February 10, 2019

Here is a lightly-edited version of the blog that followed last week’s blog in 2015. It has an equally important message for everyone who wants to effectively and joyfully pursue their Big Goals, whether personal or professional.

“In between goals is a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed.” – Sid Caesar

 Last week, I re-published a Fan Favorite blog that I wrote about a past client who had reached a very Big Goal in just 30 days because she applied three specific success principles:

  • Use all the tools available to you to their full advantage.
  • Be strategic (work smarter, not harder.)
  • Use every available minute.

Because she had a very big “Why” for reaching her goal and because 30 days was the specific amount of time she had to reach it, she committed to focusing and giving it everything she had for that short amount of time, even though she also had to maintain a demanding day job.

Her reward at the end of that intense effort was promoting to Director Level in her direct sales company, which enabled her to quit her 50-60 hour a week job and work her business on HER terms, so she could spend more time with her new husband and have the lifestyle freedom she had always dreamed of.  For her, that was a Big Goal worth pursuing with all her might.

Risking Burnout

Now, let’s examine the flip side of this: What happens if you get TOO consumed with pursuing a Big Goal that has a longer time frame than just a few months?  You are risking Burnout — depleting your emotional, mental and physical resources to the point of trying to drive to the finish line on an inner fuel tank that has run dry.

Burnout can bring some dire consequences:  The constant stress of pushing yourself hard and worrying about where you are in relation to a long-term Big Goal can lead to physical illness and/or emotional breakdown.  It can also alienate loved ones who feel you have abandoned them or that they are less important to you than your Big Goal.  Ironically, Burnout can lead you to abandon your Big Goal altogether, so that in the end, you have nothing to show for all the time and effort you put toward it.

Signs of Burnout

Another past client came to me after pursuing a business goal for several years with only modest success.  Every day, she beat herself up emotionally for not being where she thought she should be. She felt like a failure, despite recognizing that she hadn’t been given the proper training, support and resources during her first several years in the business. She had to figure it out by herself and actually did a pretty good job, yet, she couldn’t stop negatively comparing herself to colleagues who surpassed her results during that time.

She also beat herself up for the toll she felt her pursuit of success had taken on her family.  She had two wonderful school-aged children and a loving and financially successful husband, yet she believed they must feel resentful because she hadn’t spent all her time with them.  She admitted to neglecting herself, too, by allowing herself almost no Me time to replenish her physical and emotional reserves.

I coached her to begin treating her home-based business like a real “business” and set her office hours.  That way, she could focus on her business for a few hours during the day when her kids were at school and perhaps three nights a week she could spend an hour on it as well. The rest of the time, she should be taking care of her own well-being — including exercise, rest and relaxation, personal and spiritual development time– and spending precious time with her family every day.

Despite promising that she would work to find balance and act like she truly is her own boss, she came to our calls crying almost every week.  She just couldn’t let up on herself.  When she was with her family or doing something for herself, she kept thinking she should be working her business.  And when she was working her business, she felt guilty that she wasn’t taking care of herself and her family.

Since my job as a Personal Success Coach is to help my clients reach their Big Goals as quickly, easily and joyfully as possible, I realized after several months that we were not making progress, and so did she.  I recognized that she was showing signs of major Burnout, and was unable to put into practice the simple strategies and support I tried to give her. Finally, I warned her that if she stayed on her self-imposed “hamster wheel” of stress, she would inevitably have to quit her business altogether for the sake of her well-being. I recommended she seek professional help to regain a balanced view of herself and her life and that is what I believe she ultimately did.

How to Beat Burnout

When you are pursuing a long-term Big Goal, the same three principles apply that were followed by my client who reached her Big Goal in just 30 days. The key is the definition of using “every available minute.”  That does not mean “EVERY minute of your life”!  If you follow a daily schedule that balances work, play, spiritual and personal development, physical well-being, family time and Me time, you can use your available WORK time strategically by working smarter, not harder.

And, of course, I recommend that you learn to harness the power of the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to reach your Big Goals with greater speed and ease by focusing your belief and channeling your own positive energy toward your Big Goal, which inevitably attracts the perfect people, resources and serendipitous breaks to you.

Here are the four Success Principles I believe will help you reach your long-term Big Goal with healthy balance and emotional fulfillment, instead of Burnout and tears:

Four Principles of Long-term Success

  • Treat your Big Goal like a Big Game, rather than a struggle for survival. Nobody, including you, is going to die if you don’t reach your goal by when you thought you would.  Remember you are PLAYING to win and you will win your Big Game by getting to the finish line feeling happy, healthy and fulfilled. Maintaining a centered, enthusiastic and positive energy each day will make others want to join you and help you win your Big Game.
  • Pace yourself to play the Long Game. Realize this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Focus on reaching a series of short-term goals within your Long Game and take time to celebrate those victories as milestones on the path to the finish line. If you don’t, the finish line can seem mighty far away.  Regularly acknowledge yourself and allow others to acknowledge you for the ground you have taken, instead of focusing on how far you have left to go.
  • Treat yourself as valuable and others will too. Make and follow a Daily Game Plan to give yourself whatever you need to fulfill your mental, spiritual, emotional and physical needs. Don’t try to play Superman or Superwoman and go it alone. Make clear, specific requests for whatever help you need.  Those who care for you will be happy to step up and support you, if you simply ASK.
  • Stay committed and maintain perspective. Don’t let the petty disappointments of today make you doubt that you will win your Long Game if you just keep on keeping on. Realize that the last “No” just brought you that much closer to the next “Yes.” If you truly want to beat Burnout, you must view your Big Goal as just one part of your life, not the all-consuming focus of your life.

Here’s my final suggestion for beating Burnout: Take at least ONE FULL DAY off each week and once a month, take the ENTIRE WEEKEND off to refresh, relax and rejuvenate your body and soul.  Plan fun activities and get-away trips with friends or family, instead of using the whole weekend to catch up on paperwork, run errands or tackle honey-do lists. You will return to the pursuit of your Big Game with renewed enthusiasm, greater productivity and enhanced creativity.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The blog will be taking the next weekend off so I can enjoy President’s Day Weekend with my family!  This is one of the ways I avoid writer’s BurnoutA Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday February 24.

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to offer yourself or someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change your/their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching, with no obligation and no strings attached!  To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.