How to Overcome Burnout (Hint: Burnout is Really a Myth)

Are you feeling exhausted? Frustrated? Stressed out? Not sure if you are doing the thing that you were born to be doing? Then you have come to the right place! Let’s fix this burnout “problem” once and for all.

In all of my time in business, I have heard people talk about this little devil called burnout, and the truth is, most of these people don’t have a clue what they are talking about.

Now, I am sorry if I sound harsh at this point, that is not my intention. My intention is to give you a clear understanding of what burnout is, and most importantly, what it is not. You see, burnout doesn’t exist. It is a myth that we have come to believe in without ever coming across any factual evidence of its existence.

The Power of Belief is a very interesting subject to talk about in and of itself (I may touch on it more in-depth in a future article).  It amazes me the kind of stuff we choose to believe in when we have no factual evidence to back up those beliefs. We would rather believe in myths rather than in truths. We would rather believe that we CAN'T do something than believe we CAN do something.

Take a good look at the following picture.

 

How to Overcome Burnout

The Candle Illustration

When I look at the candle in that picture, what I see are these three main parts:

  • A Burning Flame,
  • A Wick, and
  • A Stick of Wax

Now, what do these three parts represent? And what is the purpose of a candle, anyways?

The purpose of a candle is to burn with a constant flame. Jesus told us, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14 – 16)

Jesus came to earth, the first time, with one purpose in mind, and one purpose only. Do you think He got burnout? I don’t think so. Look at what He said; you don’t light a candle and then hide it under a bushel. That just doesn’t make any sense.

The flame of the candle represents the heat and brightness of your passion. The wick represents the work you do to live-out your purpose. The wax represents the fuel you need to keep burning bright and living on fire. When we choose to believe in the fallacy of burnout what we are doing is exactly what Jesus said makes no sense, to light a candle and try to hide it under a bushel.

Let me put it to you like this: Does a candle take naps? Does a candle get tired or exhausted? Does it feel stress or frustration? The answer to those questions is, of course not! It just keeps on burning. That is what I am going to help you do with the rest of this article.

 

The Truth About Burnout

Burnout is really a lie that we tell ourselves we are experiencing when we lose our way and are no longer living and working on our purpose, or towards our purpose. Once we get back on purpose the flame rekindles and we are then re-inspired to continue with our mission.

You see, what you have to understand is this: You are a spiritual being living in a physical body. You are not a human that may have a spiritual experience from time to time, no, you are a spiritual being that is having a human experience. You don’t look with your eyes; you see through your eyes. Many have said that the eyes are the windows to the soul.

The term inspired means to be in-spirit. As long as you have a soul, you can’t burnout. Jesus breathed life into Adam’s nostrils, and Adam became a living soul. That life – that soul – became the light of the world that Jesus was referring to in Matthew 5:14.

You see, when you understand that burnout is a myth and that it doesn’t exist (or we would be dead, lifeless, soulless), the correct term or understanding that we should have instead of “burnout” is that we are out of fuel – the wax we need to keep burning bright and producing the heat of passion.

You want to know what you may be doing that is causing you to feel “burnt-out”?

Truth be told: If you believe in one fallacy – the myth of burnout, then chances are you have believed another, and that is the fallacy of multitasking. I wrote an article all about at Entrepreneur.

 

Commitment (And the Definition of Obsession)

Now, let’s switch gears a little bit here. In Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages (Singles Edition), he talks about a phenomenon that he calls the “in-love” euphoria. Just about anyone who has ever been in any kind of romantic relationship can testify to how they felt when experiencing the “falling in love” tingles. And anyone who has ever been married can tell you just how short-lived that feeling really is – according to Dr. Chapman, it last usually no more than two years.

Dr. Chapman goes on to talk about how most couples get married based on the feelings they have when experiencing the “in-love” euphoria (an emotional obsession) but fail to learn each other’s love languages, and it is those relationships that experience a type of “burnout” and ultimately end in divorce.

