After the Webinar: Overcoming Burnout – Finding Meaning and Purpose in Your Career Again. Q&A with Marc Hildebrand

Webinar presenter Marc Hildebrand answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Overcoming Burnout: Finding Meaning and Purpose in Your Career Again. Here are just a few of his responses.


Audience Question: How do you prevent burnout when your current season of life requires you to work more through overtime and side hustles? 

Marc Hildebrand:

Okay. So, here’s the thing, and we were kind of talking about this before, but one of the fundamental philosophies of life coaching is your belief drives your behavior, which means if you believe that this is the only way that it has to happen, you won’t look for other ways to actually make it so that you don’t have to do those things. So, for a long time, I did have that belief that I had to work harder. I had to put in more energy. I had to put in more. But here’s the thing, like, if you look at this logically. Let’s think about this… What if we found a different position that paid more? What if we found a different department that paid more? What if we moved? What if we changed careers? I’m not saying that that’s what you have to do. I’m just saying that when you have in your head that I have to do it this way, you’re going to push through and burn yourself out. And you’re going to be coming from a place of like, I have nothing else to give. So, thinking about things in terms of like even for this. For example, if you’re like, I have to work this way, right? What are some things that you could take off your plate from home, or potentially, even from your work? Maybe even pay somebody else to do it, or just ask a family or friend who will actually allow you to do less. So, in the early stages, when I was like, “Okay, I have to do this.” And then my brain’s like, “No, I don’t have to do this,” “I kind of get to do this, but at the same time, I need to find some stuff to take off my plate.” I started to list out some of the things that I was doing at home, what I was doing at work, what I was doing in my business, because remember, like at the time that I was working full-time, LAPD, I was also growing a business. I also had 2 kids, and I also had a beautiful wife that I wanted to keep happy. And I wanted to focus on my physical and mental health. I had to find ways outside of the norm of just doing all of that, right? And so, I started to get to the point where like, what if I had somebody come in and do some cleaning around the house? Well, that would take a couple of hours of extra stuff off my plate, right? What if I had somebody do this or this, or this, or changed like divisions, or I figured out different ways of doing this so that I wouldn’t be subjected to that? One of the things is, I love the field as a police officer, like. There’s always this extra credibility when you’re in the field, right?

But I realized when I was in the field, I would have a lot more overtime. I would have a lot more court. I would have a lot more things that were not in alignment with, like, what I wanted to be able to do, right? And so, I realized that. I found myself trapped in that. But in reality, I could think of different positions and things that I could do to make it so that I could make more money, but also like work less, so that I could spend more time outside of work on my business and helping people do in creating more income that way. So really, what I have to say is when you think about your current situation. If you believe there is no outside opportunity, you’ll find that all the time you’re right. The truth is that we as humans have this desire to want to be right. And so, when we want to be right. We will prove that if we think that there’s no other way there’s no other way. But what if you just thought about like what are some ways that could? What are some things that could happen? What are some opportunities that maybe I’m blind to right now, that may present themselves and give me an out from here? Not that you’re going to have one thought like that and then instantly, everything’s going to just everything’s going to go back to a beautiful place, right? But just opening to your mind, to the possibilities, because there could be maybe a different position or a different solution, or something else that you could do that would help you make more money in less time. But if you’re not open to it, you won’t be able to find it. Does that make sense, Aaron?


Audience Question: How do you regain your purpose after experiencing success in your early career and then experiencing a demotion due to a stressful internal affairs complaint resulting in a demotion from Sergeant back to deputy after those 14 years?

