I’ve been through two very significant periods of burnout in my life, although the second event was still tied to never fully addressing the first event. The simple lesson here is you cannot walk away from it. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that “burnout” is a horrible term, especially when you view your experience in the context of a fire that is gradually fading away, or needing some new fuel. I could talk through the flaws of this analogy in great, excruciating detail, but the end result is: this is not a fire. It’s a wound to your spirit. Wounds often do not heal, or heal well, if left alone and never receiving attention or treatment.
It doesn’t matter what change you make, unless you heal the wound. One of those periods hit me in 1997 and it took me out of healthcare and rescue. The other was in 2007 and almost took me out of technology. By the time I returned to the NWS, it was too late. Today I’m diving head first into healthcare AND technology and loving it with passion.
For me, healing was talking about it. I had to tell someone I trusted, even if they couldn’t understand. It was the act of talking about it that led me to understand specifically what happened and move forward. I never could put my finger on it in my own mind. Somehow it is easier to lie to oneself than to another person!!! That was the first step.
The next step was understanding that this is my race to run, and only my race. I set the pace, and I go slow. I also control the path, and I explored as much as I could. Still do. Always will from now on. I now view burnout as an opportunity to see what else is out there. So far it always leads me back to my roots, but with a greater understanding of and appreciation for who I am and what I have to offer.
1. Find your wounds. 2. Prepare to heal. 3. Take your time. 4. Look around. It sounds like you are already doing some of this, and I believe we have natural instincts that lead us down this path — it’s just very, very slow and haphazard. In my experience, deliberate effort is an important part of the recovery timeline.
If you ever want to chat more, I think you know how to track me down, but if not: dccompton.com