Many entrepreneurs face the challenge of being overwhelmed, having too much on their plate, and operating from a feast or famine mindset.
Of course, you’re not complaining about the opportunities flowing your way, it just seems like when the business comes your way, it comes all at once and you find yourself spread thin, spinning a bunch of plates and heading towards burnout.
The key to avoiding burnout is recognizing when you’re close to hitting your breaking point.
Burnout is being recognized globally as a hazard for both entrepreneurs and employees at every level. We are hearing more and more about it every day. In the Netherlands, 1 in 5 people are diagnosed with burnout. It’s becoming an epidemic.
In today’s world of instant communication & instant gratification, we’ve lost the art of what is called the “work-life balance”.
It’s not only because of this work-life imbalance but also caused by the vast majority of people not recognizing the signs of burnout as it is approaching.
In order to see burnout coming, you’ll need to take a step back
We have found in our experience working with people, especially with entrepreneurs, the high-level achievers want to be working all the time, to grow their business as quickly as they can and keep the growth on an upward trend. They get into the habit of pushing & driving towards success. Putting the brakes on is not on their radar at all, they have their foot on the gas the whole time.
While that mentality and work ethic is great when you’re first getting started, it is not sustainable for long-term growth.
There are phases when you DO need to be pushing but if you don’t recognize the signs of burnout, then you end up being one of the statistics of failed businesses.
When burnout is looming, you realize that you’ve spent all this time and energy, building your company and helping a lot of people only to find yourself not being able to be IN your business anymore.
There are phases to every business.
In building mode, you’re assembling your team, finding customers and hustling every minute of the day. Once you’ve established your business, you’ve reached what is known as growth mode.
Most entrepreneurs fail to identify this “growth mode” milestone and continue to operate in the hustle mindset of the building phase which spells disaster long-term for your business.
They key is to anticipate and recognize when your “peak” or milestone is … when it’s time to plateau and maintain which means time to step back and evaluate.
You want to evaluate:
- Where you are
- What got you to that point
- What’s working for you
- What’s not working
- Where do you need to go to figure out the next phase of business development and growth
This plateau is a vital step because it gives you a mental rest and allows you the space to look back and evaluate. This is where a lot of people mistakenly keep pushing that inevitably leads to burnout.
If you find yourself overwhelmed because you have too many plates you’re spinning that you may never get to that much-needed plateau. You’re too busy putting out fires to focus on long-term growth for your business and you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
If that sounds like you, ask yourself:
- When am I going to take a time out?
- When am I going to reach my plateau enough that I can maintain my business and keep customers happy but have time to work on myself relative to my business?
Even 5 years ago, neither of us had the business maturity to push pause , delegate and take a step back to strategize about the future. Just like anyone, we also get addicted to the growth and hustle phase.
Having a ton of balls to juggle can be very addictive. It gives you an adrenaline boost.
Of course you always want to celebrate the wins but when your business starts to plateau, instead of panicking, reframe the situation and look at it as “Phase 1 complete”…
Don’t be afraid to take a step back and regroup. This gives you time to go to the drawing board and figure out the next phase for your business growth and success.
The fear and panic that can show up when you hit a plateau contributes to the overwhelm and eventually burnout. These are red flags that say it’s time to take a step back and be present in your business.
Recently, a movie called Don Wall put this into perspective. The movie was about climbing a rock that had never been climbed before. These rock climbers had the tiniest pieces of edge they were hanging on to, barely getting their purchase before moving onto the next bit of rock on their way up.
At some point when they get stuck. Instead of getting overwhelmed or stopping altogether, they go back to the last successful point, regroup and rethink strategy to get to the next level up.
Successful entrepreneurs do the same thing.
Unsuccessful entrepreneurs fall into the trap of “go go go” without stopping to evaluate. They jump from ledge to ledge without stopping long enough to regroup physically and mentally to make the jump tomorrow that could work because they are wearing themselves out today.
When you are pushing yourself too much or you’re trying to hard, you’re never going to get to the next level because you’re exhausted physically and mentally.
If you don’t pause and regroup, you’re desperately using all of your energy and at some point that energy is just not going to be there – and you’ll be tired and burned out and unable to go on.
What is the biggest sign of impending overwhelm?
- Overscheduling yourself
- You can’t turn your brain off at night
- Trying to put out one fire while you’re still putting out another fire
Bottom line – you’re not doing ANYTHING well. You’re not fully present in your meetings or your calls or even your emails… In the moment, you feel like you’re doing a lot when you’re really not. There’s no real progress. You’re not able to give the best parts of yourself which only adds an extra layer of stress.
Sometimes you just need to recognize when you’re coming to that gap and not let yourself fall into it…. Ask yourself, do I have everything I need to move forward?
If you have too much coming at you on a daily basis and you can’t keep up, it sounds counterintuitive but the best thing to do is to push pause, step back and evaluate the situation.
As entrepreneurs, we think we have to be the end all to everything. We feel like we personally have to point everyone in the right direction and we have to make stuff happen. When you do that, you’re not giving your team the opportunity to shine and perform.
Let them know that you’re going to take a couple of days to regroup and access and you can’t do that with alligators nipping at your heels. Give them the chance to rise up and shine – you may be surprised at what they can handle without you there.
If you’re like most people, you relish the feeling that everything depends on you.
We all face that struggle. It’s our ego getting in the way. It’s your responsibility to find a way to recognize that and put your ego in check so you don’t let the whole thing fall apart.
It always comes back to this: Work on yourself before you work on your business. They go hand in hand. These strategies are meant to improve and enhance your experience, your leadership, your happiness, your satisfaction with every aspect of your life.
If you are willing to be an entrepreneur, you are willing to face challenges. Sometimes, the biggest challenge is working on ourselves. As we grow, people around us grow and our business grows. It happens all together, at the same time.
This is a problem that is not unique – from high level CEOs to the solo-preneur, this is a challenge that a lot of people face – including us. That’s why it’s so important to us to face these struggles head on and share our strategies with you.