“5 Must Ask Questions to Avoid Burn Out & Turn on Performance in 2015” was guest posted by Mindy Mortlock, Bay Area Business Coach. I brought her on board because, as Mindy notes, burn out happens to everyone. I want you to start 2015 ready to go and confident that you can handle anything.

Thank you, Mindy, for your great work!

You Are Not Alone: Everyone is at Risk for Burn Out

As an entrepreneur, it takes discipline to take a break. There is always email to check, a website to update, social media to keep up, and new networking avenues to explore. Before you know it, you haven’t had a day off in two weeks. Too many of those add up, and you wind up in burn out. It happens to all of us at some point in our careers.

Finding oneself in burn out is a double stressor: you don’t feel well, and you cannot attend to your business with confidence. It usually takes some guidance beyond ourselves to right our sinking ship.

Common Signs of Burn Out

Here are some of the signs to watch out for:

  • Short temper
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Overwhelm

Having gone through two major burn out episodes, I reflected on what worked to re-establish a healthy relationship with work and time.

5 Burn Out Beating Questions

These five questions helped me trace why I burned out AND gave me the necessary answers to regain balance. I hope they’ll help you, too.

1. How Can I Go About Things In My Own Way?

“My way” of doing business was determined through hiring a coach 10 years ago to help get me started. We did a thorough analysis of correlating factors between my activities and getting clients. Surprisingly, 80% of those correlating factors had nothing to do with marketing. The 80% boiled down to self-care, having fun, and staying abreast of current trends. The remaining 20% came from building relationships in face-to-face settings.

Everybody’s “way” is unique to them. I hope that sharing mine sparks an inner reminder in you to remember what the Beastie Boys said, “Be true to yourself, and you will never fall.”

2. What Kind of Self-Care Do I Need to Do?

I had a client who was the Executive Director of a San Francisco non-profit. She was fairly new to the position and was in the middle of multiple large-scale organizational changes. The organization was almost out of money; she needed to hire a new board. Amidst all this, she received divorce papers from her partner of 20 years.

She took a step back and asked herself this question. She gave herself time to grieve and spent resources on additional professional help. Within a couple of months of taking a step back, she had exceeded her year-end goal of fundraising!

3. What Kind of Mentorship/Knowledge Am I Missing?

My practice was in a place of rapid expansion in early 2014, and I found myself unable to keep up with it all. I began doing things from a “should” place rather than “my way.” It was a cue to review this list of questions.

I realized I had never invested in learning time management, so I took a short course with a time management coach and got the knowledge I needed to handle my business expansion.

4. Where Am I Giving Away My Power?

I worked with a client who wrote the script of a musical that shows promise of going to Broadway. She has received awards for her previous books. Her network was strong and supportive, yet the musical wasn’t generating adequate financial rewards.

We reviewed this question, and she realized that she had a hidden belief that artists are poor and that they live on the outskirts of society. Through overturning these beliefs (thus taking back her power), her network availed themselves to her more strongly than before, and she took additional artwork commissions at a price that reflected her new sense of worth.

5. What Boundaries Do I Need to Set?

I had a client who was the CEO of a demanding tech start-up company. He was overworked, and invested in a short session with me to find out where he was losing money and time. The unexpected result of the session was that he realized that one of the core USPs of his company was about having fun. And that he hadn’t been having much fun at all.

I heard back from him a couple of months later, and he had set a boundary after our session, agreeing with himself to have fun every day. He got himself a slick new bike, went camping, and came back and landed quadruple the amount of funding than he had in the entire previous year.

The Take Home?

In 2015, don’t be afraid to give yourself some tough love. If you’re feeling like pulling the covers over your head, whip out your journal, brew up a cup of tea, and ask yourself these questions. Beat burnout!

Happy New Year!

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