As you seek to seize an opportunity in front of you, you may find yourself following a familiar trajectory;
- Think of a terrific idea
- Get pumped up about it, geek out, learn everything you can
- Dive headfirst into it, going full bore all the way
- Run into a snag
- Take a brief pause, just to sort out the snag
- Drift off, never returning
- Justify that you didn’t really want it anyway.
- Regret that you never followed through
This is a pretty familiar roadmap of failure. Over here I talked about New Year’s Resolutions and how most of them fail, usually within a couple of weeks, and that the failure boils down to making too big of an ask. Basically, you set yourself up for failure by expecting far too much of yourself and not being able to come through.
Oh, sure, you try. You give it your best shot, but you invest too much energy too early and burn out. Well, over the last few days I’ve journalled the process I’ve been going through as I seek to better my writing, and increase my reach. I’ve been through the first 4 steps already and yesterday I hit number 5.
The snag I ran into?
I was getting close to that burnout. I’ve told you that to help me succeed:
- I like to give myself little wins (I’ve been doing that)
- I like to keep the monkey hungry (I’ve been doing that)
My problem was, I was starting to do a little too much, and the monkey was getting full and complacent. I wasn’t burned out, but was getting close. Fortunately, I recognized it, and I pushed through, but that doesn’t mean that burnout isn’t a real danger.
I love yoga. No, seriously, I really love yoga; I’m in the 1000 class club at my studio. Two years ago I found that going to class had turned into a chore. I was going because I had scheduled it in, and paid for my membership, but there was no joy.
So I took some time off.
Haven’t I been warning you about the dangers of taking time off, just a few paragraphs above?
Well, yes. But that’s when starting something new. After 10 years, I can hardly consider my yoga practice something new. Daily writing, on the other hand, is new, and burnout followed by a pause is a very real danger. So I offer you this advice;
Watch out for burn out.
Sometimes the signs are subtle, sometimes obvious, but it all boils down to the same thing, you don’t want to do something that you like or need to do. You just can’t motivate yourself to begin. I found that happening yesterday.
So here I am, getting something published. Partly for the little win. Partly to feed the monkey (but not feed him too much). Partly to show you, by example, how to seize the opportunity while avoiding burnout.