Sales and Burnout: How to Reignite Your Passion and Motivation
Working in sales is tough. According to a Hubspot study, the vast majority of salespeople in the U.S. work more than 40 hours per week, with 28 percent of sales directors working more than 60 hours per week. Seven in 10 sales managers describe their job as “challenging,” and 54 percent of all salespeople say their life is stressful because of their job. A full 72 percent of sales directors work on evenings and weekends, when they should be relaxing and spending time enjoying life. It’s no surprise, then, that burnout is a serious problem in sales. In fact, the turnover rate in the sales sector runs as high as 27 percent annually, which is twice as high as the turnover rate for the workforce in general.
This summer, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified “burnout” as a syndrome that results from unmanaged workplace stress. Sound familiar? The long hours, the quotas, the rejection, and the lack of work-life balance can take a major toll on salespeople.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a state of exhaustion caused by prolonged, excessive stress. When you’re burnt out, you feel overwhelmed, drained, and ineffective. You begin to lose interest and motivation. You may feel cynical, resentful, hopeless, and helpless. These feelings begin to spill over into your personal life, and they wreck your health, making you more vulnerable to physical and mental illnesses.
When you have burnout, most days are bad days. You’re exhausted and unmotivated, and you find work to be either incredibly dull and boring or completely overwhelming. You may feel like nothing you do has purpose, and you may feel like your efforts aren’t appreciated. Burnout is common in work environments where team members feel like they have no control over their work or have to deal with unclear or overly demanding expectations at work.
While burnout doesn’t happen overnight, the effects can creep up on you, and they can lead to a breakdown. Physical signs of burnout include frequent headaches or unexplained aches and pains, changes in your sleep habits or appetite, frequent illnesses, and feeling exhausted and drained most of the time. Emotional signs of burnout include feelings of failure, defeat, detachment, cynicism, and dissatisfaction.
People with burnout often withdraw from their responsibilities and isolate themselves from others. They tend to procrastinate, skip work, or come in late and leave early. They may take their frustrations out on other people or use drugs, alcohol, or food to cope.
If any of this sounds painfully familiar for you, someone on your team, or a friend, do know that there is hope and that it can get better!
How to Cope With and End Burnout
If you have burnout, you may have trouble seeing a way out of it. But there are a number of things you can do to cope with burnout and reverse it.
Take care of yourself.
If you’re a physical and mental wreck from burnout, the most important thing to do is start taking care of your mind and body. Eat healthy food, exercise every day, and get adequate sleep. Cut down on the booze and cigarettes. Reduce your stress by taking advantage of relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Spend time relaxing and enjoying yourself every day.
One of the best antidotes to burnout is reaching out to others for support, such as your BFF, significant other, family members, or a friendly co-worker. Pick a good listener, and let them know you’re struggling. Sometimes, just getting things off your chest can help, and you may get some good advice.
Take time off.
If you can, take some time off from work, and fill your days with healthy, enjoyable activities that help you refresh and refocus.
Re-evaluate your priorities.
If you’re burnt out, something isn’t working in your life. Maybe you need to set stronger boundaries and say “no” more often. Perhaps you need more creativity in your life, or some hobbies that’ll get you out of your head. Maybe you need to nurture your relationships, let go of perfectionism, or re-think what you really want from your life.
Look for value in your work.
If you feel like your job is pointless, try focusing on how your role at work helps other people. Think about the aspects of your job that you enjoy and which drew you to sales in the first place. A new mindset can work wonders for burnout.
If it’s left unaddressed, burnout can turn serious, affecting your health, relationships, finances, and quality of life. Sometimes, people with burnout need a hand up. If you’re not sure where to go from here, H2H Coaching can help. Our executive coaching services focus on helping you develop the skills and mindset you need to re-ignite your motivation, optimism, passion, and energy at work and beyond. In twelve weeks, you can transform your mindset, find your footing, map out your vision for your future, and make meaningful changes for a happier, healthier, and more balanced life and greater success in sales. Contact us today to see if coaching is the answer you need.