Marc Hildebrand:

Hmm, okay, so this is a lot of what I do in one-on-one coaching, and that is like taking a situation like that very seriously… and let me just say, I’m sorry that you went through that. That sounds like a very difficult situation to go through, and then to put yourself back into an environment where you used to be the supervisor is a very difficult situation in and of itself. But when we start to think about all of the things that are broken, wrong, or missing, or what people are going to think, or like, what somebody else did to you, or what the internal affairs did to you, I want you to check in with how you feel in your body when you think about those things. Generally, when we think about a situation like that, and we think about it like they did us wrong, or whatever that is, it creates a feeling of anger, resentment, and frustration. When we feel anger, frustration, and resentment, how do we show up in the workplace? Well, we probably show up in the workplace as someone who is not going to ever have the potential of becoming a sergeant again, or never have the potential of being the leader again, because we’re showing up in a way that maybe we don’t want to show up. But when we think about things like, for example, your purpose. We never lose our purpose. We just stop focusing our time and attention on it. And I feel like as we go and grow, like for me personally, my purpose has kind of shifted a little bit from police work to what I do now in terms of coaching, but also my family, and that’s kind of like a little bit of a shift that has happened. But I feel like it was always in there. We don’t lose it. It’s just a matter of like, have you been thinking about and really bringing forward like, why are you even doing this? Why is this career so important and meaningful to you? What kind of impact can you have on the other deputies where you’re at right now? Because you’re coming from a position where you understand what it’s like to be a sergeant. And how does the fact that you went through that help you to make sure that none of the other deputies ever go through that experience themselves? You see, when we start to think about things like, “Okay, this sucked,” it happened. It’s already over, and the more that I continually think about it negatively, it’s going to just bring me more and more down that path, but also get me to show up, not the way that I want to. But what if I started to think about this a little differently? What if I started to think about it as, like, the deputies need me to step up and to share some of the strategies, so this never happens to them. And maybe I become the leader. Maybe I’m not the sergeant, but maybe I’m the leader because of the way that I’m showing up and the way that I’m trying to help people. The way that I’m trying to make an impact. And when you realize that you’re being fueled by this as an actual opportunity, even though the situation sucks, I’m going to make it into an opportunity. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen in that exact situation go back to sergeant, go back up to lieutenant, and one specifically made it to the commander in LAPD because they used it as an opportunity rather than as the reason why they suck or why they’re not going to be good, or why they’re not going to be able to help people, right? It’s always like when your brain is focused on what’s broken, wrong or missing, you’ll go out and create more of what’s broken, wrong, or missing because that’s what you are being fueled by, and when we’re fueled that way, we’ll take actions that are in alignment with that. So, when you think about this situation, I want you to first know that it sucks, and I hate that you went through it, and I don’t know any of the details about it, but I can tell you that it sucks, alright. But also, it happened, and it’s done, and it’s over, and we can’t change the past. The only thing we can do is change our relationship with it. And that is how we think about it and how we frame it. And I got to tell you, the quicker that you get into framing it in a different way. And it’s probably not going to be like, “I’m going to be the best deputy ever,” right? It’s more like, “You know what, maybe I feel like they did do me wrong, but I also think there are some lessons here that I can teach the other guys and other women to make sure that they don’t go down this path themselves.” And now you’re empowered. Now you’re leading. And now, you’re not like trying to do the minimum amount of stuff; you’re actually showing up on a different level. And I want you to see what that will give you a year from now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now. It’ll totally change the trajectory of your career. But you have to be willing to do the hard thing of being able to see it from the opposite side.


Audience Question: I’m a 911 dispatcher and have found that it’s hard to settle down to doing one thing at a time. Constant multitasking is preventing me from being present, and it’s exhausting. Given the work I do, how can I resolve this issue? 

Marc Hildebrand:

Such a great question. First off, I just want to acknowledge and appreciate the 911 operators. For the 20 years I’ve been in LAPD, I would not have been able to do my job to any degree without people who were willing to do that job. I mean, when I think about somebody being on 911, hearing about emergencies, and then just hanging up, and then, you know, creating a call and never having the opportunity to get any closure from that, I’m like, I don’t know how you all do it, and I just want to say how much I appreciate you for doing that, for stepping up, and sometimes you don’t get recognized, just like there are many different places within the criminal justice profession that you do not get recognized enough. So, anytime I can, I want to recognize you for that.


