The Journey from Burnout to Growth: Regaining Confidence and the Quest for Betterment

The Journey from Burnout to Growth: Regaining Confidence and the Quest for Betterment

“I feel strong and at peace.” 

Could you confidently say that right now?  

In experiencing COVID-19, our mindsets, cravings and behaviors shift as we navigate the quest for control (Wave 1, as shown below) and the quest for betterment (Wave 2). Wave 1 was characterized by the mindsets of threat, forage and adaptation and at the bottom was – or still is – burnout. Then we move to Wave 2, characterized by empowerment, growth and eventually normalcy, where you’ve either grown from the experience or regressed, seeking a return to what had been your status quo.

Have you taken the pulse of your organization, your leadership team, yourself? Where do you land on these waves? Can you see examples of how the first wave played out in your workplace? Many companies, for example, halted business travel and transitioned to work from home (forage), then adopted video meeting technology and added virtual engagement opportunities (adaptation).

At the Bottom 

When it comes to burnouts, we’ve seen the statistics: Employees are logging an average of +3 working hours/day, and 45% of workers say they were burned out by early April.

What is burnout? It’s the depletion of mental and physical resources, characterized by the attitude, “I feel powerless and want this to be over.” Here we see employees distracted by social media during work, exhibiting more sedentary lifestyles or having short circuits with temporary and real co-workers. They might be thinking, “Why am I struggling to do my job?” or “I should be able to handle this.”

These feelings exist in your organization and impact both team dynamics and productivity. Here’s your chance to support their cravings for comfort, clarity, escape and hope. Keep the good news in mind – We EMERGE from burnout. We can lead our employees to empowerment through focused well-being initiatives, communication efforts that inspire connection and even new ideas like innovation time that supports creativity as well as escape. Leverage contests, recognition efforts and virtual sessions to establish and strengthen relationships while weaving your unique messaging in at the same time.

The Journey from Empowerment to Growth  

You’ll have to be brave – Emerging from burnout requires experimentation. During this “empowerment” stage, we have more bandwidth to reevaluate and improve our lives. We are determined to test the alternatives and more accepting when there’s no other choice. Consider the ways your organization has changed in the last two or more months. We’ll continue to be forced into new things, especially as we plan to return with masks on our faces and desks spread apart, but while many things are changing, here’s what’s not:

  • Your organization’s core values, whether they’re written down – or the right ones are written down – or not 
  • The desire for human connection 

Find opportunity in both the changing and unchanging: Lean into your values and let the craving for connection drive decisions as you decide the best way to bring employees back to the office.

Keep in mind that employees want to make contributions. They’re building new selves, setting goals and they crave optimism. In fact, when thinking about the next 5 years, 78% of Americans still remain optimistic about their future. Their priorities have even shifted. Safety, family, physical health and kindness matter more to Americans now than before this crisis began. Your people are changing, and naturally, so is your workplace.

Achieving Normalcy  

Normalcy doesn’t mean COVID-19 is over, masks are off or that you’re back in the office with kids at school. It means confidence, thriving and the establishment of new norms.

How can you do it? Put your pen to the paper as you walk through any or all of these humanworks tools. Start thinking differently: 

Picture it: One year from now, you’ve grown and changed from this experience. Your organization is in better shape and has overcome the financial struggles it may have faced. Your leadership team is stronger, your efficiency is greater and you’re more open to change. You say to whoever is listening…  

“I feel strong and at peace.”