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Why Is Burnout Counter-Innovative?

By 08/06/2019Nov 23rd, 2021No Comments

“Working 120-hour weeks doesn’t leverage your unique qualities, it wastes them.” – Arianna Huffington, founder of HuffPost and Thrive Global

Innovation is all about creating solutions of value. If you are in flight or fright mode which stress-induced burnout brings out, that means that your neurology is MORE FOCUSED ON SURVIVAL THAN THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX.


Stress hormones activate our limbic brain and puts us into a state of high alert for danger, not only does this suppress our immune system, it also means focus away from the frontal lobe of the neocortex which is our creative thinking centre, the place where innovation happens.



Burnout has been redefined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be recognized as a form of work-induced stress, “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” 

Burnout is COMPOUND UNMANAGED STRESS, it doesn’t happen over night and can take 2 to 3 years to build up. The symptoms are very similar to depression, you become very despondent, your appetite changes, you become antisocial, you battle to manage your emotions and are not able to access solutions to your problems putting you into a lethargic state of despair, desperate for change.


You see the human body was only built to handle short bursts of stress, the kind that made us run from that saber tooth tiger, not the kind that lasts 2 to 3 years. Your neurotransmitters responsible for chemical communication, become compromised and your body eventually simply does not have the chemical resources to continue functioning adequately. Symptoms of burnout start to manifest psychologically and physically as your immune system becomes compromised.



As you can imagine for companies or people passionate about innovating, it is key to prevent burnout or loose massive amounts of innovation capital. Employee well-being is key as a negative working environment can lead to mental health problems, as well as self-care.


Poor communication and management practices, limited participation in decision-making and unclear tasks or organizational objectives were flagged by the WHO as work-related risk factors for mental health. 


It is essential that leaders balance creating an environment of PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY where people are more comfortable questioning the status quo key to innovation and ACCOUNTABILITY. Without accountability, motivation and performance decline and without psychological safety, stress and anxiety manifest and compound into burnout.


Leaders who create psychological safety and hold their employees accountable for excellence are the highest performing.


In many instances though a work environment may not be the cause of burnout, it may well be a lack of PURPOSE or SELF-CARE. A quick google search will tell you all about self-care; ensure you have adequate sleep, eat food as close to nature as possible, take a good multi vitamin with VIT B and Omegas, listen to your body and take time out as often as you need, practice mindfulness and meditation and ensure you constantly develop yourself.


If you are practicing self-care though still feeling stress, review your purpose. This applies not only to entrepreneurs though to intrapreneurs to. 1. Am I happy? 2. What do I want? 3. What do I know? 4. Can I solve a problem?




After my first burnout I took time out, my second burnout I went a serotonin supplement for 6 months and by my 3rd burnout I knew that there was an underlying pattern of behavior to resolve. I was so stuck, but desperately unhappy and desperate for change. We either change through inspiration or desperation. I changed through desperation and now I dedicate my time to inspiring others not to.


Writing my book on my experience from burnout to breakthrough was the inspiration behind establishing a Business Innovation and NLP Practitioner training business to empower others with the tools they need to manage stress, prevent burnout, change their lives and change the lives of others because everyone deserves to live a fulfilled life.


  1. Growth is not an automatic process.
  2. Growth separates those who succeed from those who do not.
  3. Growth takes time.
  4. The more we grow, the more we know we need to grow.
  5. Growth equals change.
  6. Growth inside fuels growth outside.
  7. Growth requires a forward focus.
  8. You determine the areas where you need to grow.