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What Is Burnout & How To Prevent It As An Entrepreneur

This word "burnout" has almost become a buzz word in the past several years but we are diving into this topic to really understand what it is. Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Sharon Grossman, shared what it is, how to recognize it and then how to navigate burnout so that it doesn't take over your life or entrepreneurship journey.

Dr. Sharon Grossman is known as "The Burnout Doc" who helps people go from exhausted to extraordinary in 90 days. I love how clear and concise this sentence is and it's what I hope everyone can get to eventually in their business, meaning a single sentence that intrigues someone to want to know more about what you do and gives them a clear picture of it as well.

She is a burnout recovery coach, speaker, and author of the Amazon bestseller, The 7E Solution to Burnout, who is hired by Fortune 500 companies and their executives to crack the code on burnout and create custom-tailored solutions for recovery.

What Is Burnout For Entrepreneurs

While burnout shows up different for everyone, there is a general definition of what it is:

"Burnout is basically chronic stress...Stressors that show up day after day. It keeps chipping away at you day after day until there's a chunk missing and that's when you feel it." - Dr. Sharon Grossman

"Stress is our perception of the things going on around's when the demands exceed our resources." - Dr. Sharon Grossman


**This was also a podcast episode (episode #186. Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.


How To Decode Your Burnt Out

"The biggest symptom of burnout, the thing you're going to notice first is that you're exhausted." - Dr. Sharon Grossman

She then went into her findings that we can generally into one (or multiple) of these buckets in how burnout shows up for us and then how to navigate it:

The Thinker

This is the person that's in their head all the time and overthinking things. This can show up as "shoulding" yourself and thinking you have to do everything that others are talking about.

"They are doing a lot of comparisons and then feeling inadequate. They are criticizing themselves, beating themselves up, they're doing all these things that create anxiety. It might be impostor syndrome, it might be perfectionism. It's a lot of self doubt and a lot of worry about the future and they're constantly ruminating and having all this kind of negative thinking that is creating stress." - Dr. Sharon Grossman

The Thinker usually has the root belief that the world is unsafe so they overthink in a way to try and create more safety for themselves.

The Feeler

This is the person that is constantly worried about other people because they care for others.

"They are people who are so caring about other people that they don't have boundaries. They try to please everybody. They don't know how to say no, they feel so guilty when they do and when they say yes, they feel resentful. So it's kind of a lose lose, no matter what you do, you lose and they put themselves on the back burner. They don't have time to take care of themselves because they're so busy taking care of everybody else." - Dr. Sharon Grossman

The Feeler usually has the root belief that other people are more important than they are so they are looking to please others in an attempt to get recognition from others.

The Doer

This is the person who is always taking action and getting things done.

"They are just like your complete overachievers, your workaholics. The people who just focus on doing more and more and more and they're just working ridiculous hours and there may be passion, but over time you're gonna like, run yourself to the ground." - Dr. Sharon Grossman

The Doer usually has the root belief that you have to work hard in order to achieve things in life.

What To Do About Burnout

Regardless of which bucket you fit into, there is a step by step path you can take to navigating how burnout shows up for you but there's one thing you want to do before taking the steps and it's to understand how you play into this process.

While it might seem harsh to think about it this way, it's important to recognize what we're doing to contribute to the burnout we're experiencing. We will often point to external factors that are leading us to burnout, which are contributing, but we need to understand what we are doing as well.

"We're always pointing fingers out there. Our boss, our job, social media, technology. We're very clear on those but what we are not as clear on is what we are bringing to the table." - Dr. Sharon Grossman

"If it's all those things out there, you don't have any control, you are the victim because there's nothing you can do about those things out there. But if it's you that's stressing out because of your thinking about the things out there, then we can give you back the control by helping you think about it differently." - Dr. Sharon Grossman

Step 1: Recognize what is stressing you out

Everyone gets stressed out about different things so we will all have different answers to this and that's why it's important to understand what is stressing you out, not other people.

