Ep 100: How to Break Through Burnout in 90 Days with MC


  • MC's story of breaking through burnout in only 90 days
  • How she incorporates the tools from The Rockstar Program daily routine
  • Advice for anyone feeling burnt the f*ck out

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Rock Your Brain. Rock Your Life

If you ever feel like crumpling on the floor from exhaustion, overwhelm, and stress and don't know how you'll overcome it - this is a must listen episode.

I got to talk with one of my favorite humans, Melissa Chambers (MC) about how she broke through her personal burnout in 90 days of The Rockstar Program. From crying on the floor in her bathrobe before work to now feeling calm and confident - she's even coaching her colleagues at work to help them break through burnout!

She has so many insights including a beautiful approach to her life that she calls "Operation Live the Dream" which is about living for the moment

We had so much fun recording this and I know you'll have fun listening too!

Learn more about my corporate coaching course The Rockstar Program.

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Tag me @sarahlmoody

You got this, rockstar.

Download Full Episode Transcript

Welcome to rock your brain. Rock your life. The only podcast hosted by a high achieving tech entrepreneur and certified coach that teaches you how to use proven cognitive tools to rewire your brain and break through the second pandemic. Burnout. If you lead a company or badass team and need a proven evidence based cognitive course to retain and develop them.

This podcast is for you. Sarah helps humans break through burnout, have insane work life balance, and feel magical at work and in their lives. Again, here's your host certified coach and tech industry entrepreneur, Sarah Moody.

Sarah Moody: 

All right. So. MC I'm so happy. You're here on the podcast. All right, listeners, listen, this is a badass woman in the tech industry, Melissa Chambers, MC, Mel. Like you gotta hear her story because it's literally gonna blow your mind what she did in 90 days.

Okay. Let's just start with girl, by the way. Let's do this, right?

MC: Yeah

Sarah Moody: Um, you're in Austin.

MC: I am, which is currently located on the center of the sun, but it's fine. Everything's fine. Long as you have water you're good to go. Exactly.

Sarah Moody: And, uh, here I am in San Francisco. And so let's just start with MC what brought you to coaching? And my students are always asking me like, well, what did they try before? And what were the results, but just, you know, what brought you to this world of cognitive coaching? Let's start there.

MC: All right. Well, like, like everything, it was a bit of a journey. Uh, and mine starts, mine starts at the company I'm working at Guideline and I, I came to Guideline in January of 2020 before the pandemic mm-hmm and I was supposed to be one of two people to found a department.

And I came with my mentor. He had been my coach, uh, and been my mentor and we were gonna, I'm so excited. We're gonna go together and found this department and eight months in, as we're about to launch our biggest new partner, he tells me "Mel, I got an opportunity to go work for Microsoft. I'm gonna run their startups division quitting tomorrow.

You've got this." So, you know, like,

Sarah Moody: So like, wait, wait, wait, slow your roll dude. Right.

MC: So, you know, there, I am like crying in my wine, like freaking out, like, oh my God, I'm now one person show. And, and you know, how am I gonna do this? But there really was, there was no way but forward. Right. And so what I don't think I had realized at the time.

Was, I was already eight months into this journey. Five months into a pandemic we'd moved cross country from the Bay Area where I had been for 10 years back to Austin, Texas. My hometown. That was a house toll. I didn't recognize bought a house toll. I didn't recognize got a dog toll. I didn't recognize. And here I am.

Now in a leadership position by myself to be the IC and the leader. So over the next 18 months, I'm tasked with becoming a whole new person, getting a whole new skill set, but also keeping all the wheels on while building a program, hiring a team and going from one to eight, but also making sure we're hitting goals.

Right? Mm-hmm it, it. It was building the plane while you're flying it. And in the moment, I don't think I was recognizing the toll it was having on me until I think I had talked to you. Yeah. I literally found myself crying in my bathrobe, in my underwear on the floor one day before work, just being like I can't, I can't, um, I was not present after I left my work day with my husband.

I was like a zombie. Because back to back to back meetings mentally, I'm still processing all that cognitive load, looking at him, but unable to be there with him and unable to sleep. Right. Mm-hmm you wake up in the middle of the night to go pee. Like the brain just does its thing and you can never go back.

