My first 10 years in business were fueled with 80-hour weeks, a TON of education and travel, a new marriage, a new home, and a new baby. And after a period of time I just flat got tired and wore out. In fact, I completely flamed out.
I hated everything about my business. And, in fact, I hated it so badly, and, was so tired of doing what I was doing, I sold the company. Even though I did quite well on the sale, through a series of fortuitous events and odd “business” interventions, I find myself doing what I once loved, but over that 10-year period, grew to hate.
I’ve talked to dentists, perhaps just like you, in that same boat. Burned out. Fried. Over-worked, and, unlike me at the time of my eventual burnout, grossly underpaid and under-appreciated.
That’s just a crappy place to be. And, worse, it’s a dead-end.
It’s no fun. It eats at you. And, worse, everyone KNOWS you’re miserable and you need to do something about it, except you.
By the time we realize where we are at mentally, it’s often too late and we’ve self-destructed and ruined what we’ve worked hard to create.
How to Recognize Your Problem
Symptoms of burnout often include physical and/or emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment(!), and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.*
If you’ve been told you exhibit any or all of those symptoms, don’t try to be a super-hero and go it alone. GET help. TALK to someone. A professional. A best friend. A spouse. (My wife is my hero, guardian, best friend and intuitive, all rolled into one – I’ve tried to handle life without “worrying” her but it has, every time, ended badly. Now, she’s the first person I talk to about stress.)
How to AVOID Burnout
Variety is the spice of life. I could stop with that sentence and you’d see at the very least, a 50% reduction in the feelings that lead to eventual burnout. Without variety, we quickly lose the passion and energy and stamina required to run our businesses.
Here are a few ways I have learned to better deal with the desire and self-sabotaging habit to overwork myself:
- I schedule regular vacations. My family (or just wife) and I take one 3-day mini vacation every month. Once a quarter, I take a 4 to 5 day vacation. Two to three times a year, I take a 7 to 10 day vacation. (In summer, I go to Alaska and hang out around the northwest and in the winter, I go to Mexico for sunshine and then somewhere to ski.) Incidentally, the best time to schedule a vacation is when you’re on one!
- I wake up early and try to get done with work early in the afternoon. When the need arises, I work late, but I don’t make it a habit. I try to limit late workdays to once or twice per week and never more. I wake up at 5am in the summer and 6am in the winter.
- I read. A lot. I read a book a week. Sometimes more. I also write. If you’re not a writer, now’s a great time to start. Write just 1 page a day. For now, just write about your thoughts and experiences. Later, you can add other subjects.
- When I work, I work hard. When I play, I’m all in.
- Balance. I watch TV a bit. Not too much. There are 2 or 3 shows I enjoy. Otherwise, I occasionally catch the news and that’s it. I despise most junk that’s on TV these days.
- I immerse myself in and listen to positive, inspirational audios that carry me through the ugly times.
- And, I exercise. Daily. Body weight squats, pushups, and walking (rigorous, 30-minute walks up and down steep hills at my home).
I want to spend a minute on the last 2 points.
Please READ ON…this is very important:
You see, just like you, I have bad days. I ain’t perfect. However…I have discovered, through spending a lot of time being miserable, unhappy and ineffective, that one of the fastest ways to get OUT of those incredibly damaging “states,” if you will, is to: exercise (creating movement stimulates your brain, fires up the endorphin release and much more) and to immerse myself, when by myself, in positive, influential, uplifting, mind-expanding messages (from folks like John C. Maxwell, Mark Victor Hansen and the like).
Doing BOTH does two things: It re-starts the creative process. It CANCELS out the negatives. Why? Your mind cannot multi-task. So, if you occupy it with positive messages and working ON positive instead of negative, you’ll immediately feel better, perform better and be far better off.
What’s more, after doing this for 21 days, your mind will re-program and spend less time on negative and more time on positive.
When you immerse yourself in positive messages that remove you from damaging thoughts and educate and expand your mind to new, positive thoughts and opportunities, you GROW. You leave the “crap” behind.
ACTION STEP: If you’re searching for new ways to grow, expand your mind and delete the ugly thoughts from your mind, I’d encourage you to check out Dentistry Confidential™. It’s a monthly mini business dental seminar designed to expose you to insider secrets to business success as well as outside-dental-industry experts that can flat-out change the way you look at your practice forever for less than 34 cents a day.
About The Author… Jerry A. Jones is the CEO of Jerry Jones Direct (JJD), an over two-decade old marketing and advertising firm whose clients include Dentists and Financial Services Advisors in the US, Canada, Australia and England. He’s a widely-published author of several books and thought leader, writing opinion papers and articles for a variety of publications. Jerry also publishes five different newsletters and two magazines every month, leads dental mastermind sessions, and creates marketing and advertising campaigns for his private client Financial Advisors, Dentists and ClearPath Society® Members. He is also the Founder & CEO of Wellness Springs Dental® in Salem, Oregon, which includes an incredible group of four Doctors and an amazing team. Wellness Springs Dental® will be offering national dental office franchises in 2014. Info @ www.WellnessSpringsDental.com. More information on Jerry can be found at www.JerryJonesDirect.com, www.ClearPathSociety.com or www.DentistryConfidential.net.