Burnout and purpose may not seem logical connection but there is a connection.
We hear about burnout regularly – whether it is the signs, symptoms, the prevalence in one profession or another. As our society continues to value 24/7 availability, instant gratification and short-term gains, burnout will exist. These three expectations push us into productivity shame – for more on that, check out Episode 20 (Names, Productivity and Reviews)
Burnout can happen to anyone – it doesn’t discriminate based on years of experience or the industry you work in. But burnout does have a preference:
- Individuals who are highly passionate about their work
- work with an element of risk
- operate in socially isolated environments
What type of professions works in these conditions? Social workers, emergency response professionals – such as EMTs, police officers, firefighters, creative professions – such as design, marketing, agency work – business development & sales, healthcare, legal and entrepreneurs.
A few months ago I was researching physician burnout and the statistics I found are startling – as high as 54% of physicians express feelings of burnout. Physicians begin identifying feelings of burnout during medical school, residency and the first years of their practice. And in a presentation at this year’s MGMA (Medical Group Management Association), one presenter noted that in an MBA program geared for physicians – of 25 physicians enrolled in the program, 11 of them were there as a means of planning their exit from medicine.
What are the signs of burnout?
It is widely agreed that burnout has three primary components:
- Emotional exhaustion – That feeling of being used up; sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally, sometimes both. You may have trouble sleeping, get sick often, and get irritated at the drop of a hat.
- Depersonalization or feeling disconnected to others around you, whether it is at work or at home.
- Reduced personal accomplishments – you are no longer feeling confident in your ability to do your job or accomplish tasks that were once second nature. Your capacity to perform is compromised.
When you overlay the three components of burnout with being “on” 24/7, instant gratification and short-term gains, it is easy to see why we are feeling burned out at an increasing rate. I’m sure we can all think of times when – if we are truly honest with ourselves – we have felt the impact of burnout.
How do we overcome burnout?
It is going to be different for each of us but some common tactics include:
- Play to your strengths and that of your team
- Be aware of how you spend your free time – focus on activities you truly enjoy and
- Re-evaluate your priorities. Reaching burnout often means you’ve been putting work or other responsibilities in front of family time and solitude.
- Re-connect with yourself – spend time alone, seek out a support network, be social
The common thread I see with these suggestions is the reconnecting with what is important to you –another way to look at this is reconnecting with your purpose – or your WHY.
As always, in pursuit of our purpose,
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- The Thrive Guide to Healing From Burnout
- Burnout Costs Medical Practices Big $$$
- 10 Signs Your Burning Out and What to Do About It
- Burnout Prevention and Recovery
- How to spot burnout
- 6 Critical Steps I Took to Overcome Burnout
- A Counterintuitive Approach to Beat Burnout
- A Fine Line Between Passion and Obsession