Burnout to Bounty: Confessions of a De-Motivated Dad Struggling Amid Chaos

Motivation after overcoming burnout has been a real struggle for me this past year, and that’s not something I normally struggle with. Let me explain why.

During the past year, COVID has affected my wife and seven children on two separate occasions, just as I was about to launch a new coaching course and scale my marketing business. We were hit with wave upon wave of illness for over five months. After recovering from COVID twice, my elder daughters brought a new chest infection into the house from university, followed by a stomach bug, and then another round of chest infections.

January through June was a blur of boiling kettles for hot tea, cooking, cleaning, and sleepless nights with the kids. I lost months trying to launch two new businesses, and deadlines became irrelevant. Finances took a hit as I couldn’t get into a workflow state.

Regarding COVID, I only had mild symptoms for a couple of days, so my role in the family required me to step up as “Superdad/SuperNurse/SuperChef”. I took care of cooking, cleaning, and tending to eight sick people day and night for weeks on end.

As I approached the end of 2023, I was hit by the deaths of two close extended family members within days of each other, ironically and tragically due to COVID before Christmas.

Starting the New Year, I felt completely derailed and burnt out.

Despite all my years of resilience training, I couldn’t seem to regain my work motivation. I have numerous goals, from getting my eldest children through college to growing my online training and enjoying my three youngest kids as they approach their teen years. However, achieving those goals seemed so far away. But I knew I needed to change my motivational state and get back on track.

Why did this happen to me?

At first, I fell into the trap of negativity and asked myself, “Why is this happening to me?” I focused solely on the negative aspects of my life and had thoughts like, “I have so many problems.” However, I was asking myself the wrong questions.

When you constantly emphasize difficult events in your life, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The term “self-fulfilling prophecy” was coined by American sociologist Robert Merton in 1948. He described it as “a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior, which makes the originally false conception come true.

Essentially, it happens when someone predicts or expects something to come true. But it can come true simply because the person believes or anticipates it, aligning their behavior with the belief.

While typically viewed negatively, upon deeper reflection, I realized that self-fulfilling prophecies can also have a positive side. If I act positively good things will happen because I perceive them that way. I will then act and engage more positively to make things happen.

I vowed to stop feeling sorry for myself and thinking that the world was against me. Instead of asking, “Why do these things happen to me?” I started asking, “What can I do to make my life better?” Shifting to a positive perspective made a huge difference. It meant embracing each moment, whether good or bad, to the fullest.

Finding silver linings, even in challenging times, was essential. The illnesses forced me to spend more time with my family, something I value above all else.

I developed a new quick mantra: “Good things are coming my way, I’m ready“.

I spent valuable weeks taking care of my wife and children day and night. I found joy in the extra nurturing and nursing required, being away from my desk wasn’t something to feel guilty about because this was my most important job.

I’ve Set More Realistic Goals

Unrealistic goals can be demotivating and difficult to achieve. It’s important to set realistic goals that you feel confident about. This will help maintain your motivation. Don’t strive for near-impossible goals that will only test your motivation and likely lead to failure.

Some people may think, “There’s no point in setting goals because I’ll never achieve them.” However, without goals, motivation levels are likely to remain low. Simply taking the time to think about setting new goals can give your motivation a boost.

This doesn’t mean achieving a million in sales overnight. Instead, it’s about celebrating the small wins every day. It does wonders for your sense of achievement. For example, I’m essentially relaunching the same businesses I planned to launch a year ago. Yes, it’s frustrating, but it doesn’t define me.

Want to know why?

Because the forced sabbatical from a full-time career in 2023 allowed me to:

  • work on the family dynamics of my older children
  • improve my physical health and fitness
  • make progress on my long-overdue book
  • spend quality time with my wife
  • enjoy the simple chores and duties of family life in a whole new way.

My motivation in my career is now aligned with my lifestyle more than ever.

My self-fulfilling prophecies are positively grounded in this direction like never before.

Remember, if you define what truly matters to you in life, “success” is all around you, even if it doesn’t look exactly like the success you expected.

Stay true to yourself and motivation will grow.

About Author

Jim is a lawyer, relationship coach, business owner - and best of all a loving husband and father, who happily lives in total awe of his wife and 7 amazing children. Find out more about Jim at www.relationshipsrebuilt.com and www.everythingfordads.com

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