A Personal Experience of Burnout
I decided to do a personal update for this post.
How quickly time flies. It is now mid-year. And a good time to review the year, if you have not already? More importantly than reviewing the year, review yourself. How are you compared to the start of the year? What do you need to do to end this year well?
For me, April brought along a realization that I was burnt out. It was a combination of things that led me to the realization. The breaking point was that I had become extremely harsh with my children, in particular, my son. I became a terrible parent, short-tempered and flaring up at the smallest infringements. And it hurt my relationship with my son. If not for his incredible patience, resilience, and forgiveness, I would have probably destroyed him.
You might think 2023 was a bad year, filled with challenges and obstacles. But no, 2023 was a good year. I started exercising more regularly (swimming, running, and gyming). I started to pray more, and my habits had been compounding. Many of my resolutions were being met. Yet despite all the great things that were happening, I still burnt out. How did it happen?
I burnt out because I lost sight of what I was trying to do. This did not happen overnight. The process took a while. I started to explore doing things differently and doing different things. While I thought they were all focused on my bigger vision, they were just things. I lost sight of my bigger vision and was trying to do too much. I knew what and how to do it, I knew why I was doing it. What I struggled with was connecting a bigger vision of why with the smaller day-to-day activities. And I kept doing the small day-to-day things, hoping it will achieve the big vision. This disconnect compounded over time; hiding in the background but growing and causing tensions in me which spilled out in interactions with my loved ones.
“The No. 1 cause of burnout is doing the same thing over and over again and not seeing results.” – Steve Kaczmarski
My burnout made me a nasty person. It made me short-tempered with my family, and I was unmotivated to work. But the biggest anger was reserved for me. I started to dislike myself. I thought I was lazy and useless.
Over the course of a week, many people graciously brought me back to reality. Each affirmed that the burnout was a logical outcome of me trying to do too much. The grace they extended to me, giving me permission to stop beating myself up, was liberating. Each gave me a clear sign that my reluctance to work was more the result of a burnout and less the result of laziness.
I took the deliberate step to rest. Rest as an active verb: to force my mind to not think of work. I took the time off, went to Sentosa, and just read a book on the beach. I had a cheap lunch (it was some special McDonald Big Mac Deal day), and forced my brain to rest.
Burnouts can harm ourselves, and the relationships we have with others. If we don’t rest, if we don’t find ourselves again, we will continually be in a cycle of harm. For myself, I am working at restoring the relationship I have with my children, and learning how to become the parent my children deserve, and not just stay as the parent they get. And this compounding effect works in reverse. While we wax lyrical about compounding effects on wealth, compounding can work negatively if the events are negative.
Through it all, my son parented me. By being patient with me, he showed me grace and love, more than that what I deserve. That is the incredible gift that we get as parents. To reconnect with ourselves, re-parent ourselves in the areas we need, to be a better parent to our kids.
After my rest, I took the time to relook my process to find out how best to connect with clients and work. I think it’s important to journey with clients. I believe financial planning is about constructing a roadmap to achieve your dream. Ad-hoc purchases of products don’t help construct that roadmap. We have one life, and we should strive to live a full and purposeful life. Purposeful life to me means having a direction. It need not be the right direction from the get-go: aimlessly wandering around is far worse.
A daycation @ Studio M. To find ways to empower people, to be empowered.
For my clients I am looking forward to reaching out to have deeper conversations with you. I don’t believe we’ve done enough talking about why we are planning or what role money plays in our life. It is about the deeper questions: Why do we want to do what we do? What makes travel so special; or is it something other than travel that we seek? What is the role money plays in our lives? I want to help you design a life that you can look back after many years to say with contentment, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
How about you? How has your year been? I would love to have a coffee with you to hear about this - you know where to reach me!
I write on topics related to financial habits and decisions. Do explore my other articles at https://www.williamseah.com/blog if the ideas intrigue you. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or text me at 9673 1523 if you’d like to chat over coffee or whisky.