Burnout at work is not a new topic. A recent blog post by best-selling author, Patrick Lencioni, reminded me of the many causes for feeling burned out in the workplace. One of his listed reasons caught my eye – the “work is my identity” mentality.
As a recovering workaholic, the mentality of work as identity shows up in one major way…I want things to be right. Actually, I want things to be perfect. My need for perfection can border on obsession. Can you smell the burn?
The core of this problem can be traced back to fear—fear of losing control, of not being appreciated, of failure. What I consider excellent, skewed by fear’s unrealistic expectations, far exceeds the standards of others. Yet, when work is your identity, how do you remain objective?
To combat this insidious way of thinking I now define what “good enough” should be. Sometimes I ask a client to share what success would look like for them. In other situations, I simply acknowledge that perfection is not a realistic goal. This helps me limit my efforts to only what is needed.
My brain will always struggle to accept that how well I do my work is not really who I am. But, I am learning and growing.
The fact that I am competitive and detail-oriented can also contribute to potential burnout. Doing it bigger or better is a constant temptation. I have learned that finishing first isn’t the only measure of success.
Striving for perfection will almost always disappoint.
Learning to live with “good enough” isn’t an excuse for poor performance. I still put out a great product and offer excellent service.
Defining “good enough” is one way I am trying to win the burnout battle. Unfortunately, sometimes I still smell smoke.
What burnout struggles do you have and how have you worked to overcome them?