Using human design to avoid business burnout
In this episode, I'm going to be sharing the two common causes of burnout that are impacted by your human design and how you can use human design to avoid burnout in your business. So let's dive in.
I know that I've dealt with a burnout on and off throughout my life, regardless of what phase or stage of life I've been in. But I will admit that nothing quite compares to the burnout that I've experienced as a result of building my business. I have a feeling that you might be able to relate if you're here with me right now as an entrepreneur.
The truth is that you're building a living, breathing thing called a business-FROM SCRATCH.
It is something you nurture, you grow, you work with, and something you get to know intimately. That is a lot of time, energy, money, and effort for weeks, months, and sometimes even years before that investment pays off. No wonder most entrepreneurs are constantly on the verge of burnout.
There have been at least a few waves where I've gone through burnout in my business, and while I've learned how to manage it better and better over the years, I've almost come to see it as a little bit of a devil on my shoulder. Or something is hovering over me, taunting me, teasing me, and just waiting for me to drop my guard.
I know that I am not alone here; if you're listening to this, you've probably experienced this at least once, if not more, in your journey. And even if you're not in it right now, you're probably living in fear of it because you know just how devastating burnout can be. It can make you question something that you used to love and were passionate about. It can drain all of your motivation, as I know from personal experience.
It almost makes me cynical about things in my business or about what I see or experience at times it brings out that kind of bitterness for me, but it also brings out a lot of other negative emotions that are hard to contain.
As an example, reflecting what I want to experience in my business or what I used to experience in my business; this is also a very common topic when I work with clients who have a fear of burnout, are in the process of recovering from burnout, or are concerned that they are on the verge of it.
I think almost every single person I've talked to and worked with, either as an OBM or through coaching or in any capacity, has done all three. Dealing with burnout or having to deal with it at some point is a very common issue.
So, if you're reading this, I just wanted to let you know. It's very common, and so there are a lot of things that can contribute to burnout more than I could ever talk about or quantify, and there are a lot of different ways that it can be experienced.
Some people experience burnout and completely lose their motivation. Or some people experience burnout as going into hyperdrive trying to work through it. I personally am more of the latter.
It's a very personal experience of what burnout is and how it's experienced and what causes it, and there's no way I could ever cover that all, so today I'm just going to be speaking through the lens of entrepreneurial burnout and then through that lens of human design and what contributes to it, so I'm taking very narrow scope. This is quite a broad discussion, and I could probably talk about it for hours. But let's just dive into it.
There are two reasons why we, as humans, experience burnout.
The First Reason- You are committing to do too much.
I think this is a very common thing, especially among women: we are overcommitted to our families, careers, friends, and ourselves as if we are trying to take care of ourselves. You're committed to too much, and when you're committed to too much, that is the reason you can experience burnout.
The Second Reason- You don't give yourself enough time to complete all of the things that you want.
We're committed to doing both of those things; they complement each other, but they're not the same thing, which is what committing to do too much entails. Your to-do list is way too full, and you're also putting yourself on a short timeline to get all those things done. So it's trying to fit too much into too little time, and when you boil down all of the reasons for burnout.
These two reasons are directly related to two human design centers in particular. So, I think it's really funny when the answers that we seek outside of human design align well with human design, and I think this is a case of that. So, in this case, when?
The first reason we're committed to doing too much—or you're committed to doing too much—you can thank your ego center, also known as your will center or your heart center, for that one.
It kind of speaks for itself a little bit, but it represents your desires; your willpower; your ability to commit to things, and when you have this will center defined.
What tends to happen or can happen is that when you're defined, it's almost easier for you to commit to long-term goals and get behind things you believe in.
Burnout happens when other people aren't living up to your expectations of commitment and consistency, and so you put extra stress on yourself trying to motivate others to be as consistent and as committed as you are. You almost go into overdrive trying to drag other people along with you if you have a defined will center, ego center, or heart center, all of which mean the same thing.
If you have an undefined will center, which is the majority of the population, what happens to contribute to our feelings of burnout, including mine, is that we want to be so committed and consistent, but we are simply not designed to be that way.
I talked about this a couple of weeks ago in a podcast episode, the last episode of The Current, where I shared that I was consistent with my marketing content for a long time, and then I fell off that consistency, which is what is defined in my design.
It was heartbreaking; it made me frustrated. I tried so hard to stay consistent, but life got in the way, and it was like trying to force it so hard. But that's what causes burnout in the end.
What causes burnout when the center is left undefined? It's your feeling like you can't keep up that causes the burnout.
The other factor that contributes to burnout, or the other reason, is when you set yourself unrealistic deadlines to get that work done.
You've checked that item off your to-do list, and when that happens, you can thank your root center. So, 50% of people have a defined root center. I have my root center defined, and when you have your root center defined, you can find what contributes to that feeling of burnout.
You have that consistent level of taking action. It's about personal growth. It's about evolution, and it's about having a level of consistency or drive behind that.
If you have it defined, so what causes burnout? The root center is all about time, as in your relationship to time and how things evolve or change for you over time, and so on.
When you have this defined root center, you know that the motivation and drive to grow and evolve is already there for you; you are working on timelines.
If you have this center undefined, what causes burnout for you? When other people outside of yourself can't meet the deadlines that you put on them or that you need them to have, or when other people procrastinate, it comes back and delays what you need to do.
