I wanted to blog on something that has come up several times in my group coaching cohorts. Every single one of them. It’s the topic of burnout. Let’s talk about how to avoid burnout when you’re dangerously close. It’s really, really important to talk about this, especially for those of us who are focused on growing our businesses right now. And you may have heard clients talk about it. You may have read it. Heck, you may have even experienced it for yourself. It’s really important to be aware of burnout and how to avoid it.
Not If, but When
One of the things that I want to mention first, is that it’s not a matter of if you’re experiencing burnout. It’s actually really a matter of when. If you’re creating the type of business where you are the one doing all the things, you’re definitely going to feel it. There is no way to continue to grow and to sustain if all of the things fall on you. So, I want to start there.
Because you’re at this certain level of your business, you’re likely ready to create sustainability. You want to grow your business, absolutely. But you literally cannot do that if you’re a one-person machine. That is the opposite of sustainable.
Now, if you have a team member – or soon will hire one – burnout is still possible. That’s because you may not be filling your team members’ roles properly. It’s really important that you surround yourself with people who are better at doing things than you are. Seek out team members that get filled up by certain tasks that you yourself may be avoiding; that’s how you avoid burnout. If we can each stay in our zones of genius and offload the tasks that don’t bring us joy, the propensity to reach burnout is much, much less.
Let’s say you have the right team. You’re a well-oiled machine, but you’re still feeling exhausted. Many entrepreneurs admit that burnout can correlate with the time of year it is. We have a lot of different things going on as we ramp up in a new quarter, so burnout seems very possible. In order to avoid it though, even if you have the right systems and people in place, you need to do self check-ins. We all need to make sure we take time to be aware. We should ask ourselves,
What am I feeling? What’s happening? Why am I resisting things? Why am I super tired? Why am I frustrated? What is that X factor that shows I’m reaching burnout?
It’s pretty scary when you recognize it, but then once identified, you’ve won half the battle.
Avoiding Burnout Altogether
There are a lot of ways to actually avoid burnout. I mentioned delegation to team members earlier. This is really, really key. You have to grow a team at some point, whether that’s small (and you’re delegating out small projects) or big (and you have team members working on your biz daily). You cannot create a sustainable business without help.
If your day-to-day operations are solely focused on you being at work all day every day, you’ll soon be ready to set it on fire literally and walk away. Talk to business owners who have experienced burnout: they will tell you, that’s exactly what happened. Then, they go into this period of absolutely not wanting to even come back from the ashes. Then, it’s essentially starting all over again.
Don’t let yourself get to that point. Start to recognize the signs of like, what is this that’s coming up for me? Is this potentially burnout and how do I avoid it right now?
If you’re reading this and you think, I never want to go there. Here are some crucial tips for avoiding that feeling.
Implement Free, Focus, and Buffer Days
I took a buffer week a few weeks back. It’s not really intended to be a full week, but buffer days nonetheless are something that should be incorporated into your schedule.
I happen to follow a methodology from Dan Sullivan, with Strategic Coach, and it highlights Free, Focus, and Buffer Days. Buffer Days are designed for you to use to work ON your business. I have been neglecting my business because I’ve been serving my clients at a rapid pace, which is amazing! Truly! And that fills me up. But if I don’t stoke the fire that is my business, that’s going to burn out, right? So I took a whole week off. I didn’t have any client-facing calls, and I worked on my business.
Buffer Days are the days that the perfectionist in me comes out. I want my business to flourish, so I create and utilize Buffer Days to work on my business. This is really important; try to create this space a couple of hours a week, ensuring to work on your CEO time. Eventually, you’ll have a whole day to work on this stuff but a few hours here and there will work for now.
Some of my clients like to take clarity breaks as their Buffer Days. They will go to a cafe, go to a lake, etc. and just work in a creative space for business development. It’s so key that we’re fueling this part of our business so we can keep going and keep reigniting that creative side (which is likely the whole reason we started our businesses in the first place).
The other component of this strategy by Sullivan – that pertains to avoiding burnout – is the implementation of Free Days. These are designed for you to not work on your business at all. You want to make sure that on these days, you shut down. Make sure you’re spending time with your family, your friends, your dog…whatever it is that helps you totally recharge. You’re not touching your business at all during this time. You have to incorporate these days – again, even if it’s on a small scale – because this is what CEOs do. As the CEO of your business, you’re trying to figure out, how can I be an even greater CEO? How can I harness that mindset that’s going to propel me forward to reach big goals?
Once More, For Those in the Back: DELEGATION
The other piece I’ve mentioned several times is delegation. If you’re not ready to hire a team member yet, you can start preparing now.
Start documenting your systems, creating ways to automate things more, and create lists. Maybe your first hire is going to be your own virtual assistant: what are all the things that you want that person to take off of your plate daily? Start framing that out even if you can’t hire someone tomorrow. Treat your business like you’re going to hire someone tomorrow. This is a big one. It’s come up for me. You have to say yes to yourself.
Something important to remember: in order to avoid burnout and sometimes saying yes to yourself, means saying “no” to a client. If a client doesn’t serve you and a client is causing you stress..if they’re not treating you the way that you would like to be treated and do not align with your core values, they’re not the right fit.
P.S. if you don’t have core values go and do that work right now.
If you’re reading this blog post, I am challenging you to find what your solution is going to be. Think about, how am I going to hold myself accountable for making change in this situation? Because we all know that if nothing changes, nothing changes, right?
Each and every one of you deserve to have those dream clients, but you’re not going to have the dream clients if the toxic clients are taking up room on your roster. It’s not comfortable sometimes, and that may mean that you are not going to have guaranteed income. I’m not saying jeopardize your situation with your family and so that you can’t you know, pay your utility bills. That’s not what I’m saying at all.
