099. How To Deal With Burnout

VC Minute
How do you recognize signs of your own burnout? What do you do about it?

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Alex Raymond

One of the stories that comes up for me is the story of burnout and what it feels like to be totally exhausted and burned out. and that has happened to me.

When burnout has happened, it literally feels as though I don’t care about anything that’s going on, and I can disassociate from meetings and conversations, and I just sort of feel like, “You know what? You know, whatever it is, I’m not interested.”

These are all really important telltale signs of burnout. Burnout is something that could be really, really bad for you, for your company, and for you as an individual.

And there’s a misperception out there that the cure to burnout is rest, or sleep, or a vacation, or something like that. That’s the misperception about how to cure burnout.

So when I was going through this, people that saw me would be like, “Hey, are you okay? Why don’t you take a vacation, go for a hike, or put your feet up?” Those are all things that can be helpful.

But if you really have burnout, which says, “Hey, I’m exhausted,” you’re disconnected from yourself. I don’t have the passion that I used to have for stuff anymore. Those are typically signs of a bigger problem.

Now, when I went through this, what I found most helpful in dealing with it was actually tapping into a community and sharing how I felt.

When I was going through burnout, the last thing I wanted to do, Rich, was talk about it. And at the same time, the most effective thing I could do was talk about it.

So I did it with a close group—actually, I have other entrepreneurs and CEOs, but a close group of friends, entrepreneurs and CEOs, who I could go to and say, “Hey, right now I’m feeling totally burned out. I’ve lost my passion. I’ve lost my energy. I literally don’t give a shit about anything anymore.”

Just talking to them and realizing, “Hey, this isn’t permanent, right?” is one of the misconceptions that you can get into during your burnout. You think this is never going to end. You say, “Hey, this isn’t permanent.” This is just a phase I’m going through, and this is not going to be the end of everything. I’m going to get through this, and we’re going to come out the other side.

So recognizing that that’s happening and finding one or two or a small group of people that you can have a conversation with where you can feel open, safe, and relaxed is really, really helpful in dealing with that burnout.

The unhelpful stuff, like I mentioned, is to go on vacation or, you know, go do this or that, and that’s really not going to solve the underlying issue of burnout.

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