Resilience Against Entrepreneurial Burnout

Entrepreneurship is frequently depicted as a journey filled with excitement and achievements, a path where ambition and innovation lead to success and fulfillment. However, beneath this glamorous exterior lies a harsh reality fraught with challenges, among which entrepreneur burnout stands as a common yet often overlooked obstacle. This condition, characterized by deep-seated physical and emotional exhaustion, threatens the very essence of entrepreneurial spirit and endeavor. This special crossover of The Complete Entrepreneur and Serial Entrepreneur: Secrets Revealed session led by entrepreneurs Michael Gilmour and Colin C. Campbell highlighted this issue and ways entrepreneurs can combat burnout. 

https://youtu.be/ay0c9HtLDR4

Fostering self-awareness, setting realistic boundaries, and emphasizing self-care are pivotal steps in fortifying entrepreneurs against the adverse effects of burnout.

Burnout among entrepreneurs can manifest in a multitude of ways, ranging from overwhelming fatigue and mental weariness to a disconnection from one’s passions and goals. This deteriorative state sneaks up insidiously, propelled by an amalgamation of stressors such as an unsustainable workload, the absence of a balanced professional-personal life, and the omnipresent demand for success. Entrepreneurs often find themselves ensnared in a relentless loop of extended work hours, sleep deprivation, and unyielding stress, culminating in a debilitating condition where their capacity to perform and innovate grinds to a halt.

Addressing and mitigating burnout is imperative for entrepreneurs, not solely for their personal health but also for the vitality and sustainability of their enterprises. Fostering self-awareness, setting realistic boundaries, and emphasizing self-care are pivotal steps in fortifying entrepreneurs against the adverse effects of burnout. Moreover, cultivating a supportive ecosystem comprising mentors, peers, and professionals can offer critical support and insight, enabling entrepreneurs to traverse the complexities of their journey with resilience. It is through such measures that entrepreneurs can safeguard their well-being and ensure the enduring success of their ventures in the face of adversity.

Listen to the full conversation above!

  • Read the Transcript

    Today’s Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed episode is a special feature from The Complete Entrepreneur, hosted by Michael Gilmour every Thursday at 5 p. m. Eastern on Clubhouse. This special crossover session brings together the insights and energy of both podcasts, offering a unique perspective on the entrepreneurial journey.

    Get ready for an inspiring blend of stories and strategies to enhance your own path to success.

    The complete entrepreneur and this is a special episode because you might be listening to this on the podcast. Start, scale, exit, repeat. Serial Entrepreneur Secrets of Yield. We’re doing a special episode today. We’re going to share this episode with you. We do this one every Thursday at 5 o’clock Eastern.

    And we talk about the complete entrepreneur. We talk about, um, what it is that the entrepreneurs go through when they start, scale, and repeat. or when they start a business or when they have an idea for a business. And today we’re talking about burnout. Our host is Michael Gilmore who comes from Australia live.

    Michael, welcome to the show. It’s so good to be here. Colin, we’re just going to wait for the other people to come and join the minute, join the room, I guess. Well, I’m just happy with just you and I, we could just go at it. Right. So today we’re going to take this podcast. We are going to syndicate it. Um, sorry, let’s start this podcast.

    We’re going to take this live show and we are going to syndicate it on our podcast network on Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat, because it’s a really cool show. And often we talk about entrepreneurship as a code, you know, as a new book just came out, uh, don’t want to be negative here, but it’s like how to make a million dollars in a weekend.

    And how to get rich quick, how to do this, how to do all that. And there’s a lot of that. And by the way, that’s, that is, I’m not even guilty as charged. That is what my book, The Number One Best Seller on Amazon is all about. Start, scale, exit, repeat. It’s all about how to start a business. Scale, exit, repeat.

    But the reality is there’s more to it than just that. There’s the human side of it. There’s the human component. And this show addresses that. But sometimes we get to a point of burnout, Michael, this is your topic. This is your show. I’m teeing you up here, obviously. And I just want to ask you, like, what is it?

    Why did you come up with the topic burnout? Yeah, it’s a really interesting question, Colin. Um, when I talk to entrepreneurs from all over the world. One of the things that’s common for a seasoned entrepreneur is they go through the highs and the lows, it’s like the rollercoaster. And sometimes the lows end up being a crash rollercoaster and where a person is just completely burnt out.

    But I want to unpack that a lot more in this conversation with you, Colin, and also with people from the audience, put up your hand and we’d love to have you up here on stage as we really begin to pull apart. What does it mean to be an entrepreneur going through burnout? It’s a very unpopular topic, but it’s something that, um, I think that, uh, is absolutely long overdue for discussion.

    But just before we get started and things want to welcome everyone here to the. Complete entrepreneur. It’s a show that it’s at 5 p. m. Eastern time every Thursday. And with my fellow host, Colin Campbell, best selling author on amazon. com with the book start scale X repeat, and I’m not sure, but, uh, we also may find that Michelle VanTulberg.

    Who is incredible incredible entrepreneur in her own right? Uh, we’ll be joining us as well as another co moderator but um Just before we get started into things though. Colin. How’s it going with startup. club? Like have we got 970 970 000 members. Uh, it’s pretty cool. We’re growing. Hello. Noelle. Nice to see you again Uh as people start to join us to join the audience and you know for this topic Uh, it’s a, you know, every day I see shows, three or four shows on Startup Club and, you know, there’s a lot of people who put themselves out there.

    These are volunteers who run these shows. They don’t make any money. They just run these shows because they want to help out. And, and by the way, if you’re listening to some podcasts, I apologize about this because we haven’t really mentioned it. It’s actually on Clubhouse. Startup Club on Clubhouse. So if you go to Clubhouse, download the app.

