But I’m Exhausted: How to Recognize Yourself and Others’ Even in Overload

An interview with special guest, Christine Laperriere, owner/founding partner of Leader In Motion and Executive Director of Women of Influence Advancement Centre. Christine is passionate about Women’s Advancement and helping them learn how to stay happy despite being so busy.  Learn more about the mindset and strategies needed to get through it all.


Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to my amazing colleague Christine Laperriere, the head of Leader In Motion. We were going to talk about something that we’re so passionate about- women’s advancement and the lack of recognition – but here’s the thing; we’re both showing up at 4:30 in the afternoon at the end of the week exhausted and we’re exhausted! Instead, we’re going to have a real conversation here about what it’s like when you are fatigued and the lack of recognition that comes when that happens.


We can definitely have a talk about that because that is top of my mind right now. Doing all this work with the Women of Influence Advancement Centre is a big part of my day job. I coach women through their careers to help them move into promotions. It’s amazing because here I am; I’ve got a screaming toddler and an eight-month-old baby who’s teething right now. Basically, I’m juggling it all. Sometimes the idea of advancement in the first place is just exhausting.


It’s fleeting moments when we consider: why would anyone want to advance?


True, When you are thinking, you have more than I can possibly handle. Please, I don’t need anymore! I see this a lot when I’m coaching women. I see them struggle with being exhausted and under these incredible demands and feeling like they don’t want any additional responsibility. They don’t want any additional leadership. I just got off the phone earlier this morning when a coaching client went from an individual contributor to over the last year and a half she was given a team of 10 and then another team of 10 and then another team of six.

Meanwhile, she’s a busy mom at home raising children. She just said, “All I need to do is get as much done as I possibly can in a day so that I can get home and be a mom,” which is another important job for me. Sometimes I think to myself, “How do we do this? How do we do this all?”


I too see with coaching clients that they internalize this: if I can’t get it all done I’m a bad contributor or I’m a bad mom or terrible spouse. It’s amazing how many of us look around and think others must have it figured out. Not only is it rarely true, but it also robs us of the opportunity to recognize our greatness, what we are doing well and what we are doing right.


It’s definitely a matter of understanding how to manage the standard that you’re going to hold yourself to when you’re juggling more than one thing. I think one of the things that I was talking to her about was how, before I had kids, it was easy to find four extra hours. Not that my life outside of work wasn’t very important, but there were other things that I could try to delay, move or reschedule. Unfortunately, I can’t reschedule a teething eight-month-old! I don’t get the luxury of coming home from work and finding four additional hours while I’m juggling a teething eight-month-old. It’s interesting how the idea of balance, like the standard that we set on ourselves, it has to be modified for the number of demands that we’re carrying. The bar that I used to jump in my career was much higher. Today, it’s got to be a little bit lower so that I can manage it all. I need to be pretty good at a lot of things versus awesome at everything. I’ll raise the bar again next week when his teeth are here.


Maybe we realize the expectations don’t have to be that high anyway. Maybe we actually have much higher standards than we need to. Because one of the things that I’ve learned through the work you do in supporting women’s advancement and the research is that what holds women back is that we put our heads down, keep working harder, and expect our blood, sweat, and tears will eventually pay off. Not advancing? We do more. Then the bar is higher, not just for ourselves, but others have a higher bar for us too. We expect it’s going to get us noticed, but that’s not what happens, is it?


Right. To bring it all together, I’m finishing a book called “Too Busy To Be Happy.” Ironic. Maybe you’ll understand why I feel like I’m an expert on this topic being too busy to be happy, but at the end of the day it’s juggling all of it and let’s say the bar that we put on ourselves, I still come back to, can you answer the question, “Are you happy?”

When we set expectations and standards that are so out of reach and then we start on that treadmill and we’re running, running, running, we end up losing sight of actually just being happy. I’ve made it a passion of mine to figure out how to be busy and happy. Somewhere along the line, the idea of this work-life balance thing came along and it made me feel like I needed to have a life on the top of a mountain and meditate for nine hours a day in order to be happy.

I felt like I was conflicted because I really love my busy life, but there are just moments where I no longer am happy. For me, it’s just trying to find out how do we be busy and happy. Not feeling quite so exhausted all the time.


It’s so important to be both busy, and not feel guilty about that, and happy. When we aren’t, we often aren’t living our greatness and not recognizing ourselves. What are some of your best tips for people to be able to recognize themselves even when they feel like they’re busy and perhaps not getting it all done? How can they still recognize themselves?


I think it’s going to sound really simple, but the prioritization of the things is important. When you look at the amount of energy we’re trying to expel on so many different priorities at the same time, the first thing I end up doing when I’m talking to somebody is coming back to, what are the most important things? Such as, “Okay. I need to be an awesome mom and deliver fantastic results at work, but are those are the only two things or do you also want health, friendships, and other things? What are the things most important to prioritize?

If you have a sick parent, over delivering just isn’t in the cards, right? It’s about survival. Understanding what are those two or three most important things that have to get done right now. It’s funny. You can take a look at your day where you’re spending your time and see how well aligned you’re spending your energy and time with the two or three things that are most important. To me, it’s the fastest way.

One of the things I do all the time is I’ll say, “Open up your calendar. Where have you been for the last week or so? Let’s take a look at where you’ve been spending your time.” It’s almost instantly an “ah ha” moment for people when they’re feeling too busy to be happy.


I just want to take a moment to acknowledge, Christine, that in your busy day, you still valued and prioritized our relationship and our conversation.


One of the things I’ll say on that note, it’s so funny because I’m very particular about where I spend time and energy. But if a relationship is bringing good energy and it actually raises my energy level versus depletes my energy level, I prioritize it. That relationship goes way up in my importance of things to do. I think that’s been one of the biggest things that actually helps me manage my stress levels. Our relationship is energizing for me. It made the top of my list when I did have a free moment to do a VLOG. Thank you so much for being a part of it. And thanks for the great work you’re doing helping people leverage recognition in themselves and at work.


If you want to learn more about Christine and her website is www.leaderinmotion.com. And we’ll be sure to keep you updated on Christine’s new book that’s coming out in early 2019! Christine, I hope you’ll come back for another interview!


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– Mother Teresa

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Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

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Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

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Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
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Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

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Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

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