Elizabeth O’Neill: Facing Up to Burnout

“I lost motivation. I just didn’t care. I cared deeply, but I had nothing left. I couldn’t get up in the morning. I felt very sensitive and emotional.”

Joel Gascoigne, Buffer

Burnout can be very different for different people. You might be sensitive and emotional, or drained of emotion. It may make you hypervigilant or leave you being slow to notice the important things. You might feel like Sisyphus, endlessly rolling a rock uphill.

Burnout can affect you in many ways as a founder and the solution is almost never as simple as having a nice long vacation. Burnout is bad for productivity and for morale. Burnout is contagious. Founder burnout has many different causes. Typically, burnout relates to the protracted intensity of work (standard in startups) coupled with either: misalignment with your personal internal values; being stretched for too long beyond your emotional comfort zone; or an external block.

Examples could include

  • The reluctant CEO with passion for product who is triggered by conflict
  • The founder who doesn’t know what the next move is for themselves or the business
  • The founder whose revenue got cut in half by an SEO change and doesn’t have enough staff to pivot quickly 
  • The founder who put everything into fundraising and now can’t get re-energized
  • The action-oriented CEO who feels stuck in a waiting game while the product is developed

Elizabeth will discuss how founders can identify what’s at the root of their burnout and then take the right steps for them to move past it. The reason that understanding the root cause of your burnout is important is because the solution to burnout is different for each person. It is usually related to an internal versus external block. Elizabeth will help you understand the context of your burnout and take the steps you need to address it successfully.

Elizabeth O’Neill

Founder, Elizabeth O’Neill Consulting

Elizabeth is an expert in helping founders and their teams get aligned and positioned for growth. As a People & Culture consultant and Executive Coach for early stage startups, she’s on a mission to make the startup experience feel more human.

Elizabeth has shared her own experience of burnout in this powerful story and you can see some of the other talks on burnout from BoS Conference here.

Find out more about Elizabeth

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