Getting to the Other Side of Burnout

Have you ever experienced burnout in your job or running your business?  All of a sudden, things at work just aren’t fun anymore (and everyone annoys the sh*t out of you).  You are exhausted all the time yet somehow can’t get enough sleep.  You don’t want to do anything—except eat Chick-Fil-A.  And even the smallest problems seem too large to handle … yep.  Classic burnout signs.  And I had them all, especially the cravings for spicy chicken sandwiches and fries.

My burn out really snuck up on me.  Everything was great.  My business has been doing well.  My team was taking on new responsibilities and learning how to run my studios on a day-to-day basis.  I was writing all the time and my book was coming out.  All very exciting things, however, all very stressful at the same time.  See, giving increased responsibility to my team was great, but there’s a learning curve for them, which means stress for me.  And writing is something that I love to do, but with multiple posts each week, it was getting overwhelming.  I experienced lots of pressure to always be writing something amazing and insightful even when I wasn’t inspired at all.  Finally, as the book launch became nearer, I realized that people would actually have the opportunity to read it, and that freaked me out.  What if they didn’t like it?!  I hadn’t really thought about that … and now it was too late to literally stop the presses.  Thus, burn out ensued due to intense stress.

I’ve experienced burnout before as an employee, but how do you handle burnout when you’re the boss and everyone looks to you to set the tone in the workplace?  Crap, this is serious.  Since the tone of burnout is slathered in negativity, grumpiness, and exasperation, the best thing to do as a burnt out boss is simply not show up to work.  That’s right—get out of there so your employees have a fighting chance to not pick up on your negative, tormented state.  And so, I went out of town …

Luckily, I had already planned a trip to Vancouver, Canada, but it didn’t matter where, I just needed to get away for a chance to refocus and find the other side of my burn out.

While I was gone, it occurred to me that I was making all the “fun” things in my life “unfun” by putting too much pressure on myself.  I really enjoy being a manager of my team and see them come up with solutions to problems that arise in the business.  But there’s no reason to stress about it—they’re all pretty smart, they’ll figure it out.

I also enjoy writing, but posting 3 times a week is too much, so I’m going to cut back on posts, and will instead, focus on writing some other more exciting things (at least, I think they’re more exciting).  I’ve decided to start a She’s On Her Toes monthly newsletter with premium paid content—so stay tuned for that!  I’ll still post on the blog for free, but just once a week.  This will give me the opportunity to focus on writing amazing content without the grind of constantly posting and worrying that I’m not really saying anything important.

I’ll also be writing more for the studios with some new projects.  Next week, we’ll launch a new goal-setting tool that will allow clients to purchase a small workbook each month to inspire and help them set health and fitness goals.  I’m also developing a monthly meal plan that will be for purchase at the studios.  Each week will include recipes and a grocery list to make healthy eating simple and enjoyable.  Lots of exciting new things ahead!

I suppose I could have avoided burnout altogether by having more work-life balance.  But that’s lame!  Does work-life balance even exist for entrepreneurs?  Uh, no it does not.

When burn out strikes, it’s important to get out of your business to avoid your employees picking up on your sour mood.  Just get out of there.  Leave town.  Leave the country.  Spend some time thinking about what makes you happy about your business, why that’s changed, and then come up with some small solutions to get back to “fun.”  Get out of the grind and get back to what your next “big thing” will be.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Check out my new book, She’s On Her Toes: How I Started A Business, Expanded It, Almost Lost It, And Got Back On My Toes