The Power of Unwinding: Burnout In Entrepreneurship

Everything we do is being interrupted.  Solitude?  Quiet?  Do these words seem foreign to you?  How about burnout?  As you read this, look around your current setting.  Literally at this very moment, where are you?  What is going on around you?  Become aware of your surroundings.  Ask yourself, am I truly okay with them at the deepest level?  Maybe you’re at a job sight, on a lunch break, or even at the home office.  Whatever it may be, what got you to this point?  Is this what you were aiming for?

I’ll use a Benjamin Franklin quote to drive the point because he was a prominent public figure often around large crowds of people.

“Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste” -Benjamin Franklin

This quote sums up the entire message of this article.  Taking the necessary time to do what matters, is important.  Therefore, defining “what matters” is imperative.  For me, I understand the value of taking Sunday off, and using time to rest, recover, and recuperate from a powerfully productive week.  If you’ve ever played the video game, Super smash bros than picture the suited up character  Samus.  Samus has an integrated arm blaster cannon.  It has to charge up before it can fire an incredibly high powered “mega-blast”.  The character cannot simply have an incredibly powerful cannon output without first charging it up.  The charge up phase is hard to accept in a fast paced game, but the output is almost always worth the relatively short wait.  This analogy applies to recuperation for entrepreneurs.  Rest is so key.

As a proactive type A person, believe me, I struggle to slow down.  I operate in the red most days and go to bed itching to do more.  My thoughts racing and formulating a detailed mental outline of what MUST be accomplished the following day.  But that’s just it, there is always something else to do.  That fact being understood is the first step to allowing oneself to lift up your head, take a step back, and take a breath.  I’m suggesting that a rest day done properly is vital to any significant achievement.  Nothing novel, but my aim is to help it click for you.  But don’t take my word for it.  Every guest on The Heart Healthy Hustle I have asked about this, says a similar thing.  If you don’t take time to recharge, you WILL burn out, period.  It’s a fact.

Burnout and fatigue are global epidemics particularly widespread among entrepreneurs. Take for instance, Arriana Huffington’s book, “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder“.  If you’re stubborn like me, that advice is still not enough to get you to change your ways of 24/7 365 work ethic.  So draw your attention to the importance of why you work so hard almost non stop.  Is it to achieve more?  Would you agree that it is to get to your goals as quickly as possible?  It is for me.  Here’s the paradigm shift that can save you from becoming a workaholic, and facing the inevitable associated burnout.  You will achieve more, with more speed, by taking a day off.  Your “bandwidth” will be so much more powerful after just one day of true rest, that you will in fact, be more productive and do more, better, faster.

“Burnout and fatigue are global epidemics particularly widespread among entrepreneurs.”

I have come to detest the lie that in order to be successful you must work 24/7 365.  With the recent tragic suicide of the world famous entrepreneur, Kate Spade, the area of suicide among entrepreneurs is being brought to the light.  But even with this incredibly prominent world famous entrepreneur taking her own life, many still chose to ignore what’s going on.  I’m not assuming to understand the true story behind Spade’s tragic death, but suicide is particularly prevalent among entrepreneurs.

Outside of the 1 day of rest system, I also like to incorporate what’s called a daily office.  I tend towards distraction and slightly frenetic work patterns if I do not do this practice.  At least a couple times each day, if only for 5 minutes, literally stop everything you are doing.  Take a few deep breaths and assess your current state of mind.  Notice your dominant thoughts at that moment, assess them, and move to the next.  I ask myself, “How are you feeling?  Are you okay?”  and sincerely assess my current mood.  If I’m in anyway not in a good state, I can take the necessary actions to change my environment, or whatever necessary in the moment.  There is more to the daily office that I will not get into here.  If just by taking a few moments to assess yourself throughout your day would yield more results and quicker achievement, wouldn’t you do it?

“Are you okay?”

For me, resting was not an option because I assumed it would slow me down.  There’s a season for everything.  I’m not suggesting being irresponsible.  If you take a look at this subjectively, you’ll see I’m suggesting quite the opposite.  Keep in mind these ideas are not original to me.  I would never claim they are.  I am bringing this information to you from thousands of hours of reading and conversations with high achievers, New York Times bestselling authors, and world renowned entrepreneurs.

“Taking appropriate time to unwind is incredibly powerful, and will ensure you show up in your life the best way possible.”

Implementing these concepts prove especially challenging for male breadwinners in particular.  As author Stephen Arterburn suggests in his book, “The Secrets Men Keep”, husbands and fathers often attach a sense of toxic shame to the practice of taking appropriate time for themselves.  In the chapter titled, “”Me Time” For Men, Arterburn explains, “… a lot of men feel guilty about taking time off for themselves.  I don’t mean a ski trip to Colorado.  I’m talking more about just taking a few hours here and there to regroup.

Taking appropriate time to unwind will ensure you can show up in your life the best way possible.  You will enrich your relationships and empower your loved ones.  You must understand as a human, that you have free will, and no one is coming to rescue you.  It’s on you.  One survey from the National Consumers League revealed that 80 percent of the >1,000 adult respondents struggle with properly handling stress.

Consider trying some of these techniques and see if any increase your productivity, bandwidth, and overall performance in the world.  If you are consistent, I believe you will be extremely surprised.



Further Reading on this topic:

Business Insider Article: 12 Stages of Burnout

Recommended books that address this topic in more detail:

Emotional Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero

The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

The Secrets Men Keep” by Stephen Arterburn

*Disclaimer: my book recommendations do not necessarily imply that I agree with ALL the ideas or beliefs of the author, the author’s work, or their book’s contents, but that I learned some invaluable lessons through reading them.  Always read with discernment, and at your own discretion.

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