Why Embracing Burnout Will Make You A Better Leader

business woman squeezing stress ball

It's time to reframe the way we think about stress.

Leadership is stressful. Being the boss is often glamorized, but those who have stepped into these shoes know the real truth. Unfortunately, you’re not calling the shots from your yacht while your employees execute the day-to-day (insert eye roll).

On the outside, it may seem like you can just hand off tasks to your employees, but in reality, running a team adds an entirely new set of responsibilities to your plate that’s already piled high.

We’ve all experienced levels of burnout. In my case, throw in single parenting two teenage boys, writing a book, and managing two companies in various parts of the country. I’m exhausted 99 percent of the time.

However, burning out is so often looked at as a negative; a sign that you’re working too hard or under too much pressure. Work-life balance has become the buzzword of the last five years. But I like to see it in a different light. Stress has taught me some pretty valuable lessons about myself and about how to be a better leader.

It’s time to reframe the way we think about stress. It can be an incredible way to motivate us to perform at our best.

Here are three ways embracing burnout can make you a better leader.

1. See it as a benefit, not a burden.

I’ve always known that if rewards come too easily, I won’t find them nearly as enjoyable. When I work hard and push myself to achieve a goal, it ultimately becomes far more valuable to me.

Take a moment to think about when you’ve experienced professional growth or a time you performed at your highest level. What was it that motivated you to learn and excel during these times? I’m guessing it inevitably involved external pressure and internal stress.

Stress reminds us that we care and are passionate about whatever it is we’re doing. Feeling burnt out can seem unbearable at the time, but when you’re looking back on something that was difficult to accomplish, you’ll likely have an entirely different view. Always remember there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

2. It can cause extraordinary efficiency.

When you react to stress, your body gives a burst of energy that enables you to be more productive and focused. I’ve sometimes found that extreme pressure can make me achieve almost ‘superhuman’ feats — who knew you could get a week’s worth of work done in just one day?

If you stop stressing about the stress, you might actually end up getting a lot more done. A healthy amount will not only help you meet those looming deadlines but also heighten your productivity, along with your team’s.

3. Stress drives success.

In today’s highly competitive work environment, some added anxiety might just make all the difference. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have that push. While some were created by others, most was something I brought on myself.

Next time you feel like you might be burning out, don’t throw your hands up in defeat. Channel that stress and let it drive you, and your team to achieve new levels of success.

 

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