Merry Christmas and Happy New Year is a popular salutation in the UK at this time. Although of course, not everyone is celebrating, for whatever personal reasons they may have. What I am curious about, is not whether you are celebrating, but what you are doing to ensure that you manage to take advantage of your ‘downtime’.
In our busy and rushed lives it is very easy to achieve ‘burnout’. Burnout is when you are emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted. This exhaustion can be caused when you don’t have the coping skills necessary to deal with the stressing elements of your life. This means you can become burnout even if you don’t work a day in your life!
What I most commonly see is two types of burnout:
- Business owners no longer coping with the stressing elements of running their own business and losing their passion for their work or the will to succeed.
- Professionals in organisations no longer being able to fight for the integrity of their work or believe that success in their endeavours is still possible.
Both types are dangerous and can have serious consequences for both the individual and the organisation.
Burnout Business Owners
This can occur when the business owner finds that they are no longer doing the work that they had originally set out to achieve. When you set up on your own it’s usually because you have a particular passion to follow. Some business owners find that over time they have to dilute their passion so that they can earn the money they need to keep going. Often at a much smaller fee than they anticipated. When you are working hard for something that you don’t really want you can cause significant cognitive dissonance.
This can be emotionally draining, causing all sorts of mental fatigue. Working without passion for what you are doing, especially when money is tight, can often lead to burnout within the business owner. This is often exasperated by the need (real or otherwise) to keep working, all hours, regardless of the results or the consequences.
Those working for others can often feel like they are approaching burnout, when they are forced to work, for a significant portion of time, in a role that they have little control over. This can be compounded if they also receive very little support from those that they feel have authority over them.
When you work in a role that has little purpose or meaning for you (which unfortunately is common place), especially for long hours, then your burnout will happen quicker than your wish.
Are mavericks immune?
Yes, and no. Extreme Mavericks are immune from burnout because they never wish to work for the greater good. Therefore they are only doing what’s in their own interest. If you are only concerned with yourself and what you need, then by definition it is unlikely that you will ever suffer from burnout.
Socialised Mavericks are another thing entirely. They are very good at building rapport and their desire to work for the greater good and their ability to withstand pain; can mean they lose a sense of who they are. In their desire to get things done they can curtail their maverick nature, so much that they get emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The Solution to Burnout?
The solution to burnout is the same for all three groups. To be more maverick. What I mean by this is:
- take more control in your life. This is possible even if you work for someone else. Even with micro managers, there are aspects of the role that you can control. Perhaps it’s the when, the how or the passion. It might take courage, but if you are good at what you do, your diversion from the norm will be accepted.
- do what you want to do. Make what you want to make, and sell what you want to sell. If it’s not working, return to the first point. Take more control. Investigate what’s not working, and fix it! Find your passion and methods for it to be released in a way that is successful. Secure the assistance of a professional if needed.
- have a purpose. Find meaning in what you do and ensure that whatever it is, provide a useful step on your journey.
- remember who you are. Whilst it’s important to work for the greater good and to make sacrifices on occasion, this should not be done at the expense of who you are. For example, do not give up your principles for someone else. The cognitive dissonance will kill you.
At the end of the day, burnout can be avoided, it is not inevitable.
Emulate the Socialised Maverick, whose in balance with their KEYSTONE™ capabilities and maverick strategies. Avoid burnout by taking control and being who you are.