Is It Burnout?

by Joan C Webb on September 11, 2009

FlameCaring, conscientious, goal-oriented and over-achieving women (and men, too!) are candidates for burnout. In case you think only executives who work too late and too hard can experience burnout, read the following definition. Burnout is the type of stress and emotional fatigue, frustration, and exhaustion that occurs when a series of (or combination of) events in a relationship, mission, way of life, or job fail to produce an expected result. Perhaps you recognize yourself or someone you know.

I felt positive my commitment to hard work would bring me what I desired, and was flabbergasted when I ran out of energy, enthusiasm and faith. Disillusioned I asked: Is there any hope for renewal?

Eagle“Yes, Joan!” assured my loving Creator. “Though you stumble, you’ll one day soar on wings like an eagle, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint. Trust me. I’ll renew your lost strength. ” (Isaiah 40:29,31)

I didn’t feel it or foresee it. I didn’t even have the strength to believe it, but since I couldn’t do it anymore, I stopped trying and left my stuff with God. Miraculously when I stopped striving, God took over.

Making It Personal: Read the statement about burnout again. What part of this definition taps you on your shoulder? Or punches you in the stomach? (Awareness is a positive step forward.)

Adapted from It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life by Joan C. Webb http://tinyurl.com/DevoBook

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise Miller Holmes September 11, 2009 at 10:38 pm

This is such an important issue, Joan. I find that learning how to say no is one big component to fighting burnout. And you don’t just have to learn to say no to others, you have to learn to say no to yourself (such as, no Denise, you really don’t have time to do that project, no matter how much you want to do it). Thanks for sharing this

Joan C Webb September 12, 2009 at 3:07 am

You’re right, Denise. It’s an important issue and one that’s getting bigger all the time in our bigger-better-faster-more culture. I see it with coaching clients and people I meet when I speak. And I love your practical tip. It’s true, every time we say “yes” to something we need to say “no” to something else. ‘Cuz we’re only human!! :-)

Denese B. September 16, 2009 at 6:32 am

I really appreciate the emphasis on “expectations” in this definition of burnout. It amazes me how much of my thought life revolves around all these expectations! Right now, God is showing me how what I set out as an expectation isn’t necessarily the best thing, just one of the options…and there are many good options. This is welcome news and very freeing indeed. I’d like to share a great scripture from THE MESSAGE (especially for those of us who strive so) Psalm 23:6 (first half) “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” God is the Pursuer here, don’t we all want to be caught? I know I do : )

Joan C Webb September 23, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Hi Denese,

Thanks for your encouraging words. Yes, love the Ps. 23:6 verse.
And indeed, you’re right. We have options. When that really sinks into our minds/hearts, it frees us up. It’s no longer just “all or nothing”, or perfect/terrible. Or “Black/white” — in fact, we find out that another color is good, too. :-)

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