The other night we had some friends around and were talking about the balance between hustling and burn out. One of our friends had been pushing herself way too hard at work and had suffered emotionally and physically as a result, yet found it a struggle to find the fine line between the two as she loved to deliver excellence. This is a common pain I hear, and no matter who it is, if burn out is a common occurrence it always leads to dis-ease.
This week, I wanted to open the discussion around healthy hustle and burn out, and put an end to the suffering.
Healthy hustling is where you feel resilient, excited about taking on challenges, you actively push yourself out of your comfort zones to grow, effort is seen as a pathway to mastery, you have a steady stream of energy to maintain both your personal and professional lives, you sleep easily, and can acknowledge without guilt when you need to work, rest, and play.
Burn out is where you are prioritising work over everything, feeling as though you are constantly chasing your tail, forcing outcomes, living in scarcity, resenting new challenges and opportunities, feeling depleted of energy, mentally scattered, unable to shut-off at night, living reactively, and constantly fighting off colds and illness.
I’ve spent a lot of my life blurring the line between these two, and wound up living in a constant state of on-and-off burn out. It didn’t propel me forward or enable me to get more high-quality work done, in fact it did the opposite.
I stopped and realised that burn out is not something we simply adjust to, or get better at. No matter how many times you go through it, it will always negatively impact you.
So, what’s going on here exactly?
Burn out is directly linked to un-addressed beliefs around your self-worth. For example: If I don’t do xyz it will look like I’ve failed, that I’m not good enough, not talented enough, that I’m not ready… OR… I have to keep doing x to prove y. These are simply projected or imagined beliefs that are driven by our fears and doubts, and ultimately make us react in ways that don’t serve us in the long run.
When you feel yourself blurring the line between healthy hustling and burn out, stop and ask yourself:
- What fears are dictating my actions right now?
- What beliefs are driving me to keep pushing in these moments?
- Are these fears and beliefs true or useful? What do I need to do to release and/or conquer these so I can move forward?
- How can I grow and meet challenges and opportunities in life, whilst taking care of my own wellbeing?
Take the time to truly check in with these questions this week, and gently remind yourself that burn out is not the answer to success.