Individuals who are burning out or burned out are often paralyzed by indecision, unable to move forward or backward. Even a lateral move seems impossible or, at the very least, an ineffective solution. They feel completely trapped by their circumstances.
I was reminded of this just yesterday. I am presently in Arizona doing some hiking in the red rock canyons surrounding Sedona. Just outside of the city at the top of Bear Mountain I found the tree you see pictured here to the right. It was lifeless but still sturdy and standing.
Perhaps it had been badly burned by wildfire, fell silently to disease or some other change in the environment caused its demise. No matter. I snapped a picture. Later, as I was going over my photos for the day the tree struck me as a symbol, a symbol for burnout.
When I was suffering from burnout I didn’t feel alive but I was still standing, working in spite of my emotional, mental, physical and spiritual exhaustion. I could no longer visualize other better possibilities for myself. I saw no avenues leading to change, only roadblocks. I was truly stuck.
It is hard to muster the energy to change, to upend your work life or personal life and escape burnout if you are exhausted. Burnout clouds the thinking and erodes resolve. Burnout limits choices by engendering fear.
The hardest part of effecting needed change is simply entertaining the notion that real, meaningful and positive change is possible. The fear that stands in the way can be set aside. But, it takes intentional effort. For some, it will be an act of desperation which sets fear aside.
Desperation is the least desirable impetus for change if you are burned out. Decisions made in desperation are not often the best decisions. In desperation there is little time for logical reasoning (ratiocination), planning or deliberative action.
In desperation, someone may give up on their life’s calling, just because of a bad work environment. This is most certainly just the beginning of another burnout tragedy leading to a life unfulfilled and a lifetime of unhappiness.
It just doesn’t have to be this way. If you are burned out or feeling burned out know this – although the tree in the photograph had no options for changing its circumstances, people do. We all have choices, always.
You don’t have to just stand there and take it until you die. Your greatest potential is waiting to be unleashed. Take the first step toward reigniting with passion and purpose.
Begin by acknowledging you are in need of change then commit to picking up the tools, information, and resources necessary to make your preferred future a reality. Don’t just stand there. Get moving.