The next time you see them, you get a slightly different version of the same exhaustive tale. It’s almost like they are a hamster on a wheel that just keeps going around and around.
Maybe that exhausted person is you. It used to be me.
Exhaustion was a badge of honor that I wore with pride.
Now I have taken it off. That life wasn’t sustainable and it wasn’t making me happy.
Seth Godin, an American author and entrepreneur, once said “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life that you don’t need to escape from.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I look back on that old life and wonder how I did it and who it was for.
Here in France there is a growing number of people who are on “Burn-out Leave”. Technically it is medical leave, but the reality is that people are on medical leave because they are too exhausted to do their job and live their lives.
How does this happen?
- Is it a cultural phenomenon?
- Or maybe societal pressure?
- Is it about money and profits?
- Is it about striving for excellence?
- Is it about avoiding failure?
- Is it about looking good and avoiding looking bad?
- Is it about perfection?
- Is comparison part of the issue?
Lots of questions, and not a lot of answers.
I think my working, and working, and working some more was about my self-worth. I was striving to be amazing at everything because that was the only way that I could feel good about myself. I felt significant and important because of my title and my salary and because I was busy. I was proving to myself (and probably to others) that I was enough. That I was talented enough, successful enough, thin enough, athletic enough, smart enough, etc.
It took time, and a lot of work, for me to feel enough just as I am. Once I could do that, I was able to let go of exhaustion as a badge of honor.
Now it's your turn:
Are you always exhausted?
If so, for whom and for what purpose?
If you didn’t work so hard, would you/could you feel enough just as you are?
Can you “matter” on a smaller scale without being so exhausted?
Can you do important and life-changing work without being so tired all the time?
I think you can.
It might take patience and some tough mental work, but I know you can do it.
(And, if you need any help, send me an email. Your first coaching session is on me.)