The Happy Engineer Podcast

049: Are You Tired? Eliminate Emotional Exhaustion Now (or Experience Burnout) with Michel Bordeau

Do you feel exhausted at the end of the day? How often? Have you ever considered that your brain might not be built for the demands engineering leaders put on it?

And do you know the #1 stressor on your body and nervous system?

In this episode, meet CEO, Psychotherapist, and Functional Nutrition Coach, Michel Bordeau. He is creator of the Loyalty 2 Self program where he has helped hundreds of leaders avoid burnout and be strong in body and mind.

He shares his own emotional discovery of being on the autistic spectrum, which he did not know until his adult years, and how that realization changed his life as a therapist and coach.

Michel shows us how the body is a system of systems, and how we create the out-of-balance conditions of self-inflicted emotional exhaustion and burnout.

Plus, we cover some of the most actionable tips to recovery you will find anywhere.

So press play and let’s chat…because the truth is your burn-OUT is really a burn-IN!


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This was an awesome chat with Michel Bordeaux, so let’s get into action around the many insights he shared with us. First things first, take a quick moment to ask yourself “Today, am I feeling more burnout, more emotionally exhausted? Do I feel flat? Am I going in the right direction? 

I know you’re here listening because you want to move forward. You want more success, more achievement, more happiness and more fulfillment in your career and life. So it doesn’t matter where you’re at, but it is important to know what direction and what trajectory you are on. 

Again, take a moment and practice some introspection. Is it getting better or worse for me? Am  I caught in a downward spiral? Or have I been taking massive action and making positive changes in my life?

Regardless of your answers to these important questions, there is room for improvement. Kudos to you for forging progress, and now let’s just build upon that. 

The Fundamentals

Making the improvements you wish to make is usually not about your career strategies or the way that you show up as engineers in the workplace. There often are underlying fundamentals that you must try and get right first because if you don’t, then you don’t have access to your full potential and capability. So, let’s go over these fundamentals.

#1 Food 

Our nutrition is such an important building block to your health and vitality, and therefore the functioning of all the systems of your body, and consequently the success that you’re going to create in your career and in your life.

Pay attention to this: are you excessive on foods that are not serving you? 

Food is for pleasure. Like it should be! But food is also fuel. And you don’t want to put crappy fuel into a Ferrari. If you want your mind and your life to drive like a Ferrari, then you don’t put cheap, low octane fuel into that car. 

#2 Sleep

Sacrificing sleep on a regular basis in order to get more done is not going to serve you in the long run. Check your quantity and quality of sleep. Set up the boundaries and the environments that you need to make that happen. 

#3 Breathing

Breath is the one thing that’s with you from the moment you come out of the womb until your last breath here on earth. And yet we rarely talk about and spend time focusing on breathing. 

Breath work is so simple and so powerful!

So make sure that you are being intentional to breathe deeply, and also learn how to breathe. You may find this a bit silly, but it’s important.

#4 Drink water. 

Quite simply, make sure that you’re drinking water and you’re not just sucking down coffee all day long.

#5 Seek assistance

Now with these fundamentals, I really do encourage you to take it seriously and go get help. Whether that’s working with a program like ours at OACO, or hiring a nutrition coach or getting a physical trainer.

Just the other day, I was talking to my friend, Josh, and he said he spent a lot of money to go out to California for a few days for a conference. And at the conference, he got all these tips and ideas and strategies and a lot of really simple actions that he needed to take to improve in his business and improve in his life.

And he came home from this really big investment and this three-day seminar, and he was debriefing with his wife about all the things that he learned and some of the changes that he was going to make in his life and his business as a result. And his wife just looked at him, and said “Yeah, that’s what I’ve been telling you for the last six months.”

Moral of that story is, sometimes you simply need to pay in order to pay attention

People who pay, pay attention. 

And there’s a reason that you have not been succeeding on these fundamentals up to now. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that listening to this podcast one time is going to be enough. To create those changes in your life, make an investment in yourself and get help, sign up for some coaching, sign up for a great program, get some accountability in your life because it really does matter. 

Once you get these fundamentals right, now we can build the more advanced strategies and mindsets in getting to the next level in your career to experience more happiness in your life.

Energy, vitality, joy, adventure, passion, all the things that we want to experience more of. Those will come in abundance when we have the support of that foundation. 

To become a higher level leader and succeed with even more pressure and more people reporting to you, and more things on your plate. You have to start with where you’re at, be a good steward of what you’ve got, and the most valuable thing you have is yourself. You are your greatest asset to invest in. So take action on this so that when you enroll in a 90 day program like ours at OACO for career growth, you can actually get the maximum value from it. And like I said, you don’t have to be perfect in these areas to benefit from career coaching. But it always helps you to get these things underway.

