You plod along day after day facing the same results.
You know what you want but you just can’t reach it. Things are holding you back from achieving what you truly want to achieve. You dread getting up. You dread facing the day. You’re tired at the end of the day.
Something’s gotta change. But what? What can you do?
These are classic indications of burnout. But what truly is burnout? And do you really have it?
Burnout is the point at which you reach exhaustion of either physical or emotional strength and motivation as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.
Burnout can be based on a variety of things, including:
- Having a negative work atmosphere
- Not loving what you are doing
- Not believing in what you are doing
- Having a horrible boss
- Having the wrong clientele
- False feelings of overwhelm
- Negative feelings around inappropriate action
If you see yourself in any of these, and you know you’re probably facing burnout, now what? Where do you go from here?
First, realize that burnout isn’t something controlled by outside sources. Instead, burnout is internalized and comes from self-imposed feelings created in reaction to your surroundings. When you feel pain, you continue to internalize it until it moves from feelings, to daily inflictions, to a complete restructure of your lifestyle.
And that’s when burnout really impacts you.
But you can change it.
Start by separating yourself from your current situation. Head out to a new coffee house and leave your work at home. Soak up some sun at a local park and spread a blanket under a tree. Do something completely out of your normal day – something that allows you to spend some time asking yourself some very important questions.
Question #1 Do you still love photography enough to make it a part of your daily life?
Question #2 What is the best part of your photography business?
Question #3 If you weren’t in photography, what else would you want to be doing right now?
Question #4 What other opportunities are around you?
Question #5 Do you really see a future in what you’re doing right now?
Remember, burnout isn’t caused by external sources. Its caused by your internal rationalization of what’s happening around you. So the question isn’t “if” you are burned out; its “why.
By asking yourself a series of questions and really finding your answers to the questions (everybody’s answers will be different), you’ll start to see your own truths. Which of course can lead to taking action on your new inspirations.
Maybe Photography Isn’t It Anymore
Lets assume for a moment that you ask yourself the question “If I wasn’t in photography, what else would I want to be doing right now?” And with this one question, the floodgates open up. Immediately your mind moves to a variety of things. Maybe going back to school. A new business in a different direction. A new job you’ve been reading about.
No matter what direction you head, photography is nowhere in the equation.
The more you think of your new road, the more excited you become.
If this is the case, can you really go back to your photography business and be happy? Nope. So your next series of questions should be related to your new opportunities.
- Can I sell my photography business?
- How long would it take me to get a degree (or certification) in this new field I’m thinking about?
- Can I find a job in this field right now?
- What would I have to give up to move in this new direction?
While you might not be able to jump on board with your new ideas immediately, just putting them down on paper, finding ways to incorporate your new ideas into your lifestyle, and taking action on them each day can completely give you new hope and aspirations. That’s what you’re looking for.
Maybe Photography Is In My Future
Now let’s assume you ask the question “If you weren’t in photography, what else would you want to be doing right now?” and instead of having other ideas pop into your mind, every trail leads you back to photography.
Just by asking a question that makes you think outside of the box, it will open you up to new ideas. Maybe you’re tired of the portrait business you’ve been running for the past 10 years, and you’ve always dreamed of going into travel photography. You would love to sell your house and travel 10 months out of the year to exotic locations.
You’ve just moved your questions to a whole other level.
Now that you know photography is still viable for you, you can ask questions to change your viewpoint.
- What’s holding me back from selling my house and letting my dreams transpire?
- Are other people making money right now at the type of photography I’m dreaming of?
- Do I have the skills I need to make this come true?
- If not, what do I need to practice in the coming months?
Even when you’ve spent a great day dreaming about the future, its easy to get pulled back down into the muck. Don’t let it happen to you.
When you get back to your studio, make a commitment to put your new dreams to work for you.
- Change the first thing you do each morning. Do something inspiring instead – something that will lead you towards your new dream.
- Stop reading news sites and other things that bring you down.
- Stop subscriptions to ezines, newsletters, emails and publications that talk about how bad things are. Only surround yourself with positive as you move forward.
- Focus in on what you want to achieve. Make steps every day towards that goal.
- Give yourself time every day to think about your new direction – 15 to 30 minutes of quiet think time.
The more time you spend looking towards a positive future, the less time you’ll sit around thinking about what doesn’t work. And that will make all the difference.