Welcome to this
issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback
Recognizing and Avoiding Burnout
Out--How can you try so hard to succeed and yet fail?
What happens when you run a machine too hard and too long? It burns out. The
same thing happens to a human machine; a person. When people struggle too hard
and too long to reach a goal, they burn out. Burnout is a state of fatigue
and/or frustration brought on by an intense pursuit of a goal or devotion to a
cause. It brings on a series of physical, emotional and psychological problems.
WHO SUFFERS FROM BURNOUT?
Super Achievers suffer from burnout. They usually have overly full schedules and
yet still find the time to take on more.
They have a difficult time saying "No!" to the requests of others. When working
on projects they usually do more than their share. Part of their problem relates
to their inability or unwillingness to delegate things to others. They like
things done right and done on time. Consequently they do almost everything
I liken burnout victims to jugglers. They pick up three balls (Jobs, tasks,
causes) and start juggling them. Once they feel competent enough, they pick up
two more balls. Then three more. Now they are juggling eight tasks at the same
time. Other people marvel at the burnout victim's ability to do so many things
at the same time. The victims response is "I work well under pressure." That is
true. However nobody works well under extreme levels of tension and pressure for
extended periods of time. Eventually the overall quality of their work
diminishes. People around them become increasingly skeptical, disappointed, and
critical of the victim's work. The victims sense these negative feelings and
overcompensate by pushing themselves even harder. They actually pick up four
more balls for their juggling act. The quality of their work deteriorates even
further. And the vicious cycle of burnout claims another victim.
The people who fall prey to burnout are not bad people. They simply lose their
perspective of what is really important in life. They strive too hard to reach a
goal in one area of their life such as their business or profession and let the
other areas of their life (family social personal etc.) flounder. They usually
do not heed the warning signals or symptoms of burnout because they honestly
believe things will get better soon. They don't! They simply expose themselves
to too much stress over too short a period of time and they burnout. Even when
they're lucky enough to achieve their goal and get what they wanted it usually
isn't what they expected. In other words the reward doesn't seem to compensate
them for their efforts.
Are You in the Process of Burning Out?
Most people like to know whether they are one of the unlucky victims of burnout.
If so, you are probably exhibiting some or all of the burnout symptoms. These
include constant exhaustion, paranoia, forgetfulness, emotional tension,
boredom, lethargy, impatience, irritability, skepticism and cynicism, and a
superman complex; a sense of omnipotence. Do not rush to the burnout doctor if
you are experiencing some of these symptoms. It is common for everyone to
experience some of these ills occasionally, yet temporarily, in some areas of
their life. The burnout victims have symptoms that are constant, growing, and
pervasive throughout all aspects of their life. They are truly sick physically
Being successful is not easy. It takes hard work, smart work, and dedication.
However, if you try TOO hard to succeed, at the expense of other areas of your
life, it is only matter of time before you burn out. The consequences of burnout
are not pretty. You don't have to fall victim to it if you just keep your goals
in perspective, your total life in balance, and follow the burnout prevention
recommendations suggested in this article. You'll be successful in ALL areas of
your life, not just work.