I have been thinking a lot about burnout lately and what is happening throughout many early stage teams and companies. This feeling is common for many, and its usually only after the fact that people realize they were “burnt out” and need a break.
Sometimes this break can come in the form of time off or a vacation, while other times it means leaving the role completely. In my capacity as a fractional COO and a coach I see this all the time. The good news is that you are not alone, and the bad news is that nobody should feel this way.
The best description I have ever heard of burnout is “lack of control”. This means that you can actually be experiencing burnout without working 80 to 100 hour work weeks, but from a whiplash that happens without having control. You can even experience burnout working 40 hours a week (or 20!). Its not about the time worked its about the control you have.
So what does it mean to have burnin? It is the exact opposite of burnout.
So, what is the opposite of burnout? It’s a state that I like to call “burnin”. Burnin is that flow state that you get into when you are working somewhere and things are going well. You have the right balance and flow to get things done. You are in harmony with your team, and you have a clear objective and answers to the classic 1:1 meeting problems. You know what you are supposed to be doing. You know what your manager is doing. You know what your company is doing. To have this awareness, and be in this state of confidence and positive workflow is burnin.
As an investor with a keen eye for early stage companies and founders, I have seen the effects of burnout and its impact on teams and businesses. Burnout is a feeling that is all too familiar for many, and it can manifest in a number of ways, such as exhaustion, cynicism, or a feeling of being overwhelmed. It’s usually only after the fact that people realize they were “burnt out” and need a break. Sometimes this break can come in the form of time off or a vacation, while other times it means leaving the role completely.
The concept of burnin is about being in control of your work and feeling a sense of ownership and purpose. When you have this sense of control, you are more likely to be engaged and motivated, and less likely to experience burnout. Burnin is not just a state of mind; it’s a way of working that can be fostered and encouraged within a company.
To achieve burnin, it’s important to have clear objectives and expectations. This means having a clear understanding of what you are responsible for, and what is expected of you. It also means having a clear understanding of what your team is responsible for, and how your work fits into the broader objectives of the company.
This means having open and honest conversations with your manager, your team, and your colleagues. It means being transparent about your workload, your schedule, and your priorities. It also means being willing to ask for help when you need it, and being willing to offer help when others need it.
Finally, it’s important to have a culture of trust and support within a company. This means creating an environment where people feel comfortable sharing their concerns, and where they feel supported in their work. It means recognizing the value of work-life balance, and taking steps to ensure that employees have the time and resources they need to recharge and rejuvenate. As an investor, I look for companies and founders that embody this spirit of burnin, and I believe that those are the companies that will succeed in the long run.
By fostering a sense of control, purpose, and engagement within a company, we can create a culture where people thrive, and where burnout becomes a thing of the past.