My 3 Step Process For Identifying and Overcoming Burnout
Burnout is a complex state.
There's SO much misinformation around what burnout is and what it isn’t. It’s easy to get confused.
When you’re ambitious and you've achieved your goals, you may find yourself constantly looking for more. You forget that you’re human!
It’s important to remember that there are small steps we can take to make sure we’re in alignment and getting enough rest.
But we also have to remember, burnout is usually tied to workplace stressors.
I'm going to be sharing how to make better decisions moving forward as a leader. Not just for yourself, but for the people around you and the environment that you're trying to create.
By educating yourself you can gain a deeper understanding of the factors that impact and contribute to burnout, so you can stay mindful of overworking yourself.
Do you want to know how to avoid burnout? 👇🏾
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion that is caused by excessive and prolonged stress.
A lot of people only think about the physical aspects of burnout.
However, there’s so much more to it than that. A huge part of burnout actually has to do with a lack of connection to your WHY.
There's some interesting research on how burnout is connected to a lack of control.
Obviously we can’t control everything.
But when you:
- Feel a lack of control in how you spend our time
- Do not feel connected to what you’re doing and are just caught up in the day to day
- Are not getting a sense of fulfillment for your work or have lost your initial vision
It’s going to be a LOT easier to burn yourself out.
A quote that I love that references this says:
“You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.” - Alexander Den Heijer
Stress vs Burnout
You might be wondering, am I really burnt out or am I just stressed?
Here’s the difference between the two. 👇🏽
Stress is typically something that you might feel occasionally when chaotic situations occur in business. Maybe you have to hit a deadline, you have an important conversation with stakeholders, or you’re trying to pull off a big project. But burnout is chronic.
- You constantly feel overwhelmed
- You constantly feel the emotional drain
- You constantly feel like you’re unable to meet the demands of your work/business
If you’ve been in burnout for so long, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on that opportunity in the first place.
You no longer care.
You're so exhausted, you're so apathetic, you’re so drained, that it just doesn’t matter anymore.
What are the Effects of Burnout?
As a leader, we have a lot of influence over how we show up and how our teams, employees, and clients show up too. If you’re not creating an environment where you feel like you're in control, it's going to be hard to be productive.
You're not going to be able to perform.
You start to become hopeless, cynical and resentful.
The thing about burnout is, it can impact EVERY PART of your life.
It’s incredibly important to recognize burnout so you can prevent it from spilling over into every aspect of your life. If you don’t take this seriously, it can have a HUGE impact on how you show up as a human being and as a leader.
You may find yourself explaining away situations.
- “It’s just a REALLY busy time right now”
- “That's just what's necessary in order to succeed”
- “I have to do that, it's what we do as leaders”
By justifying these behaviors, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Falling deeper and deeper into the likelihood of burnout.
My work is all about making sure that people don't get to this point.
I give them the information and strategies they need to be able to move the needle back and regain control.
We're ALWAYS going to go through ups and downs in business. The key to make sure that those downs aren't as hard is to have a strategy in place.
In the work that I do, I follow a very simple reset process.
I take my clients and the leaders I work with through this three-step process. 👇🏾
1. Cultivate Self-Awareness
First off, you need to take the time to see where you’re at.
Value alignment is about recognizing that you’re more likely to burn out if you have values that are in conflict with the organization you're working with.
Take the time to build your awareness around what your values are. Feel confident to apply those values at work. But also recognize when you're suffering from a value conflict - whether it's with a co-founder, an employer, or the company environment.
If you're working somewhere that negatively impacts your values, it’s a key indicator that you’re not in the best environment to flourish.
Building your self-awareness can really help you to understand whether or not you might be walking down a path to burnout.
The second point about cultivating your self-awareness is around fairness.
Fairness is about diversity. Recognizing that all of us think in different ways because of our diverse life experiences.
As human beings, if we feel like we're in an environment that isn't fair, we’re more likely to feel burnt out. If you feel like:
- Your complaints are being ignored
- Your management has clear favorites
- The workload is not shared equally
This might feel like you’re not getting the support you need in order to move forward.
If you're able to cultivate your self-awareness, you're less likely to go down that road of burnout. You will be conscious of your values, you'll be aware of how to make decisions, and you’ll know when you're being treated unfairly.
2. Engage With Others
We do not live in a bubble.
The people that you surround yourself with are going to have a direct impact on how you feel and show up.
Being able to think about the types of relationships you're cultivating and how you want to manage them will have a HUGE impact on whether or not you feel burnt out.
Make sure that you're in a safe and constructive community.
If you don't have psychological safety, it’s going to be hard to show up as a leader. It's going to be hard to feel productive. And it's going to be hard to perform.
If you have people you can talk to, you can diffuse these stressors.
Because let’s face it… no workplace is perfect. We're all going to have to deal with issues at some point in time. But by making sure that you have people around you that can support you, you’ll be able to deal with those issues in a much more constructive way.
Secondly, when we’re engaging with others, it’s SO important that we make sure we’re getting something in return.
Again, this is where you need to get clear on your why and what motivates you to do your best work.
We need to be able to ask for what we need from others.
👉🏾 If you are a leader, maybe you need uninterrupted creative, visioning time where you’re not ‘on-call’ to your employees.
👉🏾 If you are an employee, maybe you value flexible working hours, or maybe you have expectations in terms of compensation.
If you feel like you’re not getting enough in return, you’ll have what I call an insufficient reward. You’ll begin to question your motivations in the first place, to feel like the time spent at work isn’t worth it, and maybe even begin to resent those around you.
That's getting what YOU want out of work and creating a fair reward is SO crucial to eliminating some of these stressors that might lead to burnout.
3. Adjust Your Expectations
Last but not least, you need to think about:
- What do I want to achieve?
- How do I stay on track?
- What's important to me?
- Where is my focus?
For many people, burnout is an occupational issue. Being able to manage your workload is key to AVOID going down the path of burnout.
I spend a lot of time talking about time management. I want you to see that you can have a better relationship with time and productivity. Performing in a way that aligns with YOU.
When your workload is too much to manage and you have unrealistic deadlines, that's when you're more likely to feel burnt out. You need to make your expectations FIT with reality.
As a leader, it’s important that you work on releasing control or attachments. While yes, there are certain things we can control, there are others we cannot. You need to become conscious of where you’re spending your energy.
Trying to focus on what you have control over, rather than what you don’t, helps you avoid the road to burnout.
I hope I’ve encouraged you to take the time to educate yourself about burnout and think about how you can incorporate some of these methods into your business for a healthier, more fulfilling work life!
If you want to get a better idea of what you could potentially be struggling with, check out my quiz! It will help you think about your next steps moving forward, to make sure that you’re not on the path to burnout.