Debunking the Myth of Shame and Burnout

There’s no shame in burnout.

But admittedly, so many of us (me included in the past) operate as if job burnout is shameful thing.

And shame is powerful.

Shame keeps conversations bottled up, in the closet, and buried beneath the surface.

Shame keeps things quiet and keeps the important conversations on the “down low”.

Shame can keep you from standing-up, leading, and embracing your full power in your career.

Notice how powerful shame can be when it’s used as a tool at the office to modify behavior and gain leverage.

Ever been called out in a public email list for not completing a required training on-time or for not doing evaluations by a deadline?

How did it make you feel?

Did you do it on-time the next time?

Shame can be effective

But it doesn’t always work.

Acknowledging Burnout is Helpful

You might be fearful that if you admit that you’re burned out that it would show that you’re weak or “can’t handle” things at the office.

But what most never realize is that by acknowledging burnout you reap the immediate benefits of:

  • Control – You take control of your own burnout and start doing something about it.  Until then burnout is just something that “happening to you”.
  • Freedom – You stop hiding. Hiding takes energy, resources, and your time.  It’s a burden to carry. When you acknowledge burnout, it’s your first step to freedom.
  • Connection – Deeper connections.  Acknowledging burnout makes you vulnerable but it opens up new conversation and much deeper relationships.

Why You Don’t Need to be Ashamed of Burnout

The big news here is that you don’t have to be ashamed of your burnout.

To quote Seth Godin in the Icarus Deception, the easiest way to avoid shame is “to refuse to accept the shame…acknowledge that there are those who will seek to shame you, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept what’s given”.

And here are 10 reasons why there’s no shame in your burnout.

  1. It’s evidence you care about how you spend your life and career.
  2. It’s common.
  3. It’s a rite of passage
  4. It shows that you maturing in your career.
  5. It shows you’re not buying that you have to pay your dues to get somewhere worthwhile.
  6. Its proves you’re ready to start making a difference on your own terms (but you don’t have to leave your current job to do it)
  7. It means that you’re capable of much more.
  8. It let’s you know that there’s more to learn.
  9. It proves that you’re human…and that’s not a bad thing.
  10. It shows you recognize it’s time to get out of your comfort zone.

Have you experienced the shame of burnout?

What’s been the cost?

Please share with us in the comments below.

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