Experiencing any of these? Low energy. Feeling scattered, distracted. Producing work you’re not proud of. Saying something isn’t important when it really is. Snapping at loved ones.
These signs of burnout are being experienced in classrooms, boardrooms, and break rooms. Just because we’re darn good at adapting, it does not mean we should adapt. Being burned out is NOT, I repeat, NOT the new normal.
In April, Gallup Economy posted their findings on worker engagement: 36% of U.S. managers and executives were “Engaged” in their jobs in 2012 — meaning they are deeply involved in and enthusiastic about their work and actively contributing to their organization. That’s up from 26% in 2009 when the economic downturn grabbed us. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/162062/managers-boast-best-work-engagement.aspx)
Wait. What about the other 64%? How does their disengagement affect those they manage? For a partial answer, take a look at the stats below:
Many of us are taking on more and taking care of ourselves less. Heck, even if we individually are on an even keel, we can get a heat rash from others who continually over-extending themselves.
Here’s how folks in my network finished the sentence, “I know I am burned out when…”
- § Daytime TV makes sense
- § I get little twitches in the muscles around my eyes
- § I’ve eaten the same dinner for the last 5 days and don’t even care
- § I waste time web surfing instead of getting real work done
- § I pay for gas then drive away before getting it
- § I eat lots of unhealthy food
- § I put milk in the cupboard, not frig
Remember in elementary school when the firemen told us what to do if our clothes ever caught on fire? I’ve put my twist on it and created a process to help reduce stress and increase performance. I hope you’ll try it out. Why? Because you have more important things to do than burn out.
1: Stop … and ask.
Ask: Am I smoldering (upset, out of sorts)? If you answer “No”, carry on. If you answer “Yes”, then identify the specific flame, perhaps a disappointment or unfulfilled expectation. “Go CSI” and see if your interpretations are adding to stress. If so, change them. It’s an interpretation, not a fact like gravity!
2: Drop … into your Self.
Ask: Have I lost my voice and stopped speaking my truth? Have I disregarded my values? Have I disconnected from my purpose? Sometimes it’s easier to answer these questions if someone we trust asks them of us. Don’t let your “I’ve got it together” ego get in the way.
3: Roll … in a different direction.
Break out of your habits and routines. Take a different route to work, have a picnic lunch outside with a book of poems or a sketch book, not your blackberry. Listen to unfamiliar music; spend time with someone you wouldn’t normally. Changing your physical routine has the possibility of changing your mental outlook because you can’t rely on muscle memory or cruise control.
4: Go … beyond your comfort zone.
- Where you normally give up or in, go 1 more inch.
- Ask for support.
- Draw boundaries. If there’s a situation that sucks your energy, talk to those who are involved before the situation comes around again.
- Do what isn’t comfortable: reduce your need to achieve. Do it for 1 week.
Oh, and 1 more thing … your raison detre
To have this tool work, you need a personal commitment that inspires you – a ‘reason for existence’. Here’s one of mine: I am committed to supporting people being fully self-expressed, making their contribution, having a blast and being satisfied in the process, including me.
Want to hear this conversation sprinkled with stories and the woman-with-a-mic moments? Get my 30-minute video at www.wipcoaching.com/the-brightside-of-burnout/. Share the love with your team. Order the Team Package, complete with DVD and Facilitator’s Guide.
Thanks for listening and thinking. I hope our paths cross soon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Camille Smith, A leadership coach who gets to the heart of what matters to you, believes communication is the solution, pokes holes at reality so possibilities emerge and awesome results realized.
You can find out more about Camille by visit: