What is your burnout threshold?
So… you work in a business where you arrive early, stay late, and take on the most challenging projects. You live and breathe your work; your life revolves around being the best at what you do, helping customers, building a more profitable company, etc… You're committed!
To keep this pace you have to either clone yourself or work 18 hour days; on the computer, out in the plant, attending every meeting creating an indispensible you. It becomes relentless.
And guess what? There are thousands of others just like you, working the trenches for any gold thy can find.
But at what expense? Like those thousands of others, you’re burnt out. You’re over-extended. You’re worn out.
It helps to know the warning signs or how burnout creeps up on you. Let’s take a look at what they are and a few steps on how you can avoid it.
This is the type of burnout you may not ever see coming, but you get to work one day and discover that you simply don’t have the energy or drive to continue doing the work you once used to love. This is probably the most insidious way to lose your passion because you frequently don’t notice you’re losing it until it’s gone. You simply haven’t had enough fuel to keep the fire stoked and now it’s gone.
How to prevent it: Regularly check in with yourself. Just like your employer does quarterly or annual reviews, you should do to the same with yourself. It’s important to take stock of your emotion and mental health as well as how you feel about your job in order to remain passionate about what you do. If you find you’re losing excitement, try and find new challenges that keep things interesting.
The signs are all there. Every once in a while all this work puts up a big pile of smoke, like that passion is just about to fizzle and die, but then something new comes along and holds your attention for just enough time to keep you going for a little longer. While this can keep you motivated in the short term, this is no way to continue with your work or career, since you will eventually just run out of steam.
How to prevent it: Most people don’t have a job that keeps them interested, challenged and engaged each and every day. If you’ve found that job then congratulations, you’ve found perfection. Never let it go. While you may not have the perfect job, it’s very important to have a job that keeps you engaged and challenged at least 80 percent of the time so that you don’t simply run out of steam at some point.
Smothering the Flame
You’re buried in work. There’s no end to it. You could be up 24 hours a day and still not get it all done. It’s got you stressed to the max and one day you just can’t do it anymore. You stop trying and just let your productivity go from 100 to 0. This can be very hard to recover from because once you experience doing nothing; going back to a grueling schedule can be a complete impossibility.
How to prevent it: You need to come up for air! You can’t bury yourself alive in work and expect your passion and desire to thrive. You have to find a balance in order to prevent this kind of loss of excitement.
The Nuclear Meltdown
I believe some people refer to it as “going postal.” I’m not saying you’re going to go to those extremes, but these types of burnouts are very public and nearly impossible to recover from since there’s often tons of collateral damage after the fact. This must be avoided at all costs.
How to prevent it: Don’t bottle everything up. You cannot be everything to everyone so stop trying so hard. You aren’t perfect. Admit it and keep on doing the great work that you’ve been doing as a human being. If you need to vent, do it with friends or talk to a superior if you’re having problems at work.
Help a friend or colleague who may be experiencing stress or overwhelm at work. Please share this – they’ll be glad you did!
Are you tired of the burnout? Of never getting ahead? Are you exhausted from overwork, overwhelm and the feeling of doing nothing more than spinning your wheels each day?
The way to get ahead in this life and be genuinely happy is to start at the beginning and know your true self. Unless you start at the beginning and truly understand who you are, your strengths and your weaknesses, and are willing to make a change, then the success you might find from any bit of advice I could give would be short lived.
I encourage you to Take the Keller Influence Indicator® (or KII®, pronounced “kay-two”). This is the first influence assessment designed to help you understand the exact influence traits it takes in order to create the change you want to see. You'll learn which of these influence traits are already working hard for you, and which ones need work. Start taking control of your life again with the only tool that can truly help you start at the beginning and build a solid foundation for success!
"The FIRST requirement for being an influential person is knowing yourself." ~ Dr. Karen Keller