On paper, you “made it.” You work hard but have started to feel like it’s getting tougher and tougher to do the work. Where did your excitement go? You remember looking forward to what you were building, but now you can’t even see it. Why do you no longer feel like you are working towards something? What is the point of your sacrifice – the missed time with family? The time with friends cut short? The long days? The nights without enough sleep? You used to work with a purpose. You used to care, but now you are just getting through. You once felt like you were thriving, but now you are just surviving. What is going on?
High achievers, especially lawyers and executives, are very vulnerable to burnout. Burnout usually occurs when an individual experiences a high level of stress for an extended period of time. High achievers are particularly vulnerable to burnout because they tend to be attracted to careers that foster high stress environments with demanding work hours and high output expectations. They are also especially vulnerable to burnout because of the typical his achiever mentality of “fake it till you make it” – meaning that high achievers are going to suffer and sacrifice, usually in silence, for the sake of their work.
The signs of Burnout are often dismissed by high achievers as symptoms of a busy work life. While often correlated with a busy work life, these symptoms do not have to be and should not be the norm. Unfortunately, if left unaddressed, burnout significantly impairs your health and your ability to pursue your professional ambitions. You do not have to accept the status quo.