Aleya Harris March 23, 2022 at 10:33 AM 13 min read

Is Your Hero's Journey Leading You to Burnout?

As an event professional, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Between managing clients, coordinating with other vendors, and trying to grow your business, your plate is piled high. Unfortunately, because of this busy schedule, you might not be thinking too hard about your hero’s journey.

Quick pause: what’s a hero’s journey?

The idea of the hero’s journey has existed for decades. From ancient tales like The Odyssey to newer realms like Harry Potter, every story needs a hero the audience can cheer for. When it comes to your business, that hero is you!

While there are several iterations of the hero’s journey, it generally falls into three stages:

  1. Departure: The hero is spurred into action and prepares to start their quest.
  2. Initiation: The hero is faced with challenges that get increasingly more difficult, and they must find a solution to get closer to their goal.
  3. Return: The hero accomplishes their goal and returns home with the answers they set out for initially.

Sure, this structure seems obvious for stories like Star Wars and Spider-Man, but how does it apply to your business specifically?

As your own hero, your “quest” is business growth – whether this means expanding your rental company to new locations, increasing your revenue overall, or hiring new team members. Your journey is all about the steps you take to meet these goals.

The problem is, your journey can quickly lead to you feeling stressed, unmotivated, and, worst of all, completely burnt out.

Before diving into how you can navigate this journey, let’s think about how yours can lead to your own little (or big!) burnout monster.

You’re not applying the lessons you learn

During the initiation stage of your hero’s journey, you’re going to face challenges that require you to find solutions. For example, let’s say you’re working 10-12 hour days with little time for yourself, as you’ve let your business take over.

That doesn’t sound like the kind of entrepreneur you set out to be! Working all those hours will put you on a direct path to burnout.

So, as a hero, it’s your job to figure out how to face this challenge head-on and find a solution. The answer might be:

  • Hiring a new team member to take some of the workload off your shoulders
  • Prioritizing planning and time-blocking so you can get things done on time
  • Increasing your prices, so you don’t feel pressure to work with more people than necessary

All of these solutions will help you lighten the load and reduce burnout. The problem is, if you don’t apply them to your business, the burnout monster will be there baring its fangs.

So if your journey is full of burnout, you’re probably not taking the lessons you’ve learned into account.

You let villains take over

All great stories have a villain – Darth Vader, The Wicked Witch of the West, The Joker. And the best of heroes can face these villains, defeating them and saving lives in the process.

If you’ve got a bad case of burnout, chances are you’re letting villains bring you down. Don’t think of these villains as specific people either – they can easily be obstacles you’re letting inhibit your hero’s journey. Things like:

  • A lack of boundaries or work/life balance
  • A team member that doesn’t complete work on time and adds to your list of responsibilities
  • An overly demanding client or one who doesn’t understand your contract

Instead of reminding yourself that you are the hero and the lead in your story, you might be letting these villains steal the show. Then, you’re left feeling burnt out and lost on where to go next.

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You don’t ask for help

When you think about the best heroes, they all have someone who helped them throughout their journey. For example, Harry had Dumbledore, Luke had Obi-Wan, and Frodo had Gandalf.

If you let burnout consume your daily life, ask yourself if you have the right mentor. Is there someone you can go to for business advice? Who’s there if you need help? Think about who you can count on and who can help make it easier to run a rental company.

Now that you’ve uncovered some of the reasons you might be facing this burnout, it’s time to dig deep into how you can combat it as soon as it hits. Then, if you’re ready to leave burnout behind you, try one or two of these exercises to open up your mind and make the mental shifts you need to find success.

Practice affirmations

Self-affirmations are a great way to realign your heart’s center. We all know how transformative it can be to hear words of affirmation from others, so why wouldn’t we share the love with ourselves? Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • “I am safe, secure, and supported.”
  • “I am balanced, joyful, and creative.” 
  • “I am an idea alchemist.”
  • “I lovingly accept all parts of myself.”
  • “My thoughts and feelings are valid.”

Choose the one(s) that feel right for you, or create your own affirmation to repeat to yourself throughout the day. You can take back the power to lift your spirits and say goodbye to burnout!

Try journaling

One of the best ways to avoid burnout is to put yourself out there and be open about what you want. You can do this by making journaling a regular part of your routine.

Writing is an incredibly powerful tool for unlocking the untouched corners of your mind, allowing you to cultivate creativity and commit ideas to memory. Specific prompts will help you dig deep into a topic with intention and purpose if you're new to journaling.

All you need to do is let your thoughts flow and let go of any judgments you might be holding.

Here are a few prompts to get you started:

  • What would my life and business look like if I had already removed the main obstacle keeping me from my personal and professional goals?
  • If I had all the money in the world, what would I do? How would I live?
  • What are the things left unsaid that I haven’t felt the freedom to express in the open?

A daily journaling practice can help you shift away from burnout, as you’ll be turning your lofty goals into real, actionable words on paper.

Move forward

True heroes focus on their next steps and how they can move closer to their final resolution. If they were to stay stuck in one place, they would never actually get where they need to go. But as a busy event professional, you might be experiencing something like this yourself.

If you want to move forward in your business, you need to let go of the grudges you hold against yourself from the past. Forget about the missed opportunities, the clients you let down, and the moments you were not at your best. Instead, forgive yourself for self-judgment and the words you’ve told yourself in frustration.

Leaving burnout behind you will require a level of self-acceptance that will propel you forward. Don’t question what has already happened! Instead, focus on the steps you can take that will move you closer to your goals.

Your hero’s journey will undoubtedly be full of ups and downs. But so long as you stay connected to yourself, you’ll reach your final destination in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling exhausted and burnt out!

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Aleya Harris

Aleya Harris, an award-winning marketer and former chef and catering company owner, is the Owner of Flourish Marketing, an agency that provides marketing education, strategy, and tools to help wedding, catering, and event professionals get and keep a consistent stream of clients. Harris is a StoryBrand Certified Guide and she uses that narrative-based framework to develop clear, engaging, and highly converting marketing assets, like websites and social media solutions, for her clients. Aleya is the current Marketing Committee Chair for NACE and a top speaker at conferences and events like Catersource and The Special Event.