Being on the spectrum of autism

A quick note that came up over and over again is being on the spectrum of autism. 

If that’s you, I really do encourage you to reach out to Michele if you have an interest in his work and the journey that he’s been on in his own life, and now helping others who are in that same place on the spectrum to create a new level of success and results and happiness in their journey.

Also, if some of Michel’s comments resonated with you, consider getting tested. You know, I’m not a huge person about “Hey, we need to label everything.” It’s not about labeling and then saying, therefore, this is who I am, how I am, and nothing can change. It’s about helping you understand what strategies, what tools and what techniques are going to help you to maximize quality and the results of your own life. That way we we know ourselves fully, and we’re able then to take the right action and actually get into the driver’s seat. 

If this is not you, I’d still encourage you to think of someone in your circle who might find him or herself on the spectrum of autism. Now here it’s important to be really gentle around how you might bring that up; perhaps sharing this episode with them as a way to get some ideas and exposure. 

Now, take action!

Pick one of those fundamentals. Let’s build a strong foundation. Continue to progress forward with the more advanced pieces of our career. 

As always keep crushing comfort, create courage, and let’s do this.


Previous Episode 048: Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Feeling Stuck with Joli Fytczyk




Michel Bordeau founded The Generative Therapy Center in 2015 to provide comprehensive holistic counseling and coaching for families, couples, and adolescents. He is trained in DBT, CBT, TF-CBT, TF-GT (Trauma focused grief therapy). He has over 20 years of combined experience in psychotherapy, career and academic coaching, academic counseling and college teaching. 

He’s worked in university, hospital, agency, and private practice settings. He offers services in French and English.  He is an energetic practitioner whose Socratic approach is intended for clients who are ready to turn small steps into giant personal strides.

In addition to counseling services, Michel launched a new program designed to support transformation and burnout recovery.  The Loyalty2Self program is a 8-week functional vitality program originally designed for parents of autistic teens and applicable to every form of burnout. This functional vitality lifestyle has been adopted by hundreds of leaders around the world.





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Michel, so glad you’re here. Welcome to The Happy Engineer Podcast. Thanks for making time today to be with us. You’re very welcome. So I’m excited about what you bring in terms of background on one of the topics that come up. Over and over again with our clients, with the listeners of The Happy Engineer Podcast and in the world today, which is burnout, the impacts on people’s lives, the dark side of the coin of hustling and grinding and going for success.

[00:00:29] And I’d love it just to get things started. Michel, would you tell us about your background and your experience and exposure to this and why this topic is such a big part of the work that you do? 

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:40] Michel Bordeau: I started counseling about 20 years ago, at University of Michigan, but I was an academic counselor.

[00:00:46] Michel Bordeau: So I’ve been accustomed to very high achieving individuals and very high expectation situations. So it started with academic counseling and I saw very talented people struggling because of the demands. Eventually I decided I want it to be on the other side of the street. On the other side of the street that you ask your Michigan.

[00:01:06] Well, once you have the academic counseling, the other one you have at the actual psychological counseling. because I really wanted to see, what was at the core of their emotional exhaustion, because there is co continuous emotional exhaustion when you’re in this school of that high caliber back then U of M was like ranked number two in the nation.

[00:01:24] So we’re talking like top-notch engineers top-notch business people. Pre-meds you name it? So I got accustomed to working with that. Population. Very, well-educated very talented, but nonetheless, even though they had a tremendous capacities, they still experienced, burned out. and to be honest, later on when I became a therapist, it just occurred to me that burnout just because we’re tapping into our brain and the way that our brain is really not evolved.

[00:01:53] process stimuli. You know, our brain is really still genomically speaking, evolved for nature. It’s really not evolved for what we demand of it. And the complexity of being an engineer. For instance, I’m thinking about some of my clients who are coders, there’s no way our brain evolved for this.

[00:02:10] Michel Bordeau: We might get progress in that direction. 

[00:02:13] Zach White: So right there. This is really exciting. We’re going to get into this thread. I know I’m, I’m already pumped, but really fast when you said, Hey, there you are at U of M by the way, go blue. I’m a U of M grad as well. Great engineering at university of Michigan. tell me when you say I witnessed emotional exhaustion and it got you curious about getting out of just the academic side of counseling and into the therapy.

[00:02:39] Aspects of counseling. What did that actually look like? What does emotional exhaustion show itself as? Tell us more about that term. 

