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Image by Lacie Slezak

“Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long”

 - Michael Gungor

I have what we describe as a strong work ethic. This landed me in good company as I was consistently top of the leaderboard for sales, pleasing my superiors, and feeling like I was genuinely contributing to the direction of the company. This is a good asset to have when you desire to continue to grow within an organisation and climb the hierarchical ladder - I became an area manager in my mid-twenties with a team across the South of England.

I felt the burnout between my drive to “get more” in all areas of my life, and yet the feeling that I was in fact “complete” in any given moment. I felt conflicted about what I was doing - was I truly feeding my soul and nourishing what I needed in life? Or was I creating more distractions? So I numbed this conflict with various behaviours. 

Burnout is not simply a case of overworking and having too much on your plate. It is a mismatch between your values, your sense of fairness within the world, your workload, your rewards, the community you are part of, and how much control you have over these aspects of your life. Some stress is healthy - we respond well to regular physical stress (exercise), but chronic stress without recovery can put us in serious need, or worse, cause disease. 

I don’t propose to have any guidance around where you should take your sense of ambition. However, developing an awareness of your strengths and your personal values gives you a framework to work out where or how you want to spend your time. This is the sweet spot, that we all seek, and which often eludes us in our busy over-scheduled lifestyles. Do you schedule fun? Do you schedule play? Do you schedule research? Do you schedule creativity? Do you schedule time with your other half, kids, old friends? Why, or why not?

I eventually recognised my almost-autonomic ambition, which positively impacted performance and revenue growth in business, but which obfuscated and camouflaged the human being underneath all the fanfare. I love a good product launch, international conventions, and trade shows - yet I was blind to my own need for self-development and deep learning. 

What opportunity for change and transformation can you see? I would be delighted to see if I can support you discover where your values are, and help you integrate balance into your life. 

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