Give What Grows — How to Overcome Burnout (FS200)

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Episode 200: Give What Grows — How to Overcome Burnout (FS200)

“Though usually regarded as the result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess.”

That is a quote from Parker Palmer. Parker Palmer is awesome. I’ll prove it.

And you are awesome too.

But you’re in danger of burnout.

If you want to create something interesting… you’re up against burnout.

If you want to create something important… you’re up against burnout.

If you want to create something you care about… burnout.

On the show today we hear from a Fizzle member who is literally burnt out. We talk about why burnout happens and how you can overcome it before it makes you give up.

And if you’re the reading-only type, there’s a whole article below. But, fyi, you’ll be missing out on the awesome stories in this podcast.

Thank you for listening and please, enjoy the show!

Twenty “Ought” Shotgun

Here’s one way burnout works: “Ought.”

Or if we wanted to make it more relevant to indie entrepreneurs like you:

Now, those are real “oughts” — if you want to be in business in the modern world you really ought to do these things.

And yet these “oughts” can lead you down a very dark road.

… a road where you dread waking up in the morning.

… a road where you take on more uppers like caffeine just to cope.

… a road where you lose inspiration, interest and intuition.

… a road where you have literal health disorders. (Our very own Corbett Barr talks about this in the podcast episode in this post.)

… a road that leads you to an empty-handed and empty-chested place, mumbling a little too loudly to yourself: am I doing the right thing?

(Also in the podcast episode on this page is Fizzler Kevin Johns telling a heavy story about asking that very same question.)

Am I doing the right thing?

Parker Palmer calls these “oughts” a form of “high artificial ethics.”

You’re one of the good guys. You should do the things the good guys do. You should wake up early, you should grow an email list, you should…, you should…, you should…

This is your “high artificial ethics.” And these high artificial ethics get you to do something very hurtful.

Your high artificial ethics lead you to “violate your own nature in the name of nobility.”

That’s another Parker Palmer quote. Told you this guy was awesome.

Violate. Your. Own. Nature. Think about that for a second. Heavy wording, but it’s right on the money.

When you violate your own nature you burn out.

But it is possible (probably?) for us to not be aware when we “violate our own nature.” The sly, slippery truth here is that most of us violate our own nature in the name of nobility.

Give. What. Grows.

Turns out, avoiding burnout is deliciously simple: don’t violate your own nature.

Simple ain’t easy, tho.

What do you need to not violate your own nature?

Parker Palmer — again, this guy is SO awesome — talks about how instead of doing what we ought to be doing in the world we need to turn towards this:

“… an ethic that grew up from my natural giftedness and my place in the ecosystem of my own life, where I could give what grew in me. When you give what grows then that crop replenishes itself, you don’t end up in that depletion of having too little to live on psychologically, spiritually, etc.”

There are things in you that naturally grow. Think of it like a crop of some kind. You planted wheat because wheat sells well. “I ought to plant some wheat,” you think to yourself. But what really grows well in you is…

… I don’t know, squash or something. I’m not a farmer.

But you get the metaphor! If you’re feeling burnt out right now this metaphor should be grabbing you by the collar and shaking you around… in a “not violating your own nature” kind of way.

If you continue to give what does not naturally grow, you will burn out. That’s what burnout is, when you give what you do not possess.

It’s not pushing too hard…

It’s not giving too much…

It’s giving what you don’t possess.

Instead, those of you who want to pursue abundant, creative, entrepreneurial life… you must give what grows.

Give. What. Grows.

Take This

Here, take this. Put out your hands I’m going to give you something.



It’s your responsibility.

This is your responsibility, to give what grows. It is no one else’s but yours. Your mother can’t do this for you. Neither can we at Fizzle. This is yours now.

And you can do this. If there’s ANYTHING you’re amazing at, it’s giving what grows naturally inside you.

Now, I know this means you probably have some work to figure out exactly what it is that grows in you. Which means you really need the entrepreneurial journaling course coming out in the Fizzle course library soon… because, yea, “know thyself” is still the operating imperative if you want to have the life YOU want.

But you got this. It’s yours alone now. And you don’t have to be alone with it. Inside of Fizzle, or in your family, or in a mastermind group, you can include others in your new mantra: give what grows.

And you can remind yourself every morning: today I am giving what grows.

And you can ask your spouse or your pupper: will you remind me to give what grows? Because I have too much wheat or something.

You get the metaphor!

Or you could share it on social networks with #givewhatgrows. (Note: this won’t help your heart much, but it might help others find this article. If it’s helped you, it’ll help others.)

Thanks for reading. Give what grows. All of us at Fizzle will be working to do the same.

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