It seems it’s on everybody’s lips.
Is it on yours?
The prevalence of burnout is increasing rapidly, another 5% in the last 12 months alone and with 38% of those surveyed (btw, it’s higher in the health sector) indicating they are experiencing symptoms of burnout it’s time to ask the better questions.
- Why is this happening?
- Why are you feeling more at risk of burnout, more exhausted, and more chronically stressed than in the past?
- How can you identify what’s putting you at risk?
- What steps do you need to put into place to protect yourself and others?
There are likely many reasons why you are feeling this way including too much work, too little support and too much pressure in the form of expectations.
But there’s something else at play here too.
Something that’s hidden in plain sight.
It’s something that was highlighted in a recent conversation I had with a senior female executive, where she expressed her deep concern for the high level of stress being experienced in the workplace. She believes it is because we have lost something enormously precious that was already becoming increasingly endangered, even before the global pandemic.
It’s called, enough.
Did you as a child ever dream of becoming an astronaut, a firefighter, a CEO, or a Prime Minister?
If you’re excited for your future, are highly skilled, have a great job and are keen to make your mark, you may have set yourself some goals to progress you to your ultimate dream.
While it’s good to have goals, to want to take on new challenges to drive your personal and professional development and to keep learning and creating new levels of mastery, let me ask you.
What limit have you set for yourself?
This might feel uncomfortable, especially if you’ve been brought up to believe “you can achieve anything you want – just keep working harder than everybody else.”
Perhaps you have expectations to live up to. Those you have placed on yourself or that others have placed on you.
Did your parents, your partner, your colleagues tell you, you are destined for great things, so you’ve been working your socks off so as not to disappoint them?
Maybe you’ve found yourself in a working culture, where commitment and dedication to the cause is measured by the hours spent on the job, taking on the extra, never complaining about the frequent intrusions into your home and private life, because that’s the way it is.
Perfectionism is the nemesis for enough.
Your perfectionist trait means your enough will remain buried under a pile of imposterdom, and acceptance will never be found. Because how can you ever be enough, good enough or achieve enough to feed and quieten that wolf of perfectionism?
Evaluation drives a hard bargain for enough.
Feedback. Love it or loathe it, it can become something you dread because regardless of what is included in that evaluation, you’re not going to believe that you did a good enough job. You know there was so much you could have done differently or better. It may have been your 300th performance, you are word perfect, and the audience loves you, but you can’t share in their enthusiasm or adoration because you feel unworthy. You are still, not enough.
Where is your enough to be found?
Your enough is always there waiting patiently to be discovered.
Enough knows that no matter your potential, or how strongly you desire success, you are human.
Because you are bound by physiological and psychological limits, transgression of those boundaries in the short term leads to cause increased stress, frustration, and fatigue.
In the longer term, these transgressions put you at high risk of stress-related illness, mental mood disorders or burnout.
Enough is knowing you have put in sufficient time and effort into your day and now it’s time to stop.
Enough is recognising that you’re not designed for long term focus and taking those small mental breathers across your day, to pause and re-energise is what provides the sustainable cognitive and emotional energy needed to think clearly and feel well.
Enough is taking time out to reflect on
- How far you’re progressed already
- How much further you want to go
- How things are at where you are right now and how you feel about your current position
Because the risk of reflecting on this, is you become blinded to what is enough for you and your family.
One of the biggest challenges for those who are in a start-up, running their own business or in sector that works closely with people, is that in your desire to succeed, to be of service, to always go the extra mile can lead to denial that you’ve reached your limit, that you are beyond exhausted and no longer capable of recognising enough is enough.
Creating enough is the first step.
Celebrating your enough is the next.
How will you celebrate your enough?
Celebrating enough is taking the time to do those things that matter the most.
Time with your family. Time to spend on those activities that give you the greatest joy.
Time to draw breath, to smile, laugh and enjoy everything this extraordinary planet has to share.
Just like in the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, enough is doing not too much or too little, just enough.
It’s time to make burnout redundant.
Because enough is enough.
How will you know when you’ve reached enough?
With grateful thanks to MF for our enlightening and inspiring conversation.
Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life (Wiley) is now available for purchase.
If burning out is a topic on your mind, I’d love to have you join me in my monthly virtual Masterclass “Feeling Good, Doing Great” which is all about leading to make burnout redundant on Thursday, June 23rd. You can book your seat here.