    Uh, you can, uh, uh, go to the club called Startup Club, and that’s the club we’re talking about. And join the club. We have 970, 000 people. And we have a lot of very cool speakers coming on to the platform. We had one a couple weeks ago. We have some more. Great speakers. I mean, I think quite frankly, because of the book, start, scale, exit, repeat.

    We’re getting a lot of attention and a lot of, we’re attracting a lot of really, really good speakers now onto the ship onto the platform. So if you’re not already on startup. club and sign up to that email list, because we cannot communicate with you whatsoever. The app does not allow us. In any way to engage with you pretty much other way other than the hallway uh, but if you are on the Email list all we do is a newsletter and promote the speakers who are coming on to startup club So please go to www.

    startup. club and check that out. We’ve got over 145 podcasts now. We have dozens of articles that have been printed on Forbes and other media sources. Uh, and, uh, it’s a really good resource for starting a business. Learning how to crack the code of what it takes to start, scale, exit, repeat. Michael, thank you very much.

    I’m excited about today’s topic. burnout because why am I excited about burnout? Cause we’ve all been there. We’ve all been on that roller coaster. Michael. I agree with you, Colin. Like, um, one of the challenges for being an entrepreneur is how do you manage your obsessive passion? And not get to the point where there’s nothing left in the tank.

    How do you manage that? And I’ve seen it with one entrepreneur after another. And, uh, I remember years ago I was in the seminar speak industry and, uh, you’d see these, uh, new speakers come in. Like they’re all very excited and going home and all that sort of stuff. And they said, I’ve got so much work on, I’m working six days a week and all this sort of stuff.

    And on the seventh day I’m writing all this material and everything. And, and I go, oh yeah. Okay. Okay. And, uh, they say, oh, I’m going to make an absolute killing this month. Yes. They made a killing that month. They did, but then they didn’t work again because they’re completely and absolutely burnt out and it’s, it’s an interesting thing to watch and, um, and how to manage, um, that, that whole sort of passion to be consumed by work, like, let’s face it, most businesses start up out of someone’s home and how do you walk out of the study And leave the work in the study and don’t take it as you sit down with your loved ones watching TV and you’re just checking your phone every few minutes.

    It’s checking it, you’re checking it, and everyone’s watching TV together or something. You’re playing a game and you’re checking under the table, you’re checking your phone. How do you put that aside? It’s actually really hard. Um, it’s really hard to sort of like, to put it, to put the, your business and something that’s really important for you, put it aside.

    But let me tell you right from the start, if you don’t. Eventually the business won’t exist because the business will only go as far as you go and um, And if you’re not able to keep on going in the business, the business is not going to go any further. That’s for sure So it there’s a few the whole stack of things around this of why people Um end up like burning out, uh, but colin i’m sure you’ve got some thoughts No, I just want to like I want to push you a little bit here Like I think that I think when you talk about burnout we’re talking about absolute burnout You know, we’re talking about you’re done.

    So this conversation can go a few ways. One, we can talk about, you know, what are the signs that you’re done? Maybe that’s a good way to start. And then, and then once we understand the signs, how do we actually deal with it? What do we actually do? What do we do to mitigate that burnout? How do we come back?

    Like, this is not an easy topic. This is a topic that. You know, again, very few people want to talk about, but in entrepreneurship, it’s a roller coaster and you’re going to hit those hard times, but it’s going to come a time when you do burnout and you can mitigate the losses of that burnout. You can, there’s ways you can deal with that.

    And I don’t know the answers here. And I’m hoping that we have some people, uh, in the audience who want to come up and talk about burnout and how they. dealt with burnout themselves because like, let me be clear. Like there are different ways to deal with this. And I had a friend two weeks ago who shut his company down after a hundred years, a hundred employees, up to 20 years of working on it.

    And two on Tuesday that following Tuesday committed suicide. And Michael, I went to the, uh, on Monday and I know I’ve been mentioning this. I went to the memorial on Monday and, uh, listen to the father talk about what happened and, you know, failures happen in business, but they can lead to burnout too. And they really are the lessons that we need to learn to guide us through our new ventures there.

    You know, sometimes when you’re in these situations, you can’t come back, like you’re at a point of mental stress to the point where you actually do kill yourself. And it’s just very sad that my friend did that two weeks ago at the same time I’m, like, how can we talk about this more? And I know burnout is part of that because burnout isn’t giving up.

    It’s not failure. It’s like you just burnt out. You don’t have any energy left for your family. Like you said, Michael, for your family, for the people around you, for everyone and for yourself, by the way, but it reminds me of those, those videos in the airports, uh, on the airplanes where it says, you know, when the oxygen runs out.

    You need to breathe first. You need to take care of yourself first. And I sometimes think that entrepreneurs don’t take care of themselves. They don’t do what they need to do to really take care of themselves. We’re always fighting for success. We’re fighting, we’re fighting for, for to not fail. We’re fighting to win and we’re supporting a lot of people around us.

    So. That’s what I think leads to burnout. Maybe this, maybe there’s a high expectation of entrepreneurs. Maybe there’s a high, maybe the people around you are expecting, you know, your people, your employees, your staff, your Your, your family, they all expect that you will continue to deliver what you need to do as a CEO, as the entrepreneur.

    And then at least to a point where you’re just exhausted. So, so maybe we can start by just saying what are the signs and then how do we do a reset? Again, anybody in the audience. We’d love to have you up. Yeah, Colin, uh, first off, like, uh, my, my deepest condolences, um, for you with your friend. Like, that’s, to me, that’s a horrendous situation.

    Um, where someone feels that they’re not worthy enough. I was in tears on Monday. Oh, two hundred and fifty people, a hundred, half of them entrepreneurs in EO. It’s a group called EO organization, entrepreneurs organization. A hundred of them showed up, a hundred of the employees showed up. We had 200 people at the event on Monday.

