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Understanding Burnout in Business

A Lesson From Psychology Holds the Secret

We all face burn out at some point. The question is not if we hit it, but when. Burnout also comes through a variety of avenues. Sometimes we see it coming. Other times it hit us from left field. Regardless of how it occurs, knowing that it will and being prepared for it is the best thing we can do.

How then, is it possible to be prepared for a burnout if we do not know when it will occur is a valid question to ask. Luckily, we have some good indicators. In the field of psychology and specifically when walking people through various forms of addiction, a common thread surfaces, and can easily be transferred into business.

There are four (4) indicators that trigger addictive behaviors. Since we are not psychologists, let’s reframe them. The four indicators that one is on the cusp of hitting burnout.

• Hunger

• Anger

• Loneliness

• Exhaustion  

At first glance, it is easy to see how these would play into addiction, however some may see this as a stretch to pull into business.

I say, not at all. Follow me on this journey into the mind and back. Your business will thank you. Your family will thank you. Your clients will thank you. Most importantly, you will thank yourself.

Hunger

Everybody gets hungry. Certain brands have made their marketing plans around the very concept of turning into someone else when we become hungry. The same can be said in business. When our hunger for sustainability dwindles or the hunger to grow, we may be facing a burnout.

Staying hungry is the call of Les Brown. His famous quote that “you’ve got to stay hungry” is a great juxtaposition here. When we are hungry, we are focused. We are hunting for that ‘thing’ we need to become sustainable. Staying hungry means to search out how to be sustainable. Sustainability gives us what we need when we have those days so that we can rest rather than burn out.

The other side of hunger is when we are hungry our mindset is on one thing… food. It is a nutritional balance. IF we maintain a healthy lifestyle, we are less prone to be off-balanced, which can also lead un instability, and eventually burnout.

Anger

This one is a little easier. Think about a time when you were angry at someone or something. The emotion of anger is not just a fleeting one. It is one of the emotions that cause everything else to become affected.

Anger puts us on the defensive. It also starts to work in us a series of scenarios about navigating whatever situation has made us angry. That preoccupation with the scenario can almost paralyze us to being creative.

With creativity stifled, our focus is off. When focus is off, we begin to procrastinate. Nothing forces burnout quicker than procrastination.

Loneliness  

Most entrepreneurs begin as solopreneurs until they hit a sustainable income that allows them to bring on a team. Working by yourself has its perks. The flexibility and the decision-making process is quite simple. There are no meetings that need to be scheduled. You decide, you do.

However, loneliness also encompasses your motivational team is not the ones on payroll (although they can be). These are your mentors, coaches, friends, family members… those people closest to you that you draw energy from. The more support you have from friends and family the less you will have to deal with loneliness. The less support you have the easier loneliness will rear its head, and when it does it can derail you faster than anger.   

Exhaustion

When we become tired, burnout is moments away. Luckily, in this space, a good nights sleep often will replenish enough energy to combat it. However, too many exhausting days (business related or not) will take its toll and can lead to burnout as well. Exhaustion also makes us begin to think loopy. Everyone of us has experienced exhaustion at some point. You may be feeling it as you read this right now.

First… Go grab a glass of water and get your insides moving.

Next, look at due dates. Make plans to adjust them as needed and then rest.

Moving From Burnout To Burning Up

Here are three simple ways that we can move from burning out to burning up in our businesses.

  1. Acquire an accountability partner. Whether you are in a mastermind or a close friend that you can trust. Find a person that you can call upon when you are feeling any of the above four symptoms of burnout.
  2. Spend some time every month looking at your schedule. Everyone has their opinions on time management, however something quick to implement… review your calendar five minutes at the beginning and end of each workday. Spend 15 minutes one day a week to ensure what is scheduled is seen so it is in your head. Schedule one hour a month for a monthly overview a few days before the start of the next month.
  3. Take breaks throughout the day. Remove yourself from work. Schedule it if you must.

These simple tweaks will help you blaze through your day rather than end sluggish.

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