Burnout No More
Posted on May 9, 2016 by Melva L. Jones, Director
Recently, I was in a conversation where someone said that they chose joy as a way of living. This simple statement really stuck with me; far too often I have seen event planners subconsciously choose burn out because they work in high stress environments with little reward. Personally, I know this experience all too well—I once worked at a place where I am embarrassed to say that I slept on the floor multiple times a week because I felt I had to prove myself, which meant following my boss’ lead working long hours and, yes, pulling all-nighters at the office. Even she seemed to know something wasn’t quite right because she would wake me up before the rest of the office opened to make sure we weren’t found out.
In retrospect, the fact that I participated in this behavior is not only crazy but counterintuitive to being successful in an already stressful environment. If you are reading this and have ever felt burned out by events and, let’s be honest, some of your colleagues, here are a three tips I have found that I hope you find useful:
- Choose yourself first – I know this sounds selfish but I have found that when I practice my faith, exercise, spend time with my family, and eat well,I am a better events management professional. That, to me, is operating in the zone. Whatever it means for you to choose yourself first, I encourage you to start doing it right now. When I finally made the decision to choose myself I left that job, lost weight, and did some of my best event planning work—and got to sleep in the comfort of my own bed!
- Be comfortable with a qualified no – I truly believe it is ok to say no if saying yes means that you will compromise yourself, your character, and, heaven forbid, your sanity. I call this “a qualified no,” which means that you let the person know why you can’t accomplish the task as they’ve laid it out. A qualified no does not mean backing away from commitments or complaining about a few late nights because that is the reality of event planning work. Rather, a qualified no is offered with the highest level of integrity and with a full explanation of why you believe that you will not achieve success taking on the tasks associated with a request.
- Ask for help – The flip side of the tip above is being mature enough to ask for help when you need it. As a supervisor, I once worked with someone who appeared to be fantastic at her job. It wasn’t until six months into her employment that I discovered she was working overnight and weekends because she was too afraid to ask for help; she didn’t want to seem weak or unprepared. Asking for help is actually a sign of strength—it signals that you are aware of what you don’t know and confident enough to want to learn how to grow in your position. If you see that a colleague of yours is doing something in a more efficient manner, ask for their assistance.
These three tips sound easy enough but consistently practicing them is harder. Imagine how smoothly your events would be if you were doing things that were good for you, setting appropriate boundaries, and forming deeper relationships with your colleagues because you asked for and, in some cases, provided help.
Will you never experience stress again? Unfortunately, no. But my bet is that this daunting job will gradually feel more manageable and that the relationships between you and your colleagues will be stronger. Keep me posted and let me know what tips you have found that are working for you. Happy planning!
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