    And, um, and we just, you know, we talked about them and we just, like, we can understand he’s a 42 year old. Very successful entrepreneur who burned out and then that was it. He was done. Yeah It’s just it’s one of those really sad things, you know, and I think that um One of the things and we can talk about what are the what are the signs and I think the number one sign for an entrepreneur Is when they see that their self worth is attached to their business your self worth Is not attached to your business.

    Let me just state that right up front. Your self worth is who you are as a person. It’s got nothing to do with your business. The fact that you’re you’re running the business and you’ve built a business that’s great But your self worth of who you are as an individual Is not dependent upon the success or failure of your business If that was the case, then you better go along and tie your self worth to the interest rates Or inflation, or all these external factors that you have absolutely no control about that may impact your business.

    You’re being brutally unfair on yourself. So, you know, this is like, Michael, you said interest rates? This is why his company failed. He was in the real estate transaction business. And in the United States, people have 30 year mortgages. And all of a sudden, 100 employees were no longer getting deals. And the company after 20 years collapsed because the interest rates had gone up and it was nothing to do with his ability or performance.

    It was an external factor that caused him to burn out. Yeah, and I, I think, I think Colin, the number one thing that entrepreneurs should really segregate in their thinking Is what can they influence? What can they not influence? Be accountable for what you can influence, but what you can’t influence You need to it’s it’s react to it.

    So for instance, one of the things that really drives Uh drives my business is the exchange rate between the US and Australian dollar And I look at that every single day. So what can I do about that? I actually can’t change the exchange rate, but what I can do is I can suddenly migrate when it went down to 64 cents.

    Um, just recently I can migrate a whole lot of us dollars into my Australian dollar account and take advantage of it. Uh, I can make decisions like that, but I cannot change the exchange rate. So when it went to like 80 cents, um, 12 months ago, then I couldn’t change it. But what I could do is I could decide to go along and not incur additional expenses or curb the expense line of my business so I can react to those sort of things.

    Um, but once again, my self worth is not tied to the U S Australian dollar exchange rate. Like it impacts my business for something fiercely, but. It does not, it does not mean I’m a better or worse person. And that is something really comforting. I got a realization of this in my twenties is that, um, is, is that my value as an individual does not depend upon the success or failure of my business.

    I’ll repeat that my value as an individual does not depend upon the success or failure of my business My value as an individual For me is when I look in the mirror each morning and I and I say to myself. Yeah, I like what I see And what I mean by that is not because I’ve now got gray hair versus my darker hair when I was younger.

    I like what I see, which is I’m looking at the essence of who I am. Am I trying to do the right thing? Am I trying to be a better person? Are my values still solid? Are they unchallenged? Or if they have been challenged, do they still stand? I know one of your values, Colin, is integrity over profit. What a great value that is.

    Integrity. Why is that? Because you know what? Your business will go up and down with profit, but your integrity is something which is far more valuable. Michael, I feel like we’re not getting, I feel like we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re not going down the path of the, of the heading of this topic. The topic is burnout.

    And oh, yeah, we’ll get there. We’ll get there. I know I know I know but you’re going with values and this and yet people are burning out They’re burning out. So we need to identify the size. Yeah, and how do we address that? Like i’m just challenging michael I’ll tell you Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And I love these dynamic conversations.

    Uh, we’ll come to Joe and Tara too, is that, um, the reason why values are so, so important that the number of times I’ve seen people who, um, they’ve been flexible with their values and that’s, what’s called the burnout because something breaks inside of them. And what happens? I’m not going with that. Yeah, well, it’s true because what happens is they go along and say, my value is integrity over profit.

    And then you go, wow, you know what? I can, I can just skirt things here and I can earn some more profit. But there’s something inside of you. It’s like your conscience just plagues you and plagues you because you’d known you’ve just broken your value. So it’s inside and deep. It is internal to you. And it just, it’s like a burden you end up carrying.

    And you realize you’ve made the wrong thing, wrong decision. And it’s not nothing to do with the money and the transactions to do with, you know, you’ve just broken one of your core values. And that there is the beginning you asked for. It’s the initial signs. If you ask me, that’s the beginning of when you’re heading down a slope.

    And you begin to head towards burnout because it is a burden which gets heavier and heavier every time you do that and you wake up in the morning rather than leaping out of bed and go, Oh, I can’t wait until I get to the office or something like that. You leap out of, you get out of bed and you crawl out of bed.

    Oh, and it’s like you’re putting on a great big backpack and you got 500 pounds now in it. Versus having a backpack, which is easy in life, because you’ve, you’re breaking what you stood for, you’re breaking the essence of who you are. Colin, that’s a tough one to actually understand. Um, it really is a tough one to understand, and I remember being in my MBA class many years ago, and a lot of the MBA students, there was a big debate about ethics and all that sort of stuff, and they were saying, and morals, they were saying it doesn’t matter what you do at work or what you do at home, that they’re separate, so you can be completely amoral.

    At work, as long as you’re moral at home, it’s okay. And I said, no, you’re the same person. You’ll eventually break under crossing your values more and more. Because you’ll be putting more and more things into your backpack. Unless you empty your backpack, it’ll eventually crush you. And you will burn out.

    And that’s my real assessment of a lot of this. You ask Colin the question, what is the journey a person goes down to until they burn out? They don’t wake up one day and go say, I’m burnt out, I’m sick of this, I’m off. It’s a journey they’ve been down. So it’s the, it’s the thousand little transactions you know were quite, not quite right, that eventually crush you.

    It’s a death by a thousand cuts. It’s not the great big one. That may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but it’s all those little decisions beforehand. Those little ones where you know, you know what, I told the lie to that client there, and one of my values is truth. I told a lie. I shouldn’t have done that.

    Until you go along and make good with that person and apologize, then you’ll be filling your backpack up. I’ll give an illustration of this column. Many years ago, And then I’ll, I’ll hear from you. We’ll jump to Joe and Tara. Many years ago, I was in a business meeting at a conference. I sat down with this, uh, big partner of ours and we’re going backwards and forwards and in the conversation and I, and I said something and something inside me went.