It is important to understand that that emotional obsession is not to be taken as a negative or something bad, but rather, should be understood as being the starting point of something beautiful. It is the very thing that caused sparks to fly. It is the starting point toward a burning passion for your significant other, which brings me to the symbolism of the flower in the image above.

Understand this: A wildfire never starts out as an uncontrolled inferno, it always starts out with a spark. The key to keeping a romantic relationship burning even after the “in-love” euphoria has passed on is to have been learning each other’s love languages and communicating that language effectively while in the emotional obsession stage and throughout the relationship.

Now, what is obsession? Or what does it mean to be obsessed? According to Grant Cardone, author of Be Obsessed or Be Average, he defines obsess in this way: “To have dominant thoughts, feelings, or desires to persistently apply action in your life to become successful.” He goes on to define obsession in this way, “Those dreams and goals that you have the desire to achieve so intensely that they give you the urge, momentum, and energy necessary to build the life you deserve and dream of.”

Now, what does all this have to do with burnout?

Look at it this way: Just like the wax is considered the fuel that keeps the candle burning, our commitment, and obsession to our purpose is our fuel. The wick represents the work we put forth towards our purpose. And the flame is essentially our passion.

We have already clarified that burnout doesn’t exist, but what you may actually be experiencing is a lack of inspiration and motivation.

Now, I hate to be so blunt…

…But if you are feeling these things, then your problem is not burnout, but rather, you’ve lost focus on your purpose. You stopped being driven by your purpose. Or as they call it in the Network Marketing space, you’ve forgotten your “WHY”. In the business world, they call this Vision.

In Dr. Chapman’s book, he refers to a concept he calls the “Love Tank”. Usually, during the emotional obsession stage, it appears that the Love Tank is overflowing. But once the marriage is consummated, and both parties have yet to learn each other’s love languages, their Love Tank will become empty faster than the couple got married in the first place. But when you know each other’s love languages fluently and communicate them succinctly, it is very easy to fill each other’s Love Tanks back up to overflowing.

Dr. Chapman refers to this ability to speak each other’s love languages as the correct way to meet the emotional need to feel loved, a need that we all possess.

You see, your entrepreneurial endeavor is like your significant other. And you started the “relationship” at the emotional obsession stage but failed to learn what your “love language” is for what you do, and the “love language” of the business itself. And when you lose sight of your vision it is very easy to start running on an empty passion or love tank for what you do.

But just as easy as it is to run on empty, it is also equally as easy to fill that tank back up with more fuel by continually realigning your daily task with targets that put you on a trajectory towards your purpose, your vision, your WHY. The reason you do what you do. The thing that drives you. The thing that keeps you up at night.

 

Final Thoughts

Speaking of that thing that keeps you up at night, I am sure you have heard the saying, “working both ends of the candle“? You see, when we are truly living on purpose — living out our purpose — when you understand this, that it is impossible to burnout. The only time that you would “burnout” is when you are no longer living on purpose, and your entrepreneurial endeavor just becomes like another job. We became entrepreneurs to get away from the boring, unfulfilled, 9 to 5 rat-race to find our passion and live out our purpose and to be able to provide some kind of meaningful service to those around us.

Now, you might say, “Well, William, what about when the candle runs out of wax? Wouldn’t the flame eventually fade out when all the wax is gone?” The amount of wax you have measures the life of the candle. Chances are, if you saw that your candle was about to run out of wax, you would probably use it before it goes out and try and light up another candle, would you not?

Understand this: You are the candle! And if the amount of wax is what measures the life of the candle, then the only time that you would run out of “wax” (metaphorically speaking) is when you die. So, you see, it is impossible to burnout.

When your purpose is so much bigger than your problems you will never burnoutGrant Cardone

The reason people burn out is because they quit burning oil, and instead, they burn the wick. You must keep fueling your lamp.” – Darrell Johns

William Ballard is the author of "The True Writer's Life," which is the book that essentially started it all for William. In conjunction with the coaching he provides for free through his blogs and articles all across the web, he also offers Personal Writing and Business Coaching where he teaches freelance writers and aspiring authors how to start, build and maintain full-time, high-earning writing careers.

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