Do you consistently feel drained or lack enthusiasm for your work despite taking extra days off or even an extended vacation?
Have you been fighting this seemingly losing battle for months or maybe even years?
Welcome to burnout. According to the Mayo Clinic, job burnout is a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.
Burnout happens when your results don’t meet your expectations for an extended period of time. I’m here to tell you that if you think burnout is a sign of weakness, think again. The symptoms of fatigue, overwhelm, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, sadness, and depression are simply the fire alarms going off in your body telling you to extinguish them before you burn down!
The good news is it’s not too late to make your comeback after you’ve reached this breaking point. I know, because I’ve been able to do it multiple times throughout my three-decade career as an entrepreneur and stressed-out CEO. Here are my tips …
Recognize that you and your business or job are NOT one and the same.
If you find your self-worth and emotions are directly tied to your business or job (good day = good mood, bad day = bad mood) then it’s time to extract your personal identity from your professional one. You are more than your business. This professional identity crisis can happen to anyone but especially for entrepreneurs who start to feel that they and their business are one and the same.
The solution is to schedule time in your week to do something unrelated to your job that makes you feel fulfilled. Identify and pursue your passions, which could include attending a personal development seminar, taking music lessons, volunteering at a local charity, or participating in a new sport. Heck, I picked up the electric guitar for the first time at forty-nine years old!
Hire someone to take the burden off of you
Chances are you got to this point of burnout because you’ve been trying to do too much for far too long. Some of us have a hard time letting go of control and delegating meaningful work to others. However, if you truly love your business or job, give it what it needs—more resources. It’s time to “hire to your weakness,” someone that complements your skillset so you can do what you do best.
Nobody ever got to the top by themselves. My decision to hire a President/COO that complemented my weaknesses (implementing systems and processes during the Great Recession in 2008), was the smartest business decision I ever made. Don’t make the excuse you can’t afford to. I did it when the economy was burning down and everyone thought the world was coming to an end.
You cannot afford NOT to hire someone. This prolonged feeling of overwhelm that’s been churning inside you for far too long needs to come to an end right now.
Find your group of people and allow yourself to feed off their positive energy
As the founder or CEO, the larger the company grows, the lonelier your job becomes. The lonely-at-the-top syndrome is a common occurrence with growing companies because you can’t confide all of your ideas and feelings to your employees as they may be affected by your decisions.
So, how do we overcome this isolation chamber? There are tons of national and local professional meetups such as The Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO), Young President’s Organization (YPO), and Facebook groups to get you interacting with other entrepreneurs and executives who are in the same boat as you. It’s also important to seek out people who feel good about where they are and where they’re going.
I can’t think of a group that fits that bill greater than the Tony Robbins community. If you haven’t been to a Tony Robbins event, I highly recommend you start with his “Unleash the Power Within or Business Mastery” event. It will change your life.
Make mistakes and learn from them quickly
‘If there’s one secret I want you to remember it’s this: The people and companies that succeed are the ones that aren’t afraid to make mistakes. However, the difference between success and failure is the willingness to learn and adapt from your mistakes swiftly! Anticipating changes in your business, your competition, the industry, and technology is critical.
It’s no wonder 96% of all businesses fail within five years and only 1% survive after a decade. If you keep doing the same thing that led to you reaching this breaking point, then you will get stuck there and your company will eventually die (e.g. Blockbuster Video vs. Netflix).
Recognize when it’s time to move on
While I’m not suggesting the only escape hatch is to quit, if you’ve reached the point where you’re no longer fulfilled in what you’re doing and believe wholeheartedly that your vision is complete, maybe it’s time to move on. That’s what happened to me.
After founding a successful national sports franchise in 2003, I surrounded myself with an outstanding management team and network of franchise owners that helped me grow the business to over 900 locations across 30 states. As a result of the massive success, the business I gave birth to didn’t need me the same way it used to. The baby had grown, gotten married, and had kids of its own.
I came to the realization that it was time for me to move on. As a result, I sold the majority interest to a private equity firm and now enjoy the business as a loving grandparent by being a member of its board of directors and minority shareholder.
If any of my experience resonates with you, this breaking point (burnout) could be the most exciting time in your life. Why? Because real change only occurs when you’re most uncomfortable. As Tony Robbins has often said, “when people succeed they often party, when they fail they tend to ponder.” I don’t believe you’ve come this far to let your business or career slip through your hands. Take this opportunity of healing your burnout by reclaiming your identity, hire to your weakness, find a peer group of like-minded people, learn quickly from your mistakes, and find peace when it’s time to move on from your current business or career to your next mission in life.
Frank Fiume II is a pioneer in the youth sports industry and the founder of i9 Sports—the nation’s leading franchise of youth leagues and camps. His new book, “Running with My Head Down: An Entrepreneur’s Story of Passion, Perseverance, and Purpose” will be released on October 1st and is available on Amazon.