How To Beat Entrepreneurial Burnout

To find fulfillment, which is the flip side of burnout, start by asking yourself these five key questions.

So many business owners constantly feel exhausted in their day-to-day work life. That can make them feel uninspired and unmotivated, causing productivity and morale to take a nosedive. Those symptoms can lead to a bout of burnout, massively impacting mental health and well-being. And if that happens, business owners can lose sight of their vision, which was the whole reason for starting the company in the first place. The good news is that buying every self-help book available isn’t necessary. Here’s how to move past burnout fast.

Where Burnout Starts

When someone feels burned out, it’s often because they’re missing something that fires them up from the inside. In my own experience of launching 16 impactful companies in the last 4 years, including Kardia, I’ve discovered that burnout comes from chasing other people’s ideas of “success” and what the media and society tells us we need to be happy, like fancy cars the latest smartphones, or massive amounts of money in the bank.

Those things are all “ideals” that have left a number of entrepreneurs in my network feeling constantly empty and unsatisfied. Why? It’s because they’re not looking deep inside themselves for what matters the most to them. They’re not thinking about their own personal values and whether their business is in alignment with them.

Basically, they’re chasing other people’s dreams, instead of their own.

The Flipside of Burnout: Fulfillment

On my own entrepreneurial journey, I’ve had to take a deep look at my personal values, because I realized that using them to decide my next step always led to the best decisions. They never steer me wrong, and when I’m living by them, I feel whole and fulfilled. That’s why burned out and unmotivated entrepreneurs have to ask themselves, what will make me feel completely fulfilled?

“Fulfilled” is the key word here because it’s the flipside of burnout. Fulfillment always delivers happiness, motivation, and excitement for the future—the things we all want to feel. And the best part, if we’re feeling completely fulfilled doesn’t that mean success is a given? But it doesn’t always work the other way around.

That’s why it’s critical for entrepreneurs who are lost, exhausted and burned out to make fulfillment the ultimate goal, instead of chasing after the facade of “success.”

Key Steps for Finding Fulfillment

When a person is fulfilled, they have a firm grasp of their personal values and use them to make choices in every area of business and life. Each person’s values are unique to them and when figuring out what they are, it’s important to make sure they’re not influenced by anyone else’s expectations and opinions. Business owners will find that when they start living by their values, and set their non-negotiable standards, everything gets easier. Clearer. Calmer.

Fulfillment is different for everyone and completely intrinsic. For example, some entrepreneurs may feel fulfilled from using their business to help those in need. Others may get it from donating profits to causes that help improve the environment. For me, Kardia (which means ‘heart’ in Greek) is about bringing more heart into the business world to help everyone feel more fulfilled. We freely share our practices, so that other entrepreneurs can also build heart-centered companies too.

To find fulfillment and rise above burnout, start with asking these five key questions:

1. What three values are most important to me?

Narrowing it down to the three values that are personally most important makes it easier to consciously drive fulfillment in every area of life and business. On top of that, it becomes much more obvious when there’s a lack of alignment, clearly pointing out when we’re off course. That creates a much more streamlined focus, leading to faster progress, which stokes the internal fires of motivation.

Ultimately, using values to drive the decision-making process makes it much easier and more certain, and as an added bonus, fulfillment naturally comes along with it.

2. How can I incorporate these values into what I do every day?

When business owners first start, they’re fully motivated, not burned out. They’re excited for the future and what it holds. But that can get lost in the everyday tasks that have to be done, unless they’re clearly tied to the values and the bigger vision for the company.

At Kardia, we do that for all our team members. For example, we have Mindset Monday, which is one of the ways we bring heart into our company. It’s meant to help our team, and our followers, find new ways to look at their work, the world and how they can create impact in it. That can be as simple as focusing on one personal value for the day by finding ways to bring it to life at the office. If kindness is a personal value, holding the door for a co-worker can bring that to life. So is getting an assignment done on time because it helps to relieve stress on the rest of the team who are waiting for the task to be completed. When our team members see that the things they do for Kardia also line up with the things they value, they feel more fulfilled.

That’s the kind of mindset shift that creates more meaning in our lives because it aligns with what matters most to each person.

3. How else can I immerse myself in my personal values?

It is crucial for business leaders to consider how their actions inside and outside their company matter. For example, business owners can use their free time to volunteer for charities that matter a lot to them, pursue hobbies that make them feel good, or choose to spend quality time with people who lift them higher. Every time an entrepreneur takes any steps to incorporate their values into their everyday lives, they will feel much more inspired, uplifted, and excited. That builds the momentum that’s necessary to overcome the challenges that come their way, which makes it easier to bring their bigger vision to life.

4. How can I amplify my own growth as a business owner?

When entrepreneurs enhance their own skills and abilities, their perspectives can also change. Business owners who take leadership courses, listen to podcasts by marketing experts and SEO gurus, or focus on personal development, get new points of view that they might not have thought of before. That increases their ability to think of innovative solutions to common challenges they face and ways to further grow their enterprises, ultimately bringing new opportunities. And that’s what we all want for our businesses!

5. How can I practice more self-care in my life?

To feel truly fulfilled, it is critical for business leaders to take downtime to reconnect with themselves and simply rest and recuperate. No one can run forever. Taking a break is how we stay strong, mentally and physically. But many business owners feel guilty about taking that downtime and that’s why a mindset shift is so necessary.

Instead of thinking of them as breaks, think of them as energizers that improve your productivity. Take a walk, eat lunch away from the office, meditate, or do the spa day because that “me” time lets you reset and destress. That improves the ability to think clearly, which will in turn lead to much better business decisions. Better decisions lead to better results, and that’s what will take our business to the next level.

To Wrap it All Up

Many entrepreneurs struggle with burnout and don’t know how to fix it. A sure-fire way they can overcome this challenge is by focusing on finding fulfillment, not chasing after the socially constructed idea of “success.” To find fulfillment, it is essential that they pinpoint their top personal values and how they can incorporate them into their businesses and everyday lives. On top of this, boosting their growth as a business leader and making self-care a priority is key. All of these steps will help even the most burned out business owners re-find their passion and refuel their entrepreneurial fire.