Are you burning out?:  Take the FREE Self-Test

How to tell if you’re at the risk of burning out in your business

Recently I ‘fessed up to you about being a business owner burnout. I’m going to tell you more about it and how to spot if you are burning out in your business.

But first, I’d like to share how some stress is actually good for you.

Look at this image to the right.

See the tip of the slope from calm to Eustress? Endocronologist, Hans Selye, (also known as the father of stress) wrote about eustress in his book, “The Stress of Life” (1976).  Eustress is good for you. It motivates you. It focuses you. Eustress gives you the energy you need to perform well and accomplish big things (Selye, 1976).

You want eustress in your life and for your business. It’s a source of creative tension that fuels you to do your best work.

However, most entrepreneurs hang out in that downward slope of “distress”.  

Ever heard of the “Chronic Stress Feedback Loop”? When that’s activated, you are in distress. And when you are in distress for an extended period of time… you and your business are at risk of burning out.

Here’s a quick guide to tell if you’re working with eustress or distress:


  1.  You feel excited or invigorated.
  2.  It’s short term (ie, doesn’t go on for days or weeks).
  3.  You feel like your performance improves by the jolt of energy it provides.
  4.  You feel motivated and it focuses your mind to do great work.


  1.   You go through bursts of energy, but then you crash.
  2.   You feel a flood of anxiety or “fight or flight” that takes over when you think about what you need to accomplish.
  3.   You find your motivation, energy and performance declining with the jolts and crashes.
  4.   You begin to push and struggle with yourself to accomplish your goals

Which category of stress do you relate to more: eustress or distress? If you find yourself feeling like the ongoing symptoms of distress listed above, you could be heading toward burnout.  This is where you are at risk of illness, injury and depression, and your business is at risk of burning out along with you.



What’s your takeaway from this blog post? Tell me below…


© 2015, Susan Liddy International
Reprinting and distribution allowed only with full credit to Susan Liddy as the author, including a link to Thank you.


  • Dear Susan: I am so happy to see you striking out in this new direction. I’m sure you will be very helpful to many people. You held my hand through my hate-marketing burnout and I have come back stronger. You kept that door open for me and I thank you. I did finally find a new name for my business which was a huge crisis at that time. It is now The Finesse Massage Technique. I am getting good interest in that new name and still marketing!


  • I can’t wait to learn more about your tips and tools to live more from the “Eustress” place, Susan! In this “Just Do It” culture that we live in, it sounds like we all have a lot to learn from you and your work in the world.
    Blaze Lazarony recently posted…Why I WriteMy Profile


  • Hey Susan, This topic is soooooo important! I’ve gone through clinical burnout twice and it took me over a decade to recover. When I look back at both experiences I was being driven by something adaptive that was not aligned with my short or long term well being and satisfaction.


  • When I was married I tended to live more on the distress side of the bell curve. Urgencies and faux emergencies ran rampant. Today it’s a different story because eventually one must come to terms with the high cost of depleting that amout of energy, not to mention our adrenals.
    I think this is a really cool and accessible way to mentally check in with ourselves around where we are on the curve at any given time and then get some training/coaching on how to effectively manage our energy. Thank you for this post!


    Susan Liddy Reply:

    That was me when I was married too, Petalyn. I was always in a state of distress and although I knew I didn’t like it, I allowed it like a slow IV drip. Thank you for how you are supporting us to move beyond that in the context of relationships (and divorce.)


  • Beth Wachner says:

    This so helps me understand the difference between being motivated and being crazy. 🙂
    Thank you for giving me language to describe where I am so I can take action.


    Susan Liddy Reply:

    Love that distinction – difference between begin motivated and being crazy. YES!


  • Kelly O'Neil says:

    I used to be in more “Distress” and now I am mostly in “Eustress”. I had to become very conscious about the way in which I was working because it can be way too easy for me to slip back into old patterns. Thank you for this brilliant reminder!


    Susan Liddy Reply:

    Conscious awareness is the key! I’ve found its “so easy” to be distressed and try to PUSH through it. As we know, that just creates MORE distress.


Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge