Tracey Lovejoy and Shannon Lucas didn’t write the typical changemaking book, because it’s not for your typical changemaker. It’s for the innovators who can’t stop taking in information, connecting dots, and changing the world—even when the world hasn’t asked for it.
These people aren’t broken, difficult, or incurable workaholics. They’re a Catalyst, and if you ask Tracey and Shannon, that means they’re a rock star. They just need to have the language to understand their process and key tools to help them survive it.
As Catalysts themselves, Tracey and Shannon work to make Catalysts better understood, connected, and supported in their processes. Instead of a how-to, they’ve created a personal operations manual that will help readers move fast without losing people, break shit with intentionality, and lessen the intensity of the burnout cycle. I caught up with Tracey and Shannon to learn more about how Move Fast. Break Shit. Burn Out. came to be.
What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?
Tracey said: There were a series of events that led us to writing a book. When I started the research in 2016 and published the first LinkedIn post in 2017, there were intense reactions, so I had a sense early on that this would become a book, but I didn’t have a serious timeline.
The next big event was when we received feedback from our Advisory Board. Shannon and I had been running retreats together for a couple of years and identifying and recruiting had been intensive. We gathered our board to get their advice on how to create a pipeline. They let us know they would be the best recruiters for us, but that we had not armed them with written materials to support this work. Our starting point was creating a workbook.
As mine and Shannon’s vision grew to supporting all Catalysts, we realized there were many Catalysts we would never work with, but we still wanted them to have access to information that we were seeing transform people’s lives. So the need for a book became more prevalent. Looking back now, the information and the book feels like it birthed itself through us.
What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?
Tracey said: Monitor your energy tank every day to minimize the frequency and depth of burnout, which is a common issue we see for Catalysts since they burn so hot. It isn’t “self-care” as much as ensuring you can continue to have the energy to make positive change.
Shannon said: Find a way that helps you develop self-compassion. The world is hard enough on Catalysts. We do NOT need to be even harder on ourselves. Whether it’s developing your own mindfulness practices, joining a class like Mindful Self-Compassion, gratitude practices or journaling, it’s about quieting the inner critic and knowing that you are doing your best.
What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own lives? What has this lesson done for you?
Tracey said: In my years at Microsoft, talking about how little sleep I’d gotten was like a bragging right. Like somehow I was more committed if I slept less. Looking back, I see how I showed up in ways that didn’t serve me, even though I was doing a lot of work. I was breaking relationships while I got a lot done. And I don’t think the trade off was worth it, long term.
Today I keep close tabs on two things: getting enough sleep and eating in a way that helps me feel good in my body. These are game changers for me. I learned my body likes about 8 hours of sleep per night. I don’t always get it, but I pay attention when I’m not and try to make up for it. It’s a joke in my house that I have the earliest bedtime—even earlier than my 9 year old!
Shannon said: Over the years being a Catalyst in the corporate world, I experienced being the lightning rod for the corporate immune system to change. Since childhood, I’ve had a pretty strong inner critic always telling me that I wasn’t good enough. This meant that when I received external critical feedback to my ideas or even attacks on myself personally, I was primed to internalize them and agree with the feedback as fact. When in reality, it wasn’t always fact. It was often just a negative response from individuals or systems who were more resistant to change. This feedback would accumulate within me internally, to the point of making me physically ill; partly from working harder, longer hours to try and overcome the resistance, and partly from me internalizing the feedback without stopping to question its validity.
The mindfulness practice that I have been developing over the past 20 years provided some help and clarity. The longer I practiced, the stronger the self-compassion muscle became, which provided the ability to create some space between the feedback and directly internalizing it. It allowed me to pause, reflect, evaluate and decide which pieces of feedback were legitimate and which data to discard. But it was the Mindfulness Self-Compassion class that really supercharged my ability to quiet the inner critic.
It provided tools to deal with negative feedback (internal or external) when it arises. And finally, deepening my self-compassion has allowed me to choose environments where I am not only accepted but deeply supported, like working with my amazing Co-CEO, Tracey Lovejoy.