A few years ago I met up with a potential client who, I was informed, was experiencing burnout. When I met up with him it was painfully obvious. He was meeting clients daily for 7 to 10 hours, working seven days a week, running his back office, marketing, and managing fitness competitions. On the side, he was writing a book and recording motivational videos on social media three times a day. He was overwhelmed and he was tired.
We started talking about how his dream began and had come to fruition. Admitting that he was inches away from quitting was an uncomfortable revelation and sad acknowledgment. Still, he loved his job. The spark in his voice was unmistakable when he spoke of his clients and their success, and the fact that HE had something to do with it! That’s reward.
I assured him that everyone has fleeting thoughts of tossing it all away. Those low points, when it takes all you have just to get out of bed, are not exclusive. When I shared with him a time I had those same thoughts, for a moment he could not believe it. That is, until I explained that it was specifically those moments that got me here! Suddenly his eyes flashed and I knew I had hit the mark. We had a great talk. Yet, he did not sign as a client.
A couple months passed when I heard through a friend that the potential client – although initially excited about what I could do for him and his company – wanted nothing to do with me after he heard that I had experienced doubts throughout my business life. He told my friend that’s where I lost him. Turns out, he was looking for a business coach who never experienced failure, who never had doubts, who never questioned anything.
I have always strived to be as transparent as possible. This time, it cost me a client. My initial reaction was outrage, to be honest. This person perceived it as a sign of weakness that I had travelled a similar path of doubt and uncertainty, and he did not want to be coached or mentored by somebody who admitted to walking the same road they were now on. Why wouldn’t you want to be coached by someone who had been through the fire and knew the way out? Why would you want to connect with someone who has only experienced high moments every single day of their life? The fact is: that person does not exist. The person that portrays perfection is only showing you the shine. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it is merely a polished façade, unreflective of all the struggle it took to get there.
Someone willing to be honest about the process, and not just point to the result, demonstrates realness. The ability to be revealing and transparent is a sign of strength. To model perseverance through adversity and be able to come through just fine, is inspiring! Everyone has rough days that cause them to consider, even just fleetingly, the option of stopping. It IS an option, right? Kitschy little bumper stickers like “Quitters Never Win” hold soluble meaning, but somehow seem to negate quitting as a legitimate option. Stopping what you’re doing right now is always on the table. The question is – are you going to cash in the chips?
You have the choice every single day to win, push through, maintain the status quo, or quit. You can play any card at any given moment. When you surround yourself with accountability partners, they offer additional options. Pause. Replay, regroup, refresh, rethink, and redo. With the help of your sphere of influence, you can select the option that best fits you right now.
Maybe you are experiencing some burnout. That’s ok. Pause. Step back. Breath. Ask your accountability partners to support you, pray for you, step in if you need them to. Ask your team to keep things moving so you can step aside.
It’s called the entrepreneur’s wayside, and that’s where you are going to find some rest, rejuvenation, and your resilience.
Your options are in front of you now. Which one, today, will you select? Choose wisely.