As an executive coach, I saw a troubling trend among my clients even before Covid-19: Many were exhausted and on a path to burnout, if they weren’t already there.
The chief physician of a large healthcare system came to me because he wanted to “feel more stable and have more control over how he spent his time and energy.” Even though his obsession with work and his digital devices was draining him, he told me he couldn’t go more than a few hours without opening his email.
An entrepreneur who had just secured funding for her next venture was surprised to find that, after a day or two of excitement and joy over her success, she felt empty. She was concerned that “if this accomplishment isn’t enough to provide some lasting fulfillment, I don’t know what will be.”
Clients constantly talked about how much they wanted to turn it all off—the breaking news and busyness and email and social media notifications. They didn’t want to be thinking constantly about what was next. Yet when they did turn it all off, they felt unsettled and restless, fluctuating between aimlessness and angst.