So I think I, I just got to this point of exhaustion and we were going to onboard a new executive. So I was getting a new boss, but we had just recently gotten a phenomenal chief executive officer, a woman named Christine Reimer and her demonstration of leadership has changed my life. I, I, I'm so grateful for her.

So she and I don't exist in the same organization, but she still, as a leader in this company reached out. and she would get to know me and ask, how are you? And I watched her come into this, you know, I don't wanna say turnaround situation, but she was, she, she had a lot of work to do with her organization.

Mm-hmm and she had her head in the right place. And her, let me tell you, like, Her stuff was a lot bigger to do. Her to-do list was scarier than mine, and yet she was handling it. And so I asked, I just said like, what is like, how are you doing this? And she said she was working with you. Yeah. And it was so instrumental to getting her head right.

To do these things that I thought, well, if she can do it, I can do it. And that's what brought me to you and to coaching. 

Sarah Moody: Aw. I love that story. Yay. Yeah. Did you have any concerns, any worries about working with me or any concerns about coaching in general?

MC: I don't think I had concerns so much as questions about like, what is coaching truly?

I had never been exposed to it. I think you hear of like therapy. Yeah. But coaching, like, you know, what was that? And so, um,

Sarah Moody: what is coaching by the way? Tell our tell our listeners, what is coaching? What do we do together?

Yeah. I think you hold up a really great mirror to my brain. And I think at the end of the day, and this is my definition of coaching.

Yeah. You, you help me sit there on the couch, right. To watch the screenplay that my mind writes for myself, that is not reality. Yeah. And that doesn't have to be my experience. And so coaching really helps me, has helped me get out of, out of that feedback loop of my brain to be able to examine what's happening in here.


MC: And start to change the narrative. 

Sarah Moody: Exactly. Yeah. So one of the many things that I love about you, the list is long. I do work with my students and I say, Hey, listen, we're sitting on the couch together. And we're looking at the screenplay of your thoughts, but what I loved about what you brought into that whole role play that we do MC is you're like, and I've got a bag of popcorn.

MC: Oh, for sure. I've got snacks. Yeah. Might be martini. I don't know her smart.

Sarah Moody: So we would sit on the couch together side by side, looking at her thoughts. And like, we'd eat snacks together, like virtual snacks, like, wow, your brain is serving up this story that you are whatever, not a good manager as your colleague, and then you feel insecure and then all the things happen.

So that was so fun. Yeah. Gotta have what has been exactly. What has been your favorite part of doing this work?

MC: Ooh, uh, again, let's talk about a list being long. Um, I, I put in my notes here for this confidence and I think as well, clarity, um, one of the, one of the early indicators that this was working for me was a, a repeat situation occurred in my experience where I was having to make difficult choices.

Performance management mm-hmm and I had made a, made a difficult choice once before. And I think that gave me some reservation of how am I showing up? Am I setting expectations? Am am I coaching? Am I doing everything that I can to enable people to do their best work? And it was really, really hard. And I think, um, It took me some time to get to the, the place to make the call.

When I saw similar situation arising for me in my experience, again, those same negative loops came up. Right. 

Sarah Moody: Mm. So, so hold just, just for, just for our listeners. So you had someone on your team that you had to put on performance review, you had to have some difficult conversations you had to let go, right?

Yeah. Then you then X time later you're in the same circumstance again. Okay.

MC: Yes. But this time, the differences I'm working with you, Sarah, and you had shared with me the framework mm-hmm . And so I was able to write out all of the, the thoughts in my brain. And then I got to a place of, you know, what I'm doing the best that I can with the experience I have and the information at hand.

As soon as I said that to myself and I had my back, my decisions became clear and, and I didn't, I didn't ruminate, I wasn't hearing the repetitive loop. I was good. I was able to move forward. I was able to take action. Mm-hmm right. Mm-hmm so that was like the first indicator of like, oh shit, man. I think this is working, right.

And then I think it just spiraled from there. And I've developed this level of confidence and clarity in, in who I am. That's mm-hmm, , that's kind of like the generic undercurrent that is spilled out into so many different aspects and created so much positivity.

Sarah Moody: So really it's your being, yes. Your state of being has shifted to calm, clarity, confidence, and from a place of fried overwhelmed, burnt out, crying on the floor.

MC: Yeah. I mean, low bar, tell something.

