Burnout is a destination none of us plugs into our GPS. Sometimes we feel it coming, sometimes we don’t.
Time and again we drive ourselves to depletion, recharge our batteries, rinse and repeat.
Training and managing demand physical and mental currency. If we’re writing personal checks from a limited account, how are we making deposits?
I schedule mine.
Prior to entering the world of human resources the best advice I received was from a long-time HR professional who told me to schedule something good every week because the challenges of the position will take their toll. Of course I didn’t follow her advice and sure enough after a while I was toast; fried by a steady stream of seemingly impossible issues.
It was then I decided to set up a small leadership team to review and retool some policies and procedures. The handpicked group clicked and our meetings were productive, interesting, and hilarious, becoming a coveted oasis for each of us.
Together we addressed the real issues of our organization and put thought into action. We were recharging our batteries while creating positive change. It became our ‘one good thing.’
In addition to my passion for triathlon, I also share a love for each of its three components. A few years ago I had heard of a cycling stage race called the Tour of the Catskills, which included a stage called the Assault on Devil’s Kitchen, promising a shot at one of the Hudson Valley’s steepest climbs. I was so in, who cared if it was only two weeks after Ironman Lake Placid.
I completed this race three times, each year postponing my post-Ironman recovery and risking serious injury in the process. Last year I collapsed on the grass behind my car after the race, body, mind, and spirit completely empty.
Afterwards, I came to my senses and reminded myself why I do this – because it’s my passion and supposed to be fun.
This year, instead of the grueling climb up Devil’s Kitchen, I scheduled an olympic triathlon one month after Ironman Lake Placid, approaching it with the exuberance of a rookie. I had a blast, enjoying Old Orchard Beach, Maine and a million laughs with my girlfriend, Kathy, and our friend Mario.
The olympic triathlon reignited everything I love about triathlon and living an active lifestyle.
Now, I’m not advocating scheduling dinner with the family to recharge your batteries. I know it seems to work, but only in a roundabout way. Avoiding true burnout involves a process of regularly being reminded what you love about what you do, not escaping what you do for what you love.
You must find your peace inside the craziness. If you have to escape to recharge your batteries outside your work environment, you’re in the wrong place.
Make a habit of reminding yourself why you do what you do and celebrate your passions by scheduling your one good thing right now.