Friday, November 2, 2007

What if...We Didn't Burn Out?

Last night, my family and I witnessed a spectacular event: A power line near our home exploded, snapped, and caught fire. The weather caused this power line to send a surge of electricity that, at first, did not wipe out our power, but did so later on for an extended period of time. Thankfully, no one in our neighborhood was hurt, and fire trucks and the electric company were on the scene immediately.

This event made me think of how often we run on “power surges” in our own lives. For example, I have a colleague who has three major projects running right now, and she asked me to be a collaborator on her next book project. I told her I was tired just listening to all she was trying to juggle. I let her know of my concern that if she doesn’t slow down and maybe postpone one of her projects, she’ll burn out and be left without any energy. Sound familiar?

There is usually something innate in all of us that drive us to perform, to perfect, to catch up on, etc. Have you ever gotten to the end of that ‘power surge’ and find that the result didn’t quite meet your expectation for all the work you put into it? Therein lies the burnout.


1. IDENTIFY YOUR POWER SOURCE. If you rely completely on yourself for your physical and emotional energy through every facet of your life, you will burn out time after time. After each power surge, you will probably notice it takes longer to recover. For those of you who rely on God as your power source, 2 Corinthians 4:7 reminds us “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing POWER is from God and not from us.

2. SOLICIT HELP FROM OTHERS whenever possible. I have a friend who does everything herself and at times when she has ‘turned over duties’ to someone else, she has always redone their work. Learn to trust others. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness!!

3. RE-PRIORTIZE YOUR TIMELINE. If you have several projects that are urgent to you, ask yourself “What’s most important right now?” Evaluate the amount of time it will take for each project (days, weeks, etc.) and start with the one project that excites you. If none of them ‘wow’ you, start with the project that will take the least amount of time to get done. When you have finished it, it will motivate you to keep moving instead of procrastinating and feeling overwhelmed.

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