How to Conquer Burnout the High-Vibe Way
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization made work burnout an official medical diagnosis. But I'm going to bet that you probably already knew that burnout at work is very real before that. I definitely did.
That's right. Even high-vibe entrepreneurs can be vulnerable to burnout, which can almost feel paralyzing. So if you're experiencing burnout right now and feeling like you're alone in this, please know that you're not. I also want to reassure you that you can find your way, past burnout and feel excitement and passion for your business again.
What Is Burnout?
Burnout is a state beyond simply feeling stressed. There are three signs that you're experiencing burnout:
- You're absolutely out of energy. My coach Joshua Smith calls this "empty tank syndrome." You aren't just tired. You're done.
- You're in a really dark place about your work. This is a rough one for high-vibe entrepreneurs because we're so driven by passion for we do. But when you're experiencing burnout, the work that used to feel so meaningful and so integral to who you are turns into one big "meh."
- You can't do what you do best. Your business is all about using your gifts and strengths to make a real difference for the people you want to serve. But when you are burned out, you start faltering even in the areas where you typically excel. Or you’re buried by tasks you don’t want to be doing.
Burnout and the High-Vibe Entrepreneur
Burning out on work is painful for anyone. But it poses a unique risk to us as high-vibe entrepreneurs.
We've talked many times about how the energy of your business needs to match the vibration of the things you want to attract. And the energy of your business is inseparable from your energy.
When you're burned out, your energy is low-vibe. And that attracts even more low-energy circumstances and thoughts into your space.
So if you're in the midst of burnout right now, raising your energy must be your priority. PLEASE don't try to just push through this. It’s OK to feel tired. It’s OK to want to change things. But a new perspective comes only with rest. The best thing you can do for your business isn't working harder. It's paying attention to your burnout and giving yourself what you need to emerge from it.
Finding the Cause of Your Burnout
Different people experience burnout for different reasons. To treat your burnout, you first have to identify the situation or situations that created it.
I've observed again and again that burnout happens when we fall out of alignment with our principles and values. Here are a few common scenarios that lead to burnout, plus some ideas for restoring your energy in each one. Which ones ring true for your life?
Burnout Trigger #1: You Need Time Off
When's the last time you had a vacation? Can you even remember? Rest and a change of scenery can go a long way toward refilling your empty tank.
When I start feeling tapped out, I head to one of my favorite destinations, like Europe or West Texas. And it's always good for my business.
Burnout Trigger #2: Your Thinking Has Gone Sour
When you're burned out, there's an endless loop of negative thoughts playing in your mind. And the worst part is that it's hard to recognize them as just that: thoughts, not reality. You need a change of perspective.
This is why it's so helpful to work with a coach, and I'm so grateful to Josh for helping me make shifts when I feel stuck.
Burnout Trigger #3: You're Uninspired
Let's go back to Josh's description of burnout as "empty tank syndrome." Rest is one way to fill your tank back up, but it's not the only fuel you need. Your tank can also get low when you aren't learning new things or experiencing things that inspire you.
If you're burned out, it can be hard to find the motivation to seek these things out. But trust me. You need them.
What's just one thing you can do this week to give yourself an infusion of inspiration? Maybe that's treating yourself to a new book or something beautiful for your workspace. Or maybe it's visiting a museum or art gallery, or going to an intriguing event.
Burnout Trigger #4: You're Off Course
Even if you carefully built your business around what you love doing and how you can best help others, daily demands can pull you into all sorts of other areas that aren't the best use of your time.
This was at the root of my own recent burnout. I was living under the assumption that nothing could move forward unless I OK'd it or personally responded to everything. That took time I could have been using for higher purposes, like creative direction, business development and thought leadership that could only come from me.
What got me back on track was delegating more and giving more responsibility to my very capable staff. Those of you who have worked with us know we have a fantastic team here at DesignGood. Once I empowered them to make more decisions without me, I opened up a lot more space to do more creative work. And my burnout started to subside.
What would it take for you to refocus on what you really want to be doing in your own business? Can you entrust more to team members, as I did? Do you need to hire some additional help? In my situation, I didn’t start this company to spend my days writing emails. I needed to be using my talents to help our clients create brands that make their businesses take flight.
Burnout Trigger #5: Your Job Description Needs a Rewrite
Your business is evolving. And your role in your business should evolve right along with it. The work that felt perfect for you when you started out might not fit as well anymore. Perhaps, for example, you want to shift from one-on-one work with clients to creating something more scaleable or passive, like a group offering, workshop or online course.
What do you want your job description to be now in your business? And what would help you make it a reality? This is another scenario where you may need to bring on more help or delegate more to your current team.
Burnout Trigger #6: You're Overloaded
On the other hand, maybe you're doing the right work, but just too much of it. As high-vibe entrepreneurs, we have so many passions we genuinely love and want to pursue. But time is finite, and so is our energy.
Again, consider whether you need more help from other people. You may also need to make a mental shift from believing you have to pursue everything at once to allowing yourself to focus on different priorities at different times.
For example, for the rest of the year, concentrate on content you want to create in 2020. In January, revamp your social media presence. In February, start planning that event you've also wanted to present. And so on. Pacing yourself will help you both achieve your goals and avoid burnout.
What Is Burnout Really Costing You?
If you find yourself feeling resistant to these ideas, I want you to pause for a moment and question what that resistance is all about for you. I totally get that taking time away from your business or spending money to create more space for yourself can stir up anxiety. You might feel like there's just no way you can afford that vacation, the badge for that inspiring conference, that virtual assistant.
But here's the bigger question: Can you really afford burnout?
Can your business afford to lose out on your creativity, passion and insight?
How much damage are you doing to your business — and to yourself — if you start to hate every single task that you do?
That's just not sustainable. And it's not why you started your business in the first place. Having a business is about writing your own rules. If your current rules aren't working for you, make new ones! Who says you have to keep things just as they are now?
You deserve to thrive. And you can, even if you're in the depths of burnout right now. Your most passionate self is still there, ready to guide you to a better place. A place with less hustle and more flow.
If you're looking for a partner to help you build (or rebuild) your business and brand around who you truly are, that's what we specialize in at DesignGood. To work with us, shoot us an email or schedule a call with me.