    Hang on a second here. And the meeting finished and I went up to my room and it plagued me. I thought what I said then it could have been construed in a way. And that’s not a truth. That’s a lie. And it was plaguing me. It really was. I put something in my backpack and the next day I thought to myself, I’ve gotta get this thing outta my backpack here.

    And I went to the guy and I, and I at the conference, uh, the next day, and I said, look, I just wanted to clarify something with you. I hope you don’t mind. I said this and this is what I actually meant. And I’m sorry. It could have been construed another way. And the guy said, doc, it’s not a problem at all.

    It, it, it was all good and all that sort of stuff. But you know what I did? I reached over and I took that thing out of my backpack and I got rid of it because I want my burden to be light, not heavy. I didn’t want my conscience constantly playing me. And when you constantly putting things in your backpack, then, um, that eventually will crush you.

    So Colin, so I know I saw you flash up there for a second. I

    think Collins has stepped away for a minute. Joe, I’d love to hear from you on this. I am back. I’m sorry. I’m back. I’m back. I’m back. I’m back. I’m sorry. So yeah, it’s just like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, but it’s a tough thing I’m talking about. Did you ask a tough question? I’m starting to make the connection. Yeah.

    Of your core personal values. Yeah. And when you understand them, that they will reduce the burnout in the future, because as long as you’re leaving your core values, then you can now, but I do think you can have core values and still burn out. So I think there’s a little bit of two sides of that. Now I’m curious what’s your, I think there’s, I think there’s less of a likelihood that you’ll burn out if you’ve got your core values because your core values will not be something like, and my core value is that my business will be successful.

    That’s not a value. You’ve separated by having core values. You’ve separated your, who you are from your business. What you don’t do is get your business to force you to transgress your core values. The two separate things there and so if your if your self worth is dependent upon your values There’s the foundation Is your values it’s got nothing to do with your business your business as an outcome of your core values very different That’s why I was impressed with your value.

    So Joe, go for it Joe. Alright, you guys got me up on values, because recently I’ve been trying to figure out what I should write for my company’s value. Um, around the clubhouse streets, I think one of the game development rooms coined, uh, values are something which you’ll lose, which you, um, Will lose profits over because it’s defined by Value you’re defining profit or difference or or that you’ll take cost or which you’ll pay to achieve Because the word itself is value.

    I think joe. I think that’s a really good definition And I let me tell you guys another story I, I remember, uh, I was asked to mediate between these two individuals. They’re having a great big fight over, um, uh, who should be paying the next, um, they were sharing a house, they’re, who should be paying the next, um, rent and all that sort of stuff.

    It was about a hundred bucks something back. There’s a number of years ago. It wasn’t very much money and, uh, I happened to be eating my lunch at the time and I just let them, they’re yelling at each other and everything. These two young guys and everything like that. And I just finished my lunch. And they’re expecting me to say something to mediate between them.

    And, uh, at the end of finish my lunch, I didn’t just say a thing. I just stood up and I said to them, you two disgust me. And they said, why is that? I said, you value this friendship at precisely 100. And I walked out, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s the way you said that, um, Joe is, is, is, is very poignant because it’s what, uh, can you buy someone’s values for instance, if I, there was that movie years ago, I can’t remember the amounts of money and who was called, um, is with Robert Redford, um, uh, what’s his name?

    Demi Moore. And there was some other person in it. Okay. And it was like, I want to buy a night, uh, a night with your wife. I’ll pay you a million dollars for that. Can I buy her? Yeah. So the question is how much of your value is really worth. Can I put some money on the table? Are you buyable? What, what values can I buy?

    Are you going to auction them off? Or are they inflexible? Because they’re the essence of who you are. As soon as you put your values on the, on the table, that’s the thing that will eventually lead to burnout and collapse of who you are as a person. I’m a firm believer in that. The moment that you, you put those values at stake, And you’re not making, uh, ends means, it feels like a betrayal.

    And earlier you guys were mentioning, uh, something that reminded me of, like, shadow work. To not admit the, the consequence of your values is like not having the awareness of your shadow. Yeah, that’s another interesting way of viewing it as well, Joey, so thank you for that. I remember years ago, I had a business which had developed an online advertising technology way ahead of its time.

    It’s like, um, the end of the nineties, like unbelievably good at tagging and so forth. That that an external factor. Think of it like interest rates impacted the business. And in the end it was like thrust into an almost impossible circumstance. And this guy came along to me, impacted the flow. Yeah, it impacted the business.

    So, um, uh, this guy came to me one day and he, and he, and he said. I’d like to do a deal with you, and I’m going, fantastic. It’s going to be a multi million dollar deal. And I’m thinking, this is just awesome. Like, this is so exciting. He said, I’d like to use your ultra targeting technology for the porn industry to be able to promote pornography to the world.

    And I, and I was thinking, I’ve got all these people that depend upon me for their employment. I’ve got a solution here to my financial woes, but it transgressed one of my core values. What do I do? I walked away from it and walked away from the deal. And with the result, the company had closed. But you know what?

    It was a difficult time, but Colin, I didn’t burn out. I went through a tough time, don’t get me wrong. I went through a very tough time. Um, but I did not burn out. And the reason why I didn’t burn out is because I woke up in the morning, I looked in the mirror, and I still like what I saw. I didn’t want to be known as the person who developed a great technology to introduce pornography to my children.

    That was a decision I made based upon my core values. And it cost a lot, uh, to make that decision. But, um, it was one that, uh, it transgressed my core values. And, uh, he walked away from that column. I don’t know whether I was right or wrong. Some people say I was wrong in making that decision. Uh, and some people say I was right.

