Burnout’s Ripple Effect

Jayme Sperring writes on how to spot burnout in business, and strategies you can implement to help prevent it.

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I’m passionate, as a business leader, about educating people on the positive “ripple effect” they can have in their places of employment, communities, and families. No matter your position in life – and leadership is not dependent upon a podium or a title – you can make a difference.

But I want to pivot for a moment and talk about another “ripple effect.” And while the consequences of this one can reach to the very depths of our soul, as well, the outcome can yield devastating effects.

The Ripple Effect of Burnout

First, I don’t want this article to be taken as though I am against productivity. We live in an industrious culture and, as humans, are capable of pushing ourselves and achieving a lot of great things. Instead, the issue is our refusal to let ourselves rest. But even if you don’t like that terminology, you can think of it like this: refusing to take care of our well-being will eventually affect our productivity.

A bad mood, gossip, a feeling of inadequacy; all of these things can begin to influence the people around us. If you’ve ever tended to a garden, you know that flowers don’t spread as quickly as weeds. The same is true for work burnout; a positive mood can take time to spread, but a negative and downcast one can spread like wildfire in a dry California forest.

Signs of Burnout:

  1. Physical and emotional exhaustion
  2. Cynicism and/or detachment
  3. Feelings of ineffectiveness
  4. Lack of self-worth

Preventing Burnout

Emotional intelligence is huge. If you have trouble detecting your moods, try engaging in mindfulness to learn better how to read and understand yourself. Once you improve in this area, you can better assess where your burnout is coming from. Is it work-related? Get past your ego and take a few days off. Is it related to your position? You may be getting too much work thrown at your or not enough. Is it personal? Address and tend to the more profound things in life. Remember, if your relationships go unattended, your professional life will eventually suffer.

Prevention is better than medication. The quicker you begin working on subduing and alleviating the symptoms of burnout, the quicker you can prevent it from affecting you, and spreading to the people around you in a dangerous ripple effect of discouragement.

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