As we head towards the 18-month mark of the pandemic, I’m noticing that some of my clients, colleagues, and friends are heading towards burnout. Or they’re already there.
Beneath your Big Vision is an idea. And under that idea is a feeling. When you’re going through burnout, you aren’t able to access the feelings that fuel your energy and ideas.
Stress has caused your fire to burn out.
You’ve stopped caring about your work.
You’ve stopped loving it.
You need to get back in touch with why you do the work you do.
There’s the financial why, but if you’re a creative entrepreneur, artist, writer, healer, or changemaker, there’s usually something additional driving your work—your Big Vision.
Here are three ideas to try to help you move from burned out to Big Visioning again.
#1 Take a Break
Humans are not meant to always be in motion. That’s what sleep is for! If you’re experiencing burnout, you probably need to rest. This can look like actual sleep, a change of scene, a slower pace, or just doing something different. What it doesn’t look like is continuing the way you have been.
I realize that because of resources, responsibilities, or both, many people can’t take a significant break. Don’t let that stop you. Get creative. Your Big Vision is counting on you.
If you work for someone else, can you use sick time? If you work for yourself, can you move your schedule around so that you end your days earlier? Can you work longer days, so that you can have half, or all of one off? If going out of town isn’t a possibility, where can you go locally, or less expensively for a change of scene (e.g. a friend’s backyard or guest room, a campsite, a natural setting where you can take a long walk, somewhere in your home where you can close a door).
Don’t let Instagram images of what a sabbatical, or retreat is “supposed” to look like make you believe you can’t create a break for yourself. Craft one in a way that works for your needs, budget, and responsibilities.
#2 Remember Your Story
Think back to when you headed down this path in the first place. Remember why you do this work. Write down, or tell the story to someone. It doesn’t have to be polished, or well crafted. All that matters is that you tell the truth.
Here are some possible questions to answer in your story:
• How does your story begin? What is the first time you knew you wanted to do this kind of work?
• Once you realized you wanted to do this type of work, what steps did you take to make it happen?
• What obstacles did you overcome?
• What successes (no matter how small) did you have?
• When did your path take an unexpected turn?
• Who helped you along the way?
• What were some milestones, or turning points?
• When did you start to realize you were burned out? What are your symptoms?
• Once you’ve told your story up to the present day, write or describe the next chapter, or episode. What would you like to happen next? What treatment would you prescribe for your symptoms?
#3 Create a Love List
When you’re going through burnout, it’s easy to talk about the things that aren’t working. But doing that for an extended period of time probably won’t change anything. You need to get back in touch with what you love about your work. Try writing the end of this sentence over and over, or answering it out loud with a friend until you have nothing more to write, or say:
I love this work because:
If you feel stuck, think about your work and:
• Tasks you love to do.
• Skills you love to use.
• Results you love to create.
• Feelings you love to have.
• People you love to connect with.
• Parts of your identity you love.
How Do You Feel?
Many people are experiencing burnout right now (see the articles below). You’re not alone. Please take good care of yourself. Get help from a therapist, counselor, mentor, or a coach if you need it.
Learn More About Burnout
• Job Burnout: How to Spot It and Take Action, Mayo Clinic
• It’s OK to Say No to More Work, Roxanne Gay, Work Friend column, The New York Times 7/30/21
• Post-Pandemic Burnout Spurs The “Great Resignation” Among Workers, Ashley Stahl, Forbes.com, 7/22/21
• Why Business Leaders Need a ‘Wake Up’ Call to Take Burnout Seriously Right Now, Experts Say, ABCNews.go.com, 7/2/21
• Experiencing Burnout? Here’s How to Fix It, Kelly Lynn Adams, Entrepreneur.com, 7/2/21.
Related Posts by Me ( :
Sorry about the underlying buzzing sound : (
Need some help clarifying or communicating your Big Vision for your work in the world?