You certainly wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn and grow that’s for sure. You need to start believing in the power within you to change how you experience the ‘bad’ things in life. In doing so, you’ll be able to deal with the downs easier instead of being consumed by them and burning out completely before you listen and finally decide to take action.
I think we should look at life’s challenges as ‘tests’ designed for you, so you can pass them and learn the lessons you are here to learn. That’s not to say that you’ll pass unscathed. Let me vouch for that. You may pass with flying colours or fail miserably but the appreciation of the lesson, the experience, is that you were able to pass it and move on in the knowing that you’ve learnt something positive from the seemingly negative experience.
The real learning comes when you become deeply aware of the lesson because you chose to listen, surrender and have faith in the knowing that you are now on the right path.
Learning to listen
Considering my life’s journey, and from the experiences I’ve had along the way, I can honestly say I didn’t listen to my Self for a very long time - (like a reeeealllly long time!). I constantly repeated the same old patterns and habits within my relationships and with life.
Good times were the foundations on which I built my professional and personal life. However, after each positive experience I knew that something would be waiting just around the corner to topple and destroy the foundations I had built.
Like a hurricane, it came in full force taking everything I’d built, ripping it to pieces, the security, the happiness and the joy tumbling down before me because this was my internal programming, this was my story.
In all this chaos, the same questions came up.
Why was I constantly feeling I had to prove myself to gain acceptance?
Why did I have to push myself to the limits? Why did I feel I was never good enough? Why did I feel so helpless, scared, fearful? Why did I feel dirty, abused and cheap? Why couldn’t I look in the mirror and love unconditionally the person that was staring back at me? Why did I punish her through constant abuse be it through alcohol, drugs, sex, self-harm, eating disorders? What induced this lack of self-respect, feelings of worthlessness and lack of self-esteem?
It was the THIRD (and final) burnout 6 years ago which caused me to sit-up and take notice that it was about time I started listening to my higher Self, to change or re-program the hard-drive (=the mind) if I was to survive this life with integrity.
Dr Dina Glouberman talks about synchronicity in her book ‘The Joy of Burnout’ (2002) which helped me realise why I had finally reached this point:
“Burnout is the state of mind, body and spirit reached by those of us who have come to the end of a particular road but haven’t acknowledged it... It can emerge out of any situation or relationship where we put our creativity in the service of our passion or heart, our belief, our identity or our belonging. And rather than being cured, it needs to be honoured and listened to.”
And listen and honour it I did!
Discovering the gems burnout
Burnout is about finally being forced to listen to your true Self. It’s about acknowledging that you need to make a different choice. Burnout is that voice telling us what your way of doing or being is no longer serving you – whether this is within your professional or personal life. It’s telling you to stop, to rethink, re-evaluate your life and find a new way forward.
Burnout is about learning new habits letting go of those that no longer serve you so that you can find true inner balance to continue shining brightly at work and at home.
I want to ask you to reflect on the following questions:
- Where are you in life and where is it your Self wants to go?
- Who is your Self destined to be?
- Have you come to the end of a particular road and aren’t acknowledging it?
- Are you listening?
Burnout happens for a reason. It’s a chance for renewal, a chance to re-ignite and re-vision your life. Pass the test, learn the lesson, and finally become the person you are destined to be.
Dina Blanco-Ioannou is a DrivenWoman Group Leader in Basel, Switzerland and a transformational speaker, coach and founder of Lessons In Self. She recently shared her story 'Burnout To Brilliance' at TEDxBasel.