And what I have gained from it.
As entrepreneurs, I’m guessing that we are a breed that is no stranger to burnout. Having recovered from two burnouts, I want to talk about:
1. The warning signs of impending burnout.
2. What I’ve gained from recovering from it.
#1. Warning Signs of Impending Burnout
Losing passion and drive
When I was setting up my first business, I was working eighteen hours a day. It was riveting, exciting and I found myself glued to the phone and computer.
I was sustaining this pace for a few years but after some setbacks, I woke up each day, feeling disenchanted. Numbed out. Fatigued.
I began a 180 degrees descent. From someone who thrives on connecting with others, I was retreating from the world. I would wake up, feeling lost and disconnected and not wanting to talk to anyone.
Associating achievements with self-worth
I felt all-powerful and on purpose when I was working at top speed. Everything was hurry hurry hurry. I prided myself on being “productive”. I started measuring my worth by my achievements. The fact that I was also the sole breadwinner further reinforced this belief too.
So when there were dips and stagnation in my business, I felt worthless. I was hard and harsh on myself for not being quicker to earn more. I often compare myself to others in the same industry too.
This constant pushing also led me to ignore my own needs and limits too.
Not being aware of my own limits
With the focus on earning a certain level of income in my business, I was also operating from “how much further I can go”. The idea of rest hardly came up to me.
In fact, I was all for pushing myself, thinking that it was helping me to grow beyond my comfort zone. But this belief actually created tunnel vision, sacrificing health for short-term gains.
Worse, I was also hospitalised after two weeks of high fever and infection.
#2. What I Have Learnt and Gained From Burnout
Realising that it’s important to play
Play is not frivolous. In fact, when I allow myself to play, my mind is also at its most creative. There were so many creative ideas that popped out during my play time and these were well received. I’m currently loving Minecraft Dungeons on Nintendo Switch now!
Schedule rest… no matter how riveting business can be
As a business owner, scheduling regular rest time is a divine act of faith in God. Why? Because success is a co-creation between myself and God and not through me alone.
Spending time with people I love
For years I’ve felt guilty for not spending much time with my kids and even if so, I was not present. After the second burnout, I didn’t want to live like that anymore. Especially, considering that I’ve left my job in the first place to be home for my kids!
My husband was also feeling the brunt of my previous hyper speed and self-imposed stress. I’m glad that right now, our pace in life is a lot slower and grounded too.
I was a people pleaser and it was hard for me to say no. Even harder, was to open my mouth and ask for help.
As a result, I overextended myself and was feeling resentful and frustrated. I felt that I have to do certain things that I do not enjoy for the sake of responsibility.
This is also when my friend introduced Human Design to me. She suggested that I learn more about my HD chart and understand the way I am designed to thrive.
Learning about my Sacral Authority was helpful. It taught me my pleasure and satisfaction are of utmost importance in the work I do. If I am coming from the space of “I have to”, then the same energy seeps into the work and it rarely turns out well.
I’ve also worked with an energy healer to clean up misaligned energy that others may have imprinted on me. That together with her daily exercises, helped me to get clear and clean up on my boundaries too.
Pruning my to-do list
My long to-do list used to stress me up and no wonder! I was measuring my worth by my achievements and believe that if I can produce more, I am worthier.
Nowadays I decide my work in a different way. Am I excited about this? Is it fun and satisfying for me?
If the answer is a no, I then reflect on whether it’s useful for my business. So much work can appear important but after some reflection, it turns out to be ego-serving fluff.
If the work is important, I outsource or delegate. For e.g. I do not enjoy churning monthly reports, logistics, and admin work. So my assistant and my husband took over that for me.
While no one wants to experience burnout in their business, it is an opportunity to grow in wisdom. By listing the warning signs and what you could do in recovery, I hope this would be helpful in your journey. May we all flourish in our businesses as we’re meant to be!
Have you experienced burnout before? What did you gain from it?