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Burnout Crazy p.1

For me, burnout crazy feels as if I am on a moving walkway at an airport. The world is moving in one direction and resistance is futile – jumping the barrier with my metaphorical baggage is just too hard.
Burnout in its many forms can affect anyone at any time. It is not a sign of weakness, or failure it shows that you are human.  Small enterprise owners and business leaders need to be especially aware of the causes, symptoms and how to step away from the crazy – even if it means jumping a barrier or two. In this article, you will learn what it looks like, why it can be useful and how to deal with burnout crazy when it comes to call.
Technically burnout is a psychological term. Physically it looks like long-term exhaustion and diminished interest life. The chemical reaction starts when the Amygdala or lizard brain produces both cortisol and norepinephrine (the Amygdala is both the oldest part of the human brain and found at the top of the brainstem it is the first part of the brain to develop in the womb) These chemicals work together to create the Palaeolithic fight or flight response, and prolonged production can lead to heart disease and mental health problems.
What burnout looks like differs from person to person. Some people can’t get to sleep, some can’t wake up, some overeat or stop eating, other’s anaesthetise themselves through addictive behaviours. 
Burnout is often created by the perfect storm of three key behaviours. On their own and in the right context these behaviours are not only admirable; they are invaluable when starting up a new venture. This is why everyone needs to remember that burnout happens, even to the best of us. The trick is to know how to get yourself out of the ‘Burnout Crazy Zone’ and identify the warning signs next time.
3 key burnout behaviours are:
1. Self-Sacrifice: Understanding that you made a choice to sacrifice certain activities now to succeed in the future is healthy. Constantly putting others needs before your own, and sacrificing your physical wellbeing is not.  Every time I fly and the “please put your own mask before assisting children” comes up in the safety briefing, I am reminded of the need to “rescue myself first”.
2. Ambition: Wanting to make a difference and contribute to the world on your own terms is a good thing. When this is linked to an ego feeding frenzy entitled “It’s all about me” your world view shrinks very quickly. It’s a lot like a hot air balloon ride. When you are flying high and feeling good you have perspective on life and can see where you want to go. If you have been ‘sandbagged’ by perfectionism, the need to be right and dominate all, all you can see is the tops of the trees and the ground coming up fast. 
3. Working Hard: Working smarter not harder by prioritising your workload and effective time management is important behaviour for any successful business leader.  However, an inability to delegate because you are a team of one or you come from the “it’s easier if I just do it myself” school creates the “there’s not enough hours in the day” panic paradigm.
In Part 2 of this article, we will look at why the Burnout Zone is useful, and what you can do when you’re in it!

By Sarah Bond

Posted on May 22, 2013

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