Stop Burnout Before it Happens

It’s hard to burn out when you love your job.

So why do so many wedding pros struggle with peak season?

The simplest explanation must be: You don’t love your job.

We’ve all seen the memes about entrepreneurs starting their own businesses because they want the freedom that comes with working fewer hours. It’s funny – and not.

But I also don’t think most entrepreneurs quit their 9-5 jobs because they want to work less. Some do, but not most.

Why do you work for yourself?

I’ve always believed that most people quit their bosses, not their jobs. Big distinction. No one likes working for a jerk, or a micromanager, or a pace-setter, which is a person who expects you to keep up with their long hours and super high-performance standards.

When we become unhappy with our current situations we tend to look around us for models we can imitate to find the kind of joy that’s eluding us. It’s called “mimetic desire,” and we’re caught in its trap more than you might imagine.

Over the past several years, social media has made it exponentially worse. It’s hard to get away from exceptional experiences others have in their Instagram lives. 

And so we’re constantly bombarded with aspirations that are not only a gloss-over of influencers’ daily reality but we’re also being drawn into believing a big myth about what it takes to get there.

Who are our cultural heroes?

For the past 25 years, our culture has been obsessed with a new kind of hero. 

The entrepreneur.

Think about who we see in the news. Elon Musk. Mark Zuckerberg. Sheryl Sandberg. Steve Jobs. Jeff Bezos. Bill Gates. Arianna Huffington. Jack Dorsey. Sara Blakely.

Oprah Winfrey pivoted from talk show host to business mogul. Beyoncé created more businesses than albums in the past decade. So did Rhianna, who made seven albums in her first eight years on the scene, but is now famous for creating a billion-dollar net worth with her brand.

Look at another form of entertainment: Reality shows. When you ask people why they pay attention to the Kardashians these days, fans talk about how much they admire what they’ve done with their fame. Look at the business empires they’ve built – and billions in net worth.

We used to talk about how many albums musicians sold, but now we look up how much they’re worth.

Go to the smaller screens that my two 13-year-olds watch. Who are their celebrities? Influencers and YouTubers create massive audiences, and then promote products and sell access to their fame.

I’m going to stop here before I move into grumpy-old-man territory, but I encourage you all to think deeply about how you’re learning what to want in your life.

What are your business goals?

And business.

Because not everyone wants the same thing from their professional career. The celebrities we look up to typically do one or two things to become famous:

  1. Make lots of money

  2. Create a new product

Often the two go together.

But let’s be honest. No one in the wedding industry is going to dream up the next iPhone. Nor Spanx. Or the next big social media platform. 

Even the entertainers I mentioned above didn’t become billionaires earning money with their art. They made it as investors in their own businesses.

As event professionals, we help couples celebrate the start of a new life together with their family and friends.

That’s important work. And it’s meaningful. Especially as virtual experiences replace genuine connections. 

But let’s be honest: We’re not changing the world. And we’re not going to make billions – or even millions – doing it.

For most of us, that’s okay. We didn’t start our business because of those things.

We started it because we want to help people have a good time. 

Or to create something beautiful that others can appreciate as well.

Or, as I mentioned at the top, because we want to spend less time with people we don’t like who tell us what to do and how to do it.

“Less bad” v. “more good

Solopreneurs often start their companies because they want “less bad” in their lives. 

  • Less time with jerks

  • Less micromanaging

  • Less pressure 

But you don’t think through – or even know about – all the new bad things that come along with running your own business.

Because those aren’t talked about by influencers very much. And most solopreneurs don’t have investors to vet their business, or mentors to guide it in its early stages.

It’s easy to start a business with little-to-no money. 

And it’s just as easy to find yourself a few years later wondering why you’re as unhappy with your daily 8am-8pm routine as you were with the 9-to-5 job you left years ago.

How did you get so stuck?

It’s hard to get yourself out of the hole you’ve dug with your business model, because of two cognitive biases.

The “negativity effect” causes us to scan the environment looking for what’s wrong. It’s wired in our DNA to protect us from getting eaten by a saber-tooth lurking in the tall savannah grasses.

Without thinking too hard, we’ll usually spot, and then focus, on the negative – which means you’ve got to consciously work at getting yourself out of this mindset. 

A great way to do that is focusing for a few minutes each day on the good things in your life. 

You’ve heard about gratitude journals? Yeah, this is what they do for you. I’m not woo woo, but I believe in the science behind gratitude practices, and use it in my own journaling and meditation.

Another psychological trick our mind plays on us without our knowing is the “sunk cost effect.” We hate losing. It causes us pain, so we try to avoid it. Even if we know a painful loss is inevitable, we’ll delay admitting it or realizing it for as looooooong as possible.

I see it all the time with wedding pros who spend a ton of money, time, and energy redesigning their website or revamping their proposal, but they focus on form over function, design over messaging, and creativity over conversions. 

Rather than restart and reinvest in a more effective strategy, they continue to pursue the one that’s not working. It’s hard to see happen, but understandable knowing the psychology behind it.

The best thing to do is focus less on what you’re losing, and instead think about what you can gain by making improvements. 

Get off the hamster wheel you created for yourself

It’s tough to own a business. Especially if it’s a business of one.

You wear a lot of hats. And not all of them fit you well, which is what causes you to dislike your daily work.

So how do you avoid burning out of the job created for yourself? 

You have to reimagine what you do with your time and create a position for yourself where you live in your “place of bliss.

You’re the only one who can do this. Or at least, you’re the boss, so it’s on you to make it happen.

It’s the topic of this week’s episode of Own Your Business, and I hope you tune in. I’ll share with you.

  • How three different pieces create long-term success in your business

  • Ways to make more money with less effort

  • The one thing you have to know if you want to prevent burnout during peak season


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