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The Pitfalls of Chasing Others' Goals: How Misalignment Leads to Burnout and What We Can Do About It.

Burnout. It's a word tossed around often, and for good reason. But what if your exhaustion isn't just from too much work, but from the wrong kind of work? Enter misalignment burnout – leaving you feeling depleted and disconnected from yourself. 

A 2023 survey reported that 59% of Americans are experiencing burnout, of which 71% are Gen Z and 65% are millennials. An alarming number experiencing a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged stress.

Several things can cause burnout, including a colossal workload, unrealistic expectations, and poor work-life balance. However, one cause that's often overlooked is being in a prolonged state of misalignment.

Misalignment burnout happens when we engage with environments and in activities that go against our innermost values and beliefs, leading to a disconnect between our true self and professional identity. Our behavior may be driven by a need to earn money, build and maintain our reputation, and the expectation of living up to others’ expectations instead of intrinsic motivation and inner harmony between who we are and what we are doing.


Spotting the Signs:

  • Exhaustion and lack of motivation: Similar to burnout, you might feel constantly tired, unmotivated, and drained. This exhaustion bleeds into all areas of life.

  • Cynicism and detachment: You might feel cynical about your work, your purpose, or even your life path. You could become withdrawn from activities you once enjoyed.

  • Feeling like a fraud: You might constantly doubt your abilities or feel like you're not good enough, even if you're objectively successful.

  • Loss of identity: You might struggle to connect with your sense of self or feel like you've lost touch with who you truly are.

  • Unexplained physical symptoms: Headaches, stomachaches, and other physical ailments can manifest due to stress and misalignment.

  • Difficulty concentrating: Brain fog and an inability to focus can be signs of burnout in general, and misalignment burnout is no exception.

  • Increased isolation: You might withdraw from social connections or feel a growing sense of loneliness.

  • A nagging sense of "something is wrong": You might have a persistent feeling that you're on the wrong track, even if you can't pinpoint why.


Combating Misalignment Burnout:

Unplug and Reconnect with Yourself

  • The first step is putting a name to how you are feeling—acknowledging that you are struggling and need help. Seek support from your loved ones and professionals. By nurturing yourself, you can begin the journey towards realignment and rediscover fulfillment in your personal and professional life.

  • Make your mental and physical health a priority. Take some time off from work and spend it getting reacquainted with yourself. To get back to your optimal state of being, practice self-care, which includes getting enough sleep, following a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise. It is the simple things that make a world difference.

  • Practice self-compassion through mindfulness, movement, meditation, and journaling. Reconnect with your inner self, be truthful, and release the idea that the outcome defines you.

  • Embrace Your Nature and Purpose Take some time to reflect on what matters to you the most and align your behavior with your values. Many of us go through life without a clear roadmap or a destination, feeling helpless and focusing on surviving each day with a vague goal of being happy and stable. However, we have no idea what happiness and stability mean to us.

Defining your priorities can help you identify a map to your purpose and passion.

Here are three questions to ask yourself:

  • Where are you currently? Be ruthlessly honest with yourself. Determine your current status physically, emotionally, financially, and relationship-wise. Crunch the numbers wherever possible and be as detailed as you can.

  • Where do you want to be? Allow yourself to dream and imagine your life at its highest level of success. Go beyond money and title. Setting goals is the key difference between those who live life with a purpose and those who do not.

  • What choices do you need to make?  Adopt the habits and behaviors that will take you from where you are to where you want to be. Break them down into small steps, incorporate them into your daily routines, and stick to them. You will realize soon enough that being successful through alignment is not only possible but also much more satisfying and fulfilling than achieving goals that do not mean anything to you.


Armed with self-awareness and a drive to align your thoughts and your actions, you are poised to reach new heights in your life. Alignment helps you hone your intuition and enhance your sense of purpose so you can live your life with intentionality and confidence.

Remember, life and work should be a source of fulfillment, not just a paycheck. By identifying and addressing misalignment burnout, you can reclaim your passion and work toward something rewarding to you.

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