How to avoid business burnout

Corporate speaker Phil Schibeci shares the secrets to maintaining your professional passion

Most people start a business or career with great enthusiasm and excitement. They are full of the possibility and expectation of what they can achieve. Unfortunately this initial euphoria can become a daily grind as they slowly slip into a rut and eventually feel burnt out. So is it possible to maintain the vision and passion that was there at the beginning? I think it is – as long as we have a structure to follow.
I’ve been a speaker and workshop facilitator for over 21 years and I’ve managed to maintain a consistent level of enthusiasm for this demanding work by using the following simple steps.
Step 1: What don’t you want?
Most people are clear at the start about what they want to achieve in their career or business. What they are not usually clear about is what they don’t want. As a result they start doing lots of things they dislike but feel compelled to do to achieve success. Eventually they forget what it was that excited them about their work in the first place.
If this happens to you and you want to get back on track, your first task is to recapture your passion. If you have forgotten or lost touch with what you want to achieve, the best way to rediscover it is to be clear about what you don’t want to achieve.
To run a profitable business or have a successful career we all have to perform tasks we don’t like doing. But when we are doing more things we don’t enjoy compared to the number of things we do enjoy we can quickly get into a rut because we are not having much fun and are not feeling fulfilled. Without a sense of accomplishment in our work we can experience a lack of motivation and feel tired and burnt out. The first step to getting back on track is to change the balance of enjoyable tasks in your favor.
Step 2: What’s your why?
Now that you are back in touch with what you want to achieve from your work and what you enjoy about it, you need to get in touch with your why. Why are you doing what you do? This is a very powerful question to ask yourself because your why is bigger than you. When you are focused on why you are doing something you are growth orientated instead of just goal orientated. Being growth oriented keeps your focus on the big picture. This in turn will prevent you from getting in a rut and feeling burnt out.
Step 3: Set some goals and create a plan
As mentioned earlier, the quickest way to start feeling good about work again is to focus on what you enjoy the most. So, go back to your list and pick the most enjoyable task that you have written on your list and then make it more real by writing next to it when you will do it and how this will make you feel. Now set some short-, medium- and long-term goals around that particular task.
Then create a simple plan of how you are going to get into action to achieve these goals. Write down and be crystal clear about the very first step you need to take.
Step 4: Take action
Most people don’t achieve their goals quite simply because they don’t take action. Procrastination can be a killer, so the time to start is right now. At this point you need to think less and act more. Don’t second-guess yourself; just jump in and do something to get the ball rolling again. The first step is often the hardest because there’s no momentum. By taking immediate action you start to build momentum, which makes taking more action easier.
Step 5: Celebrate your wins
When you finally achieve your goal and get what you want, make sure to celebrate and then reward yourself in some way for a job well done before moving on to the next task or goal. This is really important and is something that is often overlooked because people don’t realisz how important it is.
If we don’t celebrate and reward ourselves for our hard work, our subconscious mind (which is where our motivation comes from) will have no reason to do it again: “What’s the point of doing all of this if there’s nothing in it for me?” By celebrating and rewarding yourself in the smallest way, your subconscious mind will feel nurtured, you will start to feel positive and motivated, and your productivity will increase greatly. This will in turn encourage you to do it all again with the next goal on your list.
One of the reasons people burn out is that they don’t have a structure in place to prevent it happening. With these five simple steps you now have a structure to help keep you on track with your business and career. It’s important to make this structure a routine so that you stick to it, especially when things don’t go the way you want. Even after building momentum, at some point you are going to hit a hurdle. This is when it will look like you are not going to get what you want. What you need to do when this happens is stick to your five-step structure; keep doing what you
know works and what’s got you this far. If you just keep going whether you feel like it or not, at
some point circumstances will turn in your favor. Persisting this way will prevent you from slipping into a rut and experiencing the business burnout.
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Phil Schibeci is a renowned corporate speaker, workshop facilitator, and author of How to Get Out of The RUT Race. It has been shortened