“You can do it all!” “Multi-task!” “Push yourself to the limit!” “You can sleep when you’re dead!”
A lot of phrases that we hear in the 21st century. These ideas of always being on the go, go, go. Push yourself to the extreme at all costs: sleep, friends, family, health. It will all be worth it.
The truth is, though there may be good intentions behind these phrases, they are not healthy and they are not right.
The result of continual pushing and driving our engines in the red is burnout. And when we hit burnout, there’s a lot to clean up afterwards.
It’s hard to resist, we have major figures in the world that seem to be able to do it all. J.J. Abrams and James Franco are two people in the entertainment industry that come to mind. They seem to be able to do it all: directing, writing, producing, acting.
But I also know that I can’t compare the messy back stage of my life to someone else’s front stage. I have no idea what their personal lives are like. I have no idea what people or teams they have in place that handle all of their work or issues so they can be involved in so many different projects. And I certainly don’t have personal insight into the struggles that they have to endure on a daily basis.
Working until you burnout is not heroic or admirable. It’s dangerous. I know beacuse I’ve done it many times in the past and still struggle with it today.
I think that I used to do it for flawed reasons. “Look how busy I am, how could I possibly take on more work” The other flawed reason was hoping that someone would say “Wow, you’re so busy Kevin, let me give you a break, you deserve it”
It backfired in my life because people always saw me as “the go to man”. “Kevin will handle it”
What it lead to was a major burnout and a real low period in my life.
I had to fight back, because I allowed it. I had set the parameters of the game and it just wasn’t fair.
The path to hell is paved with many good intentions. I encourage you today that if you are in a cycle of burnout, burning the candle at both ends, to take a step back and re-evaluate. That flame will burn bright, but it will extinguish twice as fast. We need you to burn so that others can see in the darkness.