Avoid Burnout and Maximize Your Potential

— May 22, 2013 —

Burnout is
inevitable.  You know what you’re capable of, but some days, it just
doesn’t seem like you’re living up to your full potential.  Before you know it, negativity sets in.  The sooner you
dig yourself out of the doldrums, the sooner you can go back to being that
awesome, can’t-live-without employee that your boss so heavily relies on.

Here are three tips
that will instantly help you regain your mojo.

1. Be fearless.

There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: It keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.”

— George Santayana, quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle 

Learn to be comfortable
outside of your Comfort Zone. Going to karaoke, trying a new restaurant or
taking a different route to work will instantly (even if subconsciously) take
you right out of your CZ.  Whether you’re uneasy about giving a
presentation at work or become overwhelmed when tasks pile up, consistently
putting yourself in situations that are inherently different will help you
practice keeping up.  Putting yourself in
a less comfortable setting will increase your focus and concentration and make
you more aware of what you’re doing and ultimately help you do it better. 
The more you purposefully place yourself in unfamiliar circumstances, the more prepared
you’ll be to handle any situation.

2. Play with your
friends’ tech stuff.

“Capitalism is taking us toward a future of accelerating
change. 
The first twenty years
of the twentieth century saw as much technological progress as the entire
nineteenth century. 
Currently,
industrial societies appear to be doubling their rate of technological progress
every ten years. If this continues, and there is every reason to suppose that
it will, 
the twenty-first
century will experience the equivalent of twenty thousand years of ‘normal’
human progress
.”

— Walter R.
Mead, God and Gold: Britain, America and the Making of the Modern World (Knopf:
New York, October 2007).

Today, relevance
is everything.  Know technology from tablets to TV remotes and
Paint to Photoshop.  Every day there’s a new software upgrade, hardware
improvement, or launch of a product with more advanced features.  Maybe
you have an iPhone and your roommate owns an Android.  Maybe your friends
have a new baby and they just bought a high-tech baby monitor that they’re
trying to convince you isn’t from outer space (but you know better).
 Whether you’re a PC or a Mac person and whether or not you ever plan on
switching, learning about and being able to use other technologies is becoming
as critical as speaking a new language, having a degree, or owning a cell
phone. The nuances you pick up on across different product brands and types
will help your brain’s intuition when encountered with that new [whatever] that
needs to be [uploaded, installed, programmed, decoded] and help you navigate
the uninitiated with ease.

3. Read everything.

No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”

— Confucius 

It may sound like a cheesy college subway ad,
but knowledge really 
is power. Staying up to date on or at
least intelligently conversant in the latest trends across sectors is
as critical as any other skill you could have. You never know who you’ll need
to small talk on the job, and having an active knowledge of the ever-changing
world is imperative.  Pick up the newspaper just as often as you do the
tabloids and read the articles as vigorously as you flip through the pictures.

Jacqueline Cochran was orphaned in infancy and later lived with a poor family that traveled to sawmill towns in search of jobs.  She became a reporter, owned a cosmetics firm and worked as a test pilot.  She was the first woman to break the sound barrier, the first woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic, the first civilian woman to win a Distinguished Service Medal and was elected to the Aviation Hall of Fame in 1992. At her death in 1980, she held more speed, altitude and distance records than any other pilot.
Jacqueline Cochran was orphaned in infancy and later lived with a poor family that traveled to sawmill towns in search of jobs.  She became a reporter, owned a cosmetics firm and worked as a test pilot.  She was the first woman to break the sound barrier, the first woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic, the first civilian woman to win a Distinguished Service Medal and was elected to the Aviation Hall of Fame in 1992. At her death in 1980, she held more speed, altitude and distance records than any other pilot.

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