We live in a time of busy-ness. Here in the U.S. many of us find pride in the symptoms of our over-working: anxiety, burnout, exhaustion. We take these as symbols of being productive, of doing something, building something, being a part of something. In the words of our guest here today, “we see busy-ness as a sign of success and hard work, and … we remain busy to hide from the fear of failure” “Like it or not, we have become addicted to being busy. We pride ourselves on busyness, and this trait has become a status symbol”
This has been especially true of the changemakers, of people working towards a mission of social or other change. As someone who fits in this category myself, I can relate personally to changemaker burnout. I run two companies, and I have 4 kids, of whom are under 7 years old. I have fallen easily into the pattern of giving everything I have to my businesses and to my family and almost zero to my own personal and mental health needs. This culminated last year with the onset of numerous and powerful anxiety attacks.
It catches up to us…all of us, and for changemakers in particular. We need to replenish ourselves so that we can do the important work we set out to achieve. A previous guest on this podcast described the need to be “positively selfish”, and it’s true. Think of the flight attendant when they inform us that in the case of an emergency we should put on our oxygen mask first, and then the masks of our children. The same holds true in preventing burnout: if we aren’t nourishing ourselves, how will we be able to find the strength and stamina to care for others?
Our guest today, Davida Ginter, is the author of “Burning Out Won’t Get You There: Cultivating Well-Being To Successfully Lead Social Change”.