Jeremy Bartley

How to regain your passion when leading leaves you burnt out

Leading people, let alone an entire organization, is hard work. Many leaders go into their jobs with excitement, gusto and passion for the cause they’re serving. But often, all the good feelings get lost in the menial tasks, complaints and never-ending list of things to get done. When that happens, we are left asking ourselves, “What happened? Did I lose my passion? Am I in the wrong place?”

Oftentimes, it’s not that you lost your path or don’t care about your nonprofit’s cause anymore, it’s that your role has left you burnt out. The good news? Burnout doesn’t last forever and most people experience it at least a few times in their lives. Here are some ways to address it when it hits you.

What is frustrating you within your organization and why? Write down all the things, both small and large, that give you feelings of frustration, stress and unhappiness.

Categorize those things into problems you can solve and into problems you have no control over. If you are always staying at the office past closing hours, that’s something you can change. If your computer is outdated, but you don’t have the finances to update it, that’s something you have no control over.

Each week solve one or two of the problems on your list. Learn to let go of the problems that you have no control over.The progress you make each week will help you tangibly see the change and deplete the sense of helplessness you feel.

Put your problems into perspective and choose to be thankful. Look at how your organization is making an impact on people. Count your blessings. Tell your employees and family members how much they mean to you.

Add something new to your day. Change is good, and it helps us break up our routines and see things differently. Pick up a new hobby, take a different route to work, add music to the halls of your organization’s building, surprise your employees with a special treat. Change breeds excitement in your life and in the lives of those around you.

Quit. If you go through this process and realize that you are more than burnt out, that you’re no longer in the correct place, it may be time to quit. Leaders who don’t have passion for what they are representing cannot bring good to their organization. Find something that fits your passion and goals, then take a step in that direction.