How to recognize the signs and how to stay afloat while riding the waves.
Although some may think that “burnout” is for the faint of heart, I assure you that it doesn’t discriminate. Whether it’s putting in long hours and neglecting your family or simply being stressed to the max. When burnout takes full form in your life you start to think less and just do. You wake up, get the kids ready for the day, then head out to the office to start chipping away at your list of never-ending goals.
I say “never-ending” because with me being a commission based Automotive Finance Manager, my goals never really peaked. Midway through the month if I was hitting goal I’d kick it up a notch and set my sights higher. What else would a top performer do besides find a way to squeeze more money out before month end?
“Paperwork party on Sunday.”On busier days when I’d see customer after customer I’d stay back hours after close just to knock out my daily duties. That also meant coming in on Sunday so that you didn’t get called out during the dreaded Monday meeting tell-all if your to-do list was too long. In Iowa car dealerships are closed on Sundays. That means no sales just some music, locked doors, and a pile of paperwork.
For the past 6 years all I’ve known was Auto. As a female in a male dominated industry I made it my personal mission to beome a well known name in the area. That meant coming in on my days off and missing plenty of family events. Most of the time my friends would neglect to send me an invite. They knew that selling a car was the most important thing to me. I definitely wasn’t missing out on a sale to watch someone cut into a birthday cake.
When you find yourself constantly growing and learning due to your experience in a career it’s easy to justify your work ethic. I’ve gained so many skills and life lessons from my late nights lapping the lot squishing rain water between my toes in Sales. There’s a highly addictive feeling of accomplishment that consumes you after a sale.
Eventually for me no sale was going to be big enough to fill the void. Our goals just kept growing and growing as I became more skilled within my profession. Although I took pride in running high numbers and continuously winning my bosses approval each month. There was still something missing. I didn’t feel valued. No matter how much time I spent winning over customers or putting up money in F&I I knew that I wasn’t living within my purpose. That my job, the job that I loved and grew to be so proud of could be taken away within minutes and it probably was for the best.
“Becoming obsessed with being the positive person in the room kept my heels clicking through the door.”I started to get more excited about being a positivity pusher rather than being the actual Finance Manager. When paperwork is your job but people are your passion you may find yourself consistently going against the grain….
I knew I was getting burned out. It took getting fired for me to really understand what that meant…
When you refuse to let go sometimes the universe takes action on your behalf.
With me having a sick obsession to win there was no way that I was giving up on much of anything. The more I took time for self care and meditation the more I realized that I wasn’t getting compensated appropriately for my sacrifice of time. After multiple discussions regarding compensation I chose to decline signing a revised pay plan for 5% less of the overall pool every month. There I was maxed out, stressed out, and about to get put out. How could one of the top performers in the company feel so worthless and undervalued? The pre-printed letter of resignation on my behalf said it all. This was the end of my roaring ride down the bumpy road of the Automotive Industry.
The answer was simple. I chose to give years of my time to a business that wasn’t built to encourage healthy winners. I exchanged my morals and value system for numbers and rewards that washed away at the end of each month. After taking accountability for my actions it became clear to me that my biggest assett is and always will be, myself. That is exactly who I should be investing my time and passion in. The Automotive Industry has been a blessing to me so I take nothing for granted. The biggest lesson it’s taught me is that you can win anyone over with your smile and handshake if you truly love people. You can teach yourself any skill you want as long as you’re willing to ride the learning curve it takes to master it.
When you set up healthy boundaries from the beginning and love yourself enough to stick by them that’s when healthy working relationships take place. I’m excited to promote my positivity mission and inspire people to pull out the positives in every situation. Always be the light in a dark room and you’ll find your way eventually!
You deserve to SMILE!
Showing up to work with an honest smile each and every day can be tough to do in an office setting. Here are a few routines that I committed to each day in order to save my sanity.
- Positive-Affirmations: Utilizing Positive-Affirmations every morning while I was slapping on some lipstick and earrings. Speaking things into the universe that you want to happen within your life is a must. ie: “I’m going to find a way to be grateful today. I am blessed beyond measure.” Positivity breeds positivity so speaking things into existence for me was huge for self-confidence. Plus, you deserve to smile today!
- Early and Aggressive: Waking up early even after a long night at the dealership. Any Car person will tell you that there are nights that they don’t get home until after midnight. Lacing up your kicks and throwing some weight around wasn’t always my preferred way to start my morning after a stressful day. Once you commit to a fitness routine your body starts to feel better and more rejuvenated. It didn’t take long for my body to start waking up naturally on it’s own. Soon enough I looked forward to my workout and craved the fulfillment it brought me each day.
- Watch and Learn: Admiring successful positivity pushers is something I’m not shy about. There’s so much value and information available to everyone who wants to levell up in life. Become a constant learner. For some people it’s in the form of going to college and for some it’s reading a book. Whether it’s financially, emotionally, or even virtually most of my free time was spent jotting down notes from free motivational videos. That’s right, FREE!
- Pull out the Positives before bed: Before I’d crash on my down feather comforter each night I’d find a way to laugh off the craziness of the day. Finding a reason to be grateful and understanding that things could always be worse is where grace takes root. Every opportunity before me has been a series of lessons. Some I passed with flying colors while others I’m still working out the formula. Choosing happiness and joy will always be one of the last choices before I rest each and every night.
These recent experiences have kept me humble. I thank God for my mobility and health. Consistent fitness routines and some serious positive-self-talk keep me optimistic about the future. I believe that things fall apart so that new foundations can be built. I’ll forever be a work in progress, a diamond in the rough if you will. Always molding and adapting to the many stages in life that I’m blessed to partake in. If you’re always looking at situations on the bright side you’ll never live in darkness. I choose to be happy therefore I am emensely happy!
This article isn’t intended to shed a negative light on the Automotive Industry. I still point out cars as I drive down the road because my passion for the business will never die. It’s intended to inspire people to remain stable and healthy while they’re starving for success. It’s easy to loose yourself in the race. Just make sure what’s waiting at the finish line was worth your while.