Over at Kitchen Table Companies (affiliate link) there is a really interesting thread which also ended up becoming the question of the week for Kitchen Table Talks last week. The question revolves around your breaking point. At what point are you just ready to throw in the towel? At what point are you using adjectives like “burned,” “hosed,” or “done” to describe your state in life, your job, or maybe just your online presence? And when you get to that point, what do you do about it?
Conversations like this seem to run rampant in the online world. While a lot of people tweet about taking a walk in the sun in the middle of the work day (much to my chagrin), there are many more instances where people have worn themselves out, made themselves sick, or isolated themselves from family and friends.
Why are you doing that to yourself?
Even generals have reserves
If you study the military for even a short period of time, you learn one thing very quickly. In almost all cases, generals try to make sure that they have reinforcements they can call on if the situation gets super sticky. Now think about that for a moment. We’re not just talking about a general who knows the job cannot be done by 1 person. We’re talking about a general who knows that it’s going to take more than a huge section of an army to get the job done.
And yet, somehow, people these days have gotten the crazy notion in their heads that we should be able to do everything by ourselves. We should also be able to do everything perfectly. My friends, this is simply not possible. It can’t be done. Release yourself from this impossible burden!
Ask for help before you’re burned and broken
Regardless of the situation you’re in, it is always, and I mean always, okay to ask for help. If you have a health problem that is holding you back, ask for help. If you are feeling down and can’t seem to pull yourself up again, ask for help. If you can’t seem to get to a point in your work where you’re comfortable and where everything feels like you can manage it – ask for help.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking.
Yeah, who’s gonna help me? A doctor who will charge me money? An employee I can’t afford to hire?
I would submit to you that the first step in getting help is just to talk it out with someone. Release the pent-up fatigue and frustration. Give yourself permission to be tired, frustrated, or jealous of those folks chilling at the beach. Tell people you don’t feel good so that they know what’s going on with you. Vent. Let out steam. Sometimes, just knowing that other people are aware of what you are going through can be enough to give you that extra pop of strength.
I’m worried about you
The benefits of online technology are staggering. However, there is a side to all of this that doesn’t get a lot of attention. It just wears on us. That side is that we are always “on.” We always are feeling the obligation to provide content and fodder for conversation. We are always talking to people. We are always putting our work out there to be critiqued. It’s no longer easy to step out of the office, get into the car, and leave work for 12 hours.
Humans need to be able to turn it off, and we are depriving ourselves of that fundamental necessity. Is it any wonder that so many people are feeling fatigued and defeated? I think not.
No one has lived through times quite like this. It’s all new, even if some of the patterns seem familiar. So cut yourself a break, okay? Call in the reinforcements. Call up the reserves. There is no shame in it. The only shame is to deprive yourself of contentment, health, and happiness in order to fulfill some prideful image of what the 21st century human is supposed to be all about.
Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. If you don’t do that, none of this talk about engagement matters.
This is post #71 in The Engagement Series. If you are worried about missing a post, please feel free to hit the subscribe button. Thank you!
Image by Aleksandra P. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/GiniMiniGi