[00:02:48] first it says straight out of the concept of burnouts from 1975. one of the first evidence of burnout is emotional exhaustion, you’ve got to think of it.

[00:02:58] Michel Bordeau: Are they a state of grief, which means your brain has been bombarded by all the emotional domestic and think of, and then all of a sudden he cannot manage any of them or all of them. So, so these young, men and young women in the school of engineering, for instance, in the informatics, they were expected to be great technician of informatics, but they were also expected to be, comfortable with their ability to communicate, to engage with others.

[00:03:28] And strangely enough, this sort of social function was an emotional stressor for them. they would just be perfectly fine doing the technical aspects of the work, but U of M was pretty keen on making them all. well-rounded and that moving in that direction, oftentimes I would have kids saying, I don’t need to do this.

[00:03:48] I don’t want to do this. Which by the way, I recognize this as a habit of people on the spectrum, they just want to do the task. They just don’t want to beat around the Bush with all the, what the considered the unnecessary. purposes, you know, so the emotional exhaustion did not come from the task of mathematics, the tasks of physics, tasks of computer engineering, but it really came from the other social demands that they had on themselves.

[00:04:15] And so, so U of M was keen on developing these skills because they. That when these young men and young men be in the task force, they would have to deal with a social concept, component of it. But to be honest, emotional exhaustion often came from social exhaustion, not technical exhaustion. 

[00:04:34] so we’re under intense pressure academically and in the area of engineering or discipline, but then we pile on.

[00:04:42] Zach White: Pressure in another domain. And in this case, one that’s less comfortable for that individual. And eventually you hit some sort of break point where the pressure actually causes. And what I want you to tell me more about this is it a literal change in your physiology and ability to process and deal with that or what’s happening when you reach that point of emotional 

[00:05:07] Michel Bordeau: exhaustion?

[00:05:08] Where let me tell you. Not for me, but for an engineer who’s comfortable, with, coding, for instance, I have no, empirical evidence of this. Okay. I just want to make sure, but I do think that their brain is operating from the parasympathetic side of the brain, the calm, serene side of the brain.

[00:05:25] But, for me it would be the exhausting side of the. For them, it might be the calm, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m doing it very well. I’m doing it as if I’m just enjoying a nice meal, you know, but, um, let me give you an example. So think of  a software company.

[00:05:41] when they do an upgrade of the software, the engineer. Are playing a chess tournament as the world wild upgrade is occurring, they’re just chilling. So it’s all parasympathetic, the leadership they’re freaking out. So for them it’s fight and flight slice, like, is it going to work, blah, blah, blah.

[00:06:01] Michel Bordeau: The engineers have all the certainties that it’s going to work for them. They have no doubt, that’s sort of incredible competence. But if, the engineers were put in the leadership situation, for instance, talking to Boardman, Their brain was switched to the opposite. They were in fight and flight, as opposed to a calmness and then composure, so I hope that answers your question. 

[00:06:24] Zach White: No, this is great. And I want to keep going, but I interrupted your flow of your history a little bit there too. So I want you to come back. You went from, you have them, you got excited about the idea of taking what you knew, into the side of therapy. Tell us the rest of the story.

[00:06:38] this is, uh, an interesting journey because I’ve, I was always interested in working with people on the spectrum, high functioning people on the spectrum, like super brains, as awkward as can be, but extremely intelligent, because to be honest, I’m one of them, even though I’m not an engineer, I applied mine into a different line.

[00:06:57] the more I was working with pre-teens teens and adults, uh, and that’s tuition and their parents, the more I recognize myself as a being, I didn’t realize in the get-go as a therapist, I was working towards healing, my own issues, my own issues of meltdowns as a kid, panic attack, as an adult, not knowing how to cope with the stimuli of life.

[00:07:24] like an autistic person that could not cook. I mean, I have a brain and I’m autistic, and this is what I discovered later. after five of six years in my profession is I was actually serving people were exactly as I am. A lot of them are engineers. And this is fascinating because when I worked with adults, most of them are engineers.

[00:07:46] Michel Bordeau: Most of them are our technicians of some source that are superbly intelligent. But socially, we’re kind of like on the opposite, we we’ve really struggled because social norms and social protocols make no sense. Sometimes they are too redundant in a way, you know, 

[00:08:03] Zach White: Michel, when did you actually become aware that you personally were on the spectrum?

[00:08:09] Michel Bordeau: It was gradually, but eventually, five years ago I asked a friend of mine who was one of the top specialists in Atlanta, by the way, I’m in Atlanta, two tests. I’m gonna be honest with you. It was like an emotional discovery where like, oh my God, I know I’ve been so crazy for so many years.

