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Dealing With Burnout

Dealing With Burnout


Oh, right. I was going to get to Zachary’s
[question about] strategies to avoid and deal with burnout. Both personal and
business-related, if possible. Sabbaticals prevent burnout. But once you’re burned
out, what do you do? Well recently the World Health
Organization has classified burnout as one of its diseases. That’s not great news. So that means there’s not going to
be a seven-step blog post to solving burnout. But it’s tough. Burnout is really tough, and the
thing was, I didn’t realize I had burned out until six months
after I’d burned out. Like, that’s…
that’s not good. Because you don’t tend to recognize
the signs of being burned out. You don’t really recognize
it until after it’s happened. So what I do know is the litmus
test, if you’re wondering, if you’re asking the question,
“Am I burned out?” You already have. That’s the bad news. And what’s worse is there’s not
this, like, “Here’s the pill you can take to fix burnout.” I have a few suggestions, but
this is not by any means a cure. What I know is that sabbaticals
prevent burnout, what I don’t know is what the cure is. What I do know is you
have to be patient. You have to be patient. You have to be kind to yourself. You have to reset your expectations of what acceptable output
is for you. When you’re burned out… yeah, someone said “Oof.”
in the chat. It is “Oof.” And this is, like… I hate talking about this because
it’s like, I want to have like this magic pill for you. Like, “Here’s the answer!” but it would be disingenuous to
make one up, because there’s not. There’s not one, and
recovery from burnout looks different for everyone. It takes time. All I can say is: you have
to be kind to yourself. You have to be patient to
yourself—patient with yourself, rather—and lower your
expectations of output. Think of it this way. Think of it as a physical thing. If you broke your ankle, and you
like to play soccer, and you have a cast on your ankle, if you’re not
really acknowledging the fact that you broke your ankle, and you have
a cast, you’d be really disappointed at your ability to
perform on the field. You’re not going to run as fast. You’re probably going
to miss the kick. You’re gonna not score the goal. You might beat yourself
up a little bit. Like, “What’s wrong? What’s the deal? I should be able to do this! I used to be able to do this…” But now you can’t. It’s because you’re burned out. You have this ailment. You have this leg in a cast, right? It’s a lot more easy with the leg in
a cast because you can see it, and other people can see it, and they
wouldn’t expect you to run out on the field and play in the soccer
game because, well, your ankle’s broken—and they can see that. But you can’t see burnout, and you won’t see burnout
until after it’s happened. I personally was waiting for this… I don’t even know what
I was waiting for. It’s like I was
waiting for this sign. I thought burnout was this event. This thing that happened. Like in the movies. I don’t know. You’re just laying in bed, and you
don’t get out of bed, and you just keep hitting snooze. Or you’re sprawled on the
couch and eating Cheetos. I don’t know! I didn’t know exactly what it looked
like, but I thought it was this thing that would be super apparent. Like, “Ah! Well, I’m clearly burned
out,” but it wasn’t that. It was like: I kept pushing, I
kept pushing, I kept pushing. If you feel like you’re
pushing, that’s a sign. There’s a difference between pushing
yourself and feeling pulled by your mission, by your vision, by your
reason for doing what you’re doing, by your purpose. Are you pushing yourself
out of bed in the morning or are you being pulled? That’s a sign. So if you’re noticing
that, scale back. Scale back. As much as you think you can’t
afford to slow down and to scale back, you can’t afford to
be burned out for a year. For two years. It’s not worth it. It’s just not worth it. We tend to prioritize losses. We are more concerned with saving
the $100, preserving it, keeping our hundred dollars from being lost,
than we are with spending the same energy gaining another
hundred dollars. We’re worried about loss, and
this works against us in the case of burnout. Because we’re afraid that if we slow
down, and we don’t continue doing whatever we’re doing at the
unsustainable pace that were maintaining, that we’re going to
lose whatever productivity we would have had had we pushed ourselves. We don’t want to lose that. You know, we’re risk-averse. When really what we should be
concerned about is keeping, maintaining, our sanity, our health,
our long-term sustainability, and not burning out. That’s hard. I’m still trying to figure out
how to get people to figure—to understand the severity and the
extreme cost of burnout without having to experience
it themselves first. That’s a tough one. So… sabbaticals, man. Sabbaticals are the
ultimate burnout prevention. That’s why I’m writing my next book. That’s why I’m writing
at sabbatical.blog. This is important to me. But if you do find yourself burning
out—if you find yourself burned out right now—just be okay with
expecting less out of yourself. Define what is acceptable,
what is enough right now. What is a
successful day today? What is a successful day tomorrow? What am I okay with? And be okay with less
during this recovery phase. Because it’s hard enough recovering
without also beating yourself up for not being able to accomplish more.

Comments (1)

  1. Great video! It's hard to be patient with ourselves and redefine success when we already feel behind. It's worth it to slow down and recover. Wonderful music at the end! Thank you!

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