Step 2: Identify the root cause of why that stresses you out

Instead of going straight to a general solution for your stress, identifying why this is a stressor for you will help you get closer to identifying customized recovery solutions for you.

Step 3: Recognize the external factors that are playing into the stress

While we bring things to the burnout table, it's also important to know what else is going on too. For example you have a toxic work environment, you've been discriminated against, a personal health issue or something else adding to your stress.

Step 4: Take actions based on your customized solutions for stress

Based on what you learn about yourself, you then experiment and find tools for stress that work for you.

A suggestion on how to do this is to try something (ex: mid-day walk) daily for a week and see if it helps you. By creating a micro-habit you can test what works for you and build up your burnout toolbox so you have your customized recovery solution that works for you and serves you for a lifetime.

Creating Content Helped Her Discover Her Niche

If you're curious how she figured out who she wanted to work with, how to help them and then developing those offerings, the answer is that she created content. It was through writing a book that she was able to discover many of these answers but it wasn't clear at first.

"Where do you start?" - Dr. Sharon Grossman

She didn't know where to start but started anyway and through that, it led her to compiling all the tools she has as a Clinical Psychologist into her book. You don't have to write a book to get to this point but the key is that she began to create content which helped her organize her thoughts and ideas into an easier-to-understand format for her clients.

Another interesting part of her story is that as she began what she called the braindump process, she realized that burnout was what the common theme was but she didn't really know that much about that topic. But she didn't let that stop her! She immersed herself in learning so that she could then help her clients.

"I've really got to immerse myself in that so I started reading everything. Books, journal articles, research. Trying to wrap my head around what it is, what does it look like, how do we know that we're burning out." - Dr. Sharon Grossman

This actually put her in a great position because she came at the topic as a beginner and those questions she had were all the questions her clients had and would have. Because of this beginner-curiousity she was able to create content, and ultimately a book and program, that would serve her target audience.


Why Not You?

Ac Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success


Take Away Message / Action

Identify which bucket you fall into most of the time: Thinker, Feeler or Doer. While we can all fall into any bucket, there is usually one that you'll fall into the majority of the time. Once you know which bucket, start to identify what the root cause is for this belief. Based on the root cause, you can then identify how this shows up for you as an entrepreneur and then take steps to navigate burnout by building your customized recovery solution.

For example, I primarily show up as a Doer which primes me up for over-working which leads to burnout. The root cause for me absolutely has to deal with the "you have to work hard to get what you want in life" and I have to remind myself of what enough is so that I can actually stop working. From there I've identified that breaking from work is what helps me prevent burnout and this looks like scheduling things with friends, going on a walk with my husband, taking the dogs outside or putting my legs up the wall for 5 minutes. These things are hard for me to do but when I do them, it helps remind me that I don't have to work hard every minute of every day.

Find what this is for you so that you can build your recovery solution. Until next time give yourself permission to prevent burnout and grace along the way. I'll talk to you soon.

About Dr. Sharon:

Dr. Sharon Grossman is a burnout recovery coach, speaker, and author of the Amazon bestseller, The 7E Solution to Burnout, who is hired by Fortune 500 companies and their executives to crack the code on burnout and create custom-tailored solutions for recovery. If you've tried workshops and therapy and feel like nothing sticks, working with Dr. Sharon will show you how you can totally transform your relationship with your work by working on yourself instead of trying to change your job or career. She’s shared her grounded yet practical approach with numerous organizations, nonprofits, and universities. You can find her on her weekly podcast, Decode Your Burnout, and reach her on her for speaking, coaching, and consulting inquiries.

Dr. Sharon's Resources:

Get More Done with Less Screen Time with Shailla Vaidya

"Burnout is basically chronic stress...Stressors that show up day after day. It keeps chipping away at you day after day until there's a chunk missing and that's when you feel it."

- Dr. Sharon Grossman


Your Guide To Accidental Entrepreneurship

You're building a business with intention and want it to support the life you dream of so it's time to do this on your terms. You can do this by declaring your Y.O.U. Promise which is what I walk you through in my book:

Why Not You? An Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success.

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