Flipping the Burnout Script.

I know you know what burnout is. I’m guessing you’ve probably felt it. I have.

Here’s one general formula for how it happens:

  1. Find the opportunity that somebody will pay me the most money to do.
  2. Get good at doing that thing.
  3. If possible, find a way to love the work, to bring our passions into the office, or to live out our “real” lives outside those hours we spend at work.

I’m painting with very broad strokes, obviously. But you get the gist. Chances are you also know that experience. I don’t care if you’re a surgeon or a social worker, within our little chosen spheres, this pattern tends to play out.

Unless you’re one of the few to know this pattern and also absolutely love what you’re doing, this a surefire path to burnout.

What happens if we were to flip that script though?

  1. Pursue your “real” life today, noticing the things you do joyfully without somebody paying you to do them.
  2. Get good at those things by doing them. A lot.

The #3 here isn’t that then somebody will pay you the most money to do those things that you do because you love doing them. It’s possible, but if you’re someone like me, chances are that doing the things that I love doing won’t ever pay as well as becoming a partner at a law firm doing corporate defense litigation. But that’s not the point when you flip that script.

That script puts making dollars as, if not the #1 priority, the #1A priority. To flip that script means to instead prioritize the pursuit of a career less likely to suck your spirit. What happens if you focus on doing things you do because they make you feel alive?

You’re probably not maximizing income potential in this scenario (at least not for a long time), you’re doing something you love that you’re also better at than most people, and that means you’re creating value. People pay money for valuable things.

And you can also learn about how much money equals enough money for you and your family.

Do they pay enough money for the thing of value you can make or do for you to not end up on the street?

I don’t know.

But I believe that, for many of us, finding out is worth the risk.

 

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