[00:08:26] It makes sense. I mean, it was, it made me super happy. Also it started, it allowed me to work on a few things like Cru of mine is very poor joint communication. It’s very poor. You know, why, was I someone who was ineffective in my relationship with my spouse you know, it’s, uh, it, it was, it was very helpful, that’s why eventually I ended. Like we’ve talked to you and I in San Diego talking with a lot of very intelligent individuals who are essentially. Wired, uh, like a spectrum person, whether they are diagnosed or not, it didn’t matter. 

[00:09:01] Zach White: Yeah. I really appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable about that and acknowledge you for it.

[00:09:06] And so five years ago, well into adulthood before you knew, and this whole journey in a way has been a process of self discovery and how to help heal from some of the very things that. Struggled with, for your clients and the people you serve. That’s tremendous. So there’s a funny part of your story. I want to make sure we get to, you went from U of M to another place to continue your work.

[00:09:30] And I remember very vividly or was it the other way around? So really quick, because a lot of engineering leaders are going to appreciate this. Talk to me about where you were at before U of M 

[00:09:41] Michel Bordeau: So I came to America to get an education. Okay. That was my goal guy. Played rugby, tennis and soccer. So these are the sports that I know.

[00:09:50] I didn’t know anything about baseball, American football that sort of thing. So I, I ended up to this school called call, highest state. and then this other school offered me full ride with an amazing scholarship to work on my PhD. It was the UC of Michigan. I swear to goodness. I told one of my neighbors, man, I got a full ride.

[00:10:09] They’re going to pay for everything, all my research and everything. And he’s like, where are you? To Michigan, that all the school over there and he never spoke to me. He never spoke to me again. And I was, and you know, I didn’t ask a question. I didn’t understand. It’s only when I got to. That people just made me realize this is, can blast for me.

[00:10:30] And I was like, no, it’s not. I’m here for an education. I’m a nerd. 

[00:10:33] Zach White: Yeah. Okay. I know that was a bit of a sidetrack, but I, I absolutely love the fact that a Buckeye decided not to talk to you again, after you told them you were going to go to the university of Michigan for your PhD and it’s this, I went to Purdue and U of M so I get it.

[00:10:48] You know, we don’t talk to people at IBM. I don’t talk to people from Notre Dame, you know, just all. Alright, so, I want to come back to the, where you’re at in the journey. Can you describe the distinction between academic psychology and therapeutic work? And what’s the actual distinction there?

[00:11:06] well, as an academic advisor, you see kids on the brink of suicide we had a protocol at you event is we need to walk them across.

[00:11:14] Michel Bordeau: Across the street, like literally across the street. And I was always curious to why. Academic pressure with people would put people on the verge of suicide and people from all walks of life, people from every nation. I remember a young man who was Korean. For instance, I remember you’re a woman who was Indonesian.

[00:11:34] These are subject matters in there and their culture, at least at the time, 15, 20 years ago was. To be spoken about, there was a sense of taboo. I remember a gentleman at M who was of a Korean heritage who spoke about how do you address, people from some region of Asia who are experiencing suicide.

[00:11:54] And I’m like, wow, this is, frightening to think that, uh, the active learning under pressure will put people on the brink of suicide. and I really wanted to know, because I never experienced this. I was an absolute nerd and I will tell you one thing, one of their highest pressure, it was a pencil pressure.

[00:12:14] Wow. For some reason that addition, you talk about emotional exhaustion. the academic, competition in the classroom is insane or then you’ll have the social expectation that are also new for some of them. But then mom and dad. A lot of time, mom and dad, because we are on the break at the time of the helicopter parents were like, you gotta do this, you know?

[00:12:35] Yes. You took a class in neuro-psychology, but you still have to be an engineer, you had all of these pressure points, but me, my job was to hand them the psychological center and I’m like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I want to be a part of that journey. I want to know why it hurts. So. I mean when I was there for 10, 11 years, we had a handful of people ending their lives, dying by suicide.

[00:12:58] Because of academic pressure and parental pressure and life fresh. 

[00:13:01] Zach White: So when you got into therapy and I know probably a lot of the specifics, you know, maybe confidential, but tell us what did you then experience? And, and maybe in a way, if we can bring it into the professional context. Now, most of the engineering leaders I work with and who listened to the happy engineer podcast are somewhere in their career journey, but there are no stranger to immense pressure and this idea of emotional exhaustion.

[00:13:25] It may connect with them or they know someone who it would be really important to. So what are those sources of pressure in professional life? And what did you start to discover as you were doing therapy? 

