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Burnout is real

December 02, 2022

Last week I heard from 3 different people who said they're feeling burned out, overwhelmed, extra fearful about the changing climate. I'm feeling it too. (Video here, 9 min)

A couple days later we had an AirMiners acclerator session on startup founder mentality led by Adina and Jason. We got to talking about what burnout is, how it feels to get close to burn out, and how to avoid it.

Burnout. It feels like everything is weighing on you. You don't have the energy that's normally there, you push away your friends, people you love spending time with. Taking breaks don't seem to help. If you've burned out before, you know it's a phyiscal, mental thing. I wanted to share what I learned, in case you're feeling it too or know someone who is getting close to burning out.

For me getting close to burnout feels like needing to psych myself up. Regularly, I'm just psyched all the time. But then when I start to get overwhelmed I press that mental "pump up" button to get a little boost. And if that continues too long, and I'm getting really close to burning out, I'm mashing the button ....and all of a sudden nothing happens. There's no juice left. Those are scary moments. Once you've burned out, you have the feeling and don't want to go there again.

Good news is you can prevent burnout. Talking about it helps. Listening to someone else talk about their experience helps (burnout isn't contagious). Acknowledge burnout is real and work to avoid it.

Here's a few tips from my own experience and talking with others in the AirMiners community:

Avoiding burnout is part of why AirMiners exists! We're all rowing in the same direction with common vocabulary and values and we can learn together. We work together and support eachother.

Preventing burnout is especially valuable for working in carbon removal. We need million-fold improvement in carbon removal capacity by 2050. This goal is extremely daunting (don't blow up the planet!). But it's also far away (28 years to 2050!). It's that urgency + distance combo that makes it especially tough. It's a marathon...a really long, scary one. Sometimes you need to sprint but you have to be able to come back to that steady, comfy pace.

Go talk with someone in the AirMiners community about burnout. Maybe you'll discover something that surprises you, helps you, or helps someone else.


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