What Every Professional Should Know About Burnout…Part 1

feeling burned out

As a professional and entrepreneur, I previously thought I could work on more projects simultaneously than is humanly possible, maintain a happy home life, and thought I could do it all and still maintain my sanity and health.

I was wrong.

I’ve learned that burnout is very real, very scary and very likely for most high-achieving professionals at some point in their career.

However, you don’t have to suffer from burnout; there are easy ways to avoid it and I am going to show you how.

Next week I’ll get into how to avoid burnout, but for now let’s take a deeper look at what burnout is exactly (and why you should care).

According to Wikipedia, burnout refers to long-term mental, physical and emotional exhaustion and diminished interest in work. It is most often assumed to be caused by an excessive workload and other life stressors working in tandem that eventually bring a person to their breaking point.

When you are experiencing burnout you may feel disillusioned, helpless and completely worn out.

When you’re burned out, problems seem insurmountable, everything looks bleak, and it’s difficult to muster up the energy to care—let alone do something about your situation.

The unhappiness and detachment burnout causes can threaten your job, your relationships, and your health.

Psychologists Herbert Freudenberger and Gail North have been studying the burnout process and have divided it into 12 phases, which are not necessarily followed sequentially.

  1. The compulsion to prove oneself
  2. Working harder
  3. Neglecting your own needs
  4. Displacement of conflicts
  5. Revision of values
  6. Denial of emerging problems
  7. Withdrawal
  8. Obvious behavioral changes
  9. Depersonalization
  10. Inner emptiness
  11. Depression
  12. Burnout Syndrome

Perhaps you’ve experienced one or more of the above phases. I know I have. In fact, I have experienced all them at some point including full-blown Burnout Syndrome (which needs medical attention) and I KNOW that I never want to experience that again. I hope you never have to. It’s definitely a scary place to be.

Next week, I’m going to dive deep into how you can avoid burnout and yet still be the productive super achiever that you are.

Have you ever been in burnout? Please share your experiences below.

About the Author

Heather WIlsonHeather E. Wilson is the founder and CEO of The Canadian Coach, a directory and membership platform designed to unite, support and promote Canadian coaches. She's a successful business coach, speaker, author (Your Life According to You!), warrior, change-maker, risk-taker, and adventurer all rolled into one dynamic package.