[00:13:38] Michel Bordeau: Um, well they’re all, um, self-inflicted, I mean, I, I’m sorry to be so arbitrary, but comes to, to a point in one’s professional life.

[00:13:49] Emotional exhaustion is self-inflicted. Yes, there are some colleagues or supervisors or team members who make it hard on oneself, but I’m really, re-centering on one’s purpose is what I have done most in my coaching. You know, it’s like, one of the things I see most commonly in people have to adjust to is this notion of.

[00:14:12] They do see problems there. I mean, certainly let’s just use the example of engineers. they are, they have a nose for identifying problems it is stressful in a way in itself to, to have the ability to see problem. But then you interface with people, whether, lateral to you above you, underneath you, who don’t see the problem as fast as you do, or as furiously as you do.

[00:14:35] so right there, there’s the social constraint of having to wait on. People catch up with you, there’s a social contract of having to teach others, which by the way, for someone on the spectrum, like myself, teaching is one of the hardest thing to do have this thing in our mind, which is like, if I get it, you should get it.

[00:14:52] Michel Bordeau: No. No, this is not, this is why sometimes we do have a tendency and I have been guilty of this to assume that everybody is stupid around us. And I, this is not an exaggeration. There’s that sort of inner sentiment. I’m like, I got it. How come you didn’t get it? You know? So that, that creates pressure. But the burn out is really a burn-in is really a burden.

[00:15:14] Let me give you an example about problems. Every problem we see outside the solution is within ourselves. Every problem we see outside of us external problem, there is a solution within ourselves. What it’s admitting to that, that we are the source of the solution. That’s very challenging. Now there are mechanisms put in place to do so, but certainly in a heavy engineer.

[00:15:39] And I’m only thinking about coders you know, sort of computer engineers. having to interface with others is tremendously challenging. Because we know the solution of the problems, but we may have been burned out Because we have proposed a solution to the problems and people take months and weeks to implement our solution to the problem.

[00:16:02] The issue is of patients of determination of recentering, the presentation of the problem or the solution and on and on. so I didn’t see this in the professional world. 

[00:16:12] Zach White: Yes. Sorry. No, it’s just good. I want to go back and play a little bit of devil’s advocate on. And as a coach, I have seen.

[00:16:23] And I agree with you in the sentiment that all of this is self-inflicted, but I also remember the time in my life when I would have not agreed with you. And in fact, that statement, I probably would have just stopped listening to you at that moment. And so I want to go back and hit that, I’m just going to go back to my old self it’s.

[00:16:41] Like Michel you’re fricking crazy, like ma you don’t know. He’s a complete lunatic. He’s yelling and screaming and putting all kinds of unreasonable pressure on me. He wants it in half the time then is even humanly possible. Nobody could finish the project and the timeline that he’s telling me I have to get it done.

[00:17:00] It’s constantly threatening my job and my safety and security of my home and my family, like totally toxic culture. Idiots for colleagues, you have no idea how, bad it isn’t, I’m just doing the best I can. How is this possibly my fault that I’m emotionally exhausted? you’re crazy. So, 

[00:17:20] Michel Bordeau: so you’re making a very good point because this is the client, or this is the patient in the very beginning.

[00:17:27] I would never approach it with that degree of brutality, obviously. So I would just identify. And this is true that external factors are tremendous, certainly in that kind of environment. You know, my girlfriend  she interacts with engineers, she tells me how much pressure they’re under.

[00:17:44] I mean, this, this is crazy. but ultimately, and you’re right after a few steps where we do establish that the ecology. Of the problem is not just solely on oneself. we can’t change that. So ultimately we’ve got to start with us. We can’t change the noxious boss who doesn’t understand that undermining my effort might actually jeopardize my life with my wife and my children, because he will not change.

[00:18:14] so what is it that we can implement for ourselves? Because it’s about self care, but you’re right. You’re absolutely right. If I met, someone right now and I would tell them all the problem is within yourself. I would be wrong. I would be because it is not true at that point in 

[00:18:29] Zach White: life.

[00:18:30] Interesting. So, so talk to us about the journey then from the perspective of that engineer. Who’s, let’s say today, they’re really trapped in a perspective that none of this is my fault and it’s all external but I am burned out and emotional exhausted. What are the of steps or the maybe it’s new beliefs or new actions or new attitudes?

[00:18:53] How do we get to the point where we do take some of that internal locus of control and begin to experience sort of reviving of our emotional health and vibrancy. It’s like, w where do we have to go to, if you were going to imagine that journey with someone and you were their therapist or their coach, where would you seek to help them?

[00:19:15] Walk tolike what, what’s the arc, how do you move forward? 

