Burn out is a thing. I have seen people roll their eyes and behave as if someone was exaggerating or pretending, but it’s a very real thing. Confusing, painful and very overwhelming. A place where there is nothing left to give, where things don’t work the way you know them to work, and you might even question who you are and why you got to this point. When you see an object that has been on fire but is being destroyed by it, then you see blackened edges, ashes and little life. This is what your soul and spirit look like when you are burnt out. Blackened edges, ashes and little life.
In hindsight there will have been many signs. But each time your mind or body came knocking on your door you refused to open. People see it as a sign of weakness to acknowledge that they are under strain, that the see-saw is unevenly balanced and that you are being robbed of valuable resources quicker than you can replenish it. The all-important keeping up of appearances seems to win over taking care of oneself every time. You see the dead-end sign and you still turn into that road.
Without meaning to simplify burn out, people suffer a deep sense of unspoken unhappiness beneath the surface. I have seen it in so many clients. They end up stuck in the unhappiness without knowing what to do to break the cycle. Many have done for years “as they felt they were supposed to”; they have fulfilled their obligations and flowed with the rhythm of life as they were taught. Even if it didn’t fully fit. Others did as suggested by a parent, or a friend. They took a sensible job based on what their education and qualifications enabled them to access.
Most of these decisions were the head ruling over the heart, with little consideration for talent and ability. Allowing the head to rule can mean there is a chance that you give up a little bit of yourself each working day. For some time that seems to be ok, but for many the heart always, always wins (in the end).
I believe every person is talented from the outset. With a broad perspective on intelligence, every person is gifted. This can be in hundreds of different ways. Talent is latent and needs to be found, treasured and developed. Every person has the ability to do something unique and amazing. By filtering through traditional rules or money-making objectives this would have been missed. So it’s easy to abandon your personal love and talent thinking it’s an unrealistic fantasy that cannot pay the bills.
This is the beginning of the grind. Each and every day doing something that you might not mind, but that isn’t you. The daily grind can deplete you to the core.
Start with the heart.
Eventually your light fades and your cynical self rules the show. Start with the heart. Go back to it and find out who you are, what lights you up and gives you endless energy. It might not need to be your job or your business but engage with it and let it live. Don’t rule out that you can do this for a living; the world is changing and jobs are much less defined and predetermined. Think outside the box and find an outlet for your talent. Engaging in the things that light you up restores. It brings meaning and fulfilment. Instead of the grind you glide in your life. You will receive more energy than you spend and in doing so you will burn brightly.