Ep 130: Avoiding CEO Burnout

“CEO burnout is a thing, but it doesn’t have to be YOUR thing.” – Darnyelle Jervey Harmon

Episode Summary

This episode is powered by the  God Girls Making Millions, The Mastermind

If you are not careful, the Move to Millions will take you out! Trust me, I know.  I actually see the potential of it happening with our clients everyday, trying to do too much and focused on the wrong things or just becoming bogged down and overwhelmed by everything that feels urgent.  In this episode, I keep it all the way real with you about CEO Burnout and I share my top tips for avoiding it.  Let’s be clear, the impact of CEO burnout are serious – emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced job performance and until you learn how to manage the daily stressors and decisions that you alone have to make to move your company forward, you could be at risk of losing it all.  The goal, as I will share is the CEO 80/20 Rule…. You’ll have to grab your pen and paper to learn more.  Listen in now to discover:


  • My top 7 ways for reducing CEO Burnout
  • What overwhelm really means to you as a CEO of a business desiring to make, move and leave millions
  • The CEO 80/20 rule
  • And much more

Important Links:

Powerful Quotes from the Episode

  • “Burnout is not part of your job description as the CEO of your company.”
  • “Just because it has to get done, doesn’t mean you have to be the one to do it.”
  • “The greatest price you will ever pay is the one you pay with your energy.”

Want more of Darnyelle?

Social Media Links:


Subscribe to the Move to Millions Podcast:

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Google Play

Listen on Stitcher

Listen on iHeartRadio

Listen on Pandora

Leave us a review

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode. I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those.

Now if you’re feeling extra loving, I would be really grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too. Those reviews help other people find my podcast and they’re also fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. Thank you!


Avoiding CEO Burnout

This episode is powered by God Girls Making Millions The Mastermind. Finally, a safe space for women entrepreneurs to have those high-level conversations that their next level demands. Get on the waitlist now at GodGirlsMakingMillions.com. I am about to go and pack a bag to spend a week in the sun in St. Lucia. I, the CEO of this amazing company, Incredible One Enterprises, am taking a break.

I want to talk to you about something that I see often happen amongst my clients. You heard me share in one of our previous episodes, Black Girl Making Millions, about the fact that the statistics say that the average black woman-owned firm is only generating $24,000 a year. You also heard me declare that our mastermind, which got its 46th member, is filled with black women who are having $24,000 days and $24,000 months. We are consistently defying the odds. I want to let you in on part of the reason why that happens.

As a company, as a coaching team, and as the head coach for our Incredible Factor University programs, which include our Move to Millions Mastermind, our Leverage + Scale Accelerator, as well as The Legacy Collective, we advocate for self-care. I know that might be unheard of for you as an entrepreneur who has been taught that you need to hustle and grind, and who has been a part of #TeamNoSleep. We do not do that around here. Around here, we listen to the flight attendants. Those prophetic beings who have the nerve to say that you need to secure your mask before you help those who are on the journey with you.

We are going to talk about self-care. Specifically, I want to talk about CEO burnout, which is why you need to make sure that you are taking care of yourself in your business before you take care of anything else. I was on the phone with a client. This client has a lot going on in her business. She’s running multiple businesses, a multi-million dollar CEO, at their wits’ end. They are at the point where part of them wants to give everything up, part of them wants to just keep pushing, part of them wants to fire their entire team, and part of them knows they need to get somewhere and sit down.

The Hustle Culture

As their coach, I had to step in. As I was listening to this client talk at length about everything that is going on in their business and what they have to focus on, I did not hear anything that gave me pause about them taking some time for themselves. I do not know who started this hustle culture. I do not know who told you that you had to work harder in order to make money. For me, it was my dad who told me, but that day was done. One of my clients says, “Rest is the new revenue.” I could not agree with her more.

What I need you to understand as an aspiring million-dollar CEO, for those of you who are not there yet, the best thing you could ever do for your business is to take some time off. I am on my way to St. Lucia. By the time you read this episode, I will be back from St. Lucia completely refreshed, revitalized and ready to kick in for the remainder of 2022 and plan for 2023. It is what my team requires. They need me fresh.

The saying is, “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” I need your cup to be so full that you need to grab a second cup for the overflow before you start pouring into all of the things that have the potential to be happening in and around your company. Contrary to your belief, your ego has led you to believe that you have to be present for all of the transformation and all of the decisions inside of your business.

That is not true. You are doing your clients and your team a disservice by not taking breaks, just the same as you are doing your company a disservice by not allowing your team to do the same thing. That is why we have time off. They should be able to take time away from the business, just like you need to take time away.

How did we get here in the first place? I do not know what happened to you so let me make it about me. As you heard me share a few moments ago, I grew up in one of those “you have to work hard for money” households. I will never forget this. I was in the seventh grade, junior high. We were going on a seventh-grade trip to Great Adventures, which is an amusement park here on the East Coast in New Jersey. My little seventh-grade girlfriends and I got the bright idea that we were going to get airbrushed t-shirts. This is when the acid wash was in for the first time. We were going to get these cute little acid wash shorts and our airbrushed t-shirts.

“Rest is the new revenue.”

