The Holidays are Fuel for Burned-Out Leaders
Executives are reeling from the pressure cooker conditions created by the pandemic. The great resignation is real. In a state of burnout, many executives feel disillusioned and confused. But burning out and building yourself back up is a normal part of the cycle of perpetual renewal, according to The Hudson Institute.
Like the seasons, we move through career cycles. Sometimes you feel like you are exactly where you are supposed to be. You are living your life’s purpose and accomplishing the exact goals you set out for yourself. Your dreams have come true. You are focused, challenged and excited to do your work.
Then, something changes. Maybe it was yet another reorganization. Or, maybe you don’t have the support you need to succeed. No matter how, you feel disempowered and disenchanted. You are stuck and frustrated. Resentment rules your thinking. Your work and values are no longer aligned. It’s important not to linger in this stage and to develop an escape hatch and another route forward, transitioning gradually into another phase, called Cocooning.
With the holidays coming up, now is an ideal time for this phase where you draw inward. You begin to quietly reimagine your life and dreams. You entertain new ideas. It’s very important that you spend some extra time here before entering stage 4. Be brave and let the process unfold over the holidays if you can
Cocooning will catalyze the next phase where you are ready to be happy again. You start to experiment, taking risks and exploring, like a kid would do. You try on new ways of being, of thinking, of speaking and of dreaming. Quiet time over the holidays has the potential to ignite burned out executives.
The potential hazard is getting stuck for too long in phase 2-4. The trick to a successful and seamless renewal is being aware of the process you are going through and working through it mindfully. Like life, this process of renewal is ever changing and perfectly normal. All these steps are necessary to lead us back to Phase 1 — our dream. Eventually you will find your way, with a renewed sense of purpose. Being mindful of the stage you are in will sharpen your reaction time, so you know when to move to the next phase.