When There’s Nothing Left to Give…Part Deux

Last week I told the story of Liz’s burnout.

Here’s the story of my burnout.

I was hopeless. I had to keep churning forward & giving more. Why? Because – dammit – that’s what was expected of me!

I had nothing left to give. I was crispy. Irritated.

And I was terrified. I could not see my way out of a hopeless situation.

I mean – really – nothing had changed…except I was burned out.

Everyone still needed me. Everyone still expected me to show up and provide.

Here’s why it was hopeless: I was allowing everyone else’s behavior & expectations to be in control of my happiness.

  • I kept waiting for everyone to see how burned out I was. How I couldn’t handle it anymore.
  • I kept waiting for them to need me less. Ask less of me. Show up more for themselves.

How silly!

People expect what we train them to expect.

I had trained my peeps to expect that I would show up, perform, and kick some major ass.

If I wanted different behaviors from them, I had to re-establish their expectations of me.

This meant I couldn’t expect them to change. I. Had. To. Change.

Yes, my Obliging, Over-Giving friends. You are burned out because you’ve trained everyone in your life to expect you to show up. To over-provide. And to kick ass while doing it.

So, bravo! You’ve noticed you’re burned out.

If you want long-lasting changes, changes are in store, and they begin with Y.O.U.

I’m warning you…it’s uncomfortable. Your peeps might not like it. They will test you.

That’s ok. You’ve done harder stuff than this! You can stay strong and handle it.

Three steps to begin:

Step 1: Show up for yourself. That means noticing you’re burned out and taking a breath. Maybe you’ve already done this. COOL! Move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Take action> BUT HOW??!!

Example: Your sister asks you to babysit every Friday night. You do it because you’ve got nothing else going on. But you’re so tired. Tired of being available. You want a damn night to Netflix and chill – alone.

You’ve done Step 1. Step 2 requires action. You say, “I can’t sit this week.”

When she asks for a reason, you don’t have to give one.
If you do give one, tell the truth. Be clear, honest, and without blame.

AND without apology.

Some scripts to practice:

“Hey, wanted to give you a head’s up that I’m not available this Friday. I need a night to myself. I’m sure you understand.”

“I can’t sit this Friday. I’ve realized I’m a piece of luggage on Fridays and need to recharge. I’ll let you know which Fridays I can do next month.”

“I’m taking Friday off this week. I’m giving myself the gift of a bath, some wine, and a move alone this week”.

Step 3: Know that your people will not like the “new you”. Oh sure – some will respect it. Or be thrilled you’re catching your breath.

Others will guilt you, challenge you, and downright bully you.

This is your big moment to shine & create some confidence.

Why? ‘Cuz what you’re about to do is hard.


• They might be mad at you. That’s ok. People can be mad. It will not kill them. You didn’t do anything wrong. You’re just re-training them.
• They might yell. You don’t have to listen to that. (See blog on boundaries)
• They might try & make you feel guilty. But only you can make you feel guilty! It’s a choice. Try not to be upset: they’re just in re-training.

Think of your peeps as a small child or a dog. It seems harsh, but this mental trick resonates with many of my clients. Our peeps take what they can until we create a limit for them.

Yes, even adults. That’s what we humans do! We’re not bad people…

We just don’t know something is a problem for you until you tell us!

I could go on for days about this topic, but this post is getting too long.

I’ll wrap up:
1. Notice where you’re over giving. Take a breath.
2. Decide that you’re not gonna do that shit anymore.
3. Stand your ground and be uncomfortable. You will not die.

For you addicted Obligers & Over-Givers, take baby steps, my friends!

Try this in one area. Take one step.

Let me know how it’s going – or if you have questions or a particularly difficult situation!

We’ll explore it more all week here…follow me to learn more & see it in practice.

Sometimes you need someone to stand next to you and give you permission to do hard things.

That’s my job. And I’m honored to do it.

I’ve got openings for coaching clients starting in late October. If you could use some support with this, shoot me a note. I’d love to chat.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.