About: Bits Of B #5 - Preparing for Public Speaker Life (Or: Don't Burn Yourself Out)
We don’t talk about burnout enough.
Driven, inspired, passionate individuals experience burnout so often nowadays. I have experienced burnout in a few different forms and a few different contexts myself.
Unconsciously, I believed it’s a sign for me that I do important things, that I drive myself to new peaks, that I achieved something significant, that I do something right.
Nowadays, I know those are all false believes that I decided to get rid off (but that’s another story).
Talking about burnout was something I refrained from.
Apart from unconsciously falsely believing it serves me, I’ve never meant to complain, or be less than very grateful, or discourage myself. So I didn’t talk about it or addressed it even. Once in a while, I had to spend a few days, half dead, trying to recover with barely being able to move or communicate with other human beings.
Public speaking, as much as it’s fun and meaningful for me, has been also one of my exhaustion causes.
Doing it as I was an engineer or a lead meant I have a second full-time career as a speaker. I traveled in my spare time, prepared during weekends and rehearsed overnights. (why? Is a different topic). It was a lot.
I was so driven. Lucky enough I always had managers and an environment that supported my decisions. Still, feeling out of breath has been too familiar.
As I’ve been growing older and wiser, and striving for other merits in my life, my perspective changed, and I decide to live life differently. I want a more balanced life. I want a richer life. Often I had been diving in depth and all-in on one thing, which made it hard to make space and focus on other experiences and lessons.
I choose now to practice on focusing my energy and carefully select how to spend my resources, rather than wasting them without noticing.
For a few reasons, I took a break from speaking. The main trigger, to be honest, was actually the fact that it was the right decision for the product I work on. I felt that my presence is important for the company at that point than my speaking engagements. Yes, noticing that the trigger wasn’t my own well being, rather the company interest is also an interesting point.
Although filled with FOMO from seeing my friends traveling to conferences, the break gave me space to focus on other areas, as well as to recover and reflect.
I remembered a conversation I had had with Shai Reznik, not that long before. Shai, is a dear friend of mine and the king of conferences for me in many senses. We were traveling back from one event when he told me that this was his last conference for a year. “What? But why? How? are you sure?” I had so many questions.. while somewhere inside of me I had known I’d soon do the same for a while.
For once, it felt like the right time and place to talk about it.
In Bits Of B #5 episode, Shai and I talk about trying to not burn out during your public speaking journey. Being aware and talking about that topic, for me, goes a long way. We shared some of our challenges, the things to be conscious about, and some other tips to handle that.
This is a very personal self-note of an episode, at least for me, to try and not fall into my own same old traps. I’m sure will be of value to others as well.
What are some of your reasons for burnout? What could you (and us) do to have a more balanced life? as a public speaker, and in general.