book cover for The Awesome Human Project: Break Free from Burnout, Struggle Less, and Thrive More in Work and Life

Do the Work You Love Without Burning Out

By Nataly Kogan

Are you fulfilling your life’s purpose? Or do you love your job but feel like something is missing? If so, you may be experiencing burnout.

Nataly Kogan recently joined a fireside chat with AWIS CEO Meredith Gibson to discuss “How to Do the Work You Love Without Burning Out.” Kogan provides insights on how to boost your emotional fitness in her new book, The Awesome Human Project: Break Free from Burnout, Struggle Less, and Thrive More in Work and Life.

When Kogan was 13, she immigrated to the United States as a refugee from the former Soviet Union. Her language barrier did not stop her from becoming a Business Analyst at McKinsey, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, Managing Director at a venture capital fund, and finally, a founder of her own companies.

Her success, however, did not happen without burnout. “If you care about your job, you give it your all. I gave it my all,” she explained. After having her daughter and trying to balance her home life with her work as an entrepreneur, she hit a wall and began to suffer in her professional role. This unhappiness with her work life lasted until a few years ago, when she decided to make a change.

In June 2012, Kogan launched Happier, Inc., to help millions of people thrive in work and life by improving their emotional fitness with science-backed skills and practices. During the fireside chat, she discussed how more people could incorporate this approach into their lives, and she shared the following tips to help anyone who is suffering from career burnout:

  • Treat yourself with the compassion you deserve as a human being. Feel your energy, and honor all parts of yourself, not just your work. You will have a lot more to give to your work when you do this.
  • Be more aware of what feels affirming. Anything meaningful is hard. Something can be challenging, but if you have a natural strength, the work will not feel like a struggle.
  • If you are feeling unmotivated, do something that fuels your energy. Conquer a small task first to feel successful.
  • Explore temptation bundling. This approach connects something you have to do with something you want to do, making your obligatory work more enjoyable.
  • Remember that you have a limited amount of mental, physical, and emotional energy—you cannot do all things. Do less of what unnecessarily drains your energy. Learn to say no.
  • Recognize that your brain is giving you stories. You can edit them to fuel your motivation!
  • If you are feeling burned out, you have to pause. There is no way around it.

Ultimately, treat yourself with grace during periods of stress, anxiety, and burnout. Begin your journey to feeling better by completing this simple phrase: “Today, I am awesome because _______.” Importantly, and in addition, if you notice a friend, colleague, or loved one struggling with burnout, share these ideas to help that person feel safe, reenergized, and motivated.

There’s so much more to explore!