I see so many people who have burnt out. Whether they are working full-time or part-time…in the private or public sector, people who burn out often do so because they are taking on too much at work and/or at home. Upon asking them why, they often share that they feel guilty doing otherwise. They feel guilty leaving work early (or on time for that matter); they feel guilty making less food; they feel guilty not taking on another project; they feel guilty not helping a friend…and the list goes on.
If the profile above sounds like you, here is the key to stop feeling so frikin’ guilty all the time.
Your guilt is often followed by actions that are unnecessary. You don’t have to stay late…you don’t have to make so much food…you don’t have to take on another project…you don’t have to help out so much. What if I told you that when you engage in these unnecessary tasks, you actually undermine other people. What if I told you that in taking on too much, you actually undercut the resilience of other people. What if I told you that rarely saying “no” is actually doing a disservice to other people. What about their strengths? What about their skills? What about their power? Take one of my clients for example. He told me that the company he worked for had new administration. The values of his bosses seemed to suddenly clash with his. He therefore needed to leave. However, he was the manager of this wonderful team and took so much pride in leading them. He told me that he felt so guilty leaving his employees behind. This stressed him out so much that he found himself constantly emailing his employees during his sick leave. I informed him that he was actually not helping them by addressing their concerns during his absence. The point was made that he could not possibly believe in the resilience of his employees if he felt obligated to comfort them and encourage them multiple times during his absence. I told him that he could not possibly believe that they had their own set of skills to get them through tough times. This convinced him that his tremendous sense of responsibility for them was actually detrimental and prolonging the uncomfortable transition, and he needed to let it go.
People, this is the key to alleviating your guilt. Catastrophize less, and start believing that other people are strong and resilient. Start believing that they can take care of themselves and that they can learn so much along the path that is laid out before them, even if it’s rocky. Trust that they will be ok. And even if they are not ok, they will get through it. Your employees will be ok. Your coworkers will be ok. Your friends will be ok. Your family will be ok. All you have to do is remember that feeling guilty and excessively helping can actually harm instead of help.