    I know I was right. Because the reason why is because a business will go up and down. And sometimes you just have the best thing you can do is close the business. But it doesn’t change who you are as an entrepreneur. Then what happened was, is that a few years later, I had another great business. Yeah, businesses will come and go.

    But you, as an entrepreneur, you’re the lifeblood of the economy. You’re the person which is going to go along, propel civilization into its next golden age. It’s the entrepreneur, the ones who are prepared to risk and to go along and push forward. The ones who go, are prepared to go along and work hard and move forward.

    But if you go along and you transgressed your values, then you will burn out, call it. Yeah, look, I would love to do another show with you and Joe and Tara on core values. I am totally on board with this. It is a topic of my book. We have interviewed Vern Harnish and other entrepreneurs and other very successful people who’ve talked about how to implement core values in your company.

    I talk about Zappos and Tony Hsieh multiple times throughout the book, Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat. So, like, I totally get where you’re coming from. I’m coming back right now today because you brought up this topic of entrepreneur burnout. What if you’ve got your core values in place? What if you’re doing everything right, but you’re burning out?

    What are the signs and what can you do to turn that around? And I don’t know the answer to that question. My first thoughts are, what biases are you feeling?

    Like, Joe, what do you mean by biases? Like, you’re burning out. Like, you’re done. You’re finished. Yes, but you have a bias that the world is throwing at you that you feel finished on. Okay. Let’s say I’m gambling and I keep betting on heads. You know, I bet on heads 20 times in a row. I’m going to eventually get frustrated if HEDS doesn’t show up the 21st, 22nd.

    I got a gambler’s fallacy. I have a bias. I have a bias that HEDS should show up. Maybe the coin isn’t So are you suggesting that burnout is psychological? Or are both of you suggesting that? Because I don’t believe it is. I think at some point

    So another term I’ve heard is I believe it’s real. I believe it’s real. I think it’s real. values at which we can’t live legally. Makes you a renegade. Yeah, I think it’s an interesting question you ask. Is, is, uh, burnout psychological? Um, I think it’s a combination. To me, burnout is a result of a myriad of, myriad of decisions.

    For instance, and I’d love to hear Tara’s views on this too, in a minute. Um, I think burnout is a result of not eating properly. Not sleeping properly, not allocating that time to sleep, not exercising. There’s some fundamentals that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t do as much as they do do. Um, for instance, a friend of mine sat down one time with me and he said, cause I used to be up till like three o’clock, four o’clock in the morning.

    And then I’d have four hours sleep and I’d be up again. And he said, Michael, you may be working long hours. But are you really potent during those hours? And it really brought me up sharp and I thought, ah, am I really potent? Am I really firing on all cylinders? No, I was exhausted the whole time. And it was ridiculous.

    So I completely changed the way I worked. I still work in safe sort of hours. I’m up early and I finish at about say seven o’clock at night, or sometimes it can be a little bit, a little bit later, but realistically, and I always relax before going to bed, but you know, it’s, it’s, and the first thing I do before I look at anything, numbers, anything.

    Is I spend some time inputting to myself, I spend time exercising and then for breakfast I, I eat wholesome food. Um, and I’m very, very pedantic about these sort of things now. And, um, and it, what it does is it brings a clarity to your thinking. And I think one of the things you’re talking about that Colin is with burnout is that what happens is a person is going through burnout.

    Is feeling completely oppressed by all the decisions they’ve got to make and a part of it is complete exhaustion and exhaustion can come from not eating, correct, not sleeping, obviously, but not exercising. But if you’re doing all those things, I’m not saying you won’t burn out. I’m saying what you’ll do is you’ll become more potent.

    And are able to deal with all the issues that business may throw you away. Yeah, I feel like you’re trying to answer this question without first identifying burnout. Like, I don’t think we really hit that. Tara, I’m curious, like, am I in the right Let’s get Tara’s view. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, Tara all all across to you.

    Yeah. Yeah. Um, I got lots of thoughts So made some notes here because otherwise I could ramble on this topic for hours and hours Yeah for starters Colin, I’m really sorry to hear about your friend. Um, yeah, it’s really sad when Um, I really feel like certain cultures, like startup culture, um, push people to that point and that misunderstandings about burnout and mental health.

    And, you know, when people are seeking solutions and they find things that don’t work, um, That they can, that can lead people to a worse place. Um, I definitely think burnout, well, I know, um, from experience, that it is physical. You know, just losing empathy, as you said, Colin. Absolute burnout. And I think that to learn from it, we need to understand what it is so we can support ourselves and also support others who are in burnout and not give them advice.

    That’s going to burn them out even more. Um, so as I’m building my community for neurodivergent founders and startup professionals, I’m hearing about burnout, um, quite a bit and I’m, Um, and I’m trying to better understand which activities burn entrepreneurs out, which ones aren’t as valuable as the energy that.

    Um, it takes a lot of people and which ones are essential and how entrepreneurs can work around those activities. And a lot of talk about burnout is about when people who go to work, burnout, go home to a different life, getting their cup filled from the part of their life that’s theirs and not for the man versus what I see in a lot of entrepreneurs is where they’re on all the time.

    Their friends are mentors or prospects or might be in three years or their entrepreneurs themselves and your hangout turns into them asking for business advice. These entrepreneurs spend your evenings responding to emails, building, networking, learning. Um, so you’re never giving certain parts of your brain, um, a chance to rest and that leads to nervous system level burnout.

    So like. nervous system glitching on you. Um, you know, physically can’t do something. Um, you know, like at, at the worst it can be like, there was a day I put dirty dishes in the fridge, um, or like jumble up sentences. But before that happens, there’s a lot of thinking you’re making a good decision, but you’re actually not.

    Like your brain is just spazzing on you and doing things that don’t make sense. And the startup world is also a hard place to, um, try and get to a better place because of a lot of these interaction dynamics where, you know, the, the self care side, like that’s really important. And that’s one of the things that we have the most control over, but then trying to find.

