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A Burnout of your own making
I’m going to shape this idea around entrepreneurship, because I think it’s relatable to many of you, but it can also pertain to creative endeavors (like acting, singing, or writing) or even the incredibly important work of making and raising kids.
The reason passion burnout is different than career burnout is that the pressure is entirely self-induced. We are typically pushing ourselves too hard rather than a stressful job situation that’s being driven by someone else. Said differently, passion burnout is entirely of our own making.
I’ve seen this in the work I do with wellness coaches, entrepreneurs, and fellow authors and bloggers. We’re all passionate folks, trying to make a name for ourselves and an impact on the world, but by taking on too much, we drown in a sea of our own unrealistic expectations.
We create crazy dreams that we can’t wait to grow into because we see other people’s success as a model for what’s possible. What we don’t see however, is how long it took to create that success and how much support others have contributed to the effort.
When Hustle & Grind Doesn’t Work
Speaking from personal experience, in the past 11 years of writing, coaching and teaching about health & wellness, I have driven to the brink of passion burnout several times (oh, the irony!). I tend to push too hard because I have goals, dreams and let’s be honest here – I see the platitudes shared on social media about hustling and grinding and I tell myself that’s what I must do to succeed!
But it never works.
So instead of meeting with success, I’ve met with burnout and complete creative exhaustion around a process I used to love.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to bring myself back from the brink of passion burnout by pouring back into myself, all the joy, love and energy I drained out of myself in the grind and hustle process. What I’ve learned the hard way is that this might be a great course of action for some folks (and all the power to them if that’s true), but for me?
Hustle and grind only ever leads to exhaustion and unhappiness.
So based on my own experience combined with the growing research that we’re seeing around the increasing cases of burnout syndrome, I have some ideas for those of you who are pushing hard and getting nowhere but tired and disappointed.
Hear me on this, friends – I know ya’ll have dreams you want to see come to fruition, but if what you’re doing right now isn’t working for you, it’s time to try something else.
How to Recover from Passion Burnout
Start by re-evaluating what you’re going after.
Many passion seekers move in the general direction of what they’re looking for, but aren’t 100% sure exactly what it is. They’ll know when they get there, they say. But take it from someone who has done this – you won’t know. In fact, you’re probably so busy running in “general directions” that you have no time or awareness to stop and say – is this it?
Honestly, when was the last time you stopped to ask yourself – does this path feel right for me? If you haven’t, now is your chance to do that. Don’t just think about your final destination – think about the journey. Is it what you want?
When you have clarity, but it’s still not working in your favor.
Now it’s time to take stock of your beliefs. Take out a piece of paper or your journal and write down all the reasons why you know you’ll never get what you want (trust me on this). Be very specific about all the reasons why it won’t work, especially for you. Be exhaustive with your limitations – either real or imagined. List them all.
Once you’re done, you now have documented list of all the personal work you need to clear through before you reach your goal. You don’t have to stop working towards your goal, but if you don’t make a point of working through all your limiting blocks as well, you will continue spin your wheels.
Don’t underestimate the power of internal resistance to getting what you want. The more you try and push against your resistance instead of resolving it, the faster you’ll meet your point of burnout. I know this from experience!
Stop doing everything.
This is just as much of a business lesson as it is a burnout recovery practice. The reason we hit these mental brick walls is that we’re trying to do all the things. Burnout happens when we compromise ourselves to the point where we have nothing left to give.
Where are you doing this to yourself?
If you’re working on a side hustle – hire help before you think you can afford it. You will grow faster and more efficiently if you can create opportunities to outsource early and often. If you’re in a season where you’re pushing toward a creative goal, something else needs to give. Whether it’s asking for help with the kids, taking some vacation time just to focus on getting your book finished or giving up TV at night so you can start getting up at 5am to work before your day job – you have to give up something to make room for something else.
This is often the hardest to accept.
Women in particular aren’t great at asking for help and they’re even worse at being selfish about their dreams. But here’s the thing – if you aren’t selfish, you won’t get where you want to go. You have to accept that “me first” is a perfectly acceptable mindset because it gives you the permission to pour into yourself before you spend the rest of your day pouring into other people and all the things you want to accomplish.
It’s okay to stop
I didn’t mention this in my podcast, but it’s worth pointing out that if something is burning you out, the world won’t stop if you put down your passion for a while or for ever. We hear so much about not quitting, but sometimes that’s the most loving thing we can do for ourselves. I went through this experience, continuing to push forward on something that was dragging me down.
It turned out that letting go was the best thing I could do in the moment, and I ended up opening myself up better opportunities!! If you’re not sure when to quit or stay the course, I have something that might help you figure it out.
- Be clear about what you’re going after and keep checking in along the way to make sure it feels right.
- Get honest about your limiting beliefs and make a point of working through them (I find journaling and EFT to be very effective at working through them). It bears repeating – if you don’t get past yourself, you’ll continue to hit that mental and emotional brick wall instead of reaching your goals.
- Be selfish about your dreams – invest in yourself and ask for help. You. Are. Worth. It.
Are you burned out from your side hustle that you’ve been pushing hard with because you’re equally burnout from your day job and desperately want to escape it? I feel you, friend. There is only so much time in the day and you’ve only got so much energy to give. If you’re struggling to prioritize your time and energy, I can help. Personal coaching can give you an objective perspective on your situation and help you get clear on the best actions to take, given your limited resources. If that sounds like something you could benefit from, consider investing in personal coaching with me.
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, healthy recipes, home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.