An investment banker came to see me because he was tired and feeling depleted. For many years, he had been working long hours, traveling well over a hundred days a year, and rarely ever felt appreciated. In fact, the only thing he looked forward to at work was his bonus, which gratified him only briefly now. You may not be an investment banker but this story may still sound familiar. Many of us are working long hours and feel under-appreciated. Some of us don’t feel appreciated at all. I am also coaching an elementary school teacher who feels this way. He doesn’t have the hours a banker does, and yet he still works pretty hard. He too is often tired, frustrated and fatigued without the compensation to look forward too.
The essence of what we are discussing is Burnout and if we don’t do something about Burnout, it will eventually do something to us. Anxiety and depression are common side affects of Burnout. Both these guys have experienced significant anxiety and depression over the past several years. As I have said before, many people turn to medication in situations like this.
Antidepressants, though helpful at times, are toxic to the body. Instead of tackling the underlying cause of Burnout, medications often mask the problem. In addition, some people self-medicate though alcohol, drugs, and over-the-counter medications. Affairs, excessive shopping, internet addictions and a host of other distractions are common as well. The core issue, however, is often avoidance and stagnation. Boredom, fatigue and depression are consequences of not addressing the issue directly.
The solution is to do something about the stagnation. As we have addressed before, avoidance never works. We must decide to either change our situation, change our attitude toward our situation, or a combination of the two. Sometimes, we may not be able to change our situation for a period of time, like the divorcee who must pay 40% of his gross salary to his or her spouse for the next 10 years. However, when we make the powerful decision that no matter what we will take action to address the route cause of our suffering, we often set in motion events that will end the sense of stagnation that so many of us feel.
Next, we must commit to action. If we don’t take consistent action resignation will set it. Resignation will eventually lead to depression. Some of you might say, “I’ve tried so many things already and none of them have worked.” My answer is to seek outside guidance because it’s possible that what you are doing is misguided. If you have tried that as well, then try someone else. A core aspect of my coaching in life is to never ever give up. Never! This is fundamental. Those who give up always fail. Those who take action, learn from their mistakes and take action again eventually succeed. Success is inevitable when we are determined enough, have done our homework, and have developed a Bang-Up attitude.