Being an entrepreneur is exciting and the possibilities are endless. One aspect of running a business that I get asked about a lot is burnout and how to avoid it. My reply is fast and simple: "I don't believe in burnout."
I know if you are experiencing the exhaustion that's often associated with burnout, this seems impossible. But take a step back and try to remember when you were on fire as an entrepreneur. You were goal driven, possibilities were enormous and you were on a mission. It is when the mission is missing that a person starts to feel tapped-out. When your goals aren't big enough and you are no longer sold on your own vision, the symptoms of losing interest -- what many call "burnout" -- are experienced. Anytime you stop reaching for massive success and start settling, you will have problems.
That's why comfort and complacency are the entrepreneur's worst enemy. Who wants average? Only those that have given up on greatness. In the U.S. today, we too often hear people say: "I just want to be comfortable." This is very dangerous. Such a comfort mentality is what sets entrepreneurs and businesses apart. Look at all the businesses that were once great companies that settled into complacency and no longer exist.
I recently was written by a woman who told me she was fired for being excessively competitive after reading my book The 10XRule (Wiley, 2011). The same week she had six job offers by stellar companies. Sounds crazy right? Entrepreneurs are often criticized for working too hard, obsessing over the future and being consumed by their business.
But the ambitious should never apologize. These are the people guaranteed success. Listen to the naysayers and you will only join their ranks. They are the ones who have confused the idea of burnout with a loss of fulfilling their full potential toward greatness. Avoid being comfortable, avoid complacency, avoid slowing down and forbid settling. It's bad for you, bad for business and bad for your future.
Comfort is your enemy, not your friend and should never be your goal. Sounds exhausting doesn't it? That is only because you needed to hear this at this time. Entrepreneurs who are the most successful, most admired and most alive have many fires blazing, problems everywhere and love the action. Ask yourself: Are you more alive when there is lots going on or very little? I say bring me problems and make them big and juicy.
Comfort for a moment may be ok but not as a way of life -- surely not for the entrepreneur. A little comfort might be good for a Sunday to kick back with friends and watch a game and barbecue, but even too much of that can get old pretty quick. Get uncomfortable by creating new and bigger goals. Go out and make new friends and customers and seek new challenges.
You will keep your entrepreneurial spirit alive and thriving by always reaching for more. Let those you compete with be seduced by comfort and mediocrity and as soon as they do, go capture and dominate the space they are clearly surrendering.