But make a plan and stick to it.
Remind yourself that in 90 days, you’re going to let go of that not-ideal client, and you’re going to take action to find an ideal client. Trust me. I’ve been there, I have had toxic clients. If you leave those toxic clients in your business, you will burn out; you’re going to allow somebody else to burn you out. That toxic client can inadvertently ruin all of your hard work and effort that you’ve put forth to get to where you are. With bad clients, you’re letting someone else control what’s possible for you.
That’s not a fun way to say it. But it’s really, really the truth. And it’s really important to hear.
Say it aloud to yourself, I have to make sure that I am saving space for people who are really, really gonna align with me and bring my business to the next level.
Because if you’re doing everything else right, but you’re allowing toxic clients to hold space in your roster, then all of that work is really getting diluted. And you deserve better than that.
Self Care & Celebrating Wins to Avoid Burnout
The next piece to help prevent burnout is self-care. And this can be eating well, making sure that you are finding time to meditate, journaling, and working out. Whatever it is for you, make sure that you’re doing something for yourself. And admittedly! I’m really bad at this; I’m really terrible at it. But I always try and keep it top of mind so I can keep continuing to improve. None of these things are perfect in my business and in my life. These are all just things that I try to be aware of, and as a coach, I want to share these things with you.
And like I said, I’m bringing this up right now because this has been top of mind. For so many business owners, burnout is real. burnout is especially true when you hit big goals that you’ve set for yourself and you then fail to pause and really enjoy that.
When you don’t pause, and you’re just worried about the next thing and the next thing and the next thing…I’m sure many of you can relate to that. That’s a natural tendency, but it’s really important as part of that self-care routine to celebrate your wins. Celebrating your wins with your team is critical; it allows everyone to be on board and to share in that excitement. Marinate in that amazing accomplishment before you’re worried about moving on to the next thing.
Burnout is so real; I can’t say this enough. If you’re experiencing this, having a business bestie and accountability partner is key. Having a coach, a coach that can understand where you’re at and what you’re experiencing, is so valuable. That coach can say, hey I’ve been in that same position, and here’s what I did. Here’s what I want you to focus on avoiding.
Those are the people you want to surround yourself with. Don’t be ashamed if you get overwhelmed and you’re experiencing burnout. Instead, be grateful that you’re able to identify those things – once identified, you can put things on hold in the right priority. You can decide to say you know what, I don’t think I need to fill that other spot on my roster this week. I don’t need to get that lead magnet finished by the end of the month. That can really wait. Is anything really going to change if I push back the deadline on things?
Give Yourself Permission
You’re giving yourself permission to know that you can shift. You can adjust, avoiding burnout, and sustaining your mental health. Taking care of yourself as a business owner is key. This topic just keeps coming up, and that’s why I love covering it in coaching. These are the types of things that keep you stuck. They are heavy, and without celebrating the important stuff, you’ll quickly experience burnouts.
In coaching, there’s accountability. And it’s not just accountability to keep yourself in the CEO of your biz, but very legitimately, to help you remember to celebrate your wins. We even cover how you can be that sustainable business owner who doesn’t have to be IN your business 24/7 because you’ve gained clarity early on and hit milestones. For myself, to be in the position I’m in now, coaching…that’s a milestone I’m celebrating.
It’s worth calling out…coaching is my passion. I never knew that I would be in this spot. When I look back to a year ago when people started coming to me for coaching and advice, I had serious imposter syndrome and some limiting beliefs around it. And now that I’ve stepped into that space and see the transformations that are happening, I KNOW that’s all I want to do.
So, burnout is important to have top of mind, right? Doesn’t matter where you’re at in terms of growth, it means that it’s a real thing that can happen. What I want to emphasize is that you should be aware of it, and then, how to avoid it.
All of that awareness comes from building the right type of business foundation. Understanding that a lot of this is mindset, understanding that you have to build a team in order to grow and be successful. I just got off a coaching call with someone today. We looked at her financials and she has a goal of $4k difference in terms of what she wants to make monthly – where’s she’s at and where she wants to be.
And I tell her, flat out, it’s possible. I’ve done this myself. Let me tell you exactly how you’re going to do that. That’s essentially what my coaching looks like. We call it coaching because that word resonates so much with all of us. I like the idea of abundance, and I give that to my coaching clients. I’m able to shorten the learning curve and the creation mode so that you can be in the space of business growth. You’re able to attract more dream clients, working less and making more money. That’s what I want to do at least!
Coaching & Saying YES to Yourself
For my group coaching, I really want to stress, it’s not a particular set of business owners that I work with. I work with all kinds of business owners who are at this certain particular stage of their growth. I help them gain clarity, provide accountability, and sustain support.
I’ll tell you what to put on hold; because putting things on hold to prioritize the right thing…that’s what CEOs do! They know when to pause and what to actually move forward with. Effort isn’t lost when you do this, but instead, you’ve learned something. Giving yourself permission to pause is okay! It prevents burnout, and it can feel amazing.
As the CEO of your business, you’re saying YES to yourself and NO to the things that bog you down. Sure, you might be giving up that income. But what are the other positives that could change? What else is possible? If you say yes and don’t doubt yourself, and if that confidence and agency is what you bring to the table for your clients…that’s freaking valuable, even if it seems so easy to you.
So often I hear, it’s easy, so why would I charge so much? I am here to tell you: don’t think that because it’s easy, you should charge less for the highest value that you bring. And it’s a really, really hard thing to get into that mindset. But once you do, you’ll never look back. And you might have to remind yourself of it sometimes. But once you realize the true value that you bring, you’re going to stay in that space and be able to attract more people who really, really want more of that from you.
And if you’re experiencing any signs of burnout, just be aware of that: ask questions, ask for help, lean on your business besties, and hire a coach if you need one.