Burnout is all too common in business, and it is essentially a part of the process. Business, like life, will humble you and show your limitations and weaknesses. How you respond to burnout is what separates the survivors from the successful. Recently we have been working with some clients that have reminded us of a few common mistakes and some tips to avoid them: Lean on your people, check your ego at the door and always enjoy the journey.
Your team is the most valuable resource to your company. Sometimes your team looks different from 7 employees in an office. Companies often have third party contractors, distributors, retailers, websites, an accountant, legal, logistics, insurance, packaging, suppliers, and brokers or independent reps. How do you lead those team members that are outside of your organization? What are the expectations and processes surrounding those relationships? The sooner you take the time to lead those relationships, the sooner you can let go of the areas you have people you can trust. Success is symbiotic and usually the only issue to their service of your business is poor communication.
Your ego is the biggest threat to your business. When people are bringing up issues and challenges, how do you respond? You should never allow yourself to feel defensive, ask yourself questions like “Why do I feel this way?” Often founders and leaders neglect aspects of life to make time for growing responsibilities, a common area is mental health and self-care. As mental deterioration happens, we find ourselves making bad decisions and becoming something we are not. At some point we start to find insecurity in our internal incongruence and the people in our lives note how we are deviating from our core values. You must listen to that feedback and respond with humility and growth, or risk losing the ones who support and love us.
The journey is your joy. Too often we hear from clients: “I am almost there, if I grind it out a little longer, I can make it.” There is no light at the end of the tunnel, there is no “Making it.” You must find a way to enjoy every stage you are in now. Money will stay tight, there will always be more to spend on and opportunities that arise. You will always have things that take your time. What about your family and friends? Set time to maintain relationships and focus on getting more efficient at work. Remember that you cannot build your life back after you “get there,” and sacrificing your relationships will break you.
This may be your business, but it is not about you. Lose the pride, accept help, and listen to the positive people you built around yourself. You are free to be and do what you choose and the people in your life and business will follow suit. Business does not have to look a certain way and neither do you. Final advice on avoiding burnout: Be yourself and stay true to your values.