Rethinking Burnout and Values
By: Abby Twyman | March 11, 2020
As professionals, we often find ourselves struggling to stay afloat as we attempt to manage our myriad responsibilities. It can many times feel as though we're spinning hundreds of plates which will come crashing down if we stop even for a moment... so we push and push and push until we can't push anymore and it all comes crashing down anyway in the form of soul-crushing burnout.
This may sound overly dramatic, but for those of you who have already reached this point in your personal lives and careers, I know you identify deeply with that image. Many of us have worked our tails off for years to fulfill an image of ourselves that is defined by our success and status, only to find ourselves living lives we don't even recognize and are far from the fulfilling dream life we envisioned.
Four years ago this was me. I had spent 16 years pushing myself to the max from my beginning as an undergraduate student in Neurobiology to a graduate student in Special Education to certification as a Behavior Analyst to a practicing clinician to a Clinical Director overseeing 3 clinics serving individuals with autism and their families. All this while attempting to maintain a life outside of work.
After pushing so hard for so long, I woke up one day to the realization that while I had seemingly accomplished my "life goals" I was neither happy, nor fulfilled, nor living the life I envisioned. This was the beginning of the end of my life as a practicing clinical behavior analyst and the start of my new journey to rediscover my purpose in life and find the path toward that ultimate destination.
There were many times during my career that I blamed my overwhelm, stress, and eventual burnout on external factors. The reality, however, was that the source of my challenges maintaining my motivation for the work I was doing had more to do with a misalignment between my values and my actions. It wasn't until I took the time to evaluate myself that I understood what I needed to do to improve.
This is exactly why I decided to begin offering unique course opportunities through Action for a Peaceful World. As a person who struggled deeply maintaining peace in my personal and professional life, the past four years have taught me so much about who I am and what I want my life to stand for in the end. My goal is to THRIVE as a human, which means that my actions must always be in line with my values.
While we no longer offer these courses, we encourage all emerging activists and self-proclaimed change catalysts to read the books on which the courses were based: