I found this burned-out tree in Istanbul, just moments after leaving the vast and busy coolness of the Hagia Sophia. Its rich green leaves offers passers-by the much-needed relief from a relentless sun. At first, it appears welcoming and sturdy, but as you come nearer, you discover its hollow centre – just layer of outer bark connecting the lush green leaves with the massive roots below.
Neuro-Guru, Steve Kosslyn, uses a tree as metaphor of the way our amazing mind, brain and body function together. For me, this hollowed out tree describes the experience of a person on their way to functional burnout. At their very core, they are hollow, yet to the world they look strong, reliable and productive.
Have you ever experienced this, of seeming strong to others, yet privately being too vulnerable to be able to sustain the volume and quality of work expected of you over time? Yet you say nothing and simply put one foot in front of the other just to get through the day?
Experiencing burnout is an increasing problem for many people, in today’s fast-paced and challenging world. We need to build awareness of the early warning signs of burnout, in both your team, and yourself.
But let’s make this personal. What do you think Burnout looks and feels like? Have you ever experienced it or perhaps you are experiencing it right now? If so, you need to read my next blog post which will follow shortly.
Go well, and be gentle with yourself in the meantime!