How to Reach Your Leadership Development Goals

If you’re a leader or a manager in your company, you might be discouraged by this statistic: 50% of managers eventually fail in their position. How can you avoid becoming part of this statistic?

You might start by setting goals for success, so you don’t end up losing your job or getting burned out and quitting.

If you look at the New York Times bestseller list, you’ll see an entire section of books about business and professional success. Books by successful people are often favorites because we want to find out how to replicate their success in our professional lives.

But, maybe there’s an alternative. Perhaps we can learn more from failure than success.

When you read a book by someone like Bill Gates, you’re reading a very rare story about someone who made it to the top, but we can learn valuable lessons from leaders who failed. When a senior executive flounders, an organization can lose millions of dollars, and both the individual and the organization experience impact to morale.

Principles for Achieving Leadership Development Goals

So, what are some of the fundamental principles for achieving leadership development goals—ideas we can see in success stories and failures? Let’s discuss three of them.

1. Good Relationship Skills

Leadership isn’t about a single-minded drive to the top. Instead, it involves successfully managing your relationships with superiors, colleagues, and staff. Being a good leader also includes strategic networking, effective conflict resolution, and consideration of other people’s needs.

As believers in Christ, we can see that he was the ultimate servant leader and set the example for us. We should strive to be servant leaders, even in our secular careers. Although we should want our organizations to succeed, people always come first. Strong relationships and caring actions can make a lifelong difference, whether or not you experience dazzling financial success.

2. Self-Awareness

Robert Hogan and Rodney Warrenfeltz are organizational scientists who studied factors that influence self-concept. Self-concept is defined as “an idea of the self-constructed from the beliefs one holds about oneself and the responses of others.” How you see yourself can really impact the way you do your job and lead others.

Here are the three influencing factors Hogan and Warrenfeltz identified:

  • Healthy self-esteem. Self-esteem is related to resilience; when you have inner confidence, you’re more likely to learn from failure than remain in defeat. This is partly why people with healthy self-esteem can bounce back when faced with setbacks. They also tend to exude positive energy and are not easily irritated.
  • A positive attitude towards authority. These individuals are compliant, easily managed, and have excellent social skills.
  • Self-discipline. A self-disciplined person can control his or her impulses and appetites, focus on the task at hand, and go along with accepted procedures.

As you consider these factors, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses, and how you can improve to be a better leader and asset to your organization.

Sometimes leaders don’t consider that the way they act on a personal level within their company needs to be congruent with the way the organization presents itself to the public. Both internal and external values should be aligned for your organization to be trustworthy, and to keep you as a leader in sync with your company’s identity and goals.

3. Humble Confidence

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

There are several characteristics in a leader that increase the likelihood that they will end up failing. Many of these characteristics can be strengths if they are balanced and not extreme, while others are inherently unhealthy.

Here are some examples:

  • Excessive self-confidence, self-esteem, or boldness
  • Habitual risk-taking
  • Being exploitative
  • Wanting to be the center of attention
  • Acting out in strange or unusual ways

Yi Zhang and N. Anand Chandrasekar research organizations in Asia surveyed leaders and found that when asked to rate characteristics that they would need to lead others effectively, these individuals said that every single trait should be strong.

However, the researchers found that it’s not helpful to try to be too strong in every area as a leader; that perspective is correlated with leadership failure. They concluded that leaders who have less of a particular strength can actually be more effective in the long run.

Sometimes, leadership abilities that seem to be assets in the short term end up becoming liabilities in the long run. For example, having high self-confidence and overestimating your skills can make you seem brave, confident, and charismatic in the beginning.

But, eventually, others might see that you are entitled and have trouble acknowledging your mistakes. There are traps inherent in a prideful attitude. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

5 Practical Steps to Achieve your Leadership Development Goals

1. Learn Your Strengths and Weaknesses

What areas of leadership strength and weakness are you aware of in yourself? Once you’ve made a list, talk it over with your colleagues, supervisor, and/or customers. This kind of feedback is known as 360 feedback. It allows you to identify and eliminate weaknesses that are personal blind spots in your work habits and performance.

