Sustain issue #62 (Get Sustain in your inbox next Thursday)
This week, iconic global group BTS announced they are taking a break in large part to recharge after burning out. It turns out that relentless pressure to release new content and tour is not in fact smooth like butter.
On that note, let’s continue our conversation on slow growth. Last week we talked about how perennial plants take several years to get established with a deep root system. Today is about the equally slow growth that happens above ground.
Establish a strong root structure
When you’re looking to create something lasting – like a business, a relationship, or a system to get out of burnout – it takes time.
“Most big, deeply satisfying accomplishments in life take at least five years to achieve,” according to Atomic Habits author James Clear. “Five years is a long time. It is much slower than most of us would like.”
For burnout, I see the mindset shifts you need to make as establishing a strong root structure. Move from hustle to unhustle. Move from success based on money and power to success based on control of your time. Move from an identity based on your job to an identity based on who the real human is inside you.
Like the root system, these mindset shifts happen out of sight. It’s the anti-burnout habits and actions that emerge and evolve in view above ground.
Grow stunning foliage
Once the root system is firmly built, it’s time to focus on what’s above ground. The beautiful plant we see.
I spent close to four years testing and perfecting a system that got me out of burnout. While one day it felt like it started to click, there was a serious time investment leading up to that moment. Big moments don't happen overnight.
Just ask the Savannah Bananas baseball team. They are a media darling right now. They’ve been featured in many national publications and their owner has a new book. They are paving the way for making baseball more fun and have a sellout streak to back that up.
It seems like an incredible overnight success. But it actually goes back 15 years. They’ve been trying things and pushing the envelope for 15 years to get to this moment.
So to get your root system (mindset) and your stunning foliage (daily habits) in place, start now.
“If you accept the reality of slow progress, you have every reason to take action today,'' suggests Clear. “If you resist the reality of slow progress, five years from now you'll simply be five years older and still looking for a shortcut."
If BTS had gone at a sustainable pace, they’d likely still be making music together right now. It’s the same for you. Plan your escape from burnout at a sustainable pace and remember it can't be rushed.
Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?
Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to eliminate burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) and suffered deep burnout and came back from it even though I never found a playbook for doing so. So, I'm writing it myself.
✉️ Want my top tips? I share my full step-by-step playbook in How I Quit Burnout, my premium newsletter. Get the next one delivered straight to your inbox >
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