Burnout: Five Things I Wish I Knew Before I Succumbed to It
If you have a job, it’s likely that you’ve either heard about, experienced or are currently experiencing burnout. A recent Gallup report mentioned that nearly two-thirds of employees have felt some level of burnout.
That’s ridiculous. Not only that, it’s frightening! Almost every aspect of your life (i.e.- working, relaxing, exercising, eating, drinking) is affected by it. What’s worse is burnout isn’t often at the forefront of our minds until we are completely depleted by it. I’m here to help anyone that may be walking (or sprinting) down the path to burnout.
1) You Can’t Sprint A Marathon
That’s right my friends. You absolutely cannot sprint a marathon. Trust me, I’ve tried (figuratively, not literally).
Goals, deadlines, and targets aren’t sprints. The more people I speak to, the more I realize a sense of urgency is taking over. This is creating situations where people feel pressured to rush absolutely everything. Quantity over quality is now the reality for many people. It doesn’t have to be that way. It also doesn’t equate to success a lot of the time.
Setting goals, targets, and deadlines can be achieved at a moderate (dare I say, calm) pace. You don’t have to be a bull at the gates. In fact, you’re more likely to be more successful when you slow down!
2) Slowing Down Is Not A Sign Of Weakness
Straight out of “You Can’t Sprint A Marathon” comes the obvious need to slow down—with a little twist. I remember thinking that if I slowed down, for whatever reason, I would not be successful. I saw it as a weakness. How wrong I was.
This is common practice for a lot of high achievers and top performers. Slowing down can feel counterproductive, but doing so doesn’t mean stopping. That’s the part a lot of people miss. I definitely did. For a lot of top performers and high achievers, they have the “all or nothing” mentality. “Slowing down” would be just as bad as stopping.
However, slowing down can give you a better perspective. It gives you the ability to refine your skills and re-think how to do things. It creates a space for reflection, bringing you closer to success.
3) Celebrate Your Wins
It’s okay to celebrate your wins.
This is huge for any high achievers or top performers. I remember never (and I mean never) celebrating my wins. I didn’t take the time to reflect on how well I had done or how well I was doing. I was crazy; in a constant state of wanting to do more. It was as though I would tick the achievement off and move onto the next thing without taking a breath. Thinking back, that is an exhausting mindset. This is not a good place to be.
Celebrating your wins is really important. It provides space to not just be successful but to feel successful. Very different. Otherwise, you end up feeling empty and chasing goals that have zero meaning or purpose.
4) “No Rest Days” Makes ZERO Sense
“No rest days” and being proud of it really grinds my gears. Probably because I believed this for a very long time and ended up severely burnt out and disgruntled.
There are a lot of business owners and motivational speakers who talk about grinding every second of every minute of every single day in order to be successful. This does not make sense. We are humans, not robots. We need rest, not only to regain our physical strength, but also to regain mental fortitude. We do not have a limitless pool of energy and resources that we can tap into without replenishing it. It’s plain crazy to think that.
Rest is just as important as the work you put in.
5) Listen To Your Body
Our bodies will tell us when we’re not coping. All we have to do is listen.
Simple right? Not so simple if you have tunnel vision. This is something a lot of high achievers and top performers learn the hard way. Being fatigued, tired, grumpy or becoming sick is our body’s way of saying, “Hey, I would really like some rest, please.” It’s not a signal to work harder.
Most people that end up burnt out get those little reminders but choose to ignore them. Why? Because they can’t see the long-term damage. They don’t see those little reminders as a sign that something much worse is on its way. Not listening to those subtle reminders will lead you to full burnout. My advice, listen to your body. It knows best! If it’s telling you to take a step back and take a little rest, do it. If you need the afternoon off, take it. If you need to switch off your phone, do it!
If you’re a manager that knows someone in your team that has those traits, you need to come up with an action plan to help them.
It may sound counterintuitive, but doing so can prevent your top performers from taking a leave of absence or even worse, having to quit. I hope this helps all those top performers, high achievers, and really anyone out there who thinks they could suffer from burnout.
Get Your Shit Together-Literally and Figuratively