Instead of calling it burnout, why don’t we just say, “I changed my mind?” 100% no way, absolutely not! Now, let me be clear – I did not make this statement. In fact, we are not aligned with this statement. I saw this posted on social media, and the person who posted it typically works with entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Part of the message behind the statement was that it’s okay to change your mind when it comes to your professional ambitions. And we are aligned to that. In fact, I have changed my mind on my professional ambitions three, four, I don’t know how many times in my adult working life! So of course it’s okay to change your mind, but to suggest that your professional ambitions are what is causing your burnout, and that by simply changing your professional ambitions it replaces burnout, it makes burnout go away – this is false.
This is for the rare few. In fact, the research shows that that is not the reason why your professional ambitions are not the leading cause of burnout. Gallup found things like unfair treatment at work, unmanageable workload, unrealistic time expectations, lack of manager support, and unclear communication from managers. Those are the leading causes of burnout, not your professional ambition.
Look, I am out there in the world speaking about the “and” life – having this powerful career and extraordinary personal life. If you want to have this ambition, go for it! But you’ve got to be really clear on what that professional ambition is, and start to prioritize it. We also know that you need to understand your ambition and the other aspects of your life; your personal health, relationships, and how you want to have fun out there.
You’ve got to be aligned on your ambition, your goals, and your vision for all areas of your life. And in order to reduce the burnout so that you can meet those professional ambitions, you as leaders have to come together with your senior management, with your organization, and support your employees so that everyone together has those manageable workloads, and gets rid of these tasks that don’t lead toward reaching your professional goals.
Only until we have the communication, we set parameters, we work together, only then will you be able to achieve your professional ambition and reduce your burnout. But do not go out there and reduce your standards. Man, if you want to go for it, go for it! That’s what we’re here for. Make adjustments in other areas, it is not about you just saying, “Yeah, maybe I dreamt too big. Maybe I was thinking too high, maybe I was going for it too much.” Absolutely not! You go for it! Let’s figure out the other ways to reduce burnout, based on the research-proven drivers that are causing it.