Did you know that burnout is now considered an official medical disease? According to World Health Organization, "it's a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Most of us have experienced this in one form or another. Here's how it can show up (source):
Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job
Reduced professional efficacy
If this is starting to resonate with you, you're not alone. I think we've all experienced this at some point in our careers. But here's the thing: I think it's easier to make changes (like switching jobs) when you work for a corporation. I think it's harder to do when you own your own business.
You can't just up and quit. People are counting on you. So, it's important to try and pivot where you are and find that spark again.
Finding your why.
If you're diagnosing yourself with burnout, chances are it's because you've lost sight of your "why." And, again, we all do it. We feel that surge of energy when a great idea hits us and there just aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish our goals. Then somewhere along the way things feel stagnant or we just lose the spark.
Ken Coleman, author of The Proximity Principle encourages his clients to ask themselves three questions:
Who do I most want to help?
What problem do I most want to solve?
What solution do I most want to provide?
The thing with asking yourself these questions is that it's not a "one and done" thing. They should be revisited on a regular basis to make sure that you're working outside that burnout zone. The answers should be written down, edited as time goes on, erased to create new space if necessary.
Give yourself a gift these next couple of weeks.
The holiday season is here and so many people are scrambling to get things done before the kids are home from school and the celebrations start. The truth is that it's the end of the year and we're all feeling a little burned out - we're ready to take a week or two and just slow down.
AND WE SHOULD.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, one of the most beneficial things you can do is allow yourself to be bored every once in a while. Being bored creates space for new ideas and new ideas can be a cure for burnout.
If you're dragging yourself to the finish line this year, I encourage you to keep those three questions above in mind. You don't have to do any major exercises or blog about your findings (but you can if that's part of your process). The next few weeks are the perfect time to take a step back and refocus.
Are you where you want to be?
Are you reaching who you want to work with?
Have you surrounded yourself with people who feed your soul and encourage you?
When you think about changes, what changes bring you a feeling of relief?
Look at these next couple of weeks as your opportunity to gain some perspective.