Archive for September, 2010


Written on Friday, September 17th, 2010 in UncategorizedNo Comments

I was in a conversation with someone the other day and we began talking about one of my favorite topics- full, heartfelt engagement in the workplace.  It was suggested that one of the issues facing a stressed and overworked workforce was burn-out.

Perhaps.  However, on reflection I’m not sure I agree.  As a matter of fact, I’m no longer sure of what “burn-out” really is.

I believe the overriding issue is one of becoming burned-IN.

I had a college roommate once who loved the rock band Pink Floyd (OK I’m dating myself).  I owned the vinyl records of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”.  My roommate played these records over and over again- and I mean OVER AND OVER again- for months.  Good thing I liked to study in the library.

Over time, the music lost its richness.  The original intention of the artist was lost.  It became simply a metallic drone in the background, and the music became less and less enjoyable as the tracks became worn and shifted from what was a wonderful multidimensional sensual experience to being flat, meaningless and empty.

Meaningless and empty.


We risk burn-in when what we do day after day is simply a mental and physical exercise, and the motivation for our doing comes from a place of obligation and/or fear.  We mindlessly punch in, do what we’re told or expected to do, then punch out.  We remain in the same groove- perhaps because we think it’s safe, perhaps because we think it’s the “right” thing to do.  Either way, fear keeps us there.

We spend so much time in this “track” that we wear it flat.  The vibrancy and meaning, if ever there, becomes worn, or lost completely.

We’re burned-in.

From the perspective of a desire to bring out the best in people- this is no way to live, and certainly no way to truly realize the capacity of the individuals with whom we work.

We are meant to experience life in all its vibrancy.  This means we are to operate on all levels- physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.  When our work is aligned with our heart, and connects with our core values and sense of purpose- it allows us to experience more meaning  and exude creativity.   We reach a level where we transcend the track completely.  Gone are limited ways of being, limited points of view, and the stifling internment represented by the illusionary “steep walls” of the track we left behind.  We see the whole album- not just the track we were in.

That’s our true capacity as creative beings.  That is our true intention.  Full engagement.

And then burn-in is impossible, because we are no longer stuck in a track.

Joseph Campbell wrote:

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for
life.  I think that what we’re really seeking is an experience of being 
alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we can actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

Feel the rapture of being alive. Now that is quite an intention for a workplace.

The truth is, the only person keeping you in your track- risking “burn in”- is yourself.

Today- jump out of your track- and by example allow others to do the same.  Share your creative gifts.  Authentically connect with someone as you never have.   Dare to open yourself to perspectives and people you avoided before.  Connect to that innermost part of you and speak, and act, from your heart.

Jump out of your track.

Don’t get burned-in.

Experience being alive.