    External support in the startup world. It’s like I’d go out trying to get help and end up helping five other people instead And yeah, the startup world when there’s mention of burnout It’s often at a pretty reductive level and I’ve heard better descriptions in the neurodiversity world Where people are also?

    often Overcompensating by stressing certain parts of their brain all day and they call it autistic burnout if you’re autistic ADHD burnout if you’re ADHD, etc But i’ve seen it happen to neurotypical identified folks as well When their lifestyle pushes them to always be on in certain ways Whether it’s overdoing high cognitive load activities all day going from decision decision meeting to meeting Or masking how they’re actually feeling with everyone and that goes into what you said colin About people attaching their self worth to their business And it’s really tough when their friendships and support systems Are predicated on the success of their brand and it can be incredibly hard Finding people who understand entrepreneurship Who support people based on them being a person rather than?

    Um, and also, you know, finding people who actually understand what burnout is. Um, and when I’ve been going through it, I had quite a few friends who I thought I’d given up enough to connected with enough and they’d supported me To that I figured they’d stick around regardless of even if I’m in a rough patch and turns out It’s a really small minority and that a lot of people who I’ve said who’ve said and done incredibly caring things For me in one context do what you said Michael and turn those values completely off in a different context Depending on what your conversations about or who you are to them in the moment, which can change really fast When you go from success in their mind to burnout.

    Um, and so I think that the values, your values, and the values of the people you surround yourself with, Um, can contribute to burning out. Um, though I do think that burnout, the end state, is, you know, just physical and psychological. Um, everything kind of falling apart, um, loss of ability. Uh, and going off of the flexible values thread, I see a lot of entrepreneurs who are parroting a message that they came up with months ago, while they’re acting more and more different from it, and they’re being more and more secretive.

    Meanwhile, we have to learn and adapt as we learn about the world and our problem space, and that includes our values. Otherwise, you risk running into what you mentioned, Colin, of how values that burn us out, which often happens. Because our values don’t align with reality. For example, an entrepreneur might value universality and simplicity and build one system for everyone and try really hard to dominate the world with it and not listen when no one’s buying it because everyone has more diverse needs.

    And so I’m constantly updating my process of how I respond to new information and updating my values accordingly when needed. Um, and I try as much as possible to investigate rather than rationalizing going off of what Joe said about biases, but it’s hard when you’re tired and your schedule’s full and didn’t include space for having an existential crisis that day, and I think it’s really important to build space into our schedules to reflect and not just once a quarter, um, so we might be more thoughtful.

    In those moments that test us, and it’s also really hard when you’re surrounded by people who are rationalizing things to themselves and will, you know, not even meaning to mislead you, they’re misleading themselves when they give you advice and it sounds good on paper and they’ll help you convince yourself to take that deal that goes against your values.

    And so I would love to see more open discussion about burnout in the entrepreneurship world and as well as strategies that people took to get out of it and sharing that without shame or stigma. Um, because when burnout is kind of talked about halfway. It can lead to misunderstandings about what it is, especially when people are in earlier stages of burnout.

    If you don’t take care of it, you get more and more burnt out. If they pick up that they can hustle their way out of it, or, you know, when someone says that getting some deal was the solution to their burnout, but then, um, they don’t see the rest of the story, that that deal was Almost a done deal already and not something new that they started while they were in that state And also how much self care they did And how much of a support system they had and all of it um, and also when people are thinking in terms of runway, um, Not understanding what burnout really is and what that complete burnout can be um Someone might think that they have enough runway and enough personal runway enough of an emergency fund And then they get into the state where all kinds of health issues are popping up or they can’t work at all They have to sunset their startup and then they can’t work for another year um, and I really think that it’s important to have more discussion about The physical burnout state and also yeah while you’re in that state where your body’s falling apart You’re saying all the wrong things to your family and friends, and they’re all getting mad at you.

    Um, and you know, just knowing that that can happen, um, I think would help a lot of people make decisions, you know, more carefully, um, take risks in a way that Um, you know, if their startup doesn’t work out, they’re less likely to end up so burnt out that they can’t afford therapy. Uh, you know, I have friends, trigger warning, who are currently suicidal.

    And debating whether to spend money on therapy. Because they spent their money making big bets. And, uh, seeing stories of success all day. And not of Yeah, things can go wrong, and you think Worst case scenario, you’ll end up where you were when you started. But, no, you can end up with your body and your support system failing you.

    And not money to Yeah, yeah. Tara, you, you, you’ve, like, wow, that, I, I just enjoyed so much just listening to you, your views on this topic. And, uh, on burnout, and I think one of the things you’re highlighting there is a burnout can also impact people in different ways. Um, some people, it’s like, it’s a form of depression.

    Um, and they just cannot get out of bed. Other people, uh, they would get sick. They would just wake up and they’d be just sick. Um, other people just can’t move on at all. I feel like it’s impossible to move forward. I cannot make one more decision. And it’s almost like that. I know, um, one of the symptoms, and I’d like to talk to yourself, Colin, and also Tara and Joe, if you can feel free to jump in, is one of the, one of the symptoms I find with a lot of entrepreneurs is a term I call thrashing.

    It came from the computer industry where the hard Thrashing. You’d hear it moving all across the disk surface, where they never finish anything because they don’t have time to finish it, so they get on to the next thing, then on to the next thing, on to the next thing. So they’re doing a huge number of tasks and nothing’s finished.

    And in the end, because nothing’s finished, there’s a massive weight of responsibility and expectation they feel upon themselves because they’ve never completed anything. And it’s like, it’s a crushing burden. And that can actually really be, um, catastrophic for an entrepreneur, um, going through that experience.

