28 Jan I Never Thought I’d Say This…
Can I be honest? January was tough for me.
I’ve spent the last 3 years working as hard as I can to make Gamerosity a real, tangible, meaningful thing. I hustled through late nights, long road trips, and lots of euphemisms involving blood, sweat, and tears… I believe in Gamerosity more than anything I’ve ever done in my life. It’s my life’s purpose, my heart’s joy, the purpose in the pain.
But, for the first time in 3 years, I got burnt out.
Running my own business, rehabbing my knee, raising a family, figuring out our finances, and growing/maintaining the non-profit finally wore me out and I found myself struggling to continue the momentum for a couple weeks there.
My Board knew it too… they saw it when they looked into my eyes. Nothing was ever mentioned, but they knew I finally hit that wall everyone’s been talking about. The reality is, the “grind” of Gamerosity isn’t something I can pass off because nothing is really automated and I can’t just have anybody update pages because they’d receive the keys to a website that hosts hundreds of sales and facilitates over 200 campaigns, there’s too much at stake.
See, I believe in “Love Recklessly” as a philosophy. I don’t agree with the idea of being analytical in how you serve or love others. That’s not necessarily healthy, but it’s how I operate; it’s who I am. Consequences, however, can be pretty tough.
But I learned a couple things through this.
1. We don’t always need help, but we always need support
Not everyone can do your job, especially if you have a specialized position as I have with Gamerosity. But you do need a support system. You need people that understand how you operate, people who will talk about something other than what’s burning you out, and people who will encourage you through the process.
2. Fatigue doesn’t mean Failure
This may be tough for people who fancy themselves “strong” in the business or personal world. Don’t deny that you’re burnt out, it’ll only compound the issues, admit it. Be open about your humanity and embrace the process. You’re exhausted because you’re pursuing something that matters deeply to you, it’s supposed to cost you. Don’t get discouraged. Press on.
3. Get some rest
Seriously. Your body needs a break, we all have to save the world, I get it. I live in some of that “what if” world (Kids aren’t getting funded because I’m too lazy to post and ask people to help!”), but you have to take a short break from whatever it is that’s burning you out. Turn off your phone, don’t answer emails, redirect your conversations, and unplug for a day or two. You’ll notice that whatever it is will be waiting for you when you get back, and refocussing provides perspective.
If you’re burnt out, it means you’re not doing things efficiently. Take some time to see if there’s an opportunity to approach it a different way. Perhaps there is room for extra support. Not everyone can help you, and you can’t help everyone. But you can see ways to improve and adjust. You’ll also be able to remind yourself WHY you chose to do this in the first place. I love our Gamerosity kids, they’re everything to me. Their smiles light up my life.
Last Saturday, my wife and decided to just stay in bed and unplug. The weight can sometimes be so heavy that it paralyzes you, you have to unplug. We didn’t get out of bed until 10am. And, for a family with a 6 and 4 year old, you know how impossible that can be. We shut down all operations for the day, we relaxed around the house, stayed in our PJ’s till noon, and even went for a little hike in the afternoon. It was exactly what I needed.
Find your nature hike. A good book, a drink with a friend, some headphones and a coffee shop, a weekend away… Whatever it is, get away, get refocussed, you’re too important to your purpose to burn yourself out.