[00:19:19] and, and again, that’s the beauty of coaching, and I know you do a tremendous job with it is it has to be individualized because every one, sees the problem through their own lens 

[00:19:30] Michel Bordeau: So what I do, usually I identify changes have already been. In other areas of life. Like, as, for instance, if they tell me I started exercise a lot more, you know, I’m, it’s like, why have you introduced exercise in your life? You know, I used to do it college. I used to do it in high school and it makes me feel good.

[00:19:48] You know? So something like this, this is a change you re-introduced so then I ask if they’re capable of displacing that, that amazing change they’ve done in their lives and to another arena of life, from each.

[00:20:03] to sort of like seeing problems from a different lens mindset, to beginning to appreciate oneself, I mean, I do hear that as an engineer, when you hear over and over and over again, that a project could have been done better, it could have been done faster and on and on you get a sense that you’re not capable of doing things as expected.

[00:20:25] Michel Bordeau: Then you might have a little. questioning judgment on yourself. So start where they are, but always try to identify that one tiny area where they’ve already made a change because the number one change is if they reach out to you or to me, that’s one of the biggest change is to accept it.

[00:20:42] We can’t do it alone. And every time I’ve had to transition of life in life and I’ve done it effectively. Zack and you know, it, we don’t do it alone. We do not do it alone

[00:20:58] Zach White: really quick. And I know we’re bouncing around a little and hopefully not too much, but something you said triggered this for me. Can you describe the negative consequences of stay? In a place of burnout. So if somebody is emotionally exhausted, they’re burned out. there in that place and they get sort of trapped.

[00:21:21] They’re stuck there. They’re not taking action. They’re not reaching out for help and getting the support they need. What happens when somebody stays in that place for an extended period of time? 

[00:21:32] Michel Bordeau: That is a amazing question. We have 12 functions in the body, 12 systems, and if one is over-utilized. the others are going to be, less effectively, uh, involved in our sort of self healing.

[00:21:45] maintaining for instance, if we have constant increase in cortisol levels, we won’t be able to manufacture melatonin at night and sleep. if we don’t sleep. We experienced loss of memory. Executive functioning skills are stunning to falter. if we experience loss of memory and our executive functioning skills start to falter, we’re more irritable.

[00:22:11] So our relationship with our family members, begins to fall apart because we’re more likely to, to be dismissive of our spouse, our children, and on and on, it has a cascading effect. And then the cascading effect comes back on itself because all of this continues to increase your stress hormones.

[00:22:30] we might stress them more by eating comfort food or buying joints, some comfort drinking of comfort smoking. So unfortunately it exacerbates itself on a continuum. addressing one or two functions and sleep, I don’t know how it is with your engineers, but sleep is big.

[00:22:47] Michel Bordeau: Oh my goodness. Sleep hygiene breathing. Also think about it. Breathing also has to be, Reset almost. 

[00:22:57] Zach White: And just for clarity, when you say 12 systems, we’re talking about, you know, the nervous system, the skeletal system, digestive system, all these different pieces. And as an engineer 

[00:23:08] Michel Bordeau: immune system, I mean it’s 12 system that I have to work.

[00:23:14] Zach White: And so the body being system of systems, engineers will appreciate this. You know, we are, yeah, this is the world we live in and designing products and the things we do as engineers. Just what I hear you saying is the longer you allow one of the 12 systems, any one of them to be either over-indexed in its use in a way it’s not intended or in an unhealthy way or neglecting it, or, you know, in this case, when we talk about burnout from a professional.

[00:23:43] Context. It’s often this constant state of sympathetic nervous system fight or flight high drive, high adrenaline go, go, go, cortisol, induced, pumping of the body and brain to this level that it wasn’t intended to stay at. And the cascading downward spiral into all 12 systems. It just gets worse.

[00:24:06] Like th that’s a one way street, if we don’t intervene and go back to a healthy baseline across the whole thing, it’s like an all 12 systems game. Is that what I’m hearing? Yeah. 

[00:24:17] and, you know, ultimately, okay. I have a quick story. Um, when I worked in hospital, I had a gentleman, he was 95 years old. This gentlemen had an incredible life.

[00:24:25] Michel Bordeau: He lived in France and he was experiencing the Misha, but he had these moments of clarity. So being from France, we would talk about. Yes, what he was a civil engineer. during world war II, we went to friends. He helped rebuild bridges and all that stuff. This gentleman was on 25 medications, 25 medications.

[00:24:44] was agreed that he had to go to hospice. What happened with the decision about sending someone to the house? At least two, specialists and then one generalist, and the hospital said, you know, this gentleman, may not live longer than six months. So he needs to consider hospice.