    I know many years ago, I went through it where I, um, I got sick and I was sitting up in bed and, uh, my wife and kids had gone out somewhere and I ended up writing, um, it was back in front, two columns. Three pages of things I thought that I had to do, that I had to do, not just the wanted to do, that I felt I had to do.

    It was insane, the numbers of things that I was doing. And it just, in the end, I was juggling so many balls I just got sick. My body just said, if you don’t care, it’s my turn now. And it was a form of burnout. And I realized that that was not a good thing. Um, not a good thing to go through. And I had to reorganize my life and make a whole series of other different decisions.

    And the first lot of decisions was, um, saying no to a whole stack of things. Um, but yeah, it was, it was difficult. So Colin, have you ever experienced burnout of any sort? During your entrepreneurial career. I think it comes in different forms. Yes. It does. It does hit you differently at different times Yeah, so so there’s a muscle in your back that’s related to tension.

    It’s below your um, And i’ve had experience to this multiple times. It’s a below your um, your shoulder blade And you just it’s like you tense out and you feel it and you can actually experience it can have a physical You can have a physical reaction to your startup. The other thing too, is that three o’clock in the morning, I don’t know how many times I’ve been up at three o’clock in the morning in my life.

    We probably might, might, might put that down to about a thousand times, uh, maybe too many times, but when things are tough, when you don’t, so we talked about how are we going to solve these? Okay. How are we going to. Identify signs of burnout, but if you’re getting up at three o’clock in the morning in the middle of the night You got a problem And that is that is the beginning of the signs of burnout and it begins to burn you because you’re not productive during the day You know, you’re you’re you’re doing what you can do to run the business You’re not productive because you were up at three o’clock in the morning.

    So one of the things I started doing about 20 years ago is when I had that problem, is I would go downstairs and I would write out everything I could possibly do every, I’d write night on paper, and literally I could fall asleep after that. I, I don’t know, like that was one of the little techniques I used.

    The other thing, which by the way, just on which I do my call, Michael, the other thing I do, which, which I just did right now, I’m, I’m, I’m gonna admit something. I’m gonna be guilty here. I just went in the hot tub. I have a hot tub in my house. I just spent the last 45 minutes in this hot tub. And you know it well because you visited my house.

    But I just went into it because I just needed to calm myself down. We do need to take care of ourselves first. And I know you’ll say that but when payroll’s running out, when things are going bad, you’re like I don’t, I gotta keep the company alive. No, you gotta keep yourself alive first. And then Keep the company alive.

    Look, burnout has a lot to do with oxygen. You don’t have enough money. Like 82 percent of companies in the United States fail because they do not have enough money. It’s 82 percent of startups. It’s in the book again, like we really do try to dissect a lot of this kind of stuff in the book. And it really is fascinating, but that causes an extraordinary amount of stress.

    When you have the money to fund your startup, it’s a lot easier to take your startup to the next level and you can do it and sleep at night. But trust me, when you don’t have enough money on Friday for your payroll, you’re not sleeping on Thursday night. You’re not. Burnout can be avoided if we begin to implement systems to ensure that we have enough funding for our company.

    That we run the company a different way that we don’t just go day to day. That we think about what are our long term needs and by the way, we have to plan for the worst We have to plan for high interest rates or recessions or whatever it is We have to put extra money in the bank. We have to raise more money than we want to raise We have to hire great people, but don’t pay them a lot.

    Pay them with your love, ownership, and freedom. What do I mean by that? Pay them with stock. I mean, it’s amazing how many startups I’ve done where we’ve given massive pieces of the startup away to great employees, and we’ve had huge successes, but they’ve worked for almost nothing. Like, cash is the number one thing that’s going to lead to your burnout.

    Right. It’s your oxygen when you don’t have enough oxygen. You’re going to struggle to breathe. It’s not it’s very very hard Trust me if you have a lot of cash in your business, are you really burning out? No, it’s those who don’t have the cash in the business. Michael. That’s the problem Uh, that’s definitely one of the major causes colin Uh, it’s interesting you say you you go down and you you you write down in a piece of paper when I go on vacation I’ll go down to the beach and I’ll take my notebook with me.

    And initially many years ago, my wife said, why are you doing that for taking a notebook while you need to relax and everything like that. And I said, I’m about to relax. Just watch me. And whenever something comes to my mind, I’ll write down the notebook. And now I know it’s been dealt with. It’s in my notebook.

    And I, throughout the first few days of being on vacation, I’ll just be writing things down. And I was leaving my notebook and, and she would watch, she said, the stresses is leaving you, isn’t it? And I go, absolutely. It is. It’s not just the place it’s they’re written down. They’ve been dealt with. I’ll deal with that when I get back.

    And it’s, it’s really, um, It’s liberating. It’s actually liberating. And if you just say, I’ll remember to do that later, trust me in five minutes time, your brain will say, don’t forget, you got to do that later. And you say, Oh yes, I’ll remember to do that later. 10 minutes time. Oh, you’re going to remember to do that.

    And you’ll be constant. And on the other end, you write it down. It’s like, I’ve written it down. I don’t have to worry about it anymore. And it’s something magical about that for me, Colin. Um, And it really does just relax me. Um, the, the, the other thing is particularly with startups who mostly, most of the time they stop out of home is to create boundaries.

    If you want to really help avoid burnout, create very clear boundaries in your life. Um, like I’ve said this a thousand times in the show, particularly when I had young kids and all that sort of stuff. Uh, my kids are all left home now, but, um, it. What I would do is I’d leave my study and I’d take my shoes off and I put my my my slippers on, put my moccasins on, and it was a signal to the whole family that dad was home and I could leave all in the process of taking my shoes off and putting my moccasins on everything like that.

    It was like the drive home from work for me, and I would just leave all those other things in the study. And I would hear about the kid’s day at school or whatever, and all that sort of stuff, and I would love it, you know, it would be great. I’d sit down on the couch and we’d watch a bit of TV, play a game, whatever it is we were doing afterwards.

