Drawing on an extensive two-decade tenure as a full stack digital marketer, Dennis Consorte achieved a notable milestone by successfully selling his inaugural ecommerce venture back in 2004. Presently, he holds a leadership position at a specialized firm dedicated to publicity, digital marketing, and content strategy. His diverse clientele encompasses a wide range of micro cap public companies, startups, and online businesses. What sets Consorte apart in the realm of digital marketing is his distinct approach, whereby he views each customer interaction as an invaluable opportunity to forge meaningful connections akin to face-to-face communication. Central to his methodology are the pillars of team-building and storytelling.
Beyond his professional pursuits, Consorte finds immense joy in treasuring moments with his wife and savoring the company of friends and family whenever circumstances allow. He maintains unwavering commitment to his weight-loss journey, conscientiously striving for healthier dietary choices, improved sleep patterns, and regular exercise. Additionally, Consorte nurtures a passion for writing, with a fervent aspiration to make a global impact through his forthcoming book, which delves into the path to recover from burnout, aptly titled, Back After Burnout. His ultimate aim is to empower individuals worldwide, guiding them towards discovering fulfillment and purpose within their own professional lives.
How does your personal background as the son of a Vietnam veteran and an immigrant mother shape the perspective and insights you bring to the topic of burnout recovery?
My parents came over here with practically nothing. My dad spent years fighting in the jungle and then working for the Department of Defense until Saigon fell. My mom spoke broken English when she came to the US and her family stayed behind. We were fortunate enough that my dad’s father had a small business as a contractor, which was helpful in getting my dad back on his feet after he came back to the States. But I believe that the war, and losing everything that my parents built in Vietnam had a terrible impact on my dad’s state of wellbeing at the time. And I can’t imagine what my mom felt when she saw her family for the last time in 1975, and didn’t get to see them again until two decades later when she was dying of cancer and scraped together enough for a trip abroad. I’m thankful for the privileged life I have today. But the life we lived when I was younger is what keeps me humble, so I’m grateful for that too. It’s true that I might have found my calling in life sooner had I sought out mentors earlier in life. But that’s where Back After Burnout comes in. My hope is that my book touches the lives of people who need it the most, to get past whatever obstacles stand in their way.
Can you share a specific example of how the MASHPLAY™ framework has helped someone overcome burnout and regain their passion for their career or business?
I’ve personally used every tool and framework described in the book. So, a specific example would be in my own life. To get over burnout, I needed to improve my mindset, and accept that I had a lot that needed to change. I rediscovered my purpose in life, as a marketer who helps people like myself—namely, entrepreneurial people with business models that are designed to help others. As I became a better leader, I found my purpose expanding to include helping others find their purpose in life, too. I now apply aspects of MASHPLAY™ in the way I mentor my various teams. And, when I see team members expressing the symptoms of burnout, I know it’s time to have a conversation. I have these conversations every week, and do my best to help people through their challenges. Sometimes, I give advice that doesn’t serve my own best interests. For example, I recently had a conversation with a team member who felt lost. The underlying issue was that she was getting direction from a client who was in the wrong role. To solve the problem, I worked with her to discover what she liked the most—and the least about her job. That helped her to narrow her scope a bit, and get on a path towards a more joyful work experience. I’ve dabbled a bit in formal coaching, but most of my experience with others has been as a team leader who applies elements of this framework to specific problems they face.
In your book, you include stories from your life. How do these stories enhance the reader’s understanding and connection to the burnout recovery process?
Biologically, most humans are wired to emphasize emotion over facts and logic. Emotions are fast and can get you out of a situation when a bear is about to eat you faster than if you design a process for escape. In addition, visual storytelling is easier to comprehend than abstract ideas. So, I start most lessons by telling a short story where the reader can visualize a problem similar to the one we’re about to solve. Then, I get into the more abstract ideas and finish with a workbook exercise. The end result is that the reader gets to “see” the problem from several perspectives that each build on the last. I use a few other techniques, too, to varying degrees. For example, one concept from neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is that different people tend to rely on different senses in the way they perceive the world. Some people are more visual. Others are more auditory, and others take in tactile information the best. I try to include storytelling that touches on all of these senses to paint a more robust picture for each lesson.
What advice would you give to individuals who are skeptical about the effectiveness of frameworks or self-help approaches in overcoming burnout? How would you address their concerns?
When I was a kid, my room was a disaster. The bed wasn’t made, I had papers and clothes strewn all over the floor. My wastebasket was full, and I had to hunt for pens under piles of papers and books on my desk. My room was so messy that I couldn’t open the window, for fear that the wind would blow all of my piles of paper around and create further disorder. My parents would say, “clean your room” and they failed to motivate me almost every time. I never really mastered the art of cleaning my room, but I got a lot better at it because I know systems. Instead of feeling the intense weight of anxiety over the daunting task of cleaning my room, I now break it down into smaller steps. Making the bed is a simple task that results in a quick win and hit of dopamine to encourage further reward-bearing activities. Picking up the clothes and putting them all in the hamper is another small, achievable step. Sorting and disposing of unnecessary papers is yet another task. Suddenly, the daunting task of cleaning your room as a messy kid becomes more achievable when it’s systematized into several smaller activities. The same goes for self-help ideas. Without a framework, you may not know where to start. With a framework, you can take complicated tasks and break them down into smaller, more achievable tasks. And through repetition, you can form good habits. No framework is perfect. But your chances for success are much higher when you have one than not.
How do you envision the reader utilizing the workbook lessons and implementing the MASHPLAY™ framework in their daily lives? What kind of support or resources do you provide to ensure their success in the recovery process?
MASHPLAY™ is an ongoing work-in-progress. The first step is to get Back After Burnout into as many hands as possible. In the book, I include a link to the “tools” page on my personal website, DennisConsorte.com. There I have a PDF of all of the workbook exercises available for free, so readers can print out as many copies of the workbook pages that they need. I also include links to other useful tools and resources, and I hope to add more. Eventually, I plan to develop a MASHPLAY™ pocket guide, and other tools. The truth is that Back After Burnout is a comprehensive text. Many people will find it useful. Some people need something smaller and quicker. A condensed version will help. Last, assuming this project shows strong signs of success and interest, I plan to create a number of online courses for more visual learners who prefer the video lecture format. If I hit a tipping point, it will also make sense to build an online community on one of the social platforms. In the meantime, I’ll post occasional snackable videos to my TikTok profile @SomedayBrunch.