Recently, in one of the trade mags (and yes, I think it was NAILS), I spied yet another little article-ette offering up a list of ideas for combating burnout.
They come up frequently in our circles. If you’re new to the business, get ready for it. I’ve been reading these lists for 23 years.
The same list.
Go to a tradeshow...take a class...learn a new technique...take a vacation...raise your prices...blah blah blah.
It’s not that it’s a bad list. All the usual suggestions are valid, and I certainly bear no ill will towards the people who keep making the lists. But I do have to wonder at some point…what else you got?
Because there’s a point at which none of the above solve the problem.
I can — at times — be a very analytical person. When something has gone wrong and I’m not sure what it is, I start running a set of internal diagnostics to pin down exactly where the glitch occurred so I can make the necessary repairs or adjustments and get back to feeling the way I’m supposed to.
Raising prices doesn’t solve my burnout. Never has. Because my burnout isn’t usually tied to feeling underpaid.
Taking classes and attending tradeshows doesn’t solve my problems because continuing education and industry interaction isn’t where I’ve traditionally been lacking.
I figured it out: TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF.
Usually, my burnout correlates to a client or a few clients I’m just sick of. But, unlike boyfriends, I can’t just break up with my clients because I’m sick of them. I just don’t feel like it’s reasonable for me — from a professional standpoint — to call someone up and say, “Hey. It’s over between us. It’s not me. It’s you. Good luck in your future.”
No. I feel like there are very specific lines they must cross before any freaking out is warranted on my part. So I’m stuck — week after week, year after year — listening to them suck on cough drops, share their bowel movement stories with me, and act like I’m the one being unreasonable when I tell them to relax their hands.
Mostly, I need their money. That’s the whole point of being in business, right? And that’s where I start to resent them. My patience seeps away drop after drop until the very sight of their name in my schedule fills me with dread and loathing.
The more I need to put up with someone, the less I like them.
So take the pressure off.
I know it’s easier said than done in most cases, but if you can find a way, give it a try.
I noticed years ago that once I got it through my head that nails wasn’t my only option in life, it really helped. I’ve always said that if I couldn’t build a clientele of people who made my job a positive experience, then I’d chuck it all for an office job with paid vacation and a retirement plan.
It’s gone a long way in keeping me from losing my mind all these years.
So that’s my two cents thrown into the pot for your consideration the next time you’re feeling like doing nails has become a Sisyphean chore rather than a spirit-freeing jubilation.
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