BURNOUT IS A CHOICE – Whose Responsibility Is IT?
Burnout is a choice. It is often misdiagnosed, usually by self. It’s become somewhat of a trend word that captures any feeling of tiredness, exhaustion or fatigue. In some cases it’s even used as a label to help people feel like they have a sense of belonging or take a day off work.
Evidence from the World Health organisation, Gallup, American Medical Association and many more reputable organisations have completed research that is showing there is a real issue with Burnout in our society. The numbers vary across research, however they are compelling enough that we do need to place a large microscope and our full attention on Burnout.
People need to realise that Burnout is totally avoidable if we take a proactive approach to life. It’s now time for employers to stop placing the responsibility on the employee and employees need to stop blaming the employer. Burnout is a choice and is totally preventable.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It’s both an individual and a company issue, not one or the other.
“Have you ever over done it, in your life … for all the right reasons?”
Burnout is a choice. We decide whether to work longer hours, at a faster pace, not take a break, remain in a toxic environment or with a manager who micromanages us. People choose whether to stay in relationships, start a family, take on too many activities, train too hard when tired, watch too much Netflix or scroll on social media. It’s our choice to decide what we eat, how often we exercise, and whether to let our brain relax and allow our body to rest and recover.
“If you haven’t come to the realisation yet, no human can do it all.”
Workplace burnout is often misdiagnosed when people might just be exhausted, tired or stressed. According to the World Health Organisation’s definition of Workplace Burnout, there are 3 dimensions required to for diagnosis:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
There are many possible reasons why people can find themselves diagnosed with Workplace Burnout or a company creates an environment which leads to a higher percentage of people achieving Burnout. In every situation it comes down to choices.
New Parent Working From Home
Two weeks ago I found myself living on 10% of what I am capable of.
Ten months of being a first time parent, disrupted sleep patterns and co-owning and leading a global start-up that has seen accelerated growth. Take into consideration working from home and working away from home, owning a home with the pressures of inflation on finances and more.
Struggling to focus and find the energy to do anything I had noticed myself becoming cynical, having negative thoughts, being highly critical and focusing on the obstacle rather than the opportunities. Now, I am not the only one in this type of situation.
I had been observing these changes happen throughout the year. Hoping that I would get through the tiredness, the brain fog and negativity. Sometimes even though we are aware of something, it doesn’t mean we always take action.
It took two of my closest friends and colleagues to ask the question, “how are you doing?”. The conversation that took place with both of them and recommendations they shared, gave me the realisation that I needed to take control and make a decision. Why, because Burnout is a choice.
Making A Different Choice
This week I have made a choice. A choice to spend 5 days at a friend’s house in Melbourne to have long and uninterrupted sleep, relax, live a lot healthier, read a book and free my mind. It is definitely not enough to bring me back to 100%. What it will do is bring me back to operating at 60% or more which will get me through till Christmas where I will have extended time off to get back to 100% for 2024.
Having a high achievement mindset, very large drive and the determination to take something to the next level, you sometimes push the boundaries too far. The problem with fatigue is that it’s really very hard to detect over a period of time.
As an athlete you have a strong trigger to let you know when you have got rest and recovery wrong. You aren’t as fast, strength reduces, you react slower and make mistakes. It’s mainly physical and you notice it.
In the corporate world, unless you have a physical job or you face a catastrophic event, it’s a mental fatigue. Your mental fatigue reduces so slowly that your body daps to it and you don’t know what’s happening until too late. Your body thrives on small doses of stress and until you remove it, your body thinks everything is ok. Have you ever fallen sick when you go on holiday?
“I have learnt the hard way … energy is like money … if you keep spending it rather than investing … you will end up with an out of control debt! … How are you investing your energy!”
Proactive Energy Management Prevents Burnout
We must proactively plan and manage our energy and stress over time, to enhance the performance and productivity of ourselves, our company, and our relationships. It starts with learning how to schedule, focus and invest in your energy.
- Schedule Your Energy – Schedule your recovery and energy before meetings to ensure you have sustainable energy and performance. Plan your day, week, month, year and career with a 3:1 work to recovery ratio. Schedule only 20% of your work time in meetings.
- Focus Your Energy – Determine what are your priorities every day, ensure you are grounded and present, and decide where you focus your and other people’s attention
- Invest In Your Energy – Create boundaries, remove contamination, develop routines and remove 3 things every time you add something new into your day or life.
It’s Everyone’s Responsibility
Burnout is a choice. Both for the individual but also the company. It is the responsibility of both to be proactive in preventing burnout from occurring. As a company how can you schedule, focus and invest in the energy of your employees? As an individual what choices will you make to avoid burnout in your life? Burnout is a choice. Schedule, focus and invest in your energy.
Craig is a 10x National Champion, International coach and CEO turned high performance leadership expert, international speaker and and Inspiring Great Leaders Podcast host.
He is the CEO & Managing Partner of Speakers Institute Corporate, a high performance leadership expert, and a leadership, high performance and workplace culture keynote speaker.
Learn more about how Craig is working with a diverse team of exceptional human beings to inspire great leaders at www.speakersinstitutecorporate.com.
Book Craig as a Keynote Speaker and learn how to become a high performing leader by going to www.craigjohns.com.au for more on the Gravity of Leadership, LIONSHEART Mindset, Break The CEO Code and Atomic Pressure.
READ MORE ARTICLES
Having Courageous Conversations Link
What Is High Performance Link
Relentless Without Being Ruthless Or Reckless Link
How Gravity of Leadership Effects Your Impact Link
Beyond The Comfort Zone Link
People Are Our Greatest Assets Link
Are Leaders Born? Link