    But I was at home, because I had my moccasins on. And initially when I first did it, it didn’t change my mindset. But as the years went by, um, then what happened was that something changed within me. There was like a welcome relief putting my moccasins on. I look forward to it. I’m going home then. Even though I was actually still at home, I was going home.

    Whatever that is. It could be that you go and make yourself a cup of coffee at a particular time each day or something like that. And that means you’re now at home. Sorry, go in that hot tub, go in the hot tub, Colin. It’s whatever it is, there’ll be something that’s a trigger for you, which then you could leave the stress behind.

    You just leave that stress behind. And that’s, um, uh, that was just magical for me. Tara, so do you have something like that for yourself?

    Yeah, um, I take a lot of walks. Um, just clear my head in between things. I love walking, Tara. That’s a great one. So that’s a really good one. Yeah, I make sure to take at least five or ten minutes. To clear my head, um, before and after a meeting, um, yeah, don’t want to do back to back ones because just that context switching and being in other people’s worlds a lot sometimes detaches me from my own world, my own needs, like, am I hungry right now, all of that.

    And yeah, in terms of thoughts coming up in the middle of the night. Getting them down, um, really helps with not having to address them and do the thing right then. And also just getting better at being able to write something down in a way where I’ll remember what it was without having to do it has helped me get out of the mindset of, I’m gonna forget later, um, I’m gonna forget what that meant.

    Um, so that took some practice. I

    find going for walks is, is, is really good. And, um, uh, of just going for a walk and just relaxing as you do it. Um, and that’s, that’s a great time. Wow. What a topic. I can’t believe the hour has gone so quick, Colin. I, it really has, it’s just talking about burnout and there’s this, we’ve got to run this again.

    This, this session, because there is so much in it and it’s so important for so many entrepreneurs and, um, where they’re running into that wall of burnout and like I said, it’s, it’s going to be very different for each, each individual and understand that one of the first things I think I would highly recommend is go talk to someone.

    Go talk to someone. Uh, don’t talk to anyone. Talk to someone and ideally If you don’t have a someone, uh, to talk to and you’re going through a tough one, then join an organization, uh, an entrepreneur’s organization or something like that. But, um, if you’re not going through burnout, we’re going through a really tough time.

    My advice would be sit down as your first thing in the agenda and think about who is that someone you can talk with. Is that person is so so important planet in advance planet in advance But anyway, you’ve been listening to the complete entrepreneur. I want to hand across to colin colin You might go. I think uh, I think like i’d love to do a show with tara on neurodiversity I think that’s something we all need to understand.

    It’s a talent That every entrepreneur has. 49 percent of entrepreneurs have some form of neurodiversity. We’ve picked that apart up in the book and I’d love to, I’d love to do a show on that one. I’d love to do a show on core values. That’s another show that we sort of touched upon today. And uh, thank you Shadow and Noel for coming.

    You guys are so amazing to keep coming in and listening and supporting. And everybody else in the audience. Uh, tomorrow at 2 o’clock. Eastern on the, the Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed podcast. Very long name. Same name as the book, but, uh, we are going to be talking about AI and we’re doing an open mic on AI because there’s been a lot of movement.

    We do an AI show, but once a month, there’s been a lot of changes in the last two or three months around AI. And they’re not related necessarily to chat GPT. There’s a lot of other AIs that can help you with your startup. So that’s what we’re going to get into tomorrow at two o’clock Eastern. Michael, thank you very much.

    And if you have a great show. By the way, Colin, that sounds like, on AI, it sounds absolutely fantastic. If you haven’t done so, go to Startup, sorry, go to Startup. Club, sign up to that email list, and if you’re listening to this in podcast, because we’re syndicating this show on podcast, if you’re listening to it, come to the Complete Entrepreneur and come on stage.

    Every Thursday at five o’clock. We love it. Yeah, we love it. Yeah, we love it. Don’t we call him? Yeah, so It’s been absolutely fantastic. Um being here. I just want to thank you colin for your invaluable Experience and advice and tara and also joe was here earlier as well Thank you very much to each one of you participating in the show, but for you at the audience You’re the reason why we do this.

    I just want to say thank you very much for attending. It’s just, it’s great. It really is like that. None of us earning money from this. We do it because we love the community of entrepreneurs and the complete entrepreneur is talking about the, what it means to live the life of an entrepreneur and next week we’re actually tackling the topic of the value of culture.

    How do you create a culture in your business? Um, and what is that culture and what’s a good culture? What’s a bad culture? We’re going to be unpacking culture, uh, next time. And, uh, it’s going to be a great session at 5 p. m. Eastern time next Thursday. All the best to each and every one of you. I look forward to seeing you there.

    Have a wonderful week in your businesses. God bless. Bye.

    Thanks, uh, so much for putting this together, Colin. I would love to do a show on neurodiversity. Maybe could get my co founder of My neurodiversity startup group in on this as well, and would absolutely love to do one on values sometime as well.

    Oh, looks like Colin’s on the phone. Yeah, yeah, I agree, and actually Michael Gilmore’s just calling me now, that’s why the phone just went off. No, I’d love to do a show on neurodiversity. I think that this is a new space that will begin to understand the minds of entrepreneurs. And how different octomers have certain talents, and what they can do, and like, how these talents help them succeed.

    But also there’s negative sides to it. Okay, so we have to be careful of that. And, um, so Tara, like definitely, uh, you’re, let’s really do this, okay? I love it. Thank you again, Shadow and everyone else, uh, who came on tonight. Uh, we

    gotta leave, we gotta close the show. Oh, we gotta close the show. Michael keeps calling me. Alright, we’ll talk later. Alright. Bye. Yeah, um, I guess, if we both leave it, uh, I can close it, hold on. That’s good. But yeah, absolutely, let’s do it.

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