Wherever you are in the cycle of burnout right now, I hope that the steps I’m sharing today provide a sense of direction and inspire hope that you can once again feel vital, alive and lit up by life.
Today we’re getting into the second half of the six steps. These are the real deal inner work you have to do if you don’t want to spend the rest of your life feeling burnt out. If you didn’t catch the previous post in this series, here’re the first three steps:
Without further ado, let’s get into the rest of the six steps.
Step 4: Worthiness no matter what
Full-disclosure: Separating our self-worth from our productivity is real hard, especially for high-achievers. Lemme tell you why. Most of us are trained from birth that how much love, support, and praise we get is conditional on how well we achieve and perform. Our school systems, our parenting strategies and our performance review systems reinforce the myth that your worth as a human being is correlated to how much you achieve.
But let me tell you something, your self-worth is not conditional on ANYTHING. You are worthy of love, of respect, of belonging no matter how hard you fail, no matter how big you mess up. Worthiness is like this deep well that can never be sullied by anything we do or don’t do in the world.
Our entire society of pull yourself up by the bootstraps you can achieve anything if you try hard enough hustler work hard, play harder culture sets us all up to work our asses off to keep proving ourselves, burning out, recovering and then do the whole damn thing all over again.
In corporations, we get a hit of praise in our 1:1s and our performance review meetings whenever we do good work, assuaging our fears and doubts that we’re somehow unworthy and flawed human beings. We keep working harder and harder to get that next hit, keeping us dependent on external validation to feel good about ourselves. The whole system is rigged for burnout.
Once you learn to separate your worth from your achievement and productivity, you’re free to produce, achieve and perform without putting your worth on the line. You’re free to take bigger risks and try new things, because you know that you’ll always be good enough, no matter what.
Step 5: Source your own energy
When we’re burned out, we’re running on empty with no gas in sight. Energy is our gas. It’s what makes us feel alive and vital. It can be incredibly empowering to learn that you can source your own energy whenever you need it.
Although conventional Western Medicine approaches acknowledge that energy exists, like by the use of an EKG machine to measure heart function, we still tend to ignore the role of energy in our health and well-being and focus on our physical and, if we’re lucky, our mental and emotional health.
As Einstein taught us, energy is matter. Even though our bodies and the objects around us feel solid, they’re actually not. We are all made of vibrating particles. And as the lineages of Yogis and Tantrikas have taught us, the breath is our connection to energy. We can use the breath to source our own energy to feel vibrant and alive.
What makes you feel alive? What gives you energy? Whether it’s a conscious breathwork practice, yoga class or a living room dance party, start to notice how you can shift how you feel and build your own energy. This is a crucial step towards taking radical responsibility for your life.
Step 6: Take radical responsibility
You’ve made it to the sixth and final step. Take a breath and let what you’ve read sink in. If you read my post Why Burnout Hits Women Hardest, you know that I fully advocate for waking up to the systemic and cultural forces contributing to burnout, but I don’t want you to get stuck here, blaming your problems on something outside of you.
So want does taking radical responsibility mean?
It means committing to yourself and to a greater vision for what’s possible in our lives and in the world. It’s showing up again and again with dedicated action in service of that vision. Instead of just focusing on preventing or recovering burnout, it’s getting clear on what you stand for. What inspires, excites you and gives you a sense of purpose in your life?
Journal Prompt: What would it look like for you to take radical responsibility for your life?
There you have it — the sixth and final step! As you let this roadmap settle in, take some time to reflect and journal on how you're doing right now with these steps and a couple concrete things you can do to make a shift.