Never has breaking free from burnout been as relevant and needed a topic of conversation as now. And, at the same time it almost feels like we're tired of hearing about burn out. It's more than that. The issue is more than that and so the response has to be more than that too. How do we find passion again in a world where that prides its self on grind culture?
Looking At What Is
It is pretty standard policy around here to not deny what is. We tend to highly value the skill and willingness to look directly at life in all of the ways that it shows up, whether its what we'd like to be looking at or not. We are not in the practice of bypassing what is. And by "we," I mean all of us - not just those of us writing the blogs. You probably value this as well or else you probably wouldn't be reading these posts.
I say this because it seems like "looking directly at how life is showing up" seems to be increasingly more and more challenging. Life seems to be getting more complicated, and challenges seem to be coming more frequently for many people.
You may have noticed this recently in conversations with friends, family, work colleagues - really just about everywhere (side note, if you are not seeing this in your life, yay you! AND, you may want to consider widening your circle to different perspectives and experiences of life).
People are burnt out! But, burnt out in way that is different. Being burnt out before meant crashing for a bit, maybe a few personal days and back to the grind. Or maybe in really serious cases of burn out, it meant leaving a job, leaving a relationship, regrouping your life, or maybe even taking extended time off if your were privileged enough to be able to do so; then, re-engaging in the world from a new vantage point, hopefully having learned something about yourself or the world. But now, it seems different.
Burn out now seems to come with this almost unspoken sense of hopelessness. That is certainly the sense that I get hearing about it from others, talking with family, talking with friends (teachers especially), listening to people far outside of my own circle on Tiktok... you name it, the underlying sense is as if we have past the point of no return on a return on our invested energy.
Whether we have past that point or whether that point even exists? I don't know. What I do know is that along with this new sense of burnout is the extinguishing of the flame that keeps lit our passion.
Burnout + extinguished passion = hopelessness
So, how do we stop this? How do we keep ourselves from having our passion extinguished? Or if it already is, how do we relight our passion? (Hell, maybe some of our pilot lights needed to get put out so we take the time to be in the space of newness and discover what is next)
First some very practical ways. Some might seem obvious, but it can often be the obvious things that work the best.
Then, the real life changing, big picture, magic-bullet-that-isn't-really-a-magic-bullet answer!
Here are a few practical ways:
**1. Remember Why You Started:** Sometimes, we lose sight of our passions because we forget why we started in the first place. Take a moment to reflect on what used to get you excited. What motivated you back then? Reconnecting with your original reasons can reignite that spark.
**2. Try Something New:** Sticking to the same routine day in and day out can be a passion killer. It's time to break free from the monotony. Explore new interests, pick up a hobby, or learn a skill you've always wanted to. New experiences can breathe life back into your passions.
**3. Stay Present:** Our weariness often comes from dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Practice mindfulness to bring your focus back to the here and now. Pay attention to the world around you, your body, and your daily experiences. Passion can be found in the little things when you're fully present.
**4. Connect with Others:** Passion is contagious. Surrounding yourself with enthusiastic people who share your interests can reignite your own fire. Join groups, attend events, or simply engage in conversations with like-minded folks. Sharing your passions with others can fuel your own enthusiasm.
**5. Set Goals:** Sometimes, we lose passion because we lack direction. Set clear and inspiring goals for yourself. What do you want to achieve? Where do you want to grow? Having tangible objectives can reignite your sense of purpose and enthusiasm.
**6. Take Care of Yourself:** Don't forget to look after yourself. Self-care isn't just about resting; it's about taking care of your body, mind, and soul. Prioritize your well-being through healthy habits, exercise, and relaxation. A well-cared-for self is more likely to be passionate about life.
Remember, it's normal to feel weary from time to time. But we don't have to stay stuck in that rut. In some cases, by taking proactive steps to reconnect with our passions, we can shake off the exhaustion and rediscover the vibrant, passionate life that's waiting for us.
The Answer You Are Probably Looking for Today
In other cases, and the answer you are probably looking for today is not a simple question prompt to make some minor changes. It is a deep, soul-searching, life altering, "what am I doing with my life" kind of exploration of yourself.
Deep breathe... here are some deep dive questions that will not only help bring you out of "the rut of right now" but they can really change your life and the world.
1. What is the one thing that is so uniquely you that if you did that thing it would change the world? Everyone has something. That adversity that you have faced in your life has uniquely qualified to you to bring something to the world. What is that thing?
Take some time with this question. Let it simmer for a while. Maybe write it down on a post-it note and hang it on your mirror, on your desk, where ever works for you. If you are not immediately clear that is ok. Spend some time on this one.
The coolest part of all of this is that it doesn't have to be huge! Sure, there will be some people woh are called to do huge things with global impacts. But most of us are called to do huge things in small ways.
2. What would your life need to look like in order to make your answer for question one a reality? Again, spend a little time mapping out this answer. There might be voices ("old tapes) telling you, "No, you can't do that. That's not you. It'll never happen." What if it could happen? What would it look like?
3. Are you willing? Is this something that you are ready to do? Does it require major changes? Are you being asked to grow in big ways? Are you ready and willing to be who this calling is asking you to be?
4. Are you able? Is this something that you are realistically able to do right now? Let's not bypass our way into some crazy life changes if we are not able to right now. Sometimes it is a process. If you are not able in this moment to uproot your life it is possible to begin drafting plans for a longer term solution. What would your need in order to be able? Would you need to acquire assistance? Do you need a partner? Is it financial assistance that is needed? Is it coaching that is needed? Is it help getting the big idea structured in a manageable way? Maybe you are looking for assistance with certain business elements of this calling.
This is not an overnight thing. Most of us don't have the luxury of painting a new picture for our lives and then POOF overnight change everything - and honestly, if you did have the ability and opportunity to do that you probably wouldn't be reading this post. So, be gentle with yourself. Take time to let these potentially new ideas settle. Let the spark re-ignite. Feel that sense of passion growing within you. Let it drive you to creating something new, bring new connections into your life, and be the greatest version of you yet.