Burnout is real. A few years back when I was getting heavily into the Salesforce ecosystem, I had someone I chatted with frequently on Twitter. He talked to me about burnout and gave me a fair warning on all of the “things” I was doing, and planning on doing. I didn’t see me burning out because I was so excited to be doing something I loved. Well, as you’ll read, even the brightest candle will burn down at some point.
May 2018 was the last time I wrote in this blog. I guess I could just make the excuse that I didn’t have the time. The truth is, I really didn’t have the time. The 2nd quarter of 2018 up until today (August 2019) has felt like an eternity. In that timespan my wife and I had our second child, bought and renovated our first home from ceiling to sub-floor, our dog passed away, I changed jobs, my Salesforce Saturday became an official user group, and so much more.
While I was up to my ass in alligators as some say, I kept trying to do the things I had always done before. While working on our new home (sometimes until midnight/1am), I worked too hard on my career, kept up appearances at various community groups, wrote in a blog(lots of started and stopped posts that never saw the light of day), mentored people, tried to be a good father, good husband, good community leader, etc.
When you get stressed out, most people take a vacation. Me? I just blamed my job and worked harder because I felt like I had to. Why? No one was pushing me but me. I thought the answer was to find a new job, that this phantom boss was up my rear end trying to make me meet unattainable goals. So I quit, and went to another job thinking the new role would do me good, that i’d be “out of the spotlight” and no longer in a major role in a consulting practice, but just another cog in the machine instead.
Sure, it helped. I took a few weeks off between jobs and found a million ways to keep busy.
But wait, wasn’t I on vacation?
Then came my real “vacation”, going to the New Jersey shore for a week. Relaxing, right? No one can go on vacation with small kids, right? Wrong! I enjoyed vacation with the family for the week, but at night, still found myself checking work Slack, checking emails, did I miss something on Twitter? I wonder if there’s any great lightning deals at Amazon?
July 4th, 2019 : Meltdown
Yup. Meltdown. Total Chernobyl style meltdown. As a side note, I watched the Chernobyl series on HBO and highly recommend it.
Saving the story of what triggered the whole meltdown, I had a realization. When I needed someone to talk to, I could have picked up the phone and called one of my close connections in the ecosystem, until I realized that contact was someone I met through work hundreds of miles away.
I scrolled through my phone. For every 1 personal app, I had 3 work related ones. My calendar was full of work related events. I looked through my recent pictures and they were all Salesforce events. The pictures I took at Salesforce events outweighed the number of pictures I had with my close personal friends and family. I was shocked and disgusted at myself.
What I realized is that I had allowed my work to consume my life. While my involvement in the Salesforce ecosystem and community opened a lot of doors for me and I was able to help put a lot of folks on a great path, it was time to take a breather. It was time to reposition, refocus, and refresh
Sometimes, you need to remove the drug and kill the addiction before you make a full recovery.
Living Intentionally : today & beyond
After I was able to come to grips with how I subconsciously allowed my work to totally consume my life, I committed to live much more intentionally than I had prior.
Just doing small things have made such an impact thus far. Removing social media from my phone, giving up leadership of my community group, cancelling all of my certification tests for the future, removing a ton of bookmarks from my browser, unsubscribing from dozens of various blogs and emails, shutting down my cell phone at night, and on and on. The only work related events I am doing are things I committed to months ago, primarily speaking engagements, but i’ve planned no more. Most importantly, I set a very clear boundary that I will only work on professional development during the day and only if it applies to my current job. No more midnight learning, certifications that will stress me out, e tc.
Since i’ve started the refocusing, i’ve read a LOT more books totally unrelated to my work (lots of historical books, historical fiction and finance), i’ve got more involved in my lodge, spent more time with my family and kids, and just found ways to not keep myself busy.
And ya know what? Nothing blew up. The world didn’t end. I know a few folks are disappointed I wont be around as much as I was, but I think in the long run its for the best. It’s time to let others that my generation(class?) have mentored take the spotlight.
A few years back (2017?) I found a great documentary about Minimalism that helped dramatically change my life for the better. This year, I found myself being challenged and straying off that path. By “decluttering” my life once again and remembering whats truly important, it’s helped me be more intentional and slightly more at peace.