Are you burning out from the entrepreneurial grind?
That’s the question a friend asked recently, and I was startled. Burnout? Grind? Me? No!
But her question got my attention. Thinking about it, the only time work became a grind was when I decided I’d be more effective and accepted if I were more like, well, someone else.
And the outcome was seemingly quite positive: I had a great salary and benefits, with regular complements on my business suits, along with my effectiveness and efficiency. I managed tight schedules and budgets well, and I loved the mission and most—if not all—of my colleagues.
It should have been the perfect fit.
Except efficiency doesn’t inspire me. And constant deadlines exhaust me. And I find doing the same thing over and over again suffocating.
I’m thrilled for the people who thrive in these environments, but I wasn’t one of them. I was crying on the way to work and didn’t know why. Since everything was going right, why was I drained and depressed?
My problem was that I’d become an excellent shape-shifter.
Have you been there, too?
When we shape shift in our professional lives, we adapt to internal and external demands without regard to our core motivation drive and needs. I’ve seen this with fellow employees and clients alike, and you’ve probably seen it, too.
People who are brilliantly qualified for their job and are superb at motivating and inspiring others. They, too, believe in the purpose of their work, and with great skill, leap over one goal and race toward the next. But when we’re not in sync with our personal goals, this is a prescription for burnout.
Because before we can gain fulfillment from our professional goals, we need to identify and honor what brings us the greatest joy, energy and reward. Otherwise, we find ourselves routinely drained, even depressed, with our self-regard slipping away.
And suddenly, we find ourselves crying in the car, gaining weight, eating poorly, calling ourselves dumb, weak, and irrational—heaping on the negative self-talk and lacking in self-care. The only remedy is to determine what we really matters and set our goals accordingly.
So how’s my daily grind these days? As an entrepreneur?
No more suits, lots more creativity, way more fluid time and afternoon walks with the dog. And best of all, I get to be my big, blinking, Rudolph-With-Your-Nose-So-Bright self. Expressive, enthusiastic and with a big, loud laugh, it works really well in my profession as a trainer and facilitator.
I’m back liking me in a deeply fulfilling way – practicing what I preach to clients.
The definition of self-regard is our ability to genuinely like ourselves, warts and all. And our self-regard will grow or diminish in direct proportion to our ability to recognize what makes us happy, and provides our endless source of joy and energy.
So even when everything seems to be coming up roses, it may not be the garden we want to tend and cultivate.
Be who you are and the rest will follow. I’m following my own advice again. Most mornings, the only grind I’m savoring is a hot cup of freshly ground, dark roast coffee. May your daily grind be equally rewarding!
P.S. Want to gain a deeper perspective into your core motivational and drive? Learn more here.