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Burnout is NOT Your Fault

burnout denial guilt Apr 13, 2023

I was in denial of my own burnout for a long time.

By long, I mean it advanced slowly over multiple years, progressively getting worse each month that I told myself the stress was temporary, or that I was strong, or that I could get through anything. It took multiple health care professionals telling me my job was killing me before I realized I was experiencing burnout.

My resilience didn’t protect me, my effectiveness didn’t protect me, my advanced knowledge of human behavior didn’t protect me. My general health, positive attitude, and appreciation for life didn’t protect me.

The only life skills that will ‘protect’ someone from burnout are self-awareness, and a willingness to do something after recognizing things aren’t going well. Burnout has nothing to do with strength - physical, mental, emotional, or otherwise.

The World Health Organization recognized Burnout officially in 2019, defining it as a syndrome characterized by three components:

1)      Exhaustion

2)      Cynicism regarding work

3)      Loss of professional efficacy (a sense that you can perform your job well)

*note, these can be translated to any environment of any role that you take on in your life, professional or personal.

The WHO was careful to define burnout as a syndrome, indicating it is not a disorder or mental health condition. This is important because they recognized that burnout is a human response to certain environmental conditions.

Meaning, it is not your fault. Any normal person under the same certain conditions would be likely to burn out.

If you are in denial or feeling guilt about your ability to burn out, shed that weight. You are awesome! And you are here, part of the Work-Life Fulfillment community. The simple step of reading this email means you are one step farther from burnout and one step closer to feeling fulfilled in your success. Congratulations and Welcome! 

You can read more about burnout prevention and recovery in Life After Burnout: Reclaim, Recover, Renew available spring 2023. 


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