The word burnout, with a fire at the n and an eye in the background

A Guide to Understanding and Combating Burnout for Entrepreneurs & Leaders

What is Burnout?

Burnout is not a temporary bout of exhaustion; it’s a chronic state of physical and emotional depletion resulting from prolonged stress. It’s the feeling of being drained, disengaged with colleagues, and detached from your work, often accompanied by a sense of cynicism and reduced productivity.

Recognising burnout is crucial for individuals and organisations as it affects well-being and hampers productivity and profitability.

What Causes Burnout?

Excessive workload, unrealistic expectations, inadequate resources, and an unhealthy environment all contribute to stress and burnout. In our hyper-connected world, the constant pressure to be available and responsive further amplifies the risk.

Symptoms of Burnout and How to Recognise It

Recognising burnout involves paying attention to a range of physical, emotional, and behavioural signs. Persistent mental and physical fatigue, poor concentration, and a perceived lack of success are common indicators. Individuals with burnout may show a decline in social interactions and experience changes in sleep patterns. Leaders become withdrawn and isolated. For a more extensive list check the Maslach Burnout inventory here.

How to Fix Burnout

Owning your not coping well and reaching out are the first steps. Self-care practices such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, and practising mindfulness help ease symptoms. Consulting an experienced therapist or coach will help break the cycle of confusion and gain perspective. Organisations play a crucial role by promoting a healthy work-life balance, fostering open communication, and providing resources for professional development.

How to Prevent Burnout in the First Place

Prevention holds more power than intervention. This involves setting realistic expectations, promoting a healthy work-life balance, and recognising and rewarding good work. Have a mentor or coach who’ll help spot the warning signs before you do.

How Burnout Connects with Living Your Purpose

Burnout also emerges when individuals feel disconnected from their sense of purpose. Aligning personal values with professional pursuits will act as a powerful antidote.

When you’re aligned with your purpose, have a clear vision and a meaningful mission, you’re less likely to experience burnout.

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