But when it comes to this whole idea and philosophy of multitasking, a certain amount of that is going to be like while you’re on the job, a certain amount of those things are going to have to happen, right? But what I like to do is when I’m in an environment like, let’s say, when I’m at home or when I’m not in an environment where I have to do multitasking like that, I get back into my belief of like, you know what, how is multitasking actually hurting me? And how much more helpful will it be if I’m more intentional with my time and energy, and I’m in a place physically and mentally to start and finish the task versus start and stop and start and stop? This is the process of mindset around it, right? So, if you look at a task and you start a task, and then you stop it or pause it, and then you move on to another task, this task is still taking up your brainpower. It’s still something that you’re thinking about, even if you don’t think so, your subconscious mind is. And now you’re moving on to this next task, and you’re trying to focus on this. And then once you start gaining focus, then you either go to a new one or go back to this one. All of this constant switching really makes you not as productive as you could potentially be. And when we realize that “Hey, you know what, I’m actually not being as productive as I could be. If I started and ended this thing, it would actually produce so much more, plus I wouldn’t have to be thinking and overthinking” because a lot of what we do here is in our brain. It’s like all the overthinking and spinning around in circles takes up all of our time and our energy. And when we don’t have to do that anymore, it’s kind of like this freeing moment, right? So, there’s going to be situations when you’re on the job that you do have to do all of these things at the same time. But just try to, and it’s hard to do this, to kind of compartmentalize because we still bring all those skills home with us. But when we’re in a situation where we don’t need to do that, finding a way to remind ourselves of like, you know what, it’s so much more powerful when I start and complete something than going back and forth because I’ll be able to get so much more stuff done.


Audience Question: I’m a victim advocate and know that I should be exercising and getting a hobby. But I have so little energy when I get home from work. Any advice? 

Marc Hildebrand:  Yes, first off, another undervalued part of the criminal justice profession. Thank you very much for what you do out there every single day, talking to the victims. Man, just hats off to you for everything you do. So yes, I wanted you to check in with something, I want everybody to check in with something. When you think this, “I know I should be working out,” how does that make you feel? If you’re like most people, it makes you feel terrible. When you feel terrible, what are some of the actions that you take? You definitely don’t work out. You don’t, because when you feel terrible about what you should or shouldn’t be doing, you’re using shame, guilt, or humiliation in order to get yourself to take action. This is one of those tricks of the brain where the brain will actually try and trick you, using shame or guilt to take action, and it’ll work for a while. But it won’t be a consistent thing. At least it wasn’t for me. One of the things that Aaron talked about is that I ended up losing 100 pounds, but it’s when I stopped using shame, guilt, humiliation, and reminding myself of what I was fighting for. Why I’m exercising, why it’s so important and meaningful to me. How do I show up when I do exercise versus when I don’t exercise? And when I started to see the impact it was having on my life and other people’s lives. It got me into the mindset of like, I just got to find a time to do this. Now, some of you guys are going to be like, I like to do it at the end of the watch. That is not my preferred time to work out for me personally. Working out gives me more energy. So, I do something earlier. So, if I had like, let’s say, start a watch at 6 PM. Or 6 AM. It didn’t matter. I would wake up, probably about 45 min earlier than I normally would, and I would get a workout in because I knew that it would fuel me for the rest of the day. But remember, there isn’t one right, best, only way. There’s your way. So, finding a way of like, you know what? Maybe I’ll do it during my lunch break. There were a lot of people who did that where they got up, and they did their exercise during their lunch break or at the end of watch or start of watch, or maybe you’ll just group it together where, like, maybe you’re working, you know, 3 12s or something like that on those days, maybe the first day you work out, the next 2 days you don’t, and then you work out the other days that you have off. Like, there are so many infinite number of ways you can tackle this. But remember, you have to start with the why. Why is that so important and meaningful to you, because when you realize how important and meaningful it is to you. How much of an impact it is, then you realize, I don’t have to work out. I get to work out. And I get to choose when I actually put this on my schedule because it’s important to me, and I’m important. And the beautiful thing about that is when you start checking the boxes of self-care, you not only believe in yourself, but your confidence goes through the roof because you’re showing up and doing the things that you know are in your best interest, and what you said you were going to do. You’re staying true to your word. There’s a great feeling of integrity, of like, I said I was going to do this, and I’m going to do this, but not from a place of like beating yourself up if you don’t. If something happens at work, and you can’t work out today, there are no positive results that ever come from shaming or guilt, or humiliating yourself, or like they say, using the should word all over yourself like that is not helpful in any way. We never show up the way that we want to. So, my question to you would be like, how might you find time to exercise if it’s something that’s really deeply important and meaningful to you because you’ve examined why it’s important and meaningful? So how might you find some time in your days, whether it’s your days off or your workdays to actually get some time for exercise?


