Are YOU in Burnout? (Pt. 4)



Ever thought about this…  better leaders than You or I have experienced BURNOUT. 

They were/are more gifted, more focused, more knowledge-able, more experienced, and even more self-aware, yet they have experienced BURNOUT. Sobering thought.

What’s to say that you and I won’t also go down that path! What’s to say that you I will be able to withstand the same pressures and challenges they faced, and yet we can experience different results?

FOURTH INSIGHT:  PAY ATTENTION TO ALL OF YOUR LIFE.  (Learn to care for issues related to your SOCIAL BASE).

There are a lot of lists out there to help with preventive actions in regards to BURNOUT. Many of these preventive lists are very helpful. In our coaching we have discovered that what is also needed is a two-fold strategy;  short-term and a long-term initiatives to help counteract the natural progression that can leads to BURNOUT.

The LONG-TERM view can be broken down into four categories of activity. These categories refer to a leader’s “social base,” a term coined by Dr. J. Robert Clinton in his research on what causes leaders to finish well.

Clinton’s offers two key, breakthrough insights regarding social base;  (1) A weak, or ineffective social base, often is the cause to not finishing well, as opposed to issues of giftedness and skill, and (2) Your needs in the area of social base change down through the years. It is vital to reassess, and not keep running on yesterday’s base of support.

Social base refers to the personal support and environments out of which a leader operates.

Social base processing refers to the means God uses to develop the person, to provide for his/her needs, and sustain overall life. The four categories of a leader’s social base are: (1) emotional support; (2) strategic support; (3) spiritual support, and (4) physical support.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT refers to issues of companionship, empathetic understanding, affirmation, validation of worth, recreational outlets, stress vs. balance, being listen to and valued as a person, friends, community.

STRATEGIC SUPPORT refers to issues of clarity of calling and life direction, clarity of values, provision which includes living expenses, medical, educational, basic physical provisions (food, clothing, transportation, housing, etc.), regular times of replenishment and rest.

SPIRITUAL SUPPORT refers to issues of depth and ongoing relationship with God, sense of meaning and purpose, affirmation from God in terms of who we are in His eyes, and who He is in our eyes, personal growth and development, holistic approach to life.

PHYSICAL SUPPORT refers to issues of related to life necessities; exercise, sleep, play, sexual/physical drives. Issues of health and self-care. The care of our home? Do we feel safe? Is our environment conducive for life and growth?

So, how’s your base? What’s weak and what’s strong? If you are married, how does your spouse view your current social base? What has changed in terms of your social base over the last few years? What do you anticipate for the future?

In the early 90s, Bill Hybels introduced leaders to a similar set of categories when he talked about your life gauges. These came as a result of his own burnout experience. It Was helpful for him to validate that BURNOUT could occur even when the Spiritual area of support was high. His burnout traced to issues of emotional depletion.

I (Terry) have been down the BURNOUT path and had to wake-up and pay better attention to issues of my EMOTIONAL and PHYSICAL support. It was not enough to just keep emphasizing the STRATEGIC / SPIRITUAL areas. I needed Robin’s (my wife) help in being honest with myself in those discussions.

The simple fact is that all leaders have personal, social needs that must be met if they are going to stay in the game, and finish well.  No leader wakes up in the morning with a conscious plan to BURNOUT. It is the result of ongoing, behavior, over time. But many leaders do BURNOUT. Hopefully, forewarned is forearmed.

Has this SERIES OF BLOGS on BURNOUT been helpful? Let me know your thoughts by giving me your vote, and even a short COMMENT.


© Terry Walling / 2013


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