by Melanie Benson Strick
When you wake up in the morning are you fired up and ready to take action? Or do you dread the tasks on your to-do list? If the idea of growing your business sounds about as inspiring as a root canal, then chances are you are heading towards burnout.
Motivation is the fuel every small business owner needs to accomplish a bold vision and big goals. When you dream about your goals, inspiration kicks in and you have the energy and stamina to get up and climb those crazy big mountains every day.
With long hours and countless days grinding out goals, a fast-paced entrepreneur can start to lose enthusiasm and hit the wall. There are a lot of ways that burnout can show up. If you are aware of the early signs, you can reboot your motivation before the energy drains becomes a drag to your business.
Here are some of the warning signs:
- You are exhausted before lunch time (and maybe the minute you step out of bed.)
- Your motivation is waning — ideas that used to be exciting are now being met with procrastination and avoidance.
- You might find yourself in an abnormal amount of confusion or overwhelm, and missing a clear vision.
- You can’t imagine anything bigger than your current business. Just the idea of fitting more in makes you feel more overwhelmed.
- You get easily frustrated with your clients, colleagues or team members.
- Problems that used to roll off your back now become mountains that you worry about.
- You don’t remember why you started your business and it now feels more like a job than an extension of your passion and purpose.
Fast-paced, creative entrepreneurs are highly susceptible to entrepreneur burnout. For a visionary entrepreneur, ideas can be like babies –you give birth to something new. You invest your heart and soul in every facet of bringing this idea to life — which creates an attachment to your idea.
Sometimes, when you fall in love with your idea of what’s possible it can be frustrating when it doesn’t happen fast enough. And quite frequently, the business owner’s identity and self-esteem gets wrapped up in the success of their business.
If you suspect you are heading towards burnout, or even fully steeped in it, here are a few ways to get your inspiration back:
1. Take some Time Off.
I know this might sound completely insane, especially if your cash flow is tight or you are behind schedule. But it works. Several years back Jim Palmer, author of Stick Like Glue, was hitting the wall. After a short conversation, I recognized the signs of burnout and I prescribed a “recharge day.” After a bit of “how on earthy will I make that happen”, he took a day off to fuel his sports passion, spent the day at the ball park and came back to his desk feeling completely recharged. Schedule a day, week or even two weeks off to reconnect to your passion. Sometimes a break does the mind good.
2. Go Back to your Bold Vision.
When you reconnect to WHY you wanted your own business in the first place you can re-spark all of the passion you originally felt. It’s easy to get distracted from your original vision as you grow. Your business often demands you to make quick decisions – and if your vision isn’t anchored strongly enough, you can find yourself off track. Reconnect to your big why through questions like:
Who did you want to serve?
What did you want to accomplish?
What was important to you about being in business for yourself?
Perhaps you got off track from your original mission and all you have to do is reconnect to your why again. That passion should start coursing through your veins. It will help you make fresh decisions that light your fire again. And chances are you’ll quickly see where you got off track and course correct.
3. Spend More Time in Your Genius.
One of the most common reasons for entrepreneur burnout is spending too much time on activities that drain you. If you love speaking and putting together deals but you’ve been stuck in paperwork and putting out fires, chances are you’ll feel drained.
A quick remedy – figure out how to spend 50% more time in your zone of genius. Be sure to know the difference between what you do because you must, and what tasks actually fuel you. For instance, spending time in your zone of genius means you could get lost in those tasks for hours. Most likely, you’d do those things whether it makes you money – nor not.
4. Activate your Support Team.
Once you discover all the tasks on your plate that are draining you, the next logical step is to hire people to help you accomplish everything. Outsource activities that you don’t do well, that take up way too much time, or that is in someone else’s zone of genius.
Once you free yourself of energy-draining activities, you’ll spend more time on tasks that drive profit back into the business. And that’s a great way to overcome burnout, wouldn’t you say?
Melanie Benson is known as America’s Leading Small Business Optimizer because she knows how to boost profits and results with her secret weapon — LEVERAGE. With over 12 years in corporate project management, Melanie works exclusively with thought leaders and visionary entrepreneurs who want proven strategies to monetize their big ideas and catapult their success without giving up their life.
Melanie is host of the Amplify Your Success Podcast, author of Rewired for Wealth, serves on the Executive Leadership Team for Women Speakers Association, is co-author of Entrepreneur.com’s Start Up Guide to Starting an Information Marketing Business and has her success tips featured in magazines such as Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Parenting Magazine, Woman’s Day and American Express FORUM. Melanie is a proud lifestyle enthusiast and spends her free time in search of the best spas and beaches in the world.