Have you felt a tug (or strong pull) to do more, to be more, to make a deeply meaningful impact? If you’re anything like me and other ambitious folks, you’ve likely done plenty in your life to try and do all of the above. At some point, though, you burnt out, got stuck, became overwhelmed by the stress and anxiety of it all- because you lost yourself in the midst of constantly giving, doing and being there for others. You’re at a loss of what to do next. You have desires, but they feel so far out of your reach.
Sometimes you think about what life would be like if you could do what you love, and also love your life. Some-days, you envision what it would be like to live out your dreams… sometimes they seem like an impossible fairy tale, other times they inspire you and ignite that flame of desire and passion. Either way, you wind up continuing on with your day and going through the motions, or maybe you allow yourself to do a thing or two differently, hoping they will make a difference… but you ultimately bring yourself back into your current reality and keep on keepin’ on.
This may sound simple, and it may even sound harsh (although I do not meant for it to), but I am going to say it, because it is true and it is helpful: you’re stuck because you are desiring without deciding.
It’s fun to dream, isn’t it? It’s nice to think about how things could or would be if they were different and the way you wanted them to be. It also can feel incredibly frustrating to constantly think about your desires, and then send yourself messages that they will never actually happen for you. You just continue to dangle your desires in front of your own face, like a carrot in front of a racing horse, only to go back into living a life that is overwhelming you and burning you out.
This kind of self-tease amplifies burn out, and therefore can significantly affect those who are ambitious and have big dreams. The big dreamers get engrossed in their desires and get super inspired by them, and then re-convince themselves that it will never be their reality; they’ll have to work with what they’ve got, and settle. Sometimes they will get so inspired that they create plans, or take a step here and there in a different direction, but as more action, change and risk are required, they lose traction and they again believe their desires are improbable or impossible.
Does this happen for you?
The issue getting in your way, is that you are desiring, but not deciding. Desiring something different, brings temporary, short term excitement, and then an angry, annoyed, guilt or shame-ridden hangover.
Deciding on what you desire is different. When you decide, you experience excitement, and long-term benefits in various forms. Deciding doesn’t mean sitting in your car, thinking about the life change that you want, making the decision to make it happen, and then doing it the next day. Deciding doesn’t work like that. It is a process, and it actually requires on-going commitment to re-deciding regularly.
Here’s an example. I had always dreamt of living a balanced life where I could show up as the present mom I wanted to be, and also meaningfully changing people’s lives in my profession.This was my desire. As barriers presented themselves, I would sometimes view them as opportunities to grow, and other times I would view them as crappy things getting in the way of an impossible dream… they will just keep happening so I might as well just make my current reality work. I stopped deciding on making my dream happen, and I burnt out quickly.
Fast forward several years, and I again decided it was time to make my dream into my reality. I chose to take full responsibility for it, and decided it was going to be my life experience to be a present mom and profoundly enhance others lives through my profession. Many barriers popped up along the way, especially in the beginning, but this time I had committed to re-decision at every turn. I had to re-decide, at each challenge, that I was not going to give up on my dream. I didn’t just decide once. I had to decide again and again and again.
Desire is not enough.
If you are one of my fellow ambitious folks, I know you have dreams. I know you have desires. I know you envision yourself living and leading a life of balance and deep purpose- whatever that looks like for you.
If you feel overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted, chronically stressed, relationally strained, and at a loss with what to do to change your life experience, then you are burnt out. You likely feel stuck. No matter how ambitious, people stuck in burn out can’t show up as their best self, because they are depleted on so many levels. Its not possible to live that balanced, deeply meaningful life when you live in burnout.
So, are you desiring, or are you deciding?
If you are ready to decide, connecting with someone who can meaningfully support you on your journey out of burn out and into balance is essential. Are you open to that? Is that a decision you are willing to make on your path towards your desired life? The decision is yours.
What will you decide?
If you’d like to explore how Dr. Toni can effectively support you in moving out of burn out and into a balanced life, you can connect with her using any of the below options:
***Please note that coaching and therapy are not one in the same; they are separate services and the above mentioned are separate business entities. If you are unsure which service best fits your needs, simply reach out and ask: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Dr. Toni Warner, LCSW, MSW, MeD, is a transformational life & wellness coach for the ambitious seeking balance and a licensed psychotherapist in Pennsylvania. Dr. Toni is the founder of Dr. Toni Coaches, LLC, a coaching and consulting business. It’s mission is to inspire and enact positive change in the world by helping heart-centered impact makers and leaders to create balance, allowing them to more deeply and meaningfully live, love, connect and share their gifts, enhancing the lives of others. She is also the founder of Authentically Me Psychotherapy, LLC, where she supports high achieving and creative individuals who are struggling with anxiety, depression, burn out and disconnection, to get in touch with their core selves so they can live more fully and authentically aligned lives.