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Coaching The Candle Burners

Dec 20, 2007
Have you ever had one of those moments where it seems as if everything is chaotic one moment and in slow motion the next? In those moments there seems to be either a rushing sound in your ears or perhaps a ringing. Color fades to black and white and you can almost seem disassociated from the events that are happening around you.

Sometimes this can be experienced when you are faced with bad news, sleep deprivation or extreme weariness where you teeter precariously between apathy and physical exhaustion.

There is an expression we all use that is applicable to this malady. This expression is, "Don't burn a candle at both ends."

The phrase means that we should find a balance in our lives because if we don't we will either try to work too hard or enjoy life too much devoid of the assumption of adequate responsibility. Either of these extremes may not be a healthy approach to life.

In business this phenomenon can be noticed when we don't take the time to experience life apart from the business.

The scenario goes something like this....

A burst of activity takes place in the business-planning phase.

This activity is followed by another burst of activity in product acquisition and site design.

This is followed by working on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies and Internet marketing.

This is followed by extensive networking to develop quality connections and the potential for backlinks for improve site ranking performance.

This is followed by __________ (fill in the blank).

Which is followed by __________ (fill in the blank).

And then ____________ (fill in the blank).

The original idea of burning a candle at both ends goes back to the 18th century practice of candle making. If you were to burn a candle at both ends it would mean the candle would be placed in a horizontal position instead of vertical with wicks burning at both ends. This type of candle might supply improved light, but the wax would drip and the wick would burn quickly causing the entire candle to become worthless in a very short period of time while leaving a mess behind in a darkened room.

This is the picture of a person who does not recognize or take time to recharge and renew. They are quick to say something like, "It's better to burn out than rust out," and they are getting close to their objective every day. Inch by inch their candle is consumed and they suffer burnout, chronic fatigue or worse.

It is possible to expend bursts of activity that exceed your typical capacity, but the prolonged push to over perform can render the individual ineffective and without passion for the very thing they thought they wanted to do most.

There is another saying, "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy."

We are all designed with the need for refreshment and relaxation. Find a way to make that happen in your business efforts and expect to see a better long-term output in productivity and energy.
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