Burnout occurs when we are required to remain too focused for too long.
In my experience, entrepreneurs and leaders are often the last people to make the time to take proper care of themselves. This and the natural aggressiveness required to run a company makes them primary candidates for serious burnout. Ultimately, they pay a big price for denying themselves the opportunity to get away and recharge.
Here are some of the “bad things” that can happen when leaders fail to recognize that they need a break:
· Higher employee turnover – No one likes to work for a grump. Burnout makes us difficult to deal with and pushes people away from us. Sometimes it even makes us want to quit!
· Lost opportunities – Growing a business is all about staying on top of the details. Burned out leaders miss the subtle signs that point to new opportunities. It does not take long until these lost opportunities add up to seriously hurt the enterprise.
· Personal dissatisfaction – Most of us know when we are doing our best work. The longer we allow burnout to prevent us from being our best, the more likely we will become angry, frustrated and dissatisfied with our own performance.
· Competitive disadvantage – Since the visionary leader/entrepreneur is normally the engine that drives the company forward, keeping that person’s life in a healthy balance is critical to preventing the company from becoming disadvantaged in the competitive marketplace.
On the flip side, there are some significant and predictable advantages to routinely making time to refresh and recharge ourselves including:
· Regaining perspective – Issues and opportunities must be interpreted before they can be properly exploited. As we relax, our brains regain the ability to focus and effectively analyze information.
· Refreshing our sense of humor – It’s good to laugh, especially at ourselves. Time away allows us to stop taking ourselves so seriously all the time. Our families and employees like to see the funny/happy side of our personality. (I know that when I put on a grass hula skirt at a luau, everyone cracks up-including me!)
· Reestablishing relationships – As busy entrepreneurs, it is easy to lose touch with the importance of constantly reinforcing relationships with our family and close friends. Taking time away to just be ourselves gives us the chance to strengthen these life-long bonds with the folks who are the most important to us.
· Rediscovering our passions - To live balanced and fulfilling lives, we must return often and regularly to the question – “What am I doing with my life?” I hope your answer includes: “I am living out my passions and, in the process, building a significant life for myself and my family.”
How long has it been since you really had a break to get away and refresh yourself and your family?
Set a date, carve it in stone on your calendar and start planning a retreat, vacation, sabbatical or secret getaway that will ensure that the very best YOU return renewed and refreshed.