James rolls into work, finds his parking spot, hops on the elevator and heads to his desk.  His day is already planned out for him.  There are no surprises.  However, he has a constant headache, his back hurts, and he always feels tired.  He feels like he is living the movie, “Groundhog Day.”  James does not want to talk to his co-workers or listen to their stories.  He pulls away from them and does not really care what is going on in their world.  James feels like everyone is against him and all he wants to do is go home and sleep.  James is facing burnout and if he doesn’t do something soon it will cost him his business.

Can you identify with what James is going through?

As a small business owner you have to be aware of burnout because it can cost you everything.  Being burned out will reflect in the way that you deal with your employees and customers.  If you have a bad attitude and a customer comes to you for help you cannot afford to be rude or short with them.  As soon as you treat them like they are an inconvenience, they will take their business elsewhere.  And can you really blame them?  As a customer you do not want to feel like a burden or that your problems are too big for your company to face.  You want to feel like you are the most important person in the room every time you meet.  This is the same with your employees.

Your employees are a great barometer to how the business is going.  If they are stressed and cranky all of the time then there is a reason for that.  At it all points to the leader.  When you are stressed you communicate it through your actions.  You may say the right things to people but it is how you say it or what your body language says.  The best thing you can do is to recognize that there is a problem and the solutions lies first in you.

Rediscover your passion for your work.

One way to help avoid this is to find out why you are in business?   Think back to a time when you looked forward to your job.  Why did you start this company?  You started this business because you believed that your product or service was the best around and that you were going to change the world.  Come back to that feeling where your job wasn’t work and your clients were friends and not customers.  In the story above, James is stuck in a rut.  He is just going through the motions with no passion or zeal.  Unfortunately, when you go through this sort of valley you run the risk of taking people down with you.

Think back to when you first thought of your business idea.  Before you had to worry about funding or marketing or any other cost but focus on the time when you first had the idea.  Recall how that passion welled up inside you.  Everything was a possibility and no obstacle seemed too big.  In the idea stage, nothing is impossible because no matter what comes your way you will conquer it.  That is the feeling you need to come back to.  That is what drove you in the beginning and it is what will carry you out of this burnout.

(Part 2 will discuss the next step to get out of burnout)