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The Unspoken Struggle with Burnout Among Entrepreneurs: When The 'Unfairness' Comes from Within



Hello, you fabulous high-achievers and unstoppable go-getters! It's Yvonne here, your go-to guide for preventing burnout. Today, we're diving into a topic that doesn't get enough airtime—entrepreneurial burnout. Most people associate burnout with the 9-to-5 grind, but let me tell you, running your own business can be just as draining, if not more so.


The Stats Don't Lie

Before we delve in, let's sprinkle in some hard facts. According to a study by the University of California, 49% of entrepreneurs reported having a mental health condition. Another survey from Gallup found that 45% of entrepreneurs report being stressed. While stress isn't synonymous with burnout, it's often a sneaky precursor.


The Common Culprit: Unfairness

Burnout among employees is frequently attributed to unfair treatment at work—be it from managers or colleagues. But what happens when you're the boss? When you're the CEO, the manager, and sometimes even the janitor, who's there to be 'unfair' to you?

Well, brace yourselves. The unfairness often comes from within.


The Taoist Tale of the Farmer

Before we dig deeper, let me share an old Taoist story. There was a farmer whose horse ran away. His neighbours said, "What bad luck!" The farmer replied, "Maybe."


The next day, the horse returned with a herd of wild horses. "What good luck!" his neighbours exclaimed. Again, the farmer said, "Maybe."


Later, the farmer's son broke his leg while trying to tame one of the wild horses. "What misfortune!" said the neighbours. The farmer's eternal answer was, "Maybe."


Soon after, the army came to the village to draft young men for war but left the farmer's son because of his broken leg. "What great luck!" said the neighbours. The farmer just smiled and said, "Maybe."


The point? Life is full of ups and downs, and labeling them as 'fair' or 'unfair' is often a matter of perspective. The same goes for entrepreneurship.


The Self-Imposed Shackles

As entrepreneurs, we can be incredibly hard on ourselves. We set sky-high expectations and then berate ourselves for not meeting them. We compare our Chapter 2 to someone else's Chapter 20. When we fall short, it feels 'unfair.' But who set those unrealistic standards? Ah, yes, we did.


Time: The Unequal Distributor

Time management—or the lack thereof—is another form of self-imposed 'unfairness.' Most entrepreneurs work more than 50 hours a week, according to a 2019 survey. You might think you're doing your business a favour by burning the midnight oil, but are you being fair to yourself?


The Financial Jigsaw

Let's not forget the financial pressures. According to data from the UK Office for National Statistics, 20% of new businesses fail within their first year, and this number rises to 60% within the first three years. Money worries can lead to feelings of unfairness—"Why can't I crack this code when others can?"—which only fuels the burnout fire.


It's Not Just You; It's Also Them

Even when you're the boss, external factors can still contribute to your sense of unfairness. Difficult clients, market downturns, or pandemics—looking at you, COVID-19—can make the entrepreneurial journey feel like an uphill battle.


Breaking the Cycle

So how do we break this cycle of self-inflicted 'unfairness'?

  1. Self-Awareness: First, acknowledge that you're the one setting these unrealistic expectations or unfair comparisons.

  2. Reset Expectations: Take a leaf out of our Taoist farmer's book and try not to label your experiences as strictly 'good' or 'bad.' They are just experiences, and they contribute to your growth.

  3. Seek Balance: It's not all about work. Remember to allocate time for relaxation, family, and self-care.

  4. Financial Planning: Be pragmatic about your financial goals. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your empire be.

  5. External Support: Finally, don't hesitate to seek professional advice or emotional support. Yes, even high-achievers like us need a helping hand sometimes.

The Final Word

Dear entrepreneurs, the path to success is fraught with challenges, but burnout doesn't have to be one of them. Remember, the feeling of 'unfairness' often comes from within, and acknowledging that is the first step towards preventing entrepreneurial burnout.


So, the next time you're feeling overwhelmed, think of our Taoist farmer and ask yourself, "Is this situation truly unfair, or is it just another 'maybe' in my entrepreneurial journey?"




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