Lady entrepreneurs of the world, I’m sorry: but I’m calling you all out.
And especially if you’re a coach.
But I’m doing it with love. Cross my heart!
Because today I want to talk to you about something that you’ve probably struggled with already — and if you haven’t, I promise you want to do whatever you can to avoid it.
I’m talking about: Burnout.
Almost every day, I’ll hear women entrepreneurs talking/writing about how they feel really burnt out, or have just gone through a period of being burnt out, or worrying they are on the path to burnout.
And yep, it’s happened to me too. Burnout is no joke.
It’s debilitating, anxiety-inducing, dangerous, time-wasting and dream crushing. In fact, the last time I came face to face with burnout, it took me months to find my groove again. I had to spend a tonne of time reconnecting with friends and family, and myself, in order to get back to that grounded space where I felt energised and nourished, and able to do my best work.
Burnout is a risk for every entrepreneur on the planet. So why am I singling out coaches?
Because coaches are naturally nurturing human beings, and women coaches even more so.
We train ourselves to give as much as we can, to be as present as possible and focus on being of utter service to, and cheering on, other people. That means it’s very easy for us to get caught in that trap of solely focusing on everyone and everything else… leaving 0 time for ourselves!
And when we spend too much time keeping an eye on those around us and tending to their needs, without any regard for ourselves? Before you know it… we’re burnt to a crisp.
So: we all know what burnout is, and why it exists. The question is, what should we be doing about it?
The good news is: There are so many things you can do to help yourself out of burnout, or avoid it entirely.
That’s why I wanted to share a list of the strategies I’ve learnt that have helped me avoid totally wearing myself down, while still managing to serve my clients, my tribe, and the people I love!
To be clear, these are tips and strategies you can take TODAY to heal (if you’re already burnt out) and protect yourself (so you never go there again).
Read on to learn what those strategies are are — and toss a little cool water on that burnout today, you brilliant thing, you!
Strategy 1: Set up a “stop working” time for yourself.
Many people in the industry talk about their morning routines, and when they start work.
But what about what happens at the end of the day? How you put a bow on your hard work, and step away?
This is something that’s really challenging for a lot of people, especially if they work from home by themselves, or entirely online. After all, the internet is bustling at all hours!
That’s why setting up a “stop working” time requires a bit of discipline. However, the freedom of giving yourself a stop time, whether it’s 3 in the afternoon, 6 o’clock at night, or some other time completely, will contribute so much to your overall happiness and wellbeing.
Here’s how to take action on your stop time: When you’ve sorted out when you want to regularly wind down work, start telling the people around you and setting the expectation — your clients, your community, and your friends and family too.
The more you spread the word, the stronger your conviction becomes, and the more likely you are to stick to it!
FYI: A stop time means literally logging off, and walking away from your workspace. No cheating!
Strategy 2: Prioritise time for yourself first up every day.
One of my favourite ways to do this was just mentioned in a small way above: setting a morning routine!
When you really take the time to serve yourself first by doing something aligned to your values and personal goals before serving your clients, audience, and customers, you’re literally confirming your status as #1 in your own life. That really sets you up for the rest of your day, so you feel nourished, supported, and grounded.
Strategy 3: Make time to play.
Here’s the thing: A lot of coaches are creatives and visionaries who help others find ways to step into the spotlight, and bring their dreams to life. That’s their calling, and their role.
But that’s also why it’s super important that us coaches also need space to recharge, make time for creative pursuits, laugh with friends, experience the sweetness in life and do the things that make us feel happy. I reckon these types of activities fuel our creativity and ground us.
For example, maybe taking piano lessons, or screen printing, or going to yoga, or catching up with your best friend and having a movie night once a week really lights you up. Whatever it is, build in that play time to your schedule as a priority. Treat it like a locked in, serious appointment every week.
Try this: next time you sit down to plan out your next week or month, schedule some really FUN activities first, and then build the rest of your calendar around them.
For the record, there’s no limit to the amount of play time you can take! As long as you space it well with your goals and client work, you can soak up all the play you need to fuel your creativity. If you’re currently experiencing burnout, I guarantee you need more play and wellbeing-fuelling activities than you feel comfortable having.
