There is this faulty thinking in some people’s mind that burnout is caused by overwork. Burnout is a result of our emotional energy gas tank hitting empty. Overwork will use up the energy in our gas tank, for sure, but there is a much better explanation of the cause of burnout and its prevention than simply overwork. If I head off on a hunting trip to Texas and run out of gas after a couple of hours of driving and am stranded beside the road, your explanation of what happened wouldn’t be that I had driven too far but that I had failed to stop and fill up with gas at a gas station.
People who experience burnout have not learned how to fill up their emotional gas tanks. Those who have learned how to renew themselves rarely experience burnout.
We all naturally recover from physical energy tiredness and emotional energy tiredness, but if we are using more than what is coming into our gas tank we will run out of gas, resulting in burnout. The two skills that those who want to accomplish a lot with their life need to learn is how to read their gas tank gauge so that they know that they are running low before they hit the wall and run out of gas. The second skill is how to fill our gas tank with energy on a regular and systematic basis.
Our physical energy is renewed when we sleep, eat, and rest. We know what tiredness feels like and we take a break to rest and be renewed in our energy. Sleeping for eight hours each night and eating three meals at pretty much the same time each day is systematic energy renewal. We need to learn how to do that same thing with our emotional energy.
Our emotional energy is where our inner drive comes from, our passion, enthusiasm, and desire. When our emotional energy is gone we feel depressed, unmotivated, and we don’t care about much.
The technic for filling our emotional gas tank is different for everybody, so each person needs to learn what works for them. For me doing nothing is not what works well to renew my emotional energy. Most think it works because it does work well for physical energy renewal. For me doing something with my hands, by myself, that requires thought and concentration is super effective. After spending a couple of hours working on my 1969 mustang trying to figure out how to get the dash lights to work makes me feel like a million bucks. I have other activities as well that are emotional energy filler uppers.
Once I have discovered what works I need to schedule them into my life like sleeping so that my gas tank is always above quarter full. When I am motivated, enthused, excited, and passionate I accomplish a lot with my life for the Lord and for people, so it is important that I keep filling up my gas tank.
What works for you? Have you got this part of your life figured out? All high achievers have, and they are always fine-tuning the process to accomplish more and more.