How do you address your weaknesses?

Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Make a concrete plan for how to solve the weak areas daily.
  • Keep a record or journal of your progress.
  • Check in for more 360 feedback in three months.

Asking for possible negative feedback is never enjoyable, and you’ll probably feel vulnerable, but it can help your team connect with you on a more human level and improve your relationships.

When an organization has strong ties, this fosters a climate of empathy and forgiveness of mistakes. This type of atmosphere improves morale, provides a sense of safety, and can lead to personal and organizational growth.

360 feedback is not without its dangers or limitations. Sometimes organizations already have a built-in negative group-think despite your job performance, and there’s not much you can do to overcome it by inviting personal feedback. Sometimes requesting feedback may lead to workers ganging up on you, hurting your chance at a promotion. If the climate at your work does not allow for objective feedback, asking for it won’t accelerate your growth.

If you’re not sure whether 360 feedback would be helpful in your situation, make sure you provide a confidential avenue to receive requested feedback, and that is not used during performance reviews. It should also be constructive, focused on solutions, and a regular part of office culture rather than an unusual, one-time event.

2. Consider the Company Culture

How do you adopt the culture of your organization while being yourself? This doesn’t mean that you just allow the company to influence you; it says you reflect on your part in the culture and how you can be an authentic and cooperative influence in your company.

Take a moral inventory of your workplace behavior. Does it reflect your values as a Christian? Do you act in ways that do not line up with your faith or corporate values and procedures?

As you think about this topic, discuss it with your close peers. Can you work together to improve? As a leader, make sure you regularly communicate values with your team, and how those values align with your organization’s standards. You might meet periodically with other departments, or invite performance evaluations from superiors.

3. Meet with a Christian Coach

Sometimes leaders are motivated by personal gain, rather than a good work ethic and a desire for success. What are some wrong motives/behaviors in leadership?

  • Exploiting others
  • Wielding power
  • Desiring personal recognition
  • Wanting to get ahead at all costs

These motivators might be subtle in the beginning, and then start to grow out of control. If you realize that your motives are sinful, it’s time to step back and evaluate where you are and how you can get to a healthier place.

If you’ve discerned that you need to have healthier motives, consider working with a Christian coach who can hold you accountable and help you reach positive leadership goals.

4. Take Charge of Stress

Stress is the enemy of success. Maybe you have an image in your mind of a successful CEO burning the midnight oil and being a workaholic. But the truth is, this will just lead to burnout.

Sometimes stress is linked with feeling competitive and individualistic. Instead of that mentality, focus on collaboration. Work not only as a team but expand to include other departments if your job allows.

When work is inevitably stressful at times, try to see the big picture and implement healthy coping mechanisms, possibly with the help of your Christian leadership coach.

All the good ideas don’t have to come from you. Cultivating gratitude and humility goes a long way towards stress reduction. Does your company have stress management resources? Again, Christian counseling can not only help you meet your leadership goals but help you manage stress and stay emotionally healthy.

5. Share Authority and Equip your Team

Organizational psychologists Chappelow and Leslie offer valuable suggestions on how to equip your team for success:

  • Use your to-do list to create individualized job responsibilities for members of your team.
  • Rotate those responsibilities as often as you can, based on individual skill levels. This means that each team member will learn new skills and have the opportunity to overcome challenges.
  • Set team goals and monitor them on an ongoing basis. Do your personal leadership goals align with those of your department and the organization as a whole?
  • Use rewards to boost morale. These can be both tangible, such as pay raises and bonuses, or intangible, such as praise and recognition.

As you focus on your personal leadership development and organizational health and achievement, you will find yourself accomplishing goals and moving towards success.

“Lifeguard Training”, Courtesy of Margarida CSilva,; CC0 License; “Humility”, Courtesy of Matthew Henry,, CC0 License; “Masai Mara,” courtesy of Pawan Sharma,, CC0 License; “Teamwork,” courtesy of,, CC0 License

Adult ADHD in the Workplace: How to Cope

Christian counselors are equipped to guide adults who have ADHD to an understanding of their symptoms and implement tools to manage the challenges that the condition throws up. Adults struggling with ADHD can benefit from support that incorporates spiritual, psychological, and organizational aspects.

