What can a career in company growth teach you about personal growth? Dani Hart believes it teaches you to keep a growth mindset and take the time to learn from your mistakes—whether you’re running marketing campaigns or developing your own core values.
Formerly the Head of Growth for Growth Hackers, Dani now focuses on growth mentorship and helping people avoid burnout. She talked to us about the ways people can keep burnout to a minimum, from cultivating good stress to reconditioning how we think about hard work.
- Balance between stress and rest
- Add good stress to your life
- Stick to core values to avoid burnout
- Recondition your thoughts about work
- Give yourself permission to take time for yourself
- Do what’s important to you
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13:19 – Keep a growth mindset in career and life
A growth mindset makes personal growth easier, but it’s important to slow down and learn from the growth that’s happening and don’t just sprint.
“The people that find me, they’re like, I want to talk growth and growth hacking and I want the hack. And I worked with them. There’s usually something that they can try right away that’s going to have some kind of impact, but at the same time, they need to understand that growth is a process and it takes time and intention about where you spend your energy and your effort. And also are you always sprinting? Because if your team is always sprinting, I won’t say you’ll never accomplish anything, but you’ll need to take the reins in and learn from the growth that’s happening when you are sprinting so fast. So I think that what I’ve learned is that growth, I think people’s journey starts a lot of time through company growth because they’re like, oh, this is the hot thing. I was in marketing, now I’m in growth, whatever. But then it’s a certain type of mindset, the growth mindset, that then makes this personal growth so much easier. Because you’re used to learning, going yeah, it sucks when it’s personal, because it’s like, wait, I did something wrong? But every time you make a mistake, you get better. And so it’s all about mindset at the end of the day. How you’re approaching your own life, but also your own career and your own mission and vision that you have for yourself.”
16:46 – Figure out how burnout looks for you
Not everyone has the same symptoms of burnout. For some there are physical signs, for others it shows up as imposter syndrome.
“I find that [for] a lot of people, burnout shows up as imposter syndrome. Where they’re just overwhelmed and can’t even think about the idea of trying something new right now. I usually just work with people to get them back to what makes them uniquely them and then help them build from there. And it’s been so cool to just see people’s confidence rise through that process, because they realized they weren’t not confident, they were just overwhelmed and they weren’t doing what they were meant to be doing. And so once they get that fix, it’s like, oh wow. This feels very different, but very good.”
19:02 – Balance between stress and rest
There’s no quick fix to burnout. It’s about finding an equilibrium between stress and rest and making decisions based on how you’re feeling at any given time.
“I have this pendulum idea where you’re somewhere in the middle, but you stress yourself out, you go to one side of the pendulum and then you’re like, ah, crap. I need to relax. So then you jump to the other side and then it’s like, whoa, I don’t know. You’re just bouncing back and forth. And then you find that there is an equilibrium where we can rest and stress and have a good balance of the two. And we can perceive that stress as good stress, and we can ensure that we’re taking care of our mental health and all that good stuff, and we’re in the middle. But that doesn’t mean that something isn’t going to come along and throw off that balance. And then you’re back in that swing of the pendulum. And I think that that’s a misconception of burnout, is that you just fix it and it’s done. No. It’s giving you these warning signals that you need to make decisions based on what you’re feeling, what you’ve experienced, and use yourself as that guide.”
20:05 – Add good stress to your life
People can feel burnout if they’re bored or not being stimulated as well. You need a certain amount of good stress, and that comes down to mindset.
“If they’re not being stimulated, then I think that there’s none of that good stuff either. Stress can be very good. And there’s a lot of studies showing that the way that we look at stress is how well we manage it. So if we say, ‘Hey, I just got this puppy. It’s so stressful. I can’t go anywhere because this puppy is taking over my life,’ versus ‘this puppy brings me so much happiness. And yes, I have a new challenge of taking care of another life, but I am working through it and I’m learning in the process. I’m becoming a better person.’ I look at that as a good stress. So it really just depends on how you’re perceiving the world in front of you. And that is something that takes time and dedication to building those different wires more or less in your brain. Neuroplasticity is amazing, because we can change the way that we think and the way that we see the world.”
28:25 – Stick to core values to avoid burnout
In times of high stress, figuring out your core values and making sure that you’re implementing them every day is a good way to stave off burnout.
“I found this prompt. At the time I was listening to Rand Fishkin’s “Lost and Founder,” and he was emphasizing the importance of core values. So I said, I’ll do a core values exercise, whatever, we’ll figure this out. And it was just so clear to me that I was living in three of those values that I came up with. But there were three that I just was totally neglecting and it just became so clear that that was exactly why I was burning out. I wasn’t addressing half of my life that I knew were important to me. So I started reframing the way that I approached work. Community is a very important metric for me, or value. Not even a metric. I don’t even know how you quantify it. It’s really important to me. And I found that in that process, I can say ‘I’m gonna look at all the metrics of this startup,’ that is, we’re trying to find product market fit. We’re not at that point of growth yet, but we’re struggling. It’s hard. And I can say, I’m gonna tie myself to those metrics, or I can say I’m gonna help a person every single day.”
