If you don’t succeed at first, try and try again. Things will work out eventually, right? But for every person who succeeds, there are likely hundreds and thousands who either give up or burnout along the way.
Athletes in particular, who appear bigger, faster, stronger and make the impossible routine, sometimes trick us into believing that anything is possible so long as you try hard enough.
The undersized high schooler in me was motivated to follow in their footsteps.
From the day I entered the sport of professional fighting, I rarely gave myself a break.
When I wasn’t competing in an arena, I was either at the gym training hard or in the kitchen preparing my meals for the week. Though many times nearing the brink of exhaustion, I resigned to accepting the grind as a way of life.
It was only after my retirement that I finally gained a deeper appreciation of just how I managed to avoid burnout throughout my career.
Strike A Balance To Avoid Burnout
It takes time, effort and a lot of energy to strive for a balance between work and life.
Especially today, where we are constantly asked to do more for less, the need for balance could not be more pressing.
Fortunately for me, having cultivated other interests outside of mixed martial arts, I had plenty to look forward to outside of competition.
From playing the drums to wakeboarding in the summer, my hobbies were the perfect way to unload mentally and physically in the offseason.
Furthermore, some of these activities kept me rejuvenated and ready for the next training camp.
Keep Focused On Your Goals To Prevent Burnout
My goals to become a World Champion kept me focused through the toughest of times.
Having both short term goals (a good training session today) and long-term goals (winning my next match), gave me reasons to persevere daily.
Rather than be motivated by external rewards like a huge payday, I was internally driven by my desire to become the best athlete I could.
This helped to change my perspective, choosing to view individual obstacles and chores as prerequisite steps to success.
Naturally, everybody’s goals will change from time to time. Having a new set of objectives to accomplish is a great way to avoid burning out from fatigue or monotony.
Find New Meaning To Stop Burnout
Sometimes when you are feeling burned out, until your work and daily effort takes on new meaning, you will be left restless and uninspired.
At the height of my popularity, I was tasked to autograph a collection of personalized sport cards. Starting out, it felt pretty cool but after I had signed a stack of about 500 cards, I looked over and there were still a couple of thousand cards left.
While it was a lucrative partnership and I didn’t want to disappoint any fans, a dread began to creep over me.
I began to so loathe the act of signing, I imagined that I would never want to autograph anything after today, ever again.
But I quickly realized that under no ordinary circumstances would I be in such a position again. Not only was I paid for this, I had a legion of fans who were waiting for me.
Sometimes burnout is not necessarily a consequence from just working too hard. It can also be from feeling unrewarded for the work performed.
Once I understood the magnitude of my privilege and responsibility, I gained a newfound respect and joy for my role as an ambassador and spokesperson.