Occupational burnout

It has been suggested that entrepreneurs are more susceptible to occupational burnout than employees of more large-scale organizations. In fact, in 2016 a study was done to determine what factors contributed to these higher levels of burnout in entrepreneurs and their findings were quite interesting.

Here are some key takeaways:

Entrepreneurs who are fueled by status and money tend to have a higher occurrence of occupational burnout than those who are motivated by their job because it brings personal satisfaction to do what they do.

Those who were more concerned with their status and income felt much more stressed about their performance as opposed to those whose jobs contributed to their own sense of well-being by encompassing what they were passionate about.

It is particularly interesting to see that those entrepreneurs who were focused so strongly on making a name for themselves and filling their bank account were more likely to have issues with feelings of distraction and guilt because of their neglect of other important areas of their lives, like family responsibilities. These entrepreneurs also tended to define their lives by their work and let other areas suffer, such as their health, because of it.

Another area that led to higher levels of occupational burnout was rigid thinking. Entrepreneurs who had a more flexible mindset were significantly less prone to feelings of job dissatisfaction, lack of motivation, and stress. These entrepreneurs understood and accepted the fact that their businesses were apt to evolve and change over time and were ready to modify their activities as needed. Those with a fixed way of thinking saw their decisions and other business dealings as either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and relied on ‘fate’ to determine their ultimate success, thus they experienced a higher level of anxiety because of it.

Which side of the equation do you see yourself on?

It is likely that at some point in your entrepreneurial career you will feel burnt out, regardless of who you are. For many, that feeling will pass quickly. After a little bit of rest and relaxation, you’ll be able to return to your business with a renewed sense of passion and determination. Others may have a more difficult time.

Here are some tips to help avoid occupational burnout before it becomes a problem:

  • Shift your focus away from yourself.  Remember, the study mentioned above showed that those who were placing a high significance on money and status were more likely to experience occupational burnout. Has your focus shifted away from providing exceptional value to your clients and customers to how much money you can get from them? If so, you might need to shift your focus back to where it belongs.
  • Set Limits. Avoid working around the clock every day. Sure, there may be times during a product launch when you need to put in those kinds of hours, but don’t make it an everyday thing. Allow yourself some downtime and don’t neglect your family or your health.
  • Learn new skills to incorporate into your job. The business world is constantly changing, especially online. Make it a point to evolve with it and continue to add to your skill set. Not only will you be challenging yourself to learn new methods and systems to run your business, you’ll also be preparing yourself to adapt to any changes that may come along in the way you run or promote your business.
  • Strive for work/life balance. Do not let your work define yourself as a person, but rather let it be the vehicle used to share your passion with the world. You are not your work, but it can be something that motivates, inspires, and brings personal satisfaction for a job well done. Remember, though, that there are many other areas of life that can be just as inspiring. Enjoy them, too.

Burnout is a real issue that plenty of people deal with each and every day, whether they are entrepreneurs or not.  While you may love your job, follow some of the suggestions above to keep it that way! Be good to yourself, your mind, and your body. Give yourself those much-needed breaks away from work.  Be proud of the fact that you are an entrepreneur, and start out each day knowing that you have the ability to design your own destiny.


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