How to Avoid Burnout: Tips from Business Alignment Coach Mae Chan

“Most people think of burnout as being about too much work, but I believe it’s much more about the work you’re doing, or how you’re doing it, not taking you where you truly want to go. Burnout is like a warning light from your body saying you’re living out of alignment with your deeper goals, and it’s running out of resources to push through for you anyway.”

Oakland-based Business Alignment Coach Mae Chan recently presented at a Comcast Toolbox event, in partnership with The Oaklandside and Heritage Bank, where she spoke with several Comcast RISE recipients about ways to avoid burnout. The event took place at the 17th and Broadway Oakstop in Oakland, gathering close to 20 small business owners who have found community with other RISE recipients.

“The physical signs of burnout start out small, and get progressively more uncomfortable until you can no longer ignore them. For example, a little tired or stressed may turn into exhausted, anxious and migraine headaches; eventually more serious health problems may surface.

The good news is that recognizing burnout means you can begin to look more closely at the cause and realign with your personal and professional vision and goals, allowing you to enjoy your work again.”

Here are Mae’s recommendations if you are experiencing burnout:

1. Pinpoint the Source.

Ask yourself, “Is there one area of your business or work that you feel resistance to facing? What do you procrastinate on? What aspect of your work gives you an inward groan when you think about it?”

For example, if you get an email and you instantly feel that tightening in your gut or chest, that could be a sign of where you should focus. Other feelings to look for include irritation, anger, fear, or panic. Or there may be an area of your business you avoid or procrastinate, like employee management, finances, or interfacing with certain clients–all of these may be hints for where you can make a shift like delegating tasks, firing employees, or tightening your terms of engagement.,

Don’t be afraid to think big picture. If there’s not one section of your business that is triggering the burnout feeling, maybe your business no longer aligns with what you find fulfilling. In this case, you may need to pivot your overall business to fit your current vision or mission.

2. Believe that it can be easier.

Once you discover the area causing discomfort, ask yourself, “How can I make this easier for me?” You need to believe that it gets to be easier. When we think that relief is impossible, our minds try to protect us and tell us to keep going with the status quo. But, if we can hold ourselves amidst that fear and trust that the new way of approaching our work will improve in the long run, things will get easier.

3. Find a community

Being a business owner can feel very isolating, especially if you’re a solopreneur working from home. But you don’t have to do this alone! Everyone needs help in some areas and has strengths and wisdom to share in other areas. Join a network of other business owners with similar values for leading their businesses. It may be people in your industry, but it is also helpful to connect with people from different backgrounds. Find teachers, mentors or coaches who fit your vibe and have communities you can join so you can all learn and grow together. If you can’t find a network that fits your vibe, create one yourself.  There are people everywhere looking to connect.

Mae Chan is an Oakland-based Business Alignment Coach who aims to help entrepreneurs reach their next level of business through alignment with their highest authentic selves. Mae has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, architect, community organizer, and retailer, which allows her to bring multi-dimensional, specific insight into the deeper foundational work required to lead ourselves in building the lives we dream of.


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