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#33 Passion vs Obsession

Where’s the tipping point?


Following your passion can lead to burnout from obsessive thinking.


We understand burnout to be a newly recognized emotional issue. Especially when its effort is being put towards tasks that we love with our work.

And it’s also harder to detect.


The World Health Organization defines standard burnout as:

“Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;

  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and

  • reduced professional efficacy.

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”


Somewhere between burnout, workaholism and over hustle culture, we’re still debating the true levels of its effects. I don’t fully agree with the WHO on not applying this to other areas of life.


I see burnout stemming from what we originally were excited about. And over time, if we become too focused on a singular thing, burnout will occur.


We also live in a society that never shuts down. With that comes an unspoken acceptance that we can be available around the clock. There’s another type of stress that happens with the work we’re extremely passionate about.


The creative burnout. The entrepreneurial burnout.


Designing and building a new way.


Hustle culture pushed to its extreme.


Going towards those big goals and dreams. Taking risks of all sizes wrapped in massive dedication to your vision.


And then extreme exhaustion hits.


When passion converts to obsession, it can turn into a mental condition. Over-thinking, intrusive thoughts that interrupts normal life.


It’s a slippery slope. A cosmic conundrum.


We can love something too much. Wild.


The things we are most passionate about, especially our work, is the same thing that’ll break us down. First, we’ll grow it with deep and loving gestures to then obsess over it. Totally healthy in the beginning.


Until it’s not. And it deflates us into another type of burnout.




Here’s why creative burnout is more dangerous.


Society encourages us to push harder on our goals and visions. Creatives & entrepreneurs get glory for their passionate visions and the drive to bring to the world.


There are times we need grit and grind on our tasks to complete tasks. A framework is needed to balance the massive amounts of energy expelled to recuperate.


Otherwise, the body will shut itself down to rest.


Recovering from burnout for creative-focused professionals and entrepreneurs is a bit different. There’s an inspirational well that needs to get filled back up.


The same amount of energy that gets pulled from your creative well to do work, the same amount of energy needs to be replenished.


Building a personalized framework is key to your success.


Why?


Because it’s establishing a foundation that you can commit to.


Because it creates a realistic balance among all factors in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy bodies.


Because daily routines are a requisite to lean on, letting you leap off into great new experiences.


Passion is great in the beginning to spark innovation.


Passion has to fuel the flames into practical action. The persistence of layering brick by brick, to ultimately build that luxurious castle from your mind.


Keep the passion burning. Stay curious.


Here are a few ways to maintain a creative reservoir.


1.Have a multitude of interests.

Ease up on the over-obsessing thoughts focused on one project by spreading it out to other interests. Having a few small interests in life that can shift attention away from overactive thoughts on one singular thing, into other areas of your life. Everything is related, so having multiple interests all feed into one another.


2. Find other physical tasks.

Sometimes a mind fog sets in when we’re mentally drained, but we still want to be physically active. Getting into more earthly tasks or projects brings our awareness back into the body. Working with our hands to craft something that is repetitive will help clear and reset the mind. Cleaning, gardening and mundane choirs are great for this. New perspectives occur right outside the lines of routine.


3. Explore new ways to relax.

If the same resting routines aren’t as helpful anymore, explore new ways to unwind. There is so much data on healing with sound, nature, bodywork, breathwork. There’s always something new to investigate and try. Small shifts in how we unwind in our day-to-day can have a welcoming impact of benefits. Great time to move towards what intuitively is calling to you.


Over the years, I’ve had to work through my own creative burnout. I still have to be intentional with managing my time.


Share this newsletter with anyone who might benefit from the topic.


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