Strategy 4: Connect with business besties who understand what’s up, and can keep you accountable.
Sisterhood and real talk between women is so important. It can be so helpful to connect with other like-minded people on our business-building journeys – and it’s just damn good soul medicine.
Often, burnout tends to bring along a lot of anxiety and a sense of isolation, exhaustion, confusion, overwhelm, comparison, self-doubt, etc. (I’m speaking from experience here!) Story sharing and connecting with women who get it and care can make all the difference.
If you don’t feel like you have those connections or friendships in place already, prioritise it stat. Reach out to someone you think you’d get on well with, set up a (virtual) coffee date, and making some industry girlfriends!
Strategy 5: Set boundaries + expectations with your clients and customers.
Setting boundaries from the get go, and being really clear about them, is one of the best ways to avoid totally overwhelming and burning yourself out. While the first few times you do this with clients can feel confronting, I’ve found that clients appreciate clear expectations for how they can contact you, and when they are likely to hear from you.
For example, setting office hours for when you’ll be available (or unavailable) to clients sets a boundary that they can’t call or email you at all hours of the night! This also ensures that when you do speak, they’ll show up ready to jam.
So think about what boundaries you might want. Don’t want to be available on weekends? Don’t be! Won’t be available for 2 hours around lunchtime? Let your peeps know, and stick to your guns!
Sharing those boundaries up front with the people you work with can be really helpful in protecting yourself, your energy, and your happiness, from burnout.
Way 6: Get help, woman!
You heard me!
Whatever it is you need support with: whether it’s a part-time Virtual Assistant, or a copywriter for that sales page that’s hanging over your head, a graphic designer, etc: go find and hire that person. Right now.
You’re not meant to do this business thing all on your lonesome. Getting support, no matter if it’s administrative, or in areas that just aren’t in your areas of expertise or don’t light you up, can be worth its weight in gold and diamonds when it comes to protecting your energy, and keeping you moving forward burnout free.
Stressed about costs? I recommend making some inquiries (by searching for help, or asking colleagues) to learn what the typical price points are, so you know you’re working off real figures when deciding what’s going to fit into your budget. And I also recommend getting real and asking yourself how much it’d be worth to feel like you were on top of your workload, enjoying your evenings and weekends, and progressing your business goals without killing yourself/sucking the joy from your life.
Try building these costs into your coaching programs, client work, projected revenue from the course you’re launching, etc. Realise that in business across all industries, there are expenses. Even in a business where you work 1-1 with clients, it’s very rare that all money coming in is profit.
So, what kind of help would be the most impactful for you and your business right now?
Way 7: Give yourself permission every quarter to have an entire day that’s dedicated just to planning your next 90-day or 100-day goals.
And when you take that day off? Intentionally think through the vision you have, your top 3 personal goals and top 3 business goals, the overarching strategy you’ll employ to bring those goals to life, and then plot out the tactics and key milestones you want to hit over the next quarter.
Taking the time to map out a real, step-by-step plan for your goals like this every quarter helps you figure out whether they’re doable without killing yourself, and while honouring the boundaries, stop work times, and play and well-filling non-negotiables in your diary. If you can’t seem to fit in everything you’d like to get done: rethink, prioritise and modify the plan accordingly.
Ninety days is a great span of time to plan with, because it’s meaty enough to see good progress, and short enough to force you to set realistic expectations for yourself (I know from experience, so often burnout is the result of having sky-high expectations! This is something I’m still working on…).
Take protecting yourself from burnout seriously.
You stepped up as a coach because you want to pursue work that fulfils you and make a massive difference in the lives of your clients, maybe even the world. You can’t do that burnt to a crisp or by working yourself to death.
Don’t wait until you feel yourself becoming exhausted, fed up, short tempered, unhappy or overall finding your way into a funk! I challenge you to action at least 3 (or all!) – of the above strategies now.
And as always: I’m so curious, lady! Have you ever experienced burnout?
How did you manage to dig your way out of your rut?
You know I always love hearing about the tools and strategies you use — so spill your burnout-beating secrets in the comments below, and let’s all keep cool. Together! 😉