Sarah Moody: You're not the only, I I've been crying on the floor before I got these tools. I was crying on the floor too. So, you know, I've been on this journey for two and a half years, so it's all good. At some point we've all been crying on the floor. Got every single one of us.

Yeah. Every single one of us humans it's being it's called the human experience. We're not gonna get out of it. It's shit's gonna be hard at times and it's gonna be easy at times. And so, so biggest transformation for you. The first answer is you've changed your interstate of being to kind of calm confidence from self doubt, worry anxiety.

MC: Yes.

Sarah Moody: What other, yeah. Anything else you wanna say about that and any other. Um, impact in different parts of your life from this state of being, we talked about work.

MC: Yeah, I would say I've been more clear on what I want, I think, as you and I were, we're stopping, working together. We were talking about desires and, and dreaming big and I'm a big.

I'm a big dreamer. It's what I do, but it's allowed me to have a clear sense of what that is. And I'll give you an example. So we're doing our, and you know, we do biannual reviews and you're talking about yourself. You've gotta say what you did well and what you opportunities for growth and really where you wanna go.

And at this time I was maybe four or five months in with the new executive. I had onboarded and we've developed a high. Really quickly. Um, and I think a lot of that goes from, you know, being vulnerable first and having that openness to one another. And so I decided to go for it and I said, you know what?

One day someday I wanna be a chief ecosystem officer. I am rocking out partnerships. Now I'm a S R D. I want a VP eventually one day. I wanna, I wanna see in that title, chief ecosystem, officer mm-hmm and I was so surprised when we got together in our one-on-one review and he said what the hell is a chief ecosystem officer, I'm gonna call bullshit.

you could be the CEO as in chief executive officer, if you like, what are you doing here? Aim for whatever you want. And it was a jaw dropping super rad moment of like, yeah, you're right. Why shouldn't there be women out here running the shit? Yeah. Do that. Yeah. And so it's created this whole other element of, by starting to put out what I'm thinking in the universe, the universe is even coming back to me and being like, are you sure you wanna stop there? Or do you wanna go a little harder? Like, let's go. Yes. You know? Yes. Why not?

Sarah Moody: Yes. That's so beautiful. So now you're thinking like someday I wanna be a CEO. 

MC: Potentially, I think the path is there, right? Yeah. But I'm, I'm gonna keep doing me.

I'm gonna keep yeah. Building this beautiful program and this team that I have and see where it takes me and it could be freaking CEO if I want it to be at that time. Right. I'll I'll, I'll capture it. Right.

Sarah Moody: I love what you just said though. It's like, It's like your brain is now onto the thought bullshit that's creating all the anxiety and self doubt and, you know, burnout and all the things. And now your brain's like, okay, I'm onto the stories. And so your brain's like, okay, let's start thinking about possibilities in terms of our career. And you have to share with the audience though, the other ways that you think about your life, like operation, live, the dream and Operation Hot Mama Summer. And y'all, she has these really beautiful ways of. Packaging, your desires, your dreams, and, and really making them real. So you have to talk about those, cause these are some big transformations girl.

MC: Yes. Well operation, LTD, or operation live the dream. I actually have to give the credit to my partner, my husband, Nate.

He had operation LTD as his thing as I met him. And I think probably part of the reason why I was attracted to him. And now, you know, we've decided to, to build our lives together. Operation LTD is this idea of living for the moment and enjoying where you are versus versus always thinking, the next thing will get me there.

Or if I just do this, or if I just do that, or if we just get to retirement, da, da, screw that. Yeah. We wanna create a life that we love in this moment and really live that dream now. Yeah. But now that said, you know, I'm, I'm a huge endurance athlete, so it's not an instant gratification mechanism in any way.

Operation live. The dream is talking about honoring where you are, but creating that dream of where you wanna go. Mm-hmm mm-hmm . He told me a story about, uh, what was his name? Uh, Jim Carey, Jim Carey wrote himself a million dollar check when he started mm-hmm , uh, acting. And he said, one day I'm gonna cash.

This for myself. Might have been 10 million, whatever. It was a big S number. And he kept looking at that check and he got to cash that check one day. And so Nate and I. Created a saying that he would say to me every night, when we lived in our two bedroom, 750 square foot apartment in San Francisco that we shared as a married couple about what, who we were gonna be.