Audience Question: My husband and I both work in law enforcement. He’s a sergeant, and his boss has informed him that he’s obligated to answer his phone, even if he’s not getting paid for his time. It frustrates me, and now I see it affecting my 5-year-old. How do you suggest I talk with my husband about this? 

Marc Hildebrand:  Oof, so this is a really great question. Thank you for this, Aaron. So, whenever we have confrontations or not confrontations, but like conversations like this, the best way that I know to approach is always by asking questions. If you approach this like, “Hey, this is what’s happening. And this is the effect it’s having on our daughter, why are you letting this happen?” Obviously, that’s not going to be a good conversation, and you already know that because you asked this question, so I’m really proud of you for actually asking it. But just asking him like, “Hey, I know that you have this situation, how do you think it’s affecting us? How do you think it’s affecting you? I just want to hear a little bit about what you think about that.” But when it comes to his specific goals, like, I’m sure that there are some specific goals that he may have in his current position, like even diving into, what are some different ways maybe that we could, you could actually be able to achieve those goals, but maybe in a different position, like just really getting in and asking him some questions about how he sees this showing up, how he sees this affecting the family. But doing it not in a place where you’re guiding him in a direction, but more like in a place of curiosity. I always love starting with that, like, “Hey, you know what I’ve noticed XY, and Z is kind of like happening, I’m just curious, what do you think about that? How does that make you feel when we talk about that? What kind of impact do you think that’s having?” And just asking questions can help them see where you’re kind of coming from. There’s this really great philosophy, that if I tell you what to do, you’re less likely to do it than if I ask you questions, and you come to the conclusion on your own. Now, I also don’t want you to just ask questions that, you know, are going to specifically go down the path that you want him to travel. That’s kind of like, I don’t want to say you’re manipulating, but it can be like a version of coercion. But I want to just get in and just ask him some questions if he sees this, because, honestly, what if he doesn’t? Like you can’t hold him to something that you might see. But he might not be, right, and ask him some of the reasons like, “Is this job so important and meaningful to you?” “Why is being a part of this team something that you really want to do?” And really getting in there to ask questions usually will have the flip response. And that is like he will start asking you questions about how it is showing up, or how you see it kind of happening.

And I also like one of the things, is like, you don’t want to get into attack mode, or anything like that. You want to be in the mode of like “Hey, I want to find a different solution that will actually benefit everyone. I want to make sure that we take care of your boss. I want to make sure we take care of you and your mental health,” because I know that probably right now, you getting a call from him at any given time is probably producing some extra stress, right? “And I also want to protect the environment that we have at home.” So, what is a way that maybe we can either think about this or make some changes, or like what comes up for you in terms of a solution that we could actually help your boss achieve the results he wants, help you to make sure that you’re not feeling overloaded and stressed, and also not able to bring this stuff home so it affects our kids? Like what kind of comes up for you. You see how I kind of label that or not label it but ask that question in a way that’s open-ended. I’m not guiding him. But I’m also just curious in terms of what he thinks and what he also sees, because if he’s not aware of some things, asking him questions will make him aware of it and will give us both the power of having this really great conversation. Now, conversations sometimes don’t go amazingly. They don’t go perfectly, right? But the tough conversations, the conversations like that, are the ones that change the game forever. Because you can actually make a conversation like this make you grow stronger together as a couple and a family, instead of pulling you apart, and it depends on not only how you approach it, but your response to it. Not overreacting, just wanting to have a conversation and talk about it, because you see some of the effects that maybe it’s been affecting him or the kids. But approaching it from this perspective, I just want to understand. I just want to understand. Instead, I want to change your mind. I want to understand, and just having that conversation like I said, can actually make it so that you’re closer together when you’re finished having that difficult conversation than if you had never had it before.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Overcoming Burnout: Finding Meaning and Purpose in Your Career Again.


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