03 Jul BURNOUT: The curse of the high performing individual
I have always set really high standards for myself. My measures of success are sometimes very harsh for myself, even I would admit that, but I honestly don’t know how else to operate. I have always been this way and it is how I have achieved everything worth mentioning in my life and working career. As soon as I reach a goal, the goal post moves even higher, sometimes even leaving me with a sense of overwhelm and anxiety and me asking myself, ‘How the hell are you going to achieve that now Wardah?!’
I realise now I am not the only person to do this, all my friends and most of my high performing clients say the same about themselves. I guess this constant need to push and excel and achieve bigger and more ambitious goals is how we have reached the successes we have.
However, it also comes with its setbacks. Constantly expecting to operate on this level takes its toll on our bodies, minds and emotions. I see a similar trend among us all right now – we feel tired, overworked, anxious, stressed. We know we need to probably slow down and take a break but we don’t – we push even harder which just exacerbates the negative feelings and ultimately leads to burnout.
For me, I have spread myself so thin, I am feeling like an elastic band that’s being pulled to its absolute limit and is about to snap. I have taken on so much and have put a lot of self-inflicted expectations on myself that is honestly wearing me down.
The result – me having a ‘TO-DO LIST’ so long it’s left me paralysed with overwhelm and stress. So instead of tackling the list I end up procrastinating and running away from it. I am not the only one though – so many people I have spoken to are feeling just like me at the moment. Is it perhaps something in the air? A subtle societal pressure nudging us on?
Why are we putting ourselves under so much pressure and why are we choosing to ignore our bodies clearly sending us signs that we need to slow down and recover?
As a personal trainer, I know all about the benefits of a recovery after a hard push, I afford my clients that – so why not myself?
To make sense of all this – I wanted Life Coach from ‘On Purpose’ – Simone Naidoo to explain where this is coming from and how I and people in the same boat as me can understand and remedy this state of mind.
“The curse of believing you are not good enough. This is the answer, this is the root. This is the cause of spreading yourself too thin.
All of our behaviour has a frame work or foundation it’s based on. That framework is our beliefs. There are our beliefs on people, ourselves, life, God and everything in between – Whatever we believe about life becomes true for us.
So with this understanding let’s look at someone close to burnout, spread wafer thin and living at the edge of their sanity, mind, body and spirit. Our times, our current social climate and societal thinking is that if you aren’t nearly dead, you are not working hard enough and don’t deserve success (or rest). We celebrate those who are stressed, depleted, have no life balance and are always ‘busy’. We give crowns and trophies to women and men who have packed schedules, who hold senior roles in their corporate jobs and live a ‘picture-perfect life’ (on social media!). We LOVE the perfectionists. We all want to be them. In this environment and context, any symptom of ‘not good enough’ will thrive.
When someone spreads themselves thin, that person has a fundamental view of themselves and life. They believe:
- ‘I am not good enough.’
- ‘Life is hard.’
- ‘If I’m not doing … I don’t deserve my success.’
- ‘Who do I think I am?’
- ‘Everyone else is doing it.’
- ‘I am lazy.’
- ‘Life and work is just stressful.’
Put plainly, this is a symptom of someone who doesn’t love themselves and doesn’t believe they are enough.
So stop. Stop it all right now. The perfect life is an illusion created by the false part of you. It’s time to weed out the gremlins of your limiting belief systems and plant seeds of positive beliefs that support you.
You are enough. You have nothing to prove. You are worthy and deserving. You matter.
You really do have a choice, if something doesn’t add value, isn’t positive and doesn’t make you feel good, change your thoughts, change your focus and pivot to what is good – practice self love.”
Happy Healthy Fabulous
You can contact Simone via her website: www.on-purpose.co.za