In the presence of other people from our perception, we can't live up to our standards of accountability, and then we end up getting caught up and feeling late and behind because we're letting the outside impact us.
We can stress ourselves out over a lot of those little things and the timing. And we're stressing ourselves out over things we can't control, which I completely understand. I know as soon as I have to work with other people all around me, that's when things start to get stressful.
So is there anything we can do to prevent it? Or at least become aware of it BEFORE we are dragging ourselves across the floor and to our computers to trudge forward?
There are a lot of practical things you can do of course. But the COOL thing is that human design can actually help with this and that’s what I’m going to focus on here
Can you see now that no matter whether you are defined or undefined in these centers, they can influence not just what you do but your work and your business as a whole, how you experience burnout, and how burnout can rear its ugly head?
Your work, your business, your life, your relationships, and everything in between are all different, so yes, the reason that you experience burnout might be different, or the factors contributing to the burnout might be different, but in the end, the result is the same.
If you don't manage it properly, the result is burnout, so it makes sense to understand how you're designed to operate and know that you have one of those two centers defined.
1. Are you letting external factors influence you?
2. Is your creation process causing you to look outside of yourself?
3. Are you letting the external environment impact your internal peace?
One of the trickiest things about burnout is that we honestly don't often recognize that it's impacting us until it's too late, and I am raising my hand here. This is exactly what has happened to me every time I've experienced a burnout: I'm already exhausted and keep pushing forward.
I've dug my hole ten feet deep before I realize how burned out I am. Is there anything that we can do to prevent it or at least become more aware of it before we're dragging ourselves across the floor and to our computers to be able to continue moving forward?
Of course, there are a lot of practical things you can do, and I have a lot in my practice. I wouldn't necessarily call myself an expert here, but there's a lot you can do.
Human Design can help with this, and again, that's what I'm going to focus on here.
Human Design Types and The Signature
I'm sure if you're here, of your human design types and the signature and the not-self,
1. Manifesting Generator & Generator- Your signature is satisfaction, and you're not yourself frustrated.
2. Projector- As a projector, your signature is a success, and you’re not yourself bitter
3. Reflector- As a reflector, your signature is surprised, and you’re not yourself disappointed.
4. Manifestor- Your signature is peace, not frustration.
If you've been following me for a while now, you know that I've referred to the signature and the not-self as your alignment cues
Where I've even told you that if you follow your signature or that you should follow your signature, you will evolve, improve, or iterate through your not-self.
But to be truthful with you and transparent, I've actually over the past few months specifically developed a new perspective, and quite frankly, it's a bit of a hot take.
Why Chasing Your Signature Can Be Harmful
You might be doing actual harm to yourself if you're chasing your signature all the time because burnout exists at the extremes. When thinking about the Not-Self, the link and relationship to burnout are quite obvious.
For example- As a projector, prolonged bitterness will inevitably lead to burnout. I talk about this at length in multiple podcast episodes.
My personal experience with it but here's where it gets tricky if you're constantly chasing your signature; that's an invitation for burnout to rear its ugly head, and here's why.
Consider this - Think of a car engine revving its engine if you look at it. Are you constantly trying to rev the engine higher and higher forcing yourself to chase your signature? (for example: success as a projector?)
When I focus on always chasing success, finding it and holding it there and keeping my speed steady there, that runs the engine pretty hard sometimes, but eventually it’s going to burnout. You're going to run out of fuel if you don't take care of yourself, so get back into neutral or slow down and rest, right?
So we chase and chase and chase, and no matter what you're chasing, whether it's your vision, your dream, or the truth of your heart, If you're always in that energy of trying to find that success, satisfaction, surprise, or peace, even if it's a good thing, you know you're still chasing it, right? You're still revving that engine trying to get there, and that's a guaranteed recipe for burnout in the long run.
So with a new perspective on this, I would say that your signature and signs; they're guideposts along your journey, but they're not necessarily an end state. Neutrality is the desired end state where you have sprinkles of your signature and sprinkles of your not-self scattered along your journey that guide you along the way. But the best way to be persistent, to stay consistent, and to protect your energy, in the long run, is to find that cruise control and that neutrality in terms of what you're doing, how you're doing it, and how you're taking action.
You can use your human design signature, and your not-self, to avoid burnout by focusing on that neutrality.
And when you notice signs of your signature, you notice signs of your not-self that are telling you that if you keep going down this path too hard, and you keep just revving that engine in either direction, you are potentially going down a road of burnout. So just be mindful of it, right? or make some changes to regain that more neutral Cruise Control energy. So, what else are you capable of?
How can you use human design to avoid business burnout?
I think it's really important to lean into the energy of the design of your will center, your ego center, also known as your heart center, and your root center.
You have to learn, and I learned this growing up as an athlete and a swimmer that you need to learn to control the controllable and do your best to release everything else.
You have to recognize what your design is, do your best to create an environment where you can operate within your design, release everything else, and then go above and beyond that.
Wherever you're undefined, experiment with the transits and see when they create definition in your design so you can take advantage of that consistency, commitment, and work ethic that you might be clearing.
And when you've defined, you have that energy all the time. So it's a matter of just trusting yourself and sometimes staying in your lane so that you don't let your external environment overwhelm you or getting caught up in what's happening in your external environment.
So those are the three steps to using human design to avoid business burnout, i.e. Understand your design, lean into it, remember to control the controllable, and try to let everything else go as much as you can, and then maybe start playing with the transits for which of those two centers you have undefined.
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