There are two sides to the “become willing” coin.

Tossing a coin is no way to plan for your future.

Tossing a coin is no way to plan for your future.

Professional burnout takes it’s toll on everyone – the individual, the organization, coworkers, the families of the affected. No one is left out in the immediate vicinity of those afflicted. Burnout is a personal tragedy and a professional disaster.

Few people are even able to adequately explain how they feel when suffering from burnout. Some are angry, disappointed, unnerved, disenchanted, hopeless, dismayed, frightened, perpetually discouraged or depressed.

Some are just numb. All are exhausted.

They feel that something needs to change. Some will seek change. Some will not. Some will reach the end of their proverbial rope and quit their profession, the one they were born to do, which is the worst possible outcome for them and a tragedy for the world.

No one starts their chosen profession burned out. It happens to them, and upon them, by a dysfunctional work environment.

Sadly, some of the burned out will never seek change. Perhaps they are working at their chosen profession under deplorable circumstances but they labor on anyway. They will give various reasons why. If asked, they will stand and list them either in anger or in passive acceptance as if surrendering conquered.

Still others who are burned out will find they are not engaged in the work that they were called to do. This may be why they have burned out. But, they too will labor on under the false conclusion that they can not change, or it would be ruinous to change or they are just too afraid of change. Various reasons will be offered as to why but none of them actually rise to the level of a real excuse. Why?

You see, there are two sides to the “become willing” coin.

On one side people become willing, exhausted as they may be, to accept their lot. They will reason that however bad their current circumstance maybe while laboring completely burned out, it is a life preferable to the unknown. They become willing to accept their comfortable misery. Or, those that leave the work they love because of burnout, the work they were destined to do, have become willing to accept a lesser calling just for a chance to feel better.

Then, there is the other side of the “become willing” coin. Some burned out people will come to believe they have the capacity to change both themselves, their work environment or both. They will not give up on the profession of their dreams even if it seems it has given up on them.

Others who all along felt ill-suited to their chosen profession will make the needed change. They will stop wasting time, energy and talent on a job that brings them only a paycheck but none of life’s real rewards. They have heard a clarion call to action. They are not the conquered. They are now in it to win it.

These individuals will seek the opposite of burnout – engagement – by any means necessary. They will begin reading, planning, and scheduling their next moves. Some will hire coaches to get them off in the right direction, at the right speed and with accountability. Some will attend seminars and events to learn what is needed and pick up the tools to make life different.

These are two very different sides to the same “become willing” coin. Both are choices. This is one coin I wouldn’t dare flip. No way I would leave this to chance. You probably wouldn’t either.

If you are suffering from burnout the only question remaining is, which side have you become willing to choose?

Written by

Clark Gaither, MD

1 Comments to “There are two sides to the “become willing” coin.”

  1. Marie Dorsey says:

    Pretty darn informative, well written, and inspiring! And you’re right about the two sided to every coin. You have a winning way! Heads up! You win. We can do this!

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