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How to Break Up with Burnout in 2020

Hello old friend. Im firing you.

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a workshop at a local mortgage company with a well-liked local life and career coach, Susan Day. The workshop was centered around discovering your passion and transforming it into a career.

Lest you think I’m looking to leave BBB (and authoring blogs for you here), think again. I was invited to attend the workshop by friends I met at various networking events. They raved about Day and her ability to help even the most disgruntled employees beat burnout. Now that, I had to hear.

Day has been a life coach, author and speaker for more than 17 years. She’s helped hundreds and hundreds of clients, both professionally and personally. Upon meeting Day, it’s impossible not to be awed by the sheer volume of energy she exudes. She’s dynamic, inspiring, and kind. It seems as though Day was born a life coach.

She was, in fact, not born a life coach. Rather, she spent most of her career in software sales, starting in the late 80s, when the field was first becoming popular. Day says she took pride in working long hours. Co-workers engaged in unspoken competition to see who could answer emails at the latest or earliest hours. Fatigue was a badge or honor, a commitment to a career in an exciting new field. But stay in that toxic fatigue cycle long enough? You’ll inevitably land squarely in Burnout City.

Day found out the hard way, but it was a lesson she only had to learn once. After closing many big dollar contracts and making a name for herself in software sales, Day decided to walk away from the career she knew and become a life coach. She now helps employees and employers facing the same issues. Stay where the pay is good, the accolades are aplenty, but the work-life balance is nonexistent? Or venture into the terrifying unknown. Start your own business? Work alongside mom and dad in the family company? Go into small-scale farming at a time when many farmers are struggling? Each day, Day found nervous, burned-out people, desperate to make a change.

So, what advice does she offer?

“The key is not only to remember what I’ve learned,” Day says. “But to put protective barriers in place so this beast doesn’t take me down again.”

First, heed the warnings sign. Day says you may be in a career you love, but there is still room for burnout. Room to feel like there’s too much work and not enough day. Psychology Today says the term burnout was first described in 1975 as “a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal job stressors.” The result? Cynicism. Inefficiency. Detachment. Emotional exhaustion.

When Day first arrived in Burnout City, she took inventory. What went wrong?

“I placed unrealistic expectations on myself,” she says. “I became self-reliant.”

As any small business owner knows, you cannot do it all alone. Though you wear many hats and juggle many expectations, you need a team. That team may include cheerleaders, family members, brand ambassadors, part-time employees and helpful friends. It’s like the adage says, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

After acknowledging her unrealistic expectations, Day noticed something else.

“I stopped listening to my own body, I had been saying for weeks, ‘I’m exhausted.’  And, my body was screaming it!”

The term “self care” is tossed around often these days. The reason that phrase became so popular undoubtedly stems from a burned-out workforce. Realizing the signs of burnout is the first step to making a change, whether that means finding a new job or setting new expectations at the old one.

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Written by Hannah Stiff

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