According to the World Health Organization: “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”
So, is burnout just a symptom of working too much? Is it a result of a lack of leadership or organizational support? Dealing with excessive bureaucracy? Lack of control? Poor work-life balance?
There is another important factor that contributes to burnout. It’s that the work we are doing is not aligned with our natural geniuses. You may be wondering, what does that even mean? Let’s look at it from another perspective. Historically, we’ve oversimplified the equation to be: too much work = burnout. Is it really that simple, though? Or is it more like: too much work that mentally drains us (or frustrates us) = burnout? Taking it a step further, is there an entirely separate equation that looks like: doing work aligned with our geniuses (work that leverages our natural strengths and brings us joy) = energy and fulfillment?
Think about the things that bring you joy and fulfillment. Then think about the things you dread, the ones that drain your energy… the ones that give you the Sunday Scaries. The way you FEEL after 4 hours of work that brings you joy vs the way you FEEL after 4 hours of work that drains your energy is remarkably different. Patrick Lencioni and some of his colleagues at The Table Group have likened it to a cup of hot coffee. Doing work that’s aligned with our geniuses is like serving a hot cup of coffee and covering it up with a lid; that heat can be retained for a long time. On the opposite side of the spectrum, doing work that is in our areas of frustrations is like serving hot coffee into a cup with a hole in the bottom of the cup; not only is the heat not retained, not even the coffee is retained (aka a recipe for burnout.)
Most of us have heard some version of: do work you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. If you’re like me, you’ve probably chalked it up to the people that say that being some sort of unicorn. But what if we open our mind to that possibility? What if we CAN find joy in our work? What if we can look forward to Monday instead of dreading it? What if that doesn’t mean you need to change your current job or company?
So how can we find our Working Genius? With a 10-minute and $25 investment, The Table Group’s newest assessment can unlock some real truths. The results of this assessment can immediately have an impact: better understand yourself, release guilt and judgement (of ourselves and others), better working relationships, and it can even be applied in our personal lives. I encourage you to make the investment in yourself. If you have questions on how it all works, reach out. Happy to connect and chat more about it.