We all know the stereotype of a salesperson: bubbly, energetic, a go-getter, and a people person. Some might guess that this type of person with a seemingly endless supply of energy and things to talk about never wears out. However, in a career full of high-pressure goals and demands, burnout is very common. Let’s find out more about what burnout means, and how to handle it when it happens.
What Is Burnout?
We all feel stressed at work from time to time, but when that stress is extreme and all-encompassing, it becomes job burnout. It can happen to the best of us, even those in high-powered jobs, with great attitudes and outlooks. This is when the job-related stress is so extreme that it leads to a lessened sense of accomplishment or personal identity. While not a medically recognized condition on its own, burnout can lead to a number of dangerous health conditions, and is often tied to depression.
Symptoms of Burnout
The feeling of job burnout can creep up slowly on you, but suddenly feel quite despairing. There are many warning signs that burnout is on the horizon. Here are a few to watch for:
1.Good sleep may be hard to come by, especially in high-pressure jobs with long hours, like sales. But even with decent sleep habits, stress can make you feel tired all the time.
2. Lack of appetite. When you are constantly busy and over-stressed, you may not pay attention to your body’s hunger cues, or may not even feel them at all. You run on adrenaline and may lack healthy eating habits and schedules.
3. Everything feels harder. Sales calls that used to be easy seem to take all day. Tasks that should be a breeze feel monumental. Extreme stress can make simple tasks seem more difficult. It’s also harder to focus, so distractions take hold and it’s more difficult to complete necessary work tasks.
4. You’re frustrated with clients and co-workers. Burnout comes with a shorter fuse, and you may find yourself easily annoyed or angered by simple irritations. Every little thing can seem so overwhelmingly annoying when you are stressed to the max.
5. You feel pessimistic. All of the previous factors can create a vicious cycle of negative thoughts that lead to an overall lack of optimism in your job. Your numbers might be slipping, and it feels utterly hopeless. You no longer enjoy your job.
Consequences of Burnout
If you have any of the above symptoms, it is likely that you are experiencing burnout, or will soon be. It is definitely possible to recover on your own, but do not take these symptoms lightly. Dealing with burnout for too long can have serious repercussions on your career – and your health.
This heightened level of stress can lead to many side effects on the body. Those experiencing burnout can also feel extreme levels of fatigue and insomnia. The high stress can also lead to self-medicating and overuse of alcohol and drugs. A suppressed immune system and lessened ability to fight off common illnesses are also common with higher periods of stress. Over an extended time period, extreme stress and burnout can be a factor in diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Depression is often tied to burnout, and should be taken seriously.
Beyond the serious health consequences, burnout can also affect your career. If you are experiencing extreme fatigue, irritability, and other symptoms of burnout, it’s easy to see that your job performance can start to slip. If you cannot gain control of a burnout situation, sales numbers can easily go down, and your job may be in jeopardy.
What Can You Do About Burnout?
If you are feeling burnout creeping in, it is best to take action quickly to get back on track. First of all, if you feel any of the intense physical symptoms of stress, check in with a doctor. And if you feel any signs of overwhelming depression, seek out a mental health practitioner for help.
There are also several actionable steps you can take to gain control of this intensely stressful situation:
1.Seek help and support. Healthcare and mental health practitioners are trained to help. Sometimes confiding or venting to friends, family, or trusted co-workers can also help gain perspective.
2. Try relaxation. Whether you prefer yoga, exercise, meditation, or massage, find ways to practice self-care.
3. Increase your sleep. It’s difficult with busy lives and high-pressure jobs, but try to find ways to go to bed earlier, or sneak in naps or rest periods. Relax and recharge on weekends and days off.
4. Talk to supervisors. Discuss your concerns and try to find solutions that may reduce stress. Is it possible to take a day off or to have some of your responsibilities (at least temporarily) reduced? Your mentors should want to help you succeed and may have suggestions to help your situation.
5. Find structure and routine. Organize your day and have specific goals and lists so that you feel accomplished each day. Stick to your action plan and avoid interruptions if possible.
6. Improve efficiency. Perhaps some of the burnout comes from strategies that just aren’t working. Talk to mentors or do research on other strategies you can try to be more effective and efficient.
Any of these tips can help to improve the situation when burnout has crept in. They can also be used as a roadmap for prevention of burnout. If you are not yet at the point of burnout, but feeling some stress build up, practice these tips and seek out measures for self-care to keep yourself healthy and ready to keep tackling those sales goals.
Sales jobs can be a marathon, and like a marathon runner, you need effective strategies to keep running at top speed, while taking care of your body, mental health, and your job. Shapiro Negotiations has the experience you need to train your team. We offer speakers and training to keep your sales team running, with tips for habits and tools for sales success. Contact us for more information.