No, I’m Not Burnt Out… Just A Bit Tired.

By Nancy Fredericks


Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.

Research gives credence to the commonly held belief that women experience burnout at higher rates  men. Not surprising.

Women are so busy that they often don’t even recognize how burned out they are. They’re accustomed to falling asleep at night drained and waking up in the same state.

It’s, as Catalyst says, a “silent crisis.” No wonder. A woman’s “to-do” list tells the tale not only filled to overflow with work responsibilities but also home ones as well.

But did you know that burnout is nothing to dismiss? It is far more dangerous than stress.

Consider this. There are two primary energy renewal tanks. One is flexible and shallow and quickly regenerates with rest and changes of activity. You know, like when you use your right arm to the point where your muscle doesn’t have even one more twitch remaining to it. Then, you switch to your left arm, completely able to continue. At the same time, your first arm is relaxing with time to reset and renew.

The other, and of more concern, is your deep, non-renewable vitality reservoir predetermined at birth. A vacation doesn’t eliminate burnout at this level. Once your resource is gone, you’re out of the game for a very long time… if not permanently.

That’s why recognizing the truth of what you’re experiencing, rather than an unrealistic narrative you tell yourself, is essential. Once identified, an immediate reinvention of your professional and personal game plan is a must… forevermore.

External Factors such as our business world’s demanding 24/7 culture or additional burdens placed on women during the 2020 Pandemic, as well as their desire to meet everyone else’s needs, didn’t help at all. I wish waving a magic wand of advice where you eliminate all your pressures at once is available, but we know there isn’t.

The only genuine control we have is how we choose to respond internally to all that is occurring around us. By how we choose to respond to all that is occurring around us. Only as you do so will you have the capacity to rise above the challenges you’re sure to face along the way.

Gosh, aren’t you tired of hearing that?

The Power Of Your Thoughts and Words
(Tip 1) Did you know researchers believe women experience more burnout than men because they have less authority and aren’t calling the shots leading to dissatisfaction and irritation? Interesting thought for you to explore, isn’t it?

Are you by any chance expanding yourself beyond the borders of your job

  • If you’re saying yes, but thinking: Little good, it’s doing me. You might want to pay attention to what you’re adding to your agenda. Research demonstrates that women typically take on additional work that scarcely matters to the organization. And it doesn’t add any weight to receiving a promotion.
  • If you’re arguing in your head: Taking on more would only add stress leading to burnout. I’d like you to explore a different perspective. The smaller projects often leave you feeling nibbled to death by ducks while paddling hard to stay afloat. Whereas innovative, stimulating “big boulder” ventures are fulfilling, satisfying, and rewarding as they stretch your capacity.

(Tip 2) Inside, you may be exasperated thinking: I’m working to earn more authority and influence in my organization, often with less success than I would want.

I can’t help but ask you to reexamine your assumptions regarding your current position. All too often, the women I’ve coached have given away more decision-making authority than they realize:

  • through asking rather than suggesting,
  • through waiting to be told rather than bringing issues to the table,
  • by accepting rather than negotiating,
  • by diligently following the rules rather than stretching the margins,
  • by taking events personally rather than responding strategically.

Almost every woman I’ve coached had far more power than she realized. I bet you do too!

Please remember, women are at more risk for burnout than men. You can’t afford to poo-poo what you’re experiencing. Take action.

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