There I was sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting for a flight when WHAM I got hit with what felt like a bolt of lightening. Screaming kids, inadequate air conditioning, flight delay and two weeks on the road all contributed to the realization that I simply was not happy, and I didn’t want to do this anymore. I was burnt out. It would be a mistake to believe that this experience could be solved with sleep, food, home or a vacation. Trust me, it would be a mistake because I tried all those things and nothing worked. Here’s why. There is no relationship between working too many hours and burnout. The issue is how much meaning you have in your life and work.
Burnout ALWAYS happens because our investment of energy is increasing while the return on that investment is decreasing. Have you ever been doing something you love to do then looked at your watch and realized it had been two hours when it only felt like a few minutes? Or worse, doing something you hate to do and two minutes feels like two hours. Continuing to invest energy when there is a decreasing rate of return physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually will always result in burnout. The only way to avoid that is to change your energy investment strategy.
Here is how to avoid burnout or come back from it:
1. Acknowledge that you are burnt or are burning out AND that it is the result of the way you are investing energy. Don’t blame it on anything other than that.
2. Don’t quit investing energy. Change where and how it is invested.
3. Become clear about what kind of return/results you want.
4. Share your commitment to change the way you invest energy with someone that can hold you accountable.
5. Align your choices and behaviors with that commitment.
a. If a conversation with your _________ exhausts you, then limit those conversations.
b. If the account you have been trying to get keeps giving you the run around, try another strategy
or try another account.