It all started in kindergarten, or maybe it was preschool. You got a gold star when you did something well. Those gold stars might as well have been made of gold they were so precious. And thus began your structured indoctrination in rewards for work.
If you’re anything like me and millions of driven, high-achieving professionals, you began to covet gold stars, which transformed into dollars and job titles: partner, vice president, senior vice president, chief “something” officer. Then you begin to reward yourself with a nicer house and car. Then you rewarded your kids with a nicer school. The rewards keep coming for all that hard work.
At some point, however, the joy and pride that came with each promotion, raise and job title started to fade. Remember how excited you were when you received a gold star? Did you feel that way when you got your last raise or promotion? What if you could experience that energy again?
If rewards are beginning to fall flat, seem ho hum or are welcomed with an ”its about time” attitude, burnout is likely lurking in your life. Your energy levels are also not like they were when you were a child receiving gold stars. Almost everyone I talk with wants more energy and wants to do more, especially more fun stuff. But how when you’re burning out in pursuit of the next reward?
It’s Not A Badge Of Honor
Have you ever told someone “I’m so busy I don’t know how I’ll get it all done?” Yes, I thought so.
Have you ever had someone respond with “oh that’s nothing, I have x, y and z to do and two hours to do it.” Yes, I’ve heard this too (and I’ll confess I’ve said it on a few or more occasions).
This one up’s manship of how busy, tired and driven someone is, is what I call “Burnout Roller Derby.” Its where to do lists, coffee runs and face time become a contact sport with people seeming to compete over how much they have to do, how little sleep they got, how many hours they were at the office and how much more their boss is a hard-ass. It becomes like a drinking game where those playing just get more fatigued, burnout and inefficient.
I share, with a healthy dose of embarrassment that I used to engage in Burnout Roller Derby. In fact, I was good at it – I could work people under the table – and would wear my gold star with pride. As you know, my Burnout Roller Derby career came to end, a fact I’m thankful for since it could have been worse. I could have been the executive who left on disability after three heart attacks.
Instead of having my co-workers call 911, I decided to ignite my life with more energy, passion and meaning. The great thing is I didn’t have to leave corporate to do this. Sure I eventually left, but only because I was called to help others learn how to get more energy, be more productive and create a meaningful life.
Today, in honor of rolling out the new website and Stress Awareness Month, I want to share with you some principles and affirmations I’ve learned after watching hundreds if not thousands of people burnout in the legal, consulting, retail, health and corporate environments. I used them to overcome my own burnout. These principles and affirmations will help you re-energize, re-focus and re-engage.
I dare say that together these principles and affirmations are a manifesto to ignite your life.
The Ignite Your Life Manifesto
When you’re feeling exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed by all that life is throwing your way, commit (or re-commit) to the following:
I will stop comparing myself to others.
I will set realistic expectations with myself, co-workers, family and friends.
I will not judge myself or others.
I will fuel my body with real, whole, alkalizing, inflammation-reducing foods.
I will not project my fears and doubts on others.
I will carve out playtime; you know where you laugh and have fun without a hangover.
I will recognize my magnificence.
I will eliminate “I can’t”, “they won’t” and “that’s impossible” from my vocabulary.
Get up and move around.
I always have options.
I will ask for help.
Head for the clearing in the forest and breath.
I will get 8 hours sleep a night.
I have nothing to prove.
I will note give up.
My intuition speaks the truth.
Fear, jealously, envy and anger never created a fulfilling life.
I will bring my best, most creative self to every part of my day; no more skimping.
More than anything else, I have the power to create the life I want and feel the things I want to feel. Today, this very moment, I will use that power.
We all have gifts we are meant to use in this world. Burnout can keep us from using them. To ignite your energy, use this manifesto every day to keep you focused on your desires.
As my gift to you, I have created a pretty downloadable version of the Ignite Your Life Manifesto to print out and put on your office wall, cubicle or kitchen.
Now it’s your turn. Do you engage in Burnout Roller Derby? How do you stop yourself? Let me know in the comments below.
With energized success,