We were gonna be, be financially well beyond our wildest dreams. We were gonna work from anywhere. Right. Mm-hmm we were gonna accomplish so much. And we would say that every night and recently we've been saying. In bed. I realized, holy shit. I think we got there. Like,

Sarah Moody: yes

MC: , I think we're gonna need to dream bigger because we got the house that we wanted.

We have these incredible jobs we want, we are working. We've been working in Mexico recently. Like I think we need to shift our dreams and level up because we're able to achieve them. And it, it takes work and it takes honoring that. So operation live the dream. it's kind of the, the anchor that I'm able to create in my mind.

Like almost like a visual storyboard that I think operation LTD it helps me focus my energy and my intentions on what we want. And I'm just so incredibly grateful for the life that we're living and, and the life that we're continuing to manifest for ourselves.

Sarah Moody: Yeah. What I love about operation live the dream too.

and this is a lot of what we do in the rockstar program is visualizing really having a clear visual around who you wanna be, what you want for your life and really visualizing and living from that place. Like it's already there. Mm-hmm and I love what you just said too, MC that so many of us want to like.

You know, when, when we have the house, when we can work in Mexico, then we're gonna feel calm, confident, clear all the things. And what you said is what we worked on is like, you gotta feel that way now. Don't be thinking some fantasy in the future is gonna help you feel that way. Like feel that way every day now and practice that feeling.

And I love this idea of what we do in The Rockstar Program, just like, how do you wanna feel today? Like for me, I just always wanna feel calm and confident or curious and just tell your brain that that's how you feel and then feel it in your body. And so I love this idea of like, feelings are accessible to you right now.

Nothing outside of you has to change at all. You don't have to you know, have a million dollars in the bank to feel calm and confident and clear in all the things.

MC: No, not at all. And I wanna share something that you and I talked about and I worked on with a colleague and it was amazing and it's around that curiosity and around that feeling.

So at some point you had shared with me as I get this Sunday scaries, or feel like I need to work on the weekends or, you know, maybe work longer during the weekdays, but we'll focus on the weekends. You had asked me to just be curious experiment by myself. Yeah. Experiment with myself. If I don't do the work on Sunday, what happens Monday?

Yeah. What happens Tuesday? Does my world fall apart or somehow do I still get that work done in the week? And I took that playful. Like, let's just make it, let's just make it a game, brain. I hear you, but I'm still gonna lay here on this couch and relax because my brain needs this downtime. Yeah. And I did it and it worked, I proved to myself, nothing fell apart.

so I had a colleague who I was seeing on that path to burnout, you know, he was yeah. Working all the crazy hours and he is like, I just gotta get these things done. I just gotta get these things done. I was like, actually, I don't think you do. I'm 95% sure if you gave yourself the whole weekend and just tried it out, how would you feel?

And he reported back. I checked in with him on Monday. I was like, did you work? Yeah. He's like, no. I was like, well, how do you feel? And he's like, awesome. So far, I was like, okay, I'll check in with you on Friday, checked in with him. End of week, still. Good. He got all of his stuff done and he had gotten himself into a better place.

Cuz he put on his oxygen mask first. Yeah. And chilled out on the weekend.

Sarah Moody: Yeah. Oh my God. I love it. You're now coaching your colleagues. It's amazing.

MC: Sarah Moody. You're all over.

Sarah Moody: It's happening. Sarah Moody coaching. It's everywhere. It's like glitter. It's just landing everywhere. Wow. Glitter. Exactly. Work life balance.

Us high achievers are just so like, we just think we gotta go, go, go and slay it. 24 7 365. And we don't. Mm-hmm we don't. And I love that you're teaching that to your colleagues, that, you know, the work that we do together, like just loving your life and loving your work and having, having balance and play and fun is just so accessible to all of us.

Once we get onto our brain and all of it's useful thinking.

MC: Mm-hmm, get on the couch with some popcorn.

Sarah Moody: Exactly, exactly. Do a thought, download and look at those thoughts. Yeah. Mm-hmm so. Anything that surprised you the most about working with me?

MC: How quickly this shift happened? I think originally, you know, I was like 90 days, this crazy I'm, I'm broken lady.

