Stop-Change-Start, Part 2 – Overcoming Entrepreneurial Burnout

Author: Danielle Elliott 


In today’s world, exacerbated by economic uncertainty here or a little global pandemic there, burnout can happen to the best of us. It’s no surprise to find that even the World Health Organization recognises burnout classifying it as an “occupational phenomenon” characterised by chronic stress related to a person’s work or, in this case, business. 

It takes constant pushing and can be a grind to establish a start-up or keep an established venture going – the long hours, the various stressors of pulling together people, products, processes, and the infrastructural challenges that are particular to our Caribbean region (that isn’t exactly known for helping make things easier). If you’re not careful, burnout can happen to you. At the new year’s start, we covered how to recognise the signs of entrepreneurial burnout.

Now, how do you beat burnout?
You probably remember the three Rs taught in school, or the three Rs related to protecting the environment. Well, to help make sure you remember and apply these recommendations, we’ve arranged them into three more Rs, with a fourth as a bonus:

  • Reassess (as in your “Why”)
  • Rest
  • Rearrange (as in your priorities)
  • Reach out

If you’re experiencing burnout or think you might be headed that way, it’s likely that your business has devolved into a never-ending list of tasks and to-dos.  That means it’s time to hit the pause button and ask yourself “why am i/are we doing all this?”  🤷🏽

Another way to put this is to reassess your Why.  This idea of assessing the core of why you started your business in the first place was popularized by author Simon Sinek over a decade ago who challenged entrepreneurs worldwide to save themselves and their businesses from failure by stopping to reflect on why they were doing what they were doing. Interviews with him like this one and his inspiring and popular TEDx talk are well worth the time.

Often burnout is a case of having gotten so involved in the doing and busyness of your business that you forgot why you got into business in the first place. It’s time to ask yourself the big questions again: 🙋

  • What is this business about?
  • What do you and your brand stand for?
  • What’s the difference you want this business to make and what makes your business different? 
  • What’s the reason this business exists — why did you embark on it in the first place? 
  • WHY?

Take the time to get clear on your “Why.”  This will make the “How” of the next step much easier.

Some resources to support your reflective time:

Head to deal with burnout

Strategies to manage now (with exactly the way the world is right now)

Why busyness is bad for your health

Why entrepreneurs need time for reflection

This kind of reflection isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s essential if you want you and your business not just to survive but thrive.  When your “Why” is clear and powerful it becomes like a pilot light that keeps you and others inspired. Equally importantly, it is Step One in keeping burnout at bay.

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