In a recent post, Carey Nieuwhof listed 9 SIGNS YOU’RE BURNING OUT IN LEADERSHIP. Burnout is one of those topics that almost everyone reads about and acknowledges as a real and present danger. I have only met a few Pastors and other leaders who are foolish enough that think that they are above this danger. One aspect of this discussion that is often overlooked is that burnout is not just a clergy issue. Leaders throughout the church and every other aspect of life experience the reality of burnout.
My experience of this came to a head early last year. I found myself displaying many of the classic signs of burnout. I was thankful that I, along with other trusted confidants (including my wife) were able to identify this reality before it reached a truly destructive level.
Like most leaders I had seen list after list of “the signs of burnout.” Even still I was easily blinded to those signs in my own life. This not only speaks of our need to have self-awareness but also truth tellers in our lives. Having trusted individuals around us who are able to point out our burnout behavior before it’s too late is a critical need for all leaders. As such, we need to be purposeful in ensuring we have a support system to help us.
The following coaching questions come to mind when I think of avoiding burnout.
- Who in your life is able to give you true feedback on your attitude and behavior?
- If you don’t have a truth teller in your life, how can you get one? Who might it be?
- Are you truly open to having someone challenge you with an honest assessment of your current ability to function?
- What do you need to do in order to be open to a truth teller in your life?
If you have a trusted truth teller in your life I would encourage you to share Carey Nieuwhof’s 9 SIGNS YOU’RE BURNING OUT IN LEADERSHIP. If you don’t have an a truth teller I encourage you to find one. As a coach I can help you make a plan for this work in your life. Through coaching you can formulate a plan for ensuring your receiving the feedback you need in order to avoid burnout. To begin this work simply request a free introductory session by clicking HERE.
Click the link to to read Carey Nieuwhof’s original post on 9 SIGNS YOU’RE BURNING OUT IN LEADERSHIP.
Below is his list, what might you add?
1. Your motivation has faded. The passion that fueled you is gone, and your motivation has either vapourized or become self-centered.
2. Your main emotion is ‘numbness’ – you no longer feel the highs or the lows. This was actually one of the earliest signs for me that the edge was near. I wrote more about emotional numbness here.
3. People drain you. Of course there are draining people on the best of days. But not everybody, every time. Burnout often means few to no people energize you anymore.
4. Little things make you disproportionately angry. When you start losing your cool over small things, it’s a sign something deeper is very wrong.
5. You’re becoming cynical. Many leaders fight this one, but cynicism rarely finds a home in a healthy heart.
6. Your productivity is dropping. You might be working long hours, but you’re producing little of value. Or what used to take you 5 minutes just took you 45. That’s a warning bell.
7. You’re self-medicating. Your coping mechanism has gone underground or dark. Whether that’s overeating, overworking, drinking, impulsive spending or even drugs, you’ve chosen a path of self-medication over self-care. Ironically, my self-medication was actually more work, which just spirals things downward.
8. You don’t laugh anymore. Nothing seems fun or funny, and, at its worst, you begin to resent people who enjoy life.
9. Sleep and time off no longer refuel you. Sometimes you’re not burnt out; you’re just tired. A good night’s sleep or a week or two off will help most healthy people bounce back with fresh energy. But you could have a month off when you’re burnt out and not feel any difference. I took three weeks off during my summer of burn out, and I felt worse at the end than when I started. Not being refueled when you take time off is a major warning sign you’re burning out.