Let’s just stop glorifying burnout

Graphic of a monarch butterfly, one wing on fire, against a cloudy skyEverywhere I look, I see articles, podcast episodes, social media posts, all asking what can we do about burnout?

I have one very succinct and heartfelt answer:

~ stop glorifying burnout ~

It’s part of hustle culture.

It’s part of the “Oh, I’m so busy!” badge of “honor.” (In quotes because yegads, people, let’s just stop – it’s not an “honor” to be that busy.)

It’s part of BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals) and the “go big or go home” mantra.

Let’s just stop it.

It’s December. A time when individuals, families, and businesses think about the New Year, and what we want to accomplish by this time next year.

Revenue goals. Production goals. Income goals. Moon-shot goals. Get it all done goals.

Spoiler alert: BHAGs and “go big” and “so busy” do not set us up for success.


They set us up for disappointment, self-criticism, frustration, and discouragement.

And, oh yeah, burnout.

Because when we set these types of goals, encouraged by all the memes and apparent success we see around us, we forget to ask one very important question:

~ is this feasible? ~

Pretty much by definition, a BHAG is not feasible.

So let’s just stop it.

I get that sales teams need targets and companies need to know what “growth” looks like.

And I get that it’s important to have metrics, performance indicators, that tell us whether we’re on the right track to get where we want to go.

And I absolutely get that it’s important to challenge ourselves.

But what I’m begging you to do is to think about that question – is it feasible? Because we can still challenge ourselves with feasible goals.

And then think about what conditions need to be in place in order for that feasibility to actually come to pass.

Because the real question isn’t what do we do about burnout.

The real question is, how do we prevent burnout from happening in the first place.

I’ve taught a strategic planning workshop for individuals and organizations many times over the years. I’d love to bring it to your group. If you’d like to learn more about how to set goals that don’t burn people out, let’s talk.