podcast, the show that discusses hearing technology, best practices and a growing national epidemic hearing loss. I'm your host, blais Del Fino, and until next time, hear life story.