Editors Note: Please welcome brand new BREAKFAST CLUB BLOGGER Amy Btiebet, from Open Doors Academy, in Cleveland, Ohio. We are thrilled she has joined the extraordinary BOOST BLOGGING team!
Hi friends! My name is Amy, and this is my first BOOST blog. I debated writing about a wide range of topics that I felt somewhat confident in after 10 years in youth development—how to run engaging summer programming, transitioning from managing youth to managing staff, growing pains in a rapidly developing organization…. In the midst of this brainstorming, and juggling an excess of dozens of other large projects, something unexpected happened.
I broke down. For the first time in my professional career, I hit a wall, and I hit that wall at 700 miles an hour. And. It. Was. Ugly.
I debated about how transparent I wanted to be when I wrote this blog and decided that it was best to begin this journey as honest and as open as possible. Burnout is real and as we all know, we can’t be our best for others if we aren’t doing what’s best for ourselves.
So as I begin this new, more balanced version of myself, I want to share a few things that I forgot to do, as a reminder to my friends about self-care and a commitment to promises we should all make to ourselves:
1.) Take time for your health. 7 years ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. However, as stubborn as I have been, I chose to ignore some pretty serious symptoms that were a byproduct of not taking care of myself. Let’s promise ourselves that even when the work is piling up to the ceiling, we will start with the work that is at the foundation of that pile, ourselves.
2.) Actualize your priorities. And then, think about reasonable accommodations to set yourself up for success. In my newest role, I have had to attempt to find the balance between managing a team culminating in 40 individuals while focusing on vision, strategy, and growth for our program. I made the mistake of being too available at any given moment and allow day-to-day tasks to take priority over big-picture projects. What I failed to do was prioritize time outside of the office on a weekly basis to just think strategically. Let’s promise ourselves to take the time to think, because the ability to stop and think allows for refocusing on what’s most important to the work that we do.
3.) Disconnect fully when you take time for yourself. Setting up my smartphone to allow email notification in live time was really neat until I realized I was responding to emails within moments of receiving them—5:30am-11: 00pm, 7 days a week. Let’s promise ourselves to remember that it’s ok for the emails to pile up a little—don’t forget, we survived before email and keeping some space between response time will allow for more thoughtful, processed replies.
4.) Rely on your team. Too often, I fear delegation because I worry that my team already has too much on their plates. I forget, however, that working 11-hour days to pick up the unclaimed tasks might shield my team from some additional projects in the moment, but in reality, it doesn’t allow them to develop in their ability to manage responsibilities and cultivate new skills. As I’m learning about delegation, I am also learning that, very often, a fresh set of eyes opens up a world of creative, new ideas. Let’s promise ourselves to show faith and trust to those on our team by giving them new projects and encouraging their ability to find the same ends, but not forcing our own means. Whether the secretary or the CEO, we are all mentors, coaches, and role models to our teams, families, and students. So as we are gearing up for a new school year, let’s promise to take the best care of ourselves so we can take the best care of our people.
For breakfast, I had a big cup of black coffee and leftover turkey and spinach breakfast casserole.