Cause & Effect of Burnout

The first element is the cause of the burnout. For business owners, I often refer to this as the crisis causing the burnout. But here’s where the second element comes in – the personal effect that crisis has on YOU, the business owner. The symptoms of the burnout that you experience.

So you have the crisis for the business causing the burnout, but you also have the personal impact on YOU. What I’ve found is that we often don’t separate these things when we talk about them, so WE – the business owners – start to identify as the source of the burnout.

What We Say About Burnout Matters

For example, a business owner will often say, “I’m exhausted and it’s causing a major problem in my business.” That statement is a little off – it’s saying the symptoms are causing the business crisis (instead of the other way around). It sounds like the business owner is blaming themselves for the problems at work. When in reality, the statement should probably be more like, “I have this major problem in my business, I’m exhausted because of it, and I think I’m burned out.”

Can you hear how that is different? Instead of saying, “I’m experiencing a symptom and it’s causing a major problem in my business,” the business owner says, “I have this major problem in my business, it’s exhausting to deal with, and I’m now burned out.”

Naming Burnout for Business Owners

The second statement gives BURNOUT an actual name – an acknowledgement. It also doesn’t sound like the business owner is blaming their symptoms (or themselves) for the major problem in business. This is an important distinction to make when dealing with burnout as a business owner.

I think somewhere along the way, the cause and effect of burnout for business owners has gotten reversed. Instead of recognizing a crisis in the business as the source of the burnout symptoms, we often hear business owners talk about their symptoms as the reason the crisis happened in the first place.

Caveat About Burnout for Business Owners

Now, there are times where a medical diagnosis could indeed be the crisis. For a business owner, that might sound like, “I’m dealing with this medical diagnosis, I don’t have the emotional resources I need right now to show up as a leader. I get irritable with my workforce too quickly. I’m just burned out.”

And I will admit that sometimes the business owner can be the cause of the burnout in other scenarios – but that’s rarely the case.

The sequence of events is usually cause, or the crisis; then then the effects, or the symptoms; and then burnout.

Sharing Burnout with Team

When it comes to burnout, I want business owners to drop the guilt about it, stop blaming themselves for it, and also have resources to address it.

Also I would highly recommend you sharing this idea with your employees and staff, as well. Giving people language to talk about things like this is one of the most powerful leadership tools you can offer. Make it ok for you and for your staff to say, “This stressful thing happened, I’m overwhelmed now, and I’m experiencing some burn out.” If your team feels like they can bring their burnout to you, that it’s a safe space to do so – you’ll have a happier, more loyal workforce in the long run (as long as you do something to help them address their own burnout).

If you’d like to discuss this further, please check out my VIP consulting plan – short-term help that creates a long-term solution. My key employee coaching may also be of interest. I’m also an engaging public speaker on this topic and may be a good fit for your next event. As always, please feel free to contact me at any time!

Written by : Julie

Julie Bee is the founder of this business consulting practice, a professional speaker, a leader of leaders, a podcast host, and an entrepreneur. Julie helps business owners work through their VIPs - their Very Important Problems and Very Important Possibilities.

She’s the host of They Don’t Teach This In Business School, a podcast that shares lessons learned on the business ownership journey.

She’s a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program (10ksb) and a proud alumnus of West Virginia University. Julie has been quoted and featured in FastCompany, Forbes, Thrive Global, and many more publications.

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