You know what the biggest cause of burnout is?
There, I said it! If you are smart, and you are driven, and you have actual ambitions beyond “beat Princess Beefcurtains in the next level of Fortnite” then you are likely going to suffer from a whole RAGING RIVER of problems that normal people do not have.
- One of those problems is overthinking something you said to the neighbor three years ago. 🤷♀️
- And another is feeling like you are TAPPED….THE HELL…..OUT….ALL…THE…TIME. You’re baked like an overcooked steak in every department imaginable, you’re overworked and underexcited, you’re stressed and feel super unorganized, you’re busy keeping promises to everyone else but yourself, yet you procrastinate every thing you know you really WANT to do (but can’t seem to find time for), and the last thing you need is some nitwit named Holly calling you up to “pick your brain over coffee.” YOU AND YOUR LATTE CAN SHOVE OFF, HOLLY.
Yes, it’s b-b-b-b-burrrrrrrrn out—and smart people suffer from it a lot.
Smart people are the ones who are always trying to save the world, start cool businesses, follow their heart, exercise, volunteer, write a book, own a dog, be their own boss, network, grow their email list, BE AN ICONIC THOUGHT LEADER (no pressure), read all the books, answer all the emails, send all the texts, and not eat too many hot dogs.
So, naturally you’re going to be a very sad penguin when you come to the realization that you are not actually Gal Gadot. I mean, a quick look in the mirror probably gives it away (why does she have the BEST FACE?!), but we like to delude ourselves into thinking that we are actually Wonder Woman and we can actually throw around 1,400 pound pianos AND ALSO take on fourteen new projects because, if anybody can do it, we can!
And, you’re not wrong. Not really. You probably can. (Albeit, poorly.)
But, it comes at a cost. And that cost is being happy.
Something I have found to be annoyingly true is that there’s a difference between being successful and being happy. Success is pretty damn formulaic: remove your conscience, take a bunch of steps in the right order, overthink nothing, and watch as you spit out money on the other side.
Like, seriously: even people with 0% personality can be “successful” if they just shut up and follow the plan. (Or hire people to follow it for them.) I’ve seen it too many times to count.
Success isn’t always a function of being a magical unicorn: sometimes it’s a function of being average and not stressing about being an original.
What we REALLY need help with, however, is not being successful: it’s being happy while you are successful. Because—am I right here?—doesn’t it always feel like you either have to:
- Work incredibly hard and suffer every day in the name of success
- Or, completely sod off and enjoy your life (but never do anything worthwhile)?
It’s like success/happiness are on two complete opposite sides of the coin.
To get one, you’ve got to sacrifice the other.
I used to feel this way like WHOA. When I was younger, I had this subconscious belief that the harder I worked, the more it meant. I needed to find self-worth through the struggle. If it was easy, and life was enjoyable, and things were good, it meant I wasn’t working hard enough. Conversely, if I was working non-stop, grueling, grueling, grueling away, I dreaded my days but no one could ever call me lazy. (Mostly me, since I was always my own biggest critic.)
The worst part is?
Even though you’re on a constant hamster wheel, you actually end up being less successful. Isn’t that a real kick in the crotch? And the reason isn’t because of all the work you’ve put in. It’s because all of the work was focused in the wrong place.
Here’s a question: How many hours a day do you dedicate to your happiness?
Think about it. How many? None? Maybe a few here and there, if binge-watching Yellowstone counts? (Guilty.) Or maybe you’re so busy running around doing everyone else’s bidding, that the idea of budgeting time toward your own happiness is ridiculous: a lofty goal for entitled millennial nose swabs who don’t know what it’s like to “have real responsibilities.” (Every millennial I know is laughing uncontrollably right now: our work isn’t less, it’s just different than how it was defined by a bunch of old guys in the 1950s.)
Somewhere along the line we kind of just put our brain in a jar and isolated it there, letting it work and work and work for everyone and everything else—except ourselves. It’s basically like a community brain, and anyone else has full access to it! Whaddya need?! Step right up!
So, of course, when it comes to things like carving time into our own day for, haha, “our own happiness,” the brain is wayyyyy too busy handling all the other requests.
As a result:
- You keep promises to everyone but yourself.
- Your life is stressful and unorganized.
- You never feel on top of your day.
- Feel feel stagnant & stuck.
- You’re struggling to stick with any of the things you know you need to do to make your life improve.
- You’re on the hamster wheel of busy work and toxic habits.
- You’re mad at yourself for never doing what you say you are going to do—whether it’s writing a book or sticking to a diet or getting enough exercise or keeping in touch with old friends.
- You feel disconnected from what you actually want and what you’re actually doing.
- You secretly feel afraid of not being “good enough”—so you never start or commit. (Because if you commit and then you fail, then you’re REALLY screwed.)
- You feel frustrated and burned out, and sick of trying so hard with little to show for it.
Gross, I know.
But it’s a real problem.
And it’s because none of us are purposefully budgeting any time into our schedules for our own happiness. And none of us are aligning our work with happiness. And none of us are making decisions based on happiness.
We’re making decisions for success. And like I said earlier, the two are not the same.
The thing that’s made all the difference for me?
Planning for my own happiness.
And, I am not a planner! That’s why this was hard!
But, I learned how to budget happiness into my life—with purpose, intention, deliberation.
It’s no accident that I spend the first 3 hours of every day writing. Not writing for clients, writing for me. I first started that habit when I wrote The Middle Finger Project book, and it made such a difference in my day: I felt like I was committed to myself. Like I had my own back. Like I was a person who followed through. Like I trusted myself to do the work and KILL IT.
But it’s about so much more than that. It’s about learning how to show up for yourself, cultivate discipline, generate deep self-trust, and keep your own damn promises to yourself.
That’s why The Irreverent Career Co. is on a mission to dismantle outdated work models that no longer work for modern living & introduce you to a new one that prioritizes income and pleasure: one in which your work and professional contributions are decentralized from a central authority—in this case, an employer; one in which you’re able to earn independently no matter where you are in the world; one in which your time is detached from your value; one in which you have leverage and control over what you earn, where you earn it, and how you spend your days.
Because now, there’s a new way of earning.
So make sure you’re registered for one of our upcoming workshops, because if the cost of your success is your happiness?
It isn’t success.