32:34 – Be ready to change
You won’t learn the lessons you need until you’re ready to make changes. It helps to have a team that can act as a sounding board and help us recognize when it’s time to rest.
“I always will say, it comes down to the individual. They need to recognize that there needs to be a change, whether it’s getting a migraine or just being frustrated with their teammates or not seeing the results they want. Whatever it is, there needs to be some kind of signal, because otherwise it’s like when the student’s ready, the teacher appears. And I wholeheartedly believe in that statement, because I can even look back in my own life and be like, nope, wasn’t ready for that lesson. And then, oh, I was ready then. That’s okay. We all learn at our different paces and that’s fine. I think when it comes to a team it’s really important to check in with each other and have that trust to be able to say, hey, is everything all right? Or, ‘Hey, I know your personality and you’re not doing the things that are good for you,’ and that takes time. And obviously I think it’s easier at smaller companies or smaller teams because you can build those relationships.”
34:15 – Recondition your thoughts about work
Most people think about the need to work hard to get to where you want to be. Instead, we should think of how to work smarter and more efficiently.
“I think we just need to be a little bit more creative with how we approach it. Because at the end of the day, we are programmed to work. That is what our society has made of us. And so it’s a reconditioning to not think that way. Most of our parents have worked very hard to get to where they are, and it took hard work to get wherever you wanted to go. And so that was instilled in me and I’m sure a lot of people in these newer generations are like, you need to work hard, but no one’s ever talking about, well, what about smarter work? And what about more productive or more efficient? Or there are other qualifiers. And so when we start looking through these different lenses, how will I be most productive? Well, it’s not actually working hard all the time. It’s taking a break so that when I come back, I can be even stronger. And so I think it’s really helping people to understand the value of what rest can bring and that’s going to look different for everybody.”
36:33 – Give yourself permission to take time for yourself
There is more grace now for people when they need to take time away for physical and mental health and you should give yourself the permission to take it.
“I’ve realized in this past year and a half, or really just in the past year since I started working with the clients that I’m working with, there’s a lot more grace. And sometimes people just don’t feel like they have the permission to take it. Of saying, hey, my cat passed away. I need a day to myself just to grieve this. Or my parent’s sick, I’m really worried. I need to do whatever I can to check in on them. People understand, they do. And if they don’t understand, come talk to me. We’ll find you a team that will understand. Because people that care about you, they want you to be well. And they know that means sometimes taking a day off, whether that’s for mental health, physical health, or just family matters. Stuff happens. And that’s where I think also a lot of the personality stuff comes up, because some people can just bury this stuff and they’re really good at burying it. The low emotionality people who just can carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. And they don’t even realize it until it’s far too gone.”
48:24 – Let your interests lead your brand
Don’t feel like everything you do has to fit a certain personal brand. Build a community around the things that interest you, whether it’s “on brand” for what you do professionally or not.
“You just have these different facets of your life. And so it’s okay to talk about them and you don’t need to be like ‘this one’s on brand, this one’s not on brand.’ I am who I am. And so now I lead with this is what I’ve got going on now. And if you want to follow along, cool. If not, that’s cool too. I’ve been such a strong believer in the power of communities since I can remember really. And maybe it’s just that sense to belong or the more I’ve learned, the more I’ve realized how isolation can kill you. And it’s just awful. And so community is so important and networking and all of that. And so for me, it fits my personality and that is how I get my work. I don’t get my work through my personal brand. I’m not worried about conversions. I’m not worried about all of that. If I was, I wouldn’t be happy. I wouldn’t want to do it. It’d be another task. But now, it’ll be like my birthday or something. I’m like I want to write, so then I write. And it’s just an avenue for that. So I’ve definitely been a much more intuitive person when it comes to my personal brand and just letting my recent endeavors lead the way.”
51:33 – Do what’s important to you
Figure out what you want to be doing and not just what you think you should be doing. When you stick to that, you’ll find the clients and audiences you truly want and can pursue your personal mission.
“When I had time to sit back and say, what’s important to me? I want people to resonate with who I am not with what I think I should be or anything. I want people to say, you know what, I’m curious about sustainability as well, let’s have a conversation, versus growth at all costs. The growth at all costs were burning me out. I was just like, I don’t want to talk to you anymore. This is just not aligned with me. As soon as I started talking more about the sustainable side of growth and rest and that kind of stuff, people came out of the woodwork and they started DM-ing me. And it’s just like, oh, I’m curious about this too. Or this worked. And so it’s created its own little culture within itself. And I feel good about it because I’m like, if I can give someone permission to take a break, I know it’s not going to be that other world, but it might change the world for the better. And so that’s kind of been a personal mission of mine. I do have a personal mission. My personal mission is to help people relax.”
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