Reflections From the Pit: Finding Rest in the Midst of Burnout

I was tired of doing business like everyone else. I was weary from following the rule book. I was exhausted from mimicking frameworks. I was run down from participating in masterminds. I was beat from the hustle. I was burned out in my body, soul, and spirit.

As I maneuvered the consequences of burnout and explored operating in a gentler, more restful way, I discovered that conducting my business from a place of rest required far more from me than I expected. “Work from a place of rest.” It sounded so beautiful. So effortless. But it was contrary to what my soul knew. Like a baby gathering her sea legs, learning to build a business restfully was wobbly, uncertain, and riddled with an abundance of “oopsies”. It was far more challenging than I had imagined.

Hustle harder.

Grind it out.

Do more faster.

The culture is a relentlessly loud master demanding more and more output from us. It doesn’t care what our capacity is. Push through. It doesn’t care about the real-life obstacles we face. Overcome them. It doesn’t care about our at-home responsibilities, our health challenges, our relationships, or anything else for that matter. Find a way, make it work, get it done. I had followed this recipe for a long time with success. But it ultimately humbled me as I was rendered completely paralyzed by burnout.

As I stepped away from my business to heal, I learned that rest required sacrifice, faith, and discipline. Learning to give up my relentless drive, my will, my passion, my to-do list, my timeframe, my agenda, my ego, and my quarterly goals to honor my incredibly reduced capacity was the greatest business sacrifice I had to make in a long time.

It was hard.

I cried.

A lot.

And wasn’t a crier.

But deep within myself, I knew that sacrificing my present desires to honor my fatigue was a major piece in this new puzzle I was putting together. I learned to rethink my to-do list, only focusing on the one thing that I had to do that day. (Yes. One thing. That was all I had the capacity for.)

Sacrifice – saying no to certain things in order to attain something else. We all do it…we say no to our children’s longing eyes to answer another email. We say no to sleep to work on work. We say no to a proper lunch break to get things done. We say no to self-care to satisfy someone else’s desire for our time. If you’re feeling convicted, don’t. We’re all guilty of it. We’ve all been programmed to move in this manner. Fortunately, we have the authority to confront our programming.

Sacrifice was hard. It meant that I wouldn’t accomplish all I would have liked in my normal timeframe. It meant that I had to untangle the cord of my identity since it was now clear that it was a little bit intertwined with my productivity. But the sacrifice was necessary because it allowed me to rest. The sacrifice forced me to prioritize my to-do list and delegate the rest. It forced me to find clarity on the most important parts of my life and business. And it forced me to make space to nourish my soul.

I learned that rest required faith. I had to believe that, regardless of what I did or didn’t accomplish, I was ok and my business would be ok. I had to trust that Christ was still faithful and that He would still help me achieve my desires. I had to have faith that what I chose to focus on would still move the needle forward. I had to have faith that my sacrifice was worth something and that it was not for naught. I had to have faith that this momentary affliction was producing something great within me. I had to have faith that this detour would lead me somewhere beautiful in due time. I had to have faith that while I wasn’t doing a million things, I was doing enough. Holding on to this faith was hard. There were days when I overflowed with faith and there were days when I only had a mustard seed. But regardless of the size, faith was still faith.

Lastly, I learned that rest required discipline. Like an addict responding to their needs, I was accustomed to impulsively responding to every ding, ping, and vibration that any device near me sounded. It was tradition to work nights and weekends, and it was customary to be pondering various aspects of my business at inappropriate times. Maybe you can relate. Rest required that I build new habits, set new intentions, wrestle my soul, and say no to myself. It required boundaries. And it required that I honor those boundaries. Because what good is a boundary if it’s not honored?

Work would remain within a designated time frame.

I would no longer be a slave to my devices.

I would honor the Sabbath and keep it holy. Refraining from work as an act of sacrifice and worship.

And I would rest, because if God rested, then so should I.

Now, don’t think for a moment that I’ve got it figured out and have mastered this rest thing. I’m still learning. I’m still growing. I’m still giving myself grace when I revert back to my hustling tendencies. But I choose to move forward in a different way.

Still steadily.

Still determined.

Still powerfully.

Still delegating tasks to a virtual assistant.

But with far more space for rest and restoration. As a result, my soul is singing. My business is growing. My brain is producing new ideas. It’s a beautiful thing.

If you’re interested in infusing your business with rest, we would love to discuss your capacity and see how a virtual assistant would benefit you.

Until next time.

Be well,

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