Boundaries and Burnout

Do you get the Sunday evening blues?

Is it challenging to remain motivated in your role?

Could it be you’re experiencing overly expanded or no boundaries?

There were times during my corporate career when I did not set boundaries. 

Every assignment seemed appealing. I said "yes" without assessing the strategic impact on my career or zero-basing if I had the margin to engage in the initiative.

I volunteered when others were slow to raise their hand, so the norms were extended days and long weeks.

At the time, it seemed the best approach to help develop my professional brand.

While it may have resulted in positive outcomes, not establishing boundaries set me up to experience some aspects of job burnout.

Burnout Signals

According to The World Health Organization, burnout results from chronic, poorly managed workplace stress. 

Burnout indicators include: 

  • feelings of exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from and feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  • reduced professional results.

It’s possible to do many things, yet not simultaneously. So, discerning what to take on is essential.

Proactive Actions

Consider the following in your decision –

💫 If there is a need to “please” or say “yes” to everything, resist immediately responding. Instead, give yourself time to consider the full scope and impact. Then, ask open-ended questions to clarify the opportunity’s breadth, depth, and expectations.

💫 Are you compelled to accept the opportunity from someone with significant influence on your career, such as your manager or sponsor? If yes, determine if there is an opportunity to share your existing load with a colleague or team member.

💫 Is there a chance to gain greater exposure in your career? According to Harvey Coleman, author of Empowering Yourself:  The Organizational Game Revealed, Exposure has a 60% impact on upward career mobility and long-term success. The remaining factors are Performance (10%) and Image (30%). Decide if stretching your boundaries is worth the potential benefit.

Actively engaging in your organization’s initiatives is expected and beneficial. The challenge is ensuring that you do so without burning out.

So, reflect on the full extent of the opportunity. Then, make an informed decision, and position yourself for the long haul.

You don’t have to go it alone. Contact me for a Discovery Consultation.

Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and women’s leadership strategist. Her leadership program, Maximize Her LeadershipSM, guides women in bringing together their talents, strengths, and executive presence to experience a thriving career.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.