Burnout is one of those things that sneaks up on most people. In fact, many people suffering from burnout don’t even realize it’s something they’re battling until it causes noticeably drastic havoc in their life.
For this reason, one of the first steps to resolving issues of burnout includes gaining self-awareness about your personality type. Even if you’re not facing the burnout cliff, this awareness is a vital lever in accelerating any leadership journey.
Using the Enneagram framework, I’ve honed in on three personality types especially vulnerable to the symptoms of burnout: emotional exhaustion, cynicism/withdrawal, and decreased effectiveness. These types include: the Achiever, the Enthusiast, and the Helper.
The Achiever (3)
Perpetually feeling responsible for getting stuff done and adding value to others, these folks are prone to overworking both at work and at home. They neglect their physical well being, maintain a continual state of stress, and have difficulty sticking to their priorities. On top of it all, they tell themselves they must look like they have it all together. Oh, the pressure!
The Enthusiast (7)
These folks revel in all of the future possibilities they want to pursue and they do so with abandon. Focus becomes a challenge, making clear thinking and deliberate action a real stretch. Their path to freedom involves connecting with the needs of the present moment, yet they avoid sitting still in the discomfort of the here and now. At the end of the day, these adventurers can be distracted, mentally tangled, and stretched thin.
The Helper (2)
Ever generous with their time and resources, these kind souls can become so focused on the needs of others that they forget their own (emotional, physical, or otherwise). They embody selflessness, and yet, their breaking points are dramatic. They look to others to fill their cup with appreciation and it often feels not enough, creating both rage and sadness that drain them deeply.
Keep in mind that EVERY personality type struggles to maintain equilibrium in different ways, so you may feel burned out and not identify with a type mentioned here. All of us can experience burnout in our own ways when the circumstances are right.
For this reason, I encourage you to simply notice where you feel stretched. What pulls at you? What voice tells you to do more, be more? How does your inner “gremlin” apply pressure on you, and how do you instinctively respond?
If you’d like to dive deeper, I’d encourage you to take my burnout self assessment. It’s only 15 questions and will provide your unique burnout score, which will help you understand what steps your should currently be taking to either avoid or come back from burnout.
However you assess your current level of burnout, my hope is that you can enjoy any moments of quiet space that find you, take a deep breath in reflection about what matters most, and dance with self-compassion in the chaos of all the rest.
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