We were going to all be dressed the same, have our names on the back of our t-shirts with our cute little shorts, and we were going to Great Adventure. We already knew that we were going to be the bee’s knees at Great Adventure. I remember being so excited about going home to my dad. I am in the seventh grade. I am not working. I am a kid and asking for $20 so that I could get my t-shirt and I could get my jeans shorts. Do you know what my dad told me? He said, “Go pick any tree out back and pull money off of it. What do you think this is? Money does not grow on a tree out back. You got to work hard for money.” That lesson had stuck in my brain.

I became an adult who hustled, grinded, and worked hard. When I was in Corporate America, I was 22, 23, 24 and 25 years old, working 16-hour days because I believed it to be true that I had to work hard for money. It did not feel right if I were not working and money was coming in. That went against everything I was taught. You know that you are the sum total of what you were taught and what you caught from your parents and your other family members. Here I am, getting ingrained into this hustle culture without even realizing it. I was not taking a break for myself and never going on vacation.

I thought it was a badge of honor to show up at work every single day, 365 days, except for the days that we had as a holiday as a bank. That is not the move. I brought that culture. I bought that work ethic. I called it work ethic but in my opinion, it was lack and fear. It was ego, the thought that I would be so grand and important that I would not be able to step away for a period of time to refresh myself. How dare I? How dare you if that is what you are thinking as to why you are not taking time off from your business?

I am here to set the record straight because this has got to stop. There is no prize for showing up and working seven days a week. Nine times out of ten, you do not even get farther ahead when you do. You have to take a break. I know hate is a strong word, but I hate Team No Sleep. Take your ass to sleep. You need to get some rest because you are no good to yourself. Your ideas are not even plentiful when you are so tired that you cannot think straight.

Self-Care As A Business Strategy

I know that CEO burnout is a real thing because I was talking with my client, who is burned out. They do not want to admit it. They do not want to take a break because if they take a break, they feel guilty. I am wondering how many of you who are OG of the show feel the same exact way. You are letting this guilt and this lack mindset impact you so greatly that you would burn out before you cash out. We cannot have that.

First and foremost, I need you to understand that self-care is the most important strategy you could ever evoke in your business. It is more important than your sales process. It’s recognizing when it is time for you to take a break. I think the Bible says it this way, “Which of us could add any time to our days by worrying?” To me, that is what feeling like you need to work 24/7 means. It means that you are worried that the systems and strategies and processes and the people that you put in place cannot conduct business like you. Trust me, I get it because I used to be the same way.

I am Darnyelle, the one who graduated from the “if you want something done right, do it yourself” school. I got sick. I think God starts by nudging us, and then we miss the nudge. He starts whispering and then eventually, He screams at us by causing some major breakdown in our life, in our bodies or in our business to get our attention. I do not want that to be what happens to you. Instead, I want you to take regularly scheduled self-care breaks.

Here is what I do, if this would be beneficial for you to know. At least once a month, I take one day off. Every quarter, I take a vacation for at least five days. That means I am going for five working days from the business. Not my laptop on the beaches of the world that I traveled to, but I completely plugged out of the business and completely tuned into my husband. I see the chiropractor at least twice a week. I also see my therapist on a regular basis. I get a facial, a massage, and a pedicure at least every two weeks.

What I’m going to say is a little bit different as a part of this show. It is going to be new information for you. I also make sure that I have regularly scheduled orgasms. Why is that important? The way you care for yourself is about the way you show up in every area of your life. Self-care, in my opinion, is a result of healthy self-esteem. It is based on a belief that your gifts and talents are meant to serve the world. You have decided to do what you must for yourself so that you can be what other people need you to be.

As a CEO, the best thing you could ever do for your business is to take some time off.

When it comes to me and my business, I get a big calendar every year in August and I flush out all of my time away and all of my self-care time. I schedule my self-care before I determine what strategies, plans, programs, and events we are going to do for the year. That is how important self-care is. It is important that it is in the Move to Millions 90-day planner. Every single week, I am asking what self-care. When I meet with my clients in the Move to Millions Mastermind every 90 days, part of their strategy needs to be self-care.

A burnt-out CEO is a CEO that is not going to be making, moving and leaving millions. If you do, you will not be able to enjoy it in the process. That is what this is not all about. We are not just our work. Our work is the vehicle that allows us to live the way we want to live and support the causes we want to support. We have an opportunity to live our best lives by enacting self-care truly.

How do you know that you are in need of significant self-care? Meaning you are not caring for yourself on a regular basis. You are not scheduling weekly trips to the chiropractor to get a massage or whatever those things are. You are not making sure that you are listening to your body and getting enough sleep. That is primo number one for me. Nine hours of sleep every night, hook or crook. It is absolutely mandatory.

You will know that you need self-care when you are at your wits’ end, when you are short with the people that are helping you to do the work that it is that you do, when you are consistently unclear and you need clarity. Any of those things are indications, in addition to mental weariness, spiritual weariness or emotional weariness. Those are just some examples.