[00:24:59] Michel Bordeau: The family agreed. The number one thing we do is we discharged medication. When they go to a hospice, all 25 medications, we’re taking care of keeping these 12 functions in. This gentlemen has extraordinary. He has. He was because he had lived till 95. So it’s pretty darn good. You would see one function shutting down after another.

[00:25:23] Cool, cool. And then, so we have to understand that we are 12 functions and we have 12 functions we’re not just the, the amazing worker that’s misunderstood. We are 12 functions. we have to have gratitude towards ourselves. a lot of the successful people you work with and some of the Brits successful people I’ve worked with, they forget to realize how much of an impact they’ve already had.

[00:25:50] If they were to look back, I call it the revolution. You look back at one month or two months ago. Yes. It sounds like you get a lot of negativity because it’s not. in the timeframe or in this sort of, uh, architecture, it has to be done. But bottom line you have had amazing success. a continuum, you have had an amazing life of success.

[00:26:14] Looking back far back enough, not just two days ago when we were chastised, because we didn’t submit something on time. Whatever we do realize we have a tremendous healthy impact on the world. And that kind of self gratitude may be a starting point for a new mindset. If you will, you know, 

[00:26:31] Zach White: Michel let’s take that and build on it.

[00:26:34] And for someone who’s, you know, maybe they’re experiencing burnout or maybe they’re just really curious about this. Like I am, I’m not burned out today, but I think it’s fascinating. you mentioned a couple areas that will help us to reverse that downward spiral trend. if we feel like we’re going that direction or we’ve already hit rock bottom in some way, There’s places to start to begin building back into a healthy balance across these 12 systems.

[00:26:58] so I heard you mentioned sleep earlier. You mentioned breathing, you have mentioned a healthy amount of gratitude and self-love self-forgiveness, you know, just that self esteem and focusing on that. What else would you give an engineering leader, listening to this for places to start? Just those simple actions.

[00:27:17] If they want to reverse the trend of burnout in their. 

[00:27:20] Michel Bordeau: I’m going to be honest with you. If they are already in a state of change, the number one stressor on the whole body, these maze for consistent is food. Wow. Yeah, we have a hundred neurotransmitters in our body 

[00:27:38] Any kind of food that our body and Brenda’s not evolved to eat in the state of nature. We’ll create an inflammation that inflammation in the digestive system. And remember the digestive system start with a mouth and it goes all the way to that, my director. Okay. So there’s plenty of opportunity to create sources of stress and the number one thing that it’s, we’re not evolved to eat is sugar. There is no such a thing as instances of sugar in nature. Uh, or a crab apple, which is the sort of thing we would eat in a state of nature.

[00:28:15] They’re very tiny and really the human body will eat them because it has antioxidants it’s really to stay healthy. So the amount of sugar has maneuver in organic, apples, you know, Wow, which is everywhere, which is our favorite comfort food is the number one stressor on the body.

[00:28:35] honestly, if anyone were to do the three or four day elimination of sugar and I mean, processed sugar, all the fun thing we liked, then you realize your inflammation are reduced case. In point, I have a friend of mine when he was a college, he had too much fun. He jumped off a building, three stories.

[00:28:53] Michel Bordeau: I’m not kidding. He fell. Shattered his ankles, headfirst had reconstructive surgery and all that stuff. And he calls me, he says, Michel, my inflammations are all over the place. I said, how many monsters have you been drinking lately? And he said a lot that do me a favor, stop these for four days. He did.

[00:29:14] And he got in touch with me and said, you know, whatever you were saying about your, my lymphatic system, it’s very clear. Happening. experienced no inflammation and we’re talking body inflammation, like his ankles hurting his back, hurting where he had a 

[00:29:29] Zach White: major illness. Michel, this is fascinating. I mean, of all the things for you to say, I was not expecting you to go into food.

[00:29:39] As the number one thing. And I mean, I’ve, I’ve done a lot of research on this area myself, and it’s something that comes up in our program with coaching engineers often, but it’s not the primary thing, but I’m starting to wonder how much more importance we should put here. if somebody’s experiencing burnout or they’re feeling that emotional exhaustion kicking in, in their life, we all want to turn to the psychology, you know, oh, I got to change my thoughts, limiting beliefs know, go do all these things.

[00:30:04] And what I hear you saying. Let’s clean up your nutrition, eat the right stuff, get some good sleep and take a few deep breaths. Let’s just start right there. what I love about that as a, as a coach is if we can get those things right now, the coaching has a, an exponential benefit because we actually have a foundation to build on of life versus trying to solve every problem just by thinking our way to the solution, which is what engineers, especially.

