"If you think you're burning out, you already have. It sneaks up on you. It's like COVID. If you've got the symptoms, you've got the bug. If you're disengaged, exhausted and cynical, you've burned out.
Hard work doesn't cause burnout, stressful thinking causes burnout. You're not working too hard, you've just been stressed for too long. So you have to manage your stressful ways of thinking.
Now, stressful thoughts aren't all bad. They're like coffee because they wake you up and they give you energy. But like coffee, too much of a good thing becomes bad. You can get hooked on stressful thinking just like you get hooked on caffeine.
Here's an example: skepticism is a stressful thought and a little skepticism is a good thing, it's not bad. But too much skepticism is going to stress you out and then you're going to burn out.
So if you've burned out, you want to look for the stressful thoughts that you're overdosing on. Too much coffee leads to bad things: you get jittery, you get headaches, and your stomach fills with acid. Too much of a stressful thought is going to lead to bad things too.
Here are some examples to look for:
- too much pessimism makes you lose hope,
- too much denial makes you hard headed,
- too much rationalization leads to procrastination,
- indecision leads to inaction,
- closed mindedness limits your options,
- and defensiveness, too much defensiveness, makes you hard to help.
You control your thinking. You choose your thoughts and you can alter your thoughts too. You can choose to be open-minded, you can choose to be decisive.
If you're burning out, hold yourself accountable for your stressful thinking. Don't allow yourself to get hooked, to overdose, on stressful thoughts. Choose thoughts that are going to enable you to improve your circumstances. The thoughts that help you be more hopeful, open minded, accepting, decisive, action oriented, and resourceful.
It's like limiting yourself to one cup of coffee; it's like switching to decaf. If you're burning out, that's what you do.
Final thought: your ability to think and to choose your thoughts, that's your most valuable tool as a leader, and it's your most valuable tool as a human being. Take advantage of it."