Let me tell you a little story about a girl who grew up believing that one day she would do more than what was expected of her. She put all of her energy and focus on one day making a million dollars so she could buy her hard working mother a home and give her the gift of early retirement. She took the weight of her families problems onto her shoulders at a young age. Believing that it all relied on her ability to be different, to chart a new course for everyone.
All of her energy went into being everything.
Everything that was needed to be the perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect athlete, the perfect church goer, the perfect member of every club at school, the perfect employee at the local movie theater and the perfect friend.
Until one day she woke up and just couldn't do it anymore.
She could barely keep her eyes open in class because of working late nights at the theater after tennis practice. She'd wake up early in the morning so that she could get to school early and do her homework. It all worked for a while until she found herself leaving school to grab a nap in her car or walking out of AP History tests because she was unprepared. It's hard to be prepared when anytime you sit still, your eyes can't seem to stay open. She spent the last few months of her junior year of high school sleeping and crying and feeling like her life wasn't worth living.
That was my first time experiencing burnout and I've dipped my toes into less extreme versions several times since.
Through the years I've learned that basing your self-esteem on how much you can achieve is a recipe for burnout.
I've learned that. I know it in my mind, but, it's the muscle memory that may never go away. That I'll likely be facing for the rest of my life.
When faced with a decision to achieve or not to achieve it feels drastically more attractive to do more! To check more things off of my to do list. To go to more social events. To be everything that everyone could possibly want me to be.
Yet, I know that entering into that mode of being opens me up to my own eventual loss of self. So, what's the draw? Like any addiction we crave the result that we trained our brains we receive from that action.
Producing more = higher self-esteem = happy Sarajane.
What's the antidote?
A new recipe for my brain.
Alignment before action.
There's nothing inherently wrong with doing things. With enjoying the process of meeting your goals or taking your work to a new level or in a new direction. But, I've learned that taking action before allowing the idea to come into alignment is a symptom of striving for achievement vs. working toward something I believe in.
Sit with your ideas, let them marinate for a bit. Work through the fears you have around the project and when it's time for it to come to fruition, it will flow out of you.
That's the way to action that is not only happening but when it happens it has that magic combo of being inspired and effective!
Alignment = a raised operating frequency = inspired and effective work life = happy Sarajane.
Similar results, but, the experience is nourishing instead of depleting.
all the love,