How To Avoid Burnout

If you are constantly putting out fires, you are on the verge of burnout as a CEO. You are not going to serve anyone, least of all, your clients and your future clients. How do you avoid getting burnt out as a CEO? Number one, take time away from technology every single day. There is not anything that is going on in your business that requires your 24/7 participation. If so, we need to have a conversation because you need some systems and you need some support so that you can learn how to delegate and get some time back for yourself.

Number two, make sure that you spend time each day exercising. That can look like many different things. It could be a shake-your-booty break. I will periodically get up and dance for fifteen minutes throughout the day. It could be regimented time on the treadmill or your Peloton. It could be taking a walk in your neighborhood. It could be yoga. It could be Bikram yoga. It could be anything but move your body. That is caring for yourself. When you are sedentary, you are offering the opportunity for disease to set into your body. How good are you going to be as a CEO when something in you is off and you cannot perform? It is not going to work.

Make sure that you stay hydrated. The recommended daily guidelines of how much water you should intake are eight 8-ounce glasses or 64 ounces a day. It wasn’t just thought of because it sounded cool. There is scientific proof that taking in that much water every day keeps your body functioning the way that it needs to. How good are you going to be to your team or your clients when your body starts to shut down on you?

Mass hydration. In fact, grab some water right now. Take a nice long sip. If you are in your car, you should always have water with you. Get yourself one of those stainless steel water bottles that will keep your water cold. Try your best not to drink out of plastic bottles because of the BPA or if you are using plastic bottles, make sure that they are BPA-free. Drink every chance you think about it.

I play this game with myself. Every time I think about switching activities throughout the course of my day, I have to drink some water. I do that to myself because I am very easily distracted. I am a person who suffers from bright, shiny object syndrome. In addition to that, make sure that you spend some time every day, whichever time is totally up to you, in meditation, quiet contemplation and prayer. Five minutes if that is all you have, but spending time.

Burnout is a thing, but it does not have to be your thing.

Next, I want you to breathe. Three deep full breaths can change your countenance. If you do not know how to breathe, you breathe in for four counts. You hold for four counts. You breathe out for four counts. Do that a minimum of three times and I bet you, you will get your whole life. Burnout is a thing, but it does not have to be your thing, incredible one. You are a CEO and I want you to be a CEO with longevity. I want you to be around to see your company achieve the dreams that you have had for yourself for years. I want you to be around long enough to experience that. It is only possible if you add self-care into everything that you are doing.

The next stop to avoid CEO burnout is setting boundaries. No is a complete sentence. No does not require explanation. Write that down, underline it, put a circle around it, and then highlight it. Your no is enough. You do not need to share or convince or get buy-in for you to have a boundary that means that the answer is no. It is very healthy to say no.

Lastly, this one is often the hardest. It definitely was the hardest for me in the early years of my business. It’s to delegate. Learn how to give to other people. I do not know about you. I am not sure where you are in your company. I run a multi-million dollar company with nine full-time employees. I am paying somebody to help me do about everything that needs to be done inside of this business. I am working more on what I call the Million-Dollar 80/20 rule. I will do an episode on that in the future. That means I am spending 20% of my time or less working in the business and 80% of my time working on the business.

That is only possible, as the CEO, that I delegate. I do not know about you, but the people that I hired are capable. They went through our arduous hiring process to become a member of team Incredible One. That is a big deal. I have made the decision to trust them and to delegate to them so that they can help me extend the vision of this company and get our work deeper into the world. It is time for you to hang up the hustle.

My same client that says, “Rest is the new revenue,” also says, “Hang up the hustle.” Shout out to Dr. Shamieka Dean. I appreciate you and all of your amazing alliterations. Hang up the hustle because rest is the new revenue. You have a distinct opportunity to show up fully as a CEO when you have taken control of your health and your self-care. You have decided that nothing is going to be more important to you.

Here is what I know. Your company is only going to be as good as you are. You may not be like me. You may not take a vacation every 90 days, but you can take a day off once a month and have a long weekend. You can do that. You can schedule a massage, an adjustment, a facial, a pedicure, a manicure, time with your therapist, and sex with your spouse. You can do all of those things or one of those things every single week to make sure that you are giving yourself the self-care that you were due.

I believe in tithing 1/10 of your work week to self-care. There are 168 work hours in a week if you work 40 hours a week. That would be 16.8 hours in self-care. That does not include sleep. Sleep is a given. You got to sleep. How will you spend your 16.8 hours? What will you do? For me, that is exercise every day and all the other things that I have mentioned to you. It is saying no. It is establishing boundaries. It is meditating and prayer. It is drinking a lot of water. It is taking time away from technology.

Two hours before I go to sleep, the phones are off. I need to come down from the day. I told you I am easily distracted. Do you know what that means? My mind races a lot. I need a chance to calm down so that I can get a good night’s sleep and I can be focused on the replenishment that happens during my sleeping hours. That would not be possible if I were trying to hustle and grind and be a part of Team No Sleep. By the way, the people who do that are not where you would want to be.

Be careful who you take direction from. I know that self-care is the most important strategy you will ever use to take your business to the next level. I know that your move to millions is predicated on your ability to self-care and take time away from your business. I am very clear that doing all of this is going to get you to the move to millions that much faster. I will see you guys next time. Take care.


Important Links