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Burnout Solution 15: On Expectations

Updated: Dec 22, 2018

One of the best tips anyone can give you concerning your burnout is to lower your expectations about everything. Expectations come in two different forms: those you put on yourself and those others put upon you. Both will cause burnout if left unchecked. So let’s have a good look at them.

Let’s start with expectations that people put on themselves. Paradoxically they are often linked to actually having great success in life instead of failure. Most of the really successful people who fall into the burned out state have been unable to embrace and accept their own level of success. They keep cranking up their expectations, leaving them forever unsatisfied.


Now 'ambitious hunger' like this will not necessarily lead to breakdowns. It can in fact be very good for you. Just as long as the expectations are met. Yet the moment they are not… the bubble bursts. That’s why even the most famous people on the planet, who have all the fame, money and success in the world, can fall victim to deep depressions. Simply put, they put the bar too high. It becomes unreachable.


If this is your burnout cause, lower the bar. Now.


Expectations can also come from the outside. Society pressures to ‘do right’, high job expectations of demanding bosses and colleagues, certain feelings about how family life should be (instead of embracing it for what it is) and expectations from siblings, loved ones and parents can all amount to a feeling you are never good enough.


If this is your burnout cause you will have to create distance to these expectations. It’s likely you’ll be in for a fight since you’ll have to change notions others have about you. You basically fight what is called projection: the tendency of people to think that their way of life should also apply to you.


In my case I had both things happen to me. Both the outside and the inside were filled with expectations and ambitions and projections. I embraced that fight. And so should you. My tip is to not worry too much about the fight itself… because you’ve already won it. You just don’t know it yet.


How? Well once both your inner and outer world accept that you are in a burnout, they also automatically accept that things will have to change.


And take it easy. Love.

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