Work Smarter not Harder, with Loubna Zarrou

Welcome back, to the second in a series of three articles about success, optimism and strategies to help you work smarter, not harder. In this series, Loubna Zarrou, The Action Accelerator and The Exponential Hero, is teaching us that happiness comes before success, that working behind a smokescreen of busyness is only going to result in burnout, and that optimism is a main component of success (however you define that).

If you haven’t already read instalment #1, please do so at The Definition of Success, with Loubna Zarrou. Then you will have the foundation for moving into this instalment, all about how Loubna not only avoided burnout, but how she became a model for enjoying her work.

If you’d like to watch the entire Brand Builders TV episode (How to Set Yourself up for Success, Part One) from which this content has been extracted, please do so here. Or simply keep reading to experience Loubna’s wisdom in her own words.

Before we proceed, let’s learn a bit more about Loubna, and then we’ll dive right in!

More About Loubna Zarrou

Brand Builders TV Work Smarter Not Harder Loubna Zarrou

Loubna Zarrou is a multi-award-winning author of numerous books, and you will find her working online as The Exponential Hero. She is a strategic mentor who is also a certified, awarded professional speaker and co-host of the Entrepreneurs Sushi Club podcast.

Loubna works with motivated entrepreneurs, teaching them to work smarter, not harder. She helps each one to define success, and to then implement their ideas strategically. Loubna Zarrou uses a number of proven strategies to teach entrepreneurs how to multiply their productivity—and have fun doing it. As a transformational leader and ambassador for Women of Contribution, she is making great strides in helping people to realise success without burning out in the process.

I’ll bet you want to hear what else Loubna has to say, so here she is, in her very own words.

Let’s learn it, model it and get shit done!


Working Harder is Not the Answer

Positivity did not come naturally to me. We all have a negative device. We remember negative things better than anything else. I had to train this. I used to think the only way I could be successful is to work hard, focus on all the things that could go wrong and concentrate on those things I’m not good at.

Little did I know that would mean working really hard, giving it lots of effort, to maybe make a little bit of improvement. That was not success to me. For me, success is making a positive impact.

My "Work Smarter not Harder" Wakeup Call

I’m reminded of an event that was the biggest wakeup call in my life, many years ago. I was raised to believe that success can only be achieved through hard work. My father said to me I would have to work twice as hard because I’m a minority in this country. He said I needed to prove that I was worthy of being here.

That’s what I carried with me for many, many years. Now we know that if you keep that up, you’re likely to end up in a burnout.

My wakeup call was seeing one of my colleagues enter burnout. This person was the deputy director at one of my jobs. She was one of my mentors. I wanted to model her because I loved how she showed up and the impact she wanted to have. She had drive and energy in the work we did.

One day, the director told us she wouldn’t be coming back to the office. That was bad enough, but when he told us she’d been diagnosed with a burnout (which kept her home for nine months), it was a horror scenario for me.

Brand Builders TV Work Smarter Not Harder Loubna Zarrou

I’m driven by impact and making a difference, so the idea of staying home and doing nothing for nine months to recharge and recuperate was the most horrific thing imaginable for me.

I still remember being in that moment as if it were yesterday. I decided there had to be other ways to achieve what I wanted to achieve—without sacrificing and without working so hard it would be a detriment to my health and social relationships.

My Colleague's Burnout Would not be Mine

That triggered me to discovery. I read and studied everything I could find on personal development. I experimented with different strategies and with various ways of working to achieve success (and “have it all”) as I defined it.

After much trial and error, experiments, falling and getting up again…I found myself in a new situation. On a daily basis, people noticed that I only did what I enjoyed doing. They would ask, “Why are you so relaxed? You have a deadline coming up.” Or, “You have an event happening tomorrow that you’ve organized. How can you be so relaxed?” “I’d be running around like a headless chicken.”

Well, that’s not how I want to work. That’s not how I want to show up. That’s not how I want to achieve the success I want.

People started asking me to teach them how to work like that.

Brand Builders TV Work Smarter Not Harder Loubna Zarrou

You too can Work Smarter, not Harder

Have Loubna’s words struck a chord with you? They have with me. I suffered a massive burnout myself. I was working in my business every day, for too many hours, to the detriment of my relationships and my health. I had to quit in order to save myself.

I never want you to have to go through that. As motivated entrepreneurs, we tend to get sucked into “doing it all.” We think we can attain massive success by doing more. And then something comes along to teach us otherwise.

You can avoid that altogether by adhering to Loubna’s advice. You don’t have to be running around like a headless chicken in order to make a difference. In most cases, it’s far more productive to sit back, take it all in and think strategically. Often, the answer is easier than we think.

Now, for the next and final instalment in this series. Head over to What Could Go Wrong? where Loubna will take you through a quick exercise to identify those things you have control over…so you can compound your optimism and your success.

The Brand Builders Club is filled with entrepreneurs who have experienced burnout, as well as those who have some great advice for avoiding it. If you’re not already a member, you simply must visit The Brand Builders Club page and learn more about becoming a Lite Member. There’s no obligation, and no risk.

Or join a Thinkubator straight away. There, your business will get the opportunity to spend some time in the hot seat, you will gather advice and feedback, you will network and make connections, and you will learn about new strategies for building your business.

Don’t waste another minute careening toward burnout. Start learning to work smarter, not harder. You deserve better, and so do your clients.

Sammy Blindell

Sammy Blindell