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I was recently catching up with a famous entrepreneur friend of mine. If I said their name, you instantly would know them. However, their name is not as important as the story I will share with you below.
We had not caught up in a while, so we met up at his office on a Saturday. Right when I saw him, I asked if he was okay. He said he was doing fine, and he just needed to get some rest, to which I agreed and didn’t push the issue. But as we were catching up, he was talking about his business. I could see he was drowning in stress and not eating his Wheaties for breakfast.
I instantly cut him off and asked him, “What are you doing outside of business?” He paused for a while and just answered with his eyes. I followed up with another question. Have you been taking your three days? He said no again, but this time, he said it verbally.
I fear that too many high-performing entrepreneurs are just like my friend. They are excited on the outside about everything going on in their business, but inside, they are hanging on by a thread, overheating with stress and unhappy. They lie to themselves, saying they will take off work right after they get one more project done. But that does not happen at all. They always have at least three more projects in the pipeline and a bright new idea that sparks another seven more. They are caught in this infinity loop of almost always going on vacation and living from the small sparks of their fresh idea. It is a vicious cycle that rapidly drains their energy, well-being, sense of purpose, mission and vision.
The reality is, my friend (and probably you right now), are on the brink of burnout. Some of you reading this are probably already burned out to the crisp. Here is my burnout protocol that will help you combat burnout effortlessly.
Related: How to Recognize and Beat Burnout
Stress is the #1 silent killer. It will rapidly lead to burnout if not offloaded daily. That is why you should journal and meditate every day. Unfortunately, you will not feel like writing in your journal every day. Some days. it will be just one word. Even meditating will feel like a challenging task, but stick with it. In the end, both will yield tremendous results.
Every month, you should take three full days off from your business. You should step away and go into the woods, on a trip or whatever else that is not part of your natural work week.
As a high performer, you get laser-focused on accomplishing the task that you neglect other parts of your life. Take these three days to go on a romantic date, spend time with your kids and connect with your non-business friends.
Take a week off your business. Every time I say this, people look at me as if I am an alien. You should be able to take time away to unplug from your business. If you can not step away from your company, it is time to hire some help.
During this time, you should review your quarterly goals and milestones. Are you on track to hit your goals, or are you falling behind? You must only take one day for that. The other days, get some extra sleep, be lazy, and/or read a book. But do not engage in work. This time is about passions outside of work.
Related: Why ‘Vacation-Shaming’ Hurts You More Than Your Employees
You must take two weeks off a year so that you can recover. Life is not about you simply burying your head into work and never coming up to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You work hard, so it’s time to play hard.
I always insist on my clients taking a trip, especially internationally. Traveling gives you new perspective and outlooks about life. You get to enjoy yourself and be grateful for the opportunities you’re creating for yourself and others.
The burnout protocol is all about putting yourself first. It is about being selfish in the best way, so you can come back with a fresh mind, new thoughts, a rejuvenated body and revitalized energy.
The best weapon against burnout is stepping away from work and enjoying life. That is why each step of the protocol is all about focusing on you. Your business will survive, and if not, build systems and processes. Because if burnout gets you, then you will be unable to bring to life your products and services that would have touched so many lives.
Related: The Biggest Hidden Cause of Burnout (and What to Do About It)