Busting Through Burnout with the Joy of Being Spontaneous 

Author: Robin Shear       

What does it say when: 

  • a standing-room-only crowd of accomplished event professionals at PCMA edUcon in Detroit animatedly erupts into a snowball fight, flinging 600 oversized cotton balls at each other, laughing and shrieking with delight?  
  • hearing simple examples of how to veer from the ever-present to-do list prompt hands to fly in the air, as participants recall and are eager to share stories of their own unscheduled adventures?  
  • some participants privately tear up, realizing the “Burnout Buster: The Joy of Being Spontaneous” message isn’t just about fun, but about life change — so we can keep doing what we love? 
  • attendees later confess in The Hub, “I couldn’t think of any stories because all I do is work,” “This field doesn’t have an off-season anymore,” and “I don’t actually know how to have fun?” 

It might say we: 

  • truly care about providing meaningful experiences for others 
  • give much of ourselves to accomplish this, on repeat, for extended periods of time… often sacrificing our own needs for the good of our colleagues, clients, attendees, and families 
  • need to come face-to-face with the power we assign to our to-do lists, not from an incriminating stance, but a curious one… along the lines of, “Are you the boss of me?” 
  • should question why our own names and needs aren’t on our lists 
  • need to grant ourselves permission to play freely, recognizing fun as foundational and not frivolous 
  • genuinely want to keep serving in the event world, but maybe doing a dangerous dance with burnout, putting us at risk of leaving the industry altogether. 

Work-life balance is a phrase that’s been used extensively. We hear of it so frequently, the truth is, we often tune the messages out. We wonder if we have already achieved it and can check it off our lists. Or, we question if it’s even possible. Is work-life balance a thing? Or, is another view more realistic? Is work-life integration more in alignment with reality?  

Only you know where you stand and what’s right for you. The real question is, when you recall the amount of time you spend working, and consider what your actual playtime looks like, are you ok with where you find yourself?  

If you’re feeling: 

  1. cynical, negative, or distant from work,  
  1. exhausted or depleted of energy, 
  1. like your work quality is suffering… 

according to the World Health Organization, you may be experiencing burnout. 

In our breakout session, we explored how stretching our comfort zones and being more spontaneous can help us be more productive, creative, and able to cope with change: These essential qualities for success in the events space are the same things we long for when burnout hits. 

Do you believe that simple changes add up to a significant shift toward feeling whole, toward feeling more like you again?  

We overcomplicate joy. We believe it needs to be elaborate, expensive, and time-consuming. Thankfully, joy can be found in simplicity.  It can be: 

  • aiming your car for the puddles, fast and furious, trying to get water on the roof 
  • jumping rope to your favorite song, just for the fun of it 
  • found in quieter moments of contemplation, sitting on the roof, listening to the birds or picking off the moss 
  • peaceful and still, lying on the ground, observing the wonders of what lies in your field of vision… noticing the highlights and shadows, textures and colors, movement and stillness, imagining what it would be like to try and paint or draw something so exquisitely designed.  

Joy is waiting all around us. To avoid burnout and keep doing what we love, we need to tap into joy’s power, take an unplanned side trip into the unknown, and maybe even do something every day that scares us. 

Robin Shear is a professional speaker, joy coach and author. Learn about Robin’s coaching services on her website: https://joytotheworldcoaching.com/  

Follow her on LinkedIn for more insights: https://linkedin.com/in/joycoachrobin 

Browse her book: https://www.amazon.com/Messy-Joy-Begin-Before-Difficulties/dp/1959099035/  

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