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The Advisor’s Corner – Is Burnout a Reality?

BurnoutQuestion:

Is ‘burnout’ a reality, or am I just being a whiner?

StrategyDriven Response: (by Roxi Hewertson, StrategyDriven Principal Contributor)

It’s true that burnout behaviors can look a lot like victim behaviors. However, burnout is a real state of mind and can be debilitating in many ways. If you are trying to decide whether or not you are simply whining or at risk of burnout, consider this: You know you are toast when you’re always exhausted, not laughing, highly critical or cynical, disengaged, or overwhelmed. We can burnout when we’re not feeling appreciated, when “it isn’t fair,” when work is meaningless, when we have values dissonance, and when we’re bored. Sometimes we can ‘manage up’ and work with our boss or manage differently with others to mitigate the root causes of our burnout. Sometimes, we just need to take control where we have control.

The best and fastest way to move from victim to victor is to take control. In our society, we have far more we control over our lives than we think we do. We control our attitude, behaviors, choices, what we say and do and to whom we say it. By strengthening and filling up our personal resilience ‘tank’ we can take back control over our lives one big or little chunk at a time. These are some relatively simple strategies that really do work. I recommend starting with number one and begin to add another and another without leaving any behind.

  1. Believe in yourself – remind yourself that you’ve solved many, many problems before and will do so again
  2. Identify accurately the root cause of your pain
  3. Reach out to others – it’s not a weakness to ask for input, and help from people you trust
  4. Find your empathy and compassion – acts of grace will change your body chemistry!
  5. Control instant gratification urges that cause you harm – mad shopping, eating, drinking, quitting in a huff…
  6. Stay calm vs. becoming reactive
  7. Laugh as much as you can in as many ways you can – movies, cartoons, jokes, friends… whatever brings you joy

Growing your resilience is a process not a trait. We’ve all bounced back from tough things in our lives, so you do know how to do it. The problem is, we forget our wins when we are feeling burned out. It’s time to remember how much you’ve achieved in your life and perhaps it just might be the right time to reimagine what will make you happy, including what is truly meaningful to you. Focusing on what IS working for you right now, and what you want in the future can help jump start your journey back into the light.


About the Author

Leadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through AskRoxi.com, Roxi — “the Dear Abby of Leadership” — imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.


The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to [email protected].

Jeffrey Gitomer

Are you burned out or just hating it?

I just read an article about someone’s totally bogus opinion of ‘job burnout.’ It made me realize some people actually are (or think they are) ‘burned out.’

A quick search on Amazon revealed 580 books that contain the title, or address the subject of, ‘job burn out.’ Yikes!

The article I read proposed a remedy of “do less and you’ll avoid burnout.” It also recommended to avoid excessive workload, don’t be overly accommodating, avoid people who drain your energy, do not overwork yourself, and they threw in job disillusionment. In other words: You’ll still hate it, but you’ll hate it less.

Why do people claim they’re burned out? It’s a self-inflicted thought wound based on taking inappropriate action, the false feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed-out, having a negative work atmosphere in general, not really loving your job, not believing in what you do, and having a boss who is somewhere between a jackass and an idiot.

While burnout and stress are real, often they’re self-imposed feelings that you can overcome. Burnout manifests itself in your daily talk until it’s embedded into your psyche. Not good.

START HERE: Begin your self-actualization by asking reality-based questions of yourself. Write down the answers.

QUESTION ONE: Ask yourself how much you love your job?
QUESTION TWO: Ask yourself what’s the BEST part of your job?
QUESTION THREE: Ask yourself what would you rather be doing?
QUESTION FOUR: Ask yourself where would you rather be working that could afford you the same or better opportunity (not just money)?
QUESTION FIVE: Ask yourself if the grass is really greener on the other side of employment?

Being or feeling ‘burned-out’ or ‘stressed-out’ is not a problem; it’s a symptom. ‘Why’ you feel you’re burned out is the heart of the situation.

Once you ask yourself these questions, it’s time to DO SOMETHING POSITIVE ABOUT IT. Relief begins when you identify “cause,” and then continues when you create your own answers and your own truths. And change your thought pattern from burnt-out to ON FIRE!
Action one: Write down what you believe is causing the stressful feelings.
Action two: Write down what you believe the remedy could be.
Action three: Beside each remedy, write down what you or others could be doing.
Action four: Write down the likelihood of these remedies occurring.
Action five: Write down your ideal job or career, and then write down what you have to do or learn to get there.

DECIDE if you are in or out. If in, rededicate yourself to personal excellence. If out, get out quick.

REALITY: Based on your present situation (family, debt, obligations) you may just have to endure it for a while, but if you have identified causes and remedies, calm begins to occur. You have it under control. You’re making decisions.

Your present circumstance has to be measured against your present situation and future hopes and dreams.

Here are a few suggestions for what will take you from “burn out” mode into a more positive and hopeful frame of mind:
1. Start your day with the three most important things you want to accomplish.
2. Cancel all stupid and time-wasting meetings.
3. Stop talking about things that don’t matter, especially other people.
4. Focus on outcome, not just task.
5. Dedicate at least fifteen minutes a day to thinking by yourself.
6. Get rid of three major time wasters (attention diverters):

  • Facebook notifications at work (unless it’s business Facebook)
  • Personal emails and personal calls
  • Negative water fountain chit-chat

7. Go home from work and read instead of watch. Start with my Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude.
7.5 Review your accomplishments at the end of each day – to both praise yourself and challenge yourself. Write them down.

Re-start your personal fire. Give yourself a chance to become ‘BEST’ at your job and your career. Never give in to self-defeat. Decide every day that you can only be your best by doingyour best.

Become BEST not burnt.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].