Behind the Scenes #20: Burnout... & my own "heels"
Burnout confessions, regaining my enthusiasm through other creative endeavors, and sharing my own “heels”… Welcome back to the Statement Mondays update! 🤩
What is Statement Mondays? It’s a podcast for college and early-career women about being bold and authentic in the workplace. I interview career-minded women with strong identities who give examples, advice, and tools that inspire listeners to bring more of who they are into what they do.
👩🏼🎨 Since last time:
I emailed and got a response from one of my idols and inspiration for starting Statement Mondays: Fidji Simo (prior VP of Product @ Facebook, I emailed her just before she left!)
A few season 2 - related things ~crossed my mind~ to do but I haven’t put the effort behind these thoughts yet:
Start looking for a producer to team up with for season 2
Ask previous guests about how I could improve my whole reachout & interview process with them
Change up my interview questions and/or pick a specific theme for season 2
Start reaching out to new guests from my list of women who have been referred to me to interview
I’ve read three novels
I’ve been to 2 figure drawing classes, I’m on my second painting, I’m starting an 8 week abstract painting course tomorrow, and I’ve sketched a bunch
🧠 #1 thing on my mind: Burnout & my own heels
No doubt about it -- I spent June, July, and August truly and completely burnt out. At least in the podcast sense, but it’s also bleeding into the rest of my life. I thought maybe I’d be able to work on Statement Mondays here and there while settling into New York and recovering from the first season’s madness, but my brain just refuses to think constructively at the moment.
On the bright side, that does mean I’ve been able to focus on my new top two priorities -- meeting new people and reinvigorating my creative passions. I’ve found myself most energized (eyes absolutely sparkling!) lately when reading a book that is art- or creative process- related. My favorites have been Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants (a colorful portrayal of Michelangelo designing a bridge for the Ottoman Empire) and Lust For Life (the Vincent Van Gogh biographical narrative). By reviving my love of the creative world and visual arts, I feel like I’m reviving a piece of my soul that hasn’t yet found its role in my day-to-day life. In fact, kindling this element of my individuality fits right in with Statement Mondays -- in order to excel at both my podcast and my real job, I really do think I need this time to go back and strengthen my foundation of what it means to be Natalie Muenster.
I’ve had a personal realization that a consequence of my burnout is I don’t feel deserving of the pieces of my identity I am proudest of.
“Heels” = a fundamental piece of you (internal, external) that defines you, that others can see and define you with, that you draw strength from, and that you wouldn’t be yourself without.
I’ve never shared what my own “heels” are (my signature question to every Statement Mondays guest!), and now feels like as good a time as any. I have two. If I were being interviewed I would just say the first, but since I make the rules here I get to share both 🙃:
My enthusiasm -- my positive and energetic spirit feeds my ambition, attracts similarly-driven and passionate people, and opens doors for me
My hobbies -- I call myself a serial hobbyist (I just googled that and turns out the term already exists, meaning ~‘someone who spends their life jumping from hobby to hobby trying to master new things all the time’. My definition is different in that I don’t abandon my hobbies afterward. In fact if I could I would continue to do all my existing hobbies while continuing to add on more.) They may not be directly related to my career at any given time, but they add sparkle and give me unique perspectives. Curious what my top 10 hobbies are? Reach out!
I now see that my two ‘heels’ are definitely related.
Anyway, in nurturing my existing hobbies I hope my resulting enthusiasm pours over into my podcasting and engineering life! This burnout is not a bad thing, it’s exactly the reset that I need.
You can’t force creation, at least not if you want anything good to come out of it. I’m learning to sit with my burnout and embrace the opportunities it’s given me to focus on other parts of my life.
Self-help books don’t land for every early-career & driven person. I get more career progression from reading “Lust For Life” than some of these self-improvement silicon valley-esque books that everybody’s reading (this could also be my rebellious side lashing out)
Shoutout to all the new people I’m meeting in New York!
Thank you Kevin Chang and Caroline Jennings for both the commiserating and the inspiring conversations about creative endeavors and the role of personal pursuits in our lives.
Thank you to my new roommate Doris Hoyos for putting up with all the canvases and art supplies cluttering our apartment and for helping me eat all the things I bake (another hobby).
Please bear with me. In the past few ~days~ I’ve started to regain my spark for Statement Mondays, so hopefully in the next update I’ll have some real progress and my signature enthusiasm to share!
Thanks for reading! And if you need a reason to be bold today, here it is -- today is Statement Monday.
Founder | Statement Mondays