Entrepreneurship · Inspiration

What do you do when you need to re-ignite the spark and combat burnout?

Bonnie Tsang commercial and editorial photographer | visual social media consultant

June 24th, 2015

There are times when you get burnt out. What do you do to re-ignite that sparks in you?

Janet Sun Co-founder of ManLao River project

June 24th, 2015

I tried isolating myself and doing purely creative stuff. Asking myself what it is I am really good at. And trying to apply my skills to different avenues for financial gain. 

What helped was remembering what it felt like to have that excitement and confidence. Like when I first fell in love w/ my job & couldn't stand to leave. It helped to feel a specific enjoyment. And see beautiful products come out. Also to find financial gain in it so I'm not feeling trapped. 

Specifically what I did was drive up the coast from SF to Seattle. Stayed in a houseboat in Sausalito. Did a marketing campaign for a product launching in China. And renovated a few properties then rented or sold them. And of course wrote more software which is what I was burnt out on. But just the way I like them. And paying attention to what was really important to me which turned out to be that spark & enjoyment you get from interacting w/ users. 

Hope that helps...  I do think it's a life long struggle keeping the fire alive. 

Noah Shanok Entrepreneur

June 24th, 2015

If the fire isn't there bc you are burned out physically and emotionally, the things that have helped me most over the years are pretty typical (and I'm sure you do many if not all of these): get enough sleep, exercise (but be gentle), eat right, no electronics/email in bedroom, meditate, take a week off the grid, volunteer, write daily gratitudes, etc.

If the fire isn't in you because your work isn't fulfilling you anymore, then you should consider what @Steve and @Chris are suggesting.  It may be difficult to differentiate between the two because burnout can change the perception of what gives you fire in the belly.  

It's a difficult place to be - and I think more of us have been there than will freely admit.  I admire you for posting this topic.  And I hope you are able to heal and find the fire again.

Mike Klein CTO, Vantage Technology | Lasers, optics, image processing, unique algorithms for groundbreaking product

June 24th, 2015

Wolfgang had a good response and the nasty response was utterly inappropriate.  It is what I would have suggested as well.  You need a way to find a path through the current lull and whatever works will be the right answer, but it is quite likely you will need help to find it in the most efficient way.

Steve Everhard All Things Startup

June 24th, 2015

You need to change your perspective and unless you have a clinically diagnosed psychological condition a shrink isn;t going to help you. You are tired, and possibly not where you expected to be after all this work. Time to move your focus. You need to set some achievable goals that move you to whatever are your personal objectives.

Although exercise (a rash assumption that you aren't already exercising) can improve your energy levels that isn't going to help if you remain unfulfilled in your role. Recharging your batteries may not remove whatever barriers are making you feel burned out. 

 Frankly, when we are moving towards our personal goals the amount of work we do never feels like burnout. Explore all options for changing the way you are working, including doing something else.

Chris Carruth VP/Director. Strategy | Business Development | Operations | Product | Solutions

June 24th, 2015

@Steve, right on the money. It is incredibly hard to let your "baby" go, but sometimes there is a reason to do so. If the core of the issue is the product, and you can't fix it, especially if features aren't superior to the competition (or done better), and if pricing can't be used to your advantage, then no matter how hard you push the buggy the "baby" it is carrying will continue to drag you down.

Reminds me of a pair of women on Shark Tank that had a product but couldn't get the sales to scale enough to continue. They thought it was a money issue, the Tank unanimously agreed it was a solution for a problem that did not exist. Cuban ended up buying the entire company for $200k, I think mostly out of sympathy. Another panelists said yes you will cry, but in a short time you will so relieved that you let your baby go.

Not saying give up at first sign of trouble..but am saying know "when to hold them, know when to fold them".

I am sure most won't agree..but then again, they are not in your place, no?


June 24th, 2015

First realize that everybody that gives all will have a moment where they feel burned out.
Accept that it is normal, and then choose something completely unrelated that will give you a positive feeling, like a nonprofit to work for. And focus on your personal mental and physical health.

Craig Conlee

June 24th, 2015

Team is important. Working with the right team that everybody feeds off each other when times are needed. 

I am curious if your team was originally stemmed from FD?  I had joined this site to combat what you are battling. But, it seems like a site to ask questions, where people answer without "peeling back the orange." And I am surprised the first comments are not subjected to censorship. 

Anyway, Finding the right people to motivate, support, healthy discussions, and etc.. is so vital. 

Keith Hopper Product Innovation

June 24th, 2015

"Inspiration is for amateurs" - Chuck Close

We all have ups and downs and when we've been at it for years, the downs can feel a bit more weighty. The question is are you bringing value and driving to purpose or are these signals to check your direction and consider correcting course?

Richard McLean Co-Founder Webscale Pty Ltd - KeyPay Cloud Payroll

June 24th, 2015


Take a step back and look at what you are doing.  We all get caught up in the every day from time to time although we should focus only on the things that gives us the buzz.

Take some time to do the "step back" process and clearly identify the things you can control and the things that matter to you - this will also define the things that matter to your business.

Pushing aside the things that "burn you out" and that lack the buzz of doing what we do will allow you to really focus on what matters - obviously you need to have a clear picture of where you are going to do this..

Step back - take a breath and enjoy the world around you..  That includes the awesome opportunity we all have to interact and change lives in our own ways.

Its uncomplicated - its just a mindset thing..  We all suffer from it !

David Hassell CEO, 15Five

June 24th, 2015

Hey Bonnie, I agree with Richard's post on taking a step back.

Take a month off, or three if you can. Or 3 weeks min.  Get offline, immerse yourself in a new environment and get out in nature.  

I went through a period like this back in 2007 and spent 3 months in Brazil kitesurfing and pondering my WHY (didn't have that terminology at the time, but Simon Sinek's quick TEDx talk is a really great resource to help start thinking about this: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action)

Good luck!