Every once in a while, I dive deep into vulnerability with an episode about something I’ve been experiencing. Why? Not because I want to! UGH. When I do, it’s actually incredibly uncomfortable.
But I do it because I can relate to so many of you and what you might experience. I do it because I’m HUMAN, too. I do it because if these episodes will help at least one of you, then that alone is worth it.
I was in a vicious cycle for about four months at the end of 2022. Yep, four grueling months! I don’t think anyone other than my husband really recognized it, not even my besties.
And then, I hit burnout.
What is Burnout?
WebMD states, “burnout is a form of exhaustion caused by constantly feeling swamped. It’s a result of excessive and prolonged emotional, physical, and mental stress. In many cases, burnout is related to one’s job.
Burnout happens when you’re overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to keep up with life’s incessant demands.”
The River of Misery
On the surface, yes, I hit burnout. But emotionally, I was in the middle of the river of misery. I’m unsure who coined that phrase, but I often hear it in the coaching industry.
The river of misery is the difficulty and turmoil we experience when we’re going through change.
Maybe you are in a vicious cycle, too. Let’s look at how we can get over burnout and out of the river of misery.
The Thoughts That Led Me to Burnout
In terms of business, 2022 was my best year yet.
Unfortunately, my brain and thoughts couldn’t reconcile this—and I certainly wasn’t celebrating! Instead, I was returning to some old programmed thinking and bad habits. For example…
My Money Mindset
My thoughts were saying, “Oh, you’re making more money? You have to work more!”
Even though I don’t teach this (heck, I teach retailers to work LESS and profit MORE!) and I have evidence that I don’t need to work more hours to make more money, I found my brain going back to that patterned thought.
My brain was also telling me that I couldn’t just relax and that relaxing wasn’t fair to others. As a result, I was filling my days with stuff, to-do’s, calls, teaching, and work.
“Who do you think you are? You can’t be an authority. You can’t possibly become the person you WANT to be.”
“You HAVE to do ‘X Y Z’ because you have to please other people’s thinking.” I’ll share more on this one in the future, but suffice it to say that this was a very unhelpful thought.
For those that know me well, you know that these thoughts are very unlike me. These thoughts put me in a really uncomfortable place, but they were popping up because I was working toward who I wanted to be.
I had too much on my plate, and I kept ADDING to my plate. I felt out of alignment, and on top of all this, I had team members who were also experiencing “seasons” in life and/or business. Q4 was a STRUGGLE.
Going Back to Old Ways of Thinking
I spent January decompressing, slowing down, being more intentional with my thinking, and getting coached.
Most of ya’ll know the tagline for Savvy Shopkeeper is “work less, profit more, and grow.” I am GOOD, like really GOOD, at this! So why was it all crumbling?
It all came down to my thinking. I reverted to programmed thinking and old habits. And this happens to all of us at one point or another.
In Master Shopkeepers, I often talk about “doing the work,” as in the mental and mindset work. However, it’s not a one-and-done process. It’s ONGOING. If you don’t pay attention, the old thoughts and habits will creep back in.
And that’s exactly what happened to me.
I have spent the past 4-6 weeks realigning myself. Through many tears, a lot of confusion, and time spent journaling, I realized that I am creating the life I always wanted and can make it EVEN BETTER.
My primitive brain was saying, “no, no, no—protect yourself! It’s too scary ahead. Go back to what’s ‘comfortable.’” Ironically, now that I’ve changed my thinking, being in my old ways is incredibly uncomfortable.
All of those old thoughts and patterns were why I was so miserable. The new me was living like the old me. Talk about an AHA moment!
I am shedding the old me, whether part of my brain likes it or not. The new me sees an even better version of me ahead, and I am NOT giving that up. I am WINNING this game, so my old thoughts and the “old me” better get out of the way.
How I Got Back Into Alignment After Burning Out
So, how did I get back into alignment? Four things helped me.
I had to SLOW DOWN so I could pause and process what was actually going on. Feeling miserable is no fun for my family or me. Sorry boys!
Through coaching, I understood what was happening and what I was doing to myself.
Through journaling, I returned to my original goals to work less, profit more, and grow.
I could see that hustle mode did NOT serve me. It exhausts me. And hustle mode has the potential to stifle the direction I’m heading in.
After doing lots of journaling, I could see that I have the ability to make a BIG impact in this industry.
I worked on a plan for 2023. I wrote down, in detail, about FUTURE ME.
It’s simple. So, so simple. I don’t need to overcomplicate things, I don’t need to overwork myself. This will mean setting more boundaries, with myself and others, particularly in Q4.
This means I will listen to and HONOR my intuition, which often gets suppressed.
Discomfort Now is How I Support Future Me
One thing I am learning to embrace is that I will continue to create new iterations of myself, which is more than okay! This means I will constantly be uncomfortable, and this is also okay.
However, moving forward, the key will be working through the discomfort without burning myself out.
When I teach my vision board workshop, I emphasize to attendees that I want them to focus on the future version of themselves and who they want to become. Yes, we can have “things” on our boards—for example, one of my first vision boards had a new laundry room and redecorated primary bedroom!
The funny thing is, you don’t realize that those “things” are on your mind because of how you want them to make you FEEL. A new laundry room will help me feel organized, and a newly decorated primary bedroom will help me feel relaxed and calm.
When I think about the future me, she is NOT overworked or overwhelmed. She is paid for the value she puts out in the world, and she is constantly growing so she can give back to everyone around her. But I can’t do this if I’m depleted.
If You’re Burnt Out, You Don’t Have to Stay That Way
All this to say, I am happy to be back. I am happy to feel aligned again.
When you’re in the “river of misery” it SUCKS. So, so badly.
But you don’t have to stay there!! You don’t have to let those old habits stay—you have the POWER to kick those SOBs to the curb!
I saw a quote recently that read, “When things seem to be falling apart, they are actually falling into place.” I’m incredibly grateful to be on the other side.
- Learn more about Master Shopkeepers, the territory-protected retail training mastermind and coaching program for independent brick-and-mortar retailers
- [02:07] What is Burnout?
- [04:06] The Thoughts That Led Me to Burnout
- [06:39] Going Back to Old Ways of Thinking
- [10:52] How I Got Back Into Alignment
- [16:35] Discomfort Now is How I Support Future Me
- [18:10] If You’re Burnt Out, You Don’t Have to Stay That Way