[00:30:31] To do. I’m, I’m blown away by this cut out sugar, number one solution. Get that inflammation out of the body through the stressor of food. Wow. That’s. That’s amazing. I know we could go all day about that. We don’t have time. We’re just going to have to leave it right there. But if there was one more thing that you would add, easy things to focus on that would be beneficial in going back off this track to burnout.

[00:30:55] What else would you recommend 

[00:30:57] Michel Bordeau: honestly, tap into? our 13 year old self, I mean, we had so much fun back then. Why? Because we didn’t have society to tell us what we ought to do. engineers that I’ve spoken about, they were like, Creating their own little software back then, uh, I’ve had artists, like, I have a gentleman he’s autistic.

[00:31:18] He likes to construct on the side. He actually construct characters with Lego. And then we’re talking to an adult. I’m like, there’s nothing wrong with this. Why? Because it will appease our brand new we’ll tap into the sympathetic nervous system and it will calm us down. It will bring us back to a time where we didn’t judge ourselves.

[00:31:36] Zach White: I love that. Go back to our twelve-year-old selves. Stop judging. Oh yeah, for sure. Michel, this is cool. I mean, what I love about this too is, we’ve tackled the big picture in a way. It kind of opens up now all of these sub threads. So what the get you back on the show and talk more about food and talk more about sleep and these other things, but just to, as an engineer, I’m excited by this because it, it means that there are decisions within my company.

[00:32:03] That I can take right now that will have a meaningful effect on changing the experience of my day-to-day life when it comes to emotional exhaustion and burnout. And it doesn’t mean that lousy boss or that toxic culture, the things that work are going to change right away. But it gives me a foundation that now when I go to.

[00:32:21] Action. And my career, I’m going to have a higher likelihood of success with the energy and the actual opportunity to come in into. 

[00:32:30] Michel Bordeau: And then the one thing that’s important is duration and frequency, duration, and frequency, duration, and frequency. If we do undertake changes that we haven’t done before, and that’s okay if we didn’t do them before, but if we start them, there were limitations.

[00:32:44] At one point, we break the limitation by implementing. With duration and frequency engineers know duration and frequency better than anybody else, but it’s got to be implemented to make these 12 functions function effectively for us to be happy and serene again, 

[00:33:01] Zach White: I love it. Michel. I want to wrap here where we always do on this show.

[00:33:05] We’ve covered a lot of ground, but I still love that great engineering, just like great coaching and the work that you do. We know that questions lead and answers follow up. And if we want better answers in our life, we need to ask better questions. So for an engineering leader, who’s experienced. this trend spiraling toward burnout or exhaustion in their life, or they’re just tired.

[00:33:30] What would be a question that you would lead them with today? 

[00:33:34] Michel Bordeau: I would say who is the person I can emulate to find the solution to my problem. be honest with you. Anytime I’ve been in pricing. It’s the moment I listened to someone else. And I emulated that someone else, which is very hard masking is it’s in some degrees.

[00:33:56] It’s very hard when you’re on the spectrum, but anytime I have surrounded to listening to someone else, I have found solutions to my own problem. 

[00:34:04] need. She said you have to be envious of people, not because you are jealous of what they have, just because you can see how they’ve achieved, whatever they’ve achieved and you can emulate what they achieve.

[00:34:18] Michel Bordeau: However they achieved. So if it’s serenity, if it’s success, if it’s abundance, if it’s a peace, there is someone who already has done it, just fine. Find that person and then follow 

[00:34:29] Zach White: that person. I love it. Success leaves clues, and that’s what a powerful way to reframe the idea of being envious. What needs to be said there.

[00:34:39] That’s really, really awesome. Michel. I know. Everybody listening is going to have a zillion questions or want to explore more and they may be in need of the support you provide. And I’d love them to be able to get connected with you and discover more about the incredible work you’re doing now as a coach and the work you do as a therapist.

[00:34:57] So where can people reach out and connect and learn more about you and the amazing work you’re 

[00:35:01] doing? 

[00:35:02] they can find me at, Www gen, gen G E N, or they can give me a call (646) 582-9774

[00:35:15] Zach White: Awesome. Well, tremendous and I, had a pleasurable weekend out in San Diego with Michel to just see him in action and discover more and more about. this man brings to the table and I cannot recommend highly enough if you’re struggling.

[00:35:29] If you want to have somebody supporting you someone to model and emulate on that road to high performance and to success, Michel and his work is tremendous. So please check that out. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough, sir. Thanks again for making time today to be with us and just wish you a ton of success going forward.