When I review my burnout, I clearly see that there were several factors that contributed to it.

Personality: I am someone who likes to please everybody. But it is simply not possible to please everybody all the time. Sooner or later you have to decide who you please, because people with different expectations are satisfied differently. This leads to an inner conflict. I like harmony. Unfortunately harmony is not always possible. Different people have different goals and expectations, that will without a doubt lead to a conflict. I had to learn to deal with that. There are also people who believe that they can reach a solution faster or better by provoking people. This is also not for me, but also something I had to learn.

Relationships: The relationship with my ex-girlfriend had a huge impact on me. It was a toxic relationship that I should have ended much earlier. For a long time I didn’t want to admit to myself that I couldn’t keep the relationship going. The feeling of having failed annoyed me and I tried many things to save the relationship. We also took over her parents’ house, with mortgage and all. This brought with it a responsibility that I felt I could not run away from. Not to fail and responsibility are still strong factors in my life today, but I now know that this also has its limits. I have also learned a lot from this relationship. I now know exactly what I want and expect from a relationship and more importantly what I no longer want. Today I am convinced that this relationship has impacted my self-confidence in the long run and extremely damaged it. Self-confidence is extremely important to prevent burnout.

Work: I am used to working and performing in a performance-driven environment, i.e. delivering results. Work is always about the vision of the company, achieving goals, interacting with colleagues and superiors. I didn’t get along with my new supervisor. We had different ideas about what a finance department should do in a pharmaceutical company. Work is also about appreciating the work you have done and respecting people. Lack of appreciation and a different interpretation of the company vision and values, which led to constantly clashing with my boss, which definitely contributed to my burnout. 

Free time: Here I don’t mean that free time led to my burnout, but more how we deal with our free time. I had to quit playing football after 30 years because of a back injury. At first, I was devastated because I loved playing football. But then I thought that I could substitute football with jogging. For a short moment I thought that everything was okay now. What I realized only later was that I had successfully replaced the sporting activity with jogging, but what I was still missing was the social part of a team sport. That going for a drink after a game, the friendship & banter in the changing room, the exchange with a group with different opinions, etc. something I had for myself besides work, but also beside my family.

What I can clearly see is that my personality influences my relationships. I choose my free time specifically on the basis of my personality and from that relationships develop. Because of my personality I chose my work and I am writing this blog. The several factors that have influenced my burnout are separate factors and yet connected to each other. — As always I am curious about your feedback.