How to Deal with Burnout as a Top Performer

Another long day at work that drained all your energy.

Days like these are alright when they happen occasionally.

However, when fatigue becomes a norm, transforming into chronic exhaustion, constant overthinking, and a downward spiral of negativity, burnout waits around the corner.

High achievers, driven by the fear of failure, are particularly vulnerable to this opponent.

The funny thing is that the tools that empower them, such as their work ethic and drive, can also be barriers to recognizing burnout.

To help us deal with this, Stephen Hardy, Founder and Director at Navigate the Curve, has joined Carlos Nouche and Lisa Schnare on The B2B Revenue Executive Experience podcast.

Step-by-Step Guide to Deal with Burnout

1. Recognize “Burnout” Versus “Just Tired”

Save this list:

  • Constantly feeling tired;
  • Frequent muscle pain;
  • Headaches;
  • Change in sleep habits;
  • Loss of motivation;
  • Sense of failure and self-doubt;
  • Increasingly negative outlook;
  • Taking longer periods to get things done;
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

These are just some of the burnout symptoms you should watch out for.

However, high performers often fail to recognize them, thinking of burnout as a necessary sacrifice for success. As a result, they might fall into a cycle of "productive procrastination," where work becomes an escape from addressing deeper emotional needs or personal gaps.

2. Understanding the Mind's Role in Burnout

Want to tackle burnout? Understand the dynamics of your mind. The primitive part of our brain often triggers fight-or-flight responses under stress, slowing creative problem-solving and rational thinking.

As Stephen points out, "Though the primitive mindset can sometimes act as a motivator, it's far from an ideal or sustainable state. It hinders creative thinking, rationality, and gaining a proper perspective. Prioritizing mental health and working with the intellectual part of the brain can significantly enhance efficiency and productivity. The challenge lies in the fact that many people remain trapped in this state because the primitive part of the brain resists change, perceiving it as a threat to its stability."

But there's some good news. People possess the intellectual capacity for rational thinking and problem-solving. Accessing this control can help you escape burnout.

3. Embrace the Second Curve Concept

Charles Handy's concept of the second curve suggests that when you're at the top of your game, that's precisely when you need to seek change and adapt to avoid pride.

The second curve is about finding meaning and purpose beyond traditional success metrics. It involves activating the subconscious by setting precise objectives, which in turn sparks creativity and helps you break free from stagnation.

4. Gain Intellectual Control

Every individual can improve their intellectual capabilities by taking positive actions and modifying their behavior.

By initiating a behavior change, you can positively impact other areas of your life, leading to a major improvement in your overall intellectual development.

It's vital to adapt to the ever-evolving demands of life and avoid burnout by continuously striving for personal growth and development. 

Sustainable growth goes down to setting precise goals using your conscious mind to activate the subconscious one by triggering it to generate creative ideas that can help individuals overcome stagnation and elevate their capabilities in all areas of life.

5. Cope with the Fear of Failure and Imposter Syndrome

Many high performers struggle with the fear of failure and imposter syndrome, especially when considering career changes.

"Recognizing your skills, like those from a successful sales career, reveals transferable abilities. So, realizing that you have these amazing skills and resilience, aligning with your sense of purpose, and being authentic to your true self can pave the way to success," Stephen advises.

Dealing with burnout as a top performer isn't about diminishing your drive but about channeling it more effectively. Recognize the signs of burnout, engage your intellectual mind, embrace change, and stay true to your authentic self.

Remember, investing in your mental and emotional well-being isn't a deviation from success; it's an essential part of a sustainable and fulfilling career path.

Now that you’ve learned the symptoms of burnout and how to navigate the defeating mindset of the primitive brain, check out the full list of episodes at The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you enjoy the show, instructions to rate and review it are found here.

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