This is a lot of work. Mm. And I love me a good habit and rich, well, really more ritual. And so I built in some of the. The thought downloads into my morning ritual. Then as things got hairy, you know, I'd build it into end of day wrap up. So I found a way to, to do the work and it started paying off real dividends quickly.

But I think what I most recognize is that it's a practice and one that I need to keep up, whether things are going well. Yeah, right. Cause that's when you, when it always drops off, you're like, oh, I got this things are great. I can stop. And then all of a sudden you look back and you realize you're like on the floor crying again.

So I think it's, it needs to just become a part of my practice and a part of the ritual of self care.

Sarah Moody: Yeah.

MC: And ritual of. Being a professional that has high standards for herself and that others have of her. I have to do this work in order to yeah. To keep, keep, keep on the level. 

Sarah Moody: Yeah, exactly. We are never not gonna have a human brain. Ever.

There's no brain lobotomy. That's gonna get rid of the primitive puppy brain and like take it all out. and he's always gonna be looking for the danger, the shit show, the reasons why you screwed up when you, you know, had to let that human go. All the things. So, yeah, exactly. It's like, it's like you go to the gym and you're super fit or, or you walk the dog.

Right. I know you walk the dog every morning. And so mm-hmm, you just, just, just like everything else that you have in your life, you brush your teeth everyday. Just do a little thought work every day.

MC: And I like what you told me too. Like if I was feeling like I didn't have time to sit and do the, the writing, fold it into the dog walking.

So in my mind, yeah. You know, I was like, Nate, I'm gonna walk the dog solo that way I could have time to reflect and, and do some thought work as I was walking. Yeah. Um, you know, that, that was really great too, to figure out just how do you fold it into your life. 

Yeah, exactly. 

Sarah Moody: Doesn't like our brain's like, oh my God, where I'm gonna find all the time to do this.

Exactly. You don't have to find all the time to do it. Just bill did it. Like, I love to brush my teeth and sometimes load the dishwasher. it's like, why not build the habits into what you're already doing? Exactly. Um, who would you recommend me to.

MC: Better question. Who would you not the recommendation?

Sarah Moody: Aw, you're so sweet.

MC: Um, you know, I, I really think that if anyone here is listening to this and this is resonating with you, make the investment and yourself, if you're listening to this, any you're even, even thinking that's not me and noticing you're still working too many hours, or you're starting to give up the things you want in your life.

Like nobody wants me to not work out in the morning. I'll be a crazy person and the world to be a worst place. So if you're starting to see that you're giving up some of those things that are germane to you call Sarah, like you need, need to take care of yourself. 

Sarah Moody: Absolutely. Absolutely. We have one. Thank you so much for those beautiful words, MC we have one.

Incredible life to live and all of us can like love our lives and have operation live the dream and have work life balance. And look at you. You love your career. You know, it's fun. Yeah. Yeah. And you love your partner and you love your life. Like all of us can have that. Like, I didn't believe we could all have that before I started these using these tools.

And it's true. We can, as long as we learn how to just train this incredible three pound brain of ours to come up with thoughts that serve us exactly. Yeah. So 90 days busted through burnout, built an amazing life. I love it. Yeah. yeah. Well, it's been such an honor to have you on the podcast MC thank you so much for.

Inspiring me rolling up your, because literally you inspire me every time I get on the phone with you or got on zoom with you. Um, yeah, no, I, you know, you just, you showed up and did the work. You're like, listen, I'm a high achiever. I'm just gonna dive into your playbook and your course, and let's, let's go.

So, um, you showed up for. You did this work and it's so incredible to see these, these results that you've achieved in your life. By deciding to invest in yourself. So I love you. I I've. I miss seeing you, she she's, by the way, y'all, she's, she's a graduate. So she's off doing her thing. Alum, listen, all the tools.

She's an alum. Exactly. Yes. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. It was such an honor and, uh, huge virtual hug, huge virtual hug, and, uh, have a beautiful rest of your day.

MC: You too miss you, Sarah.

Sarah Moody: I miss you too, honey. 

 If you're loving what you're learning in the podcast, you have to come and check out the rockstar program. It's my coaching program, where we take these neuroscience based cognitive tools and we use them daily to break through burnout so you can fall passionately in love with your life and your career again. So join me over at Sarah moody.com/rockstar program. I would love to have you join me. You can also follow me at Sarah L moody on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. I can't wait to see you.



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