How many of us left the corporate world to go and set up in business on our own?
How many of us thought that – because we were leaving corporate to do something we really, really love, that we wouldn’t suffer from burnout?
Not true is it!
The thing with burnout is it doesn’t discriminate between those who are worked to the ground and
hate dislike what they do, and those that love what they do so much, that they could happily work late into the night for it.
You see burnout comes about when we’ve been going about things in a way that doesn’t work in the long term. The question to ask yourself is this:
“Is the way I’m working right now, something I could keep up with for a month? Six months? A year?” If you don’t get three yes’s on all of those, then it’s probably a really good idea to start looking at where you can make changes.
The reality is that burnout can happen to anyone, and it has nothing to do with how much you enjoy your work. It’s to do with how much you think about it, and are consumed by it.
Here’s an example; you wake up one morning after a good night’s sleep, and during that time an amazing new idea has come to you. You reach for your journal and write it all down; pages and pages of genius-like thoughts go into that journal. Even though you have to get on with the rest of your day, you’re still thinking about the idea – in the car, out walking, with other people. It utterly consumes you, it’s that good!
A few days later, the idea starts to give you doubts, was it really a good idea? Maybe I shouldn’t do it after all? Why was I so excited, and now I’m not? More journaling, more thinking. This way, that way. Should I? Shouldn’t I? What should I do?
This carries on for some weeks before you either drop the idea, or take it forward.
Exhausting isn’t it? Exciting but exhausting at the same time. You see, that right there, is an example of how burnout can start; too much thinking.
As entrepreneurs we are always thinking! Most of it positive and optimistic, some of it negative and laced with self doubt.
Thinking is good, when we take action. Thinking without action, leads to worry.
Too much worry triggers off too much dreaming, which means we wake up in the morning feeling exhausted and depleted (regardless of what time we went to bed). If you want to learn more about why we wake up exhausted read this article I wrote recently called The REAL Reason You Wake Up Feeling Exhausted.
But the point is this: as business owners all of us are susceptible to burnout, and as much as we invest in marketing, courses, and products for our business, our biggest investment needs to be in ourselves. So if you’ve been struggling with burnout, yet you love what you do, don’t take it as a sign you’re in the wrong business. Instead, take it as a sign that the way you’re working isn’t working – that’s all.
Sarah Swanton is the Founder of Happy Healthy Entrepreneur which helps business owners navigate their way through the ‘inner journey’ of being self employed, so they can do their best work with clients, and build a business that supports them, not exhausts them! Click here to get access to your free Mindset Toolkit for Entrepreneurs including the self-hypnosis audio ‘Switch Off & Relax’ and a copy of the Burnout Antidote Framework.