If I can just [insert new milestone here], I will be okay...

Sep 04, 2023

How long are you prepared to delay your joy in this beautiful life...? I know friends, I've hit you with a lot there. I feel you.

But seriously, how many times do you need to tell yourself; 'If I can just [insert new milestone here], I will be okay...'

When it is a busy period at work, we tell ourselves 'it will all be okay when I complete this project', but in reality, there is always another project and reason to overwork.

When it is relating to a challenging team dynamic, we tell ourselves that we will leave and find a new role, hoping that the next environment will feel better than the last…?

Don’t get me wrong, some environments are absolutely toxic. But often, it’s the reactions within us that force us to run away from an experience, only to find ourselves in the same experience, with different players.

In my own case, I’ve had difficulties with the same ‘character’ in many human forms. I've also had plenty of moments of overworking, telling myself the same lie that something outside of me can alter it.

The truth is, the outside experience doesn't change until the inside experience does.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. Each time I was faced with an awkward character, my nervous system went into high alert. When I was away from them, I felt better. I spent years avoiding this character, and only dealing with them when I had to at work, and in life.

The same thing happens with overworking. Your nervous system freaks out about what you need to get done, or what somebody thinks, so you gradually keep giving more and more until you have nothing left.

Then one day, I saw the pattern.

The awkward colleagues were all the same character, with the same characteristics. And I was being the same me. I realised then that until I could learn not to fear this character, the human representations of it would keep coming.

The overworking crept up in stages, until I was well on the way to burn out. They build up incrementally, but can also easily creep up without you even realising it. These are the five stages we cover in Bloom.

Stage 1: You feel like you need to prove yourself

At first this feels like being motivated to do great work, especially if you are starting in a new role. As long as the feeling continues, you set a precedent for overworking, and then keep giving more.

Stage 2: You begin to neglect your own needs

The slippery slope begins, and you start to make trade offs with your own needs vs others. This won’t feel like a big deal at first, sacrificing a trip to the gym here, getting up a little earlier there… but before you know it, it creeps up.

Stage 3: You step away from your values

This might start as a feeling like something is off. We might not know what our values are explicitly, but our nervous system will notice when we step away from them. Each thing that you do that feels out of alignment with you adds up, and sometimes we can feel a sense of resentment about it.

Stage 4: You withdraw from your social life

Another creeper I am afraid. At first withdrawing will feel good, likely because you will be creating some space for you - perhaps to do more of stage 1 haha. Regardless, once we start to say no, it becomes a habit that is hard to break out of.

Stage 5: You feel depressed, lost and exhausted

The final stage takes a while to figure out when it hits us, because we are so overwhelmed and exhausted. We really might not know what is wrong at first and we might blame other things around us. The only remedy to this is to create some space, some time for you. If you can do that, you may then create the space to figure out what isn’t working for you.

There’s a great quote on boundaries I love:

"Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously." – Prentis Hemphil

So with the difficult character, I leant into my fear, and I leant into those interactions. I worked on my body language and learnt how to regulated my nervous system around them. I gave them feedback, I had boundaries, I asked for what I needed.

And guess what….? My experience of them completely changed. My self leadership led us to have a better relationship.

With burnout, by learning who I really am and to see the signs sooner, I learnt how to make better choices. I developed a sustainable way of being and I learnt how to thrive in all seasons. Even the gnarly ones.

Here’s what I learnt: Your experience of work will ultimately come down to the emotions that you feel and your ability to control and make sense of them.

In every situation that feels bad, there is usually a slice of good available. There is a learning there to be had. We can’t control many of the things that happen around us, so rather than focusing on those, focus on the things that you can.

And that is you. Beautiful you. Smart, strong, capable you.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras sed sapien quam. Sed dapibus est id enim facilisis, at posuere turpis adipiscing. Quisque sit amet dui dui.
Call To Action

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.