Spiritual maturity is important, and biblical wisdom can help people to achieve strength and peace both internally and externally.

Overwhelmed in the Workplace

Adults experiencing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) tend to have significant difficulties in managing their condition at work. It is not uncommon for them to experience feelings of being overwhelmed by the demands placed on them, compounded by an accompanying influx of anxiety.

To-do lists that seem never-ending, in-trays that are overflowing, and a sense of always playing catch-up are common issues that adults with ADHD report. Other common issues include difficulty with timekeeping, missing deadlines, and misplaced files and folders.

Struggling to Get Ahead?

Adults with ADHD may find that they are overlooked for promotion, or in constant conflict with other staff members. This may be because of missed deadlines, or difficulties with social interaction and impulse control.

It can cause tremendous stress when the workplace is filled with conflict, and it is common for adults with ADHD to frequently change jobs and career trajectories. It can be a struggle when faced with insufficient communication skills, a tendency towards distractibility, procrastination problems, and issues with project management.

Compounding the problem is the fact that many adults with ADHD have never received a formal diagnosis, and therefore have not been given access to the right support and understanding.

Being constantly beset by the problems associated with ADHD can lead to depression, poor self-image, and feelings of failure. However, receiving a diagnosis can open doors to greater levels of support and opportunities to learn valuable coping skills.

Adult ADHD Success Stories

Adults with ADHD need to be reminded that there are many successful people throughout the world, including celebrities, musicians, politicians, journalists and business tycoons who have ADHD. Their success has come from having a set of coping skills that have allowed them to overcome the challenges of their condition and focus on their strengths.

ADHD Symptoms that Affect Work Efficiency

  • Being distracted by external things (such as other people on the phone nearby, people passing by, noises outside the building) and finding it difficult to concentrate.
  • Daydreaming and procrastination
  • Impulse control issues such as angry outbursts
  • Hyperactivity that causes the need to always be on the move
  • Forgetting deadlines
  • Short-term memory issues
  • Being easily bored and not paying attention
  • Time management difficulties
  • Procrastination that impacts on other team members
  • Lack of organization
  • Difficulties with listening/paying attention
  • Talking too much or over other people
  • Failing to function in the job role

Ultimately, all of these symptoms of adult ADHD can be linked back to what is termed failure of executive functioning. This relates to a person’s cognitive functioning, specifically in the prefrontal lobe. What this means for a person with ADHD is that there are problems in the part of the brain that allows people to self-monitor their performance.

In ADHD, this portion of the prefrontal lobe is under-aroused, meaning that it is impossible for them to self-monitor. This results in distractibility that causes significant problems.

Many adults with ADHD may be described by their colleagues as lazy, lacking a sense of responsibility, and hopelessly disorganized. Such labels are damaging because they are untrue. Adults with ADHD can feel like they are fighting a losing battle trying to meet the demands placed on them, and their performance does not reflect the level of struggle they are experiencing.

Finding an Effective Solution for Adult ADHD

There are various ways to help adults with ADHD manage the chaos and confusion in their workplace. Generally, a combination of counseling and medication is the most effective approach, particularly for individuals whose symptoms have been evident since childhood.

In addition to the calming effects of medication, counseling can help adults with ADHD to develop coping mechanisms that can ease the degree of their difficulties. Some effective solutions include adjusting working hours, having a distraction-free workspace, or even working from home.

More complex coping skills can be implemented when distraction levels suddenly increase. For example, the individual can learn to escape the distraction zone and locate a quiet and empty space so as to be able to continue working. “Do not disturb” signs and diverting telephone calls may also be useful techniques.

When individuals are particularly affected by visual distractions, it can be advisable to avoid open-plan office spaces and have a desk that faces a wall rather than a window. Desk clutter should be avoided.

What Can You Do If You Are an Adult with ADHD?

It is more difficult to find strategies for reducing internal distractions, however. The busy mind of an adult with ADHD can be inundated with thoughts unrelated to work, random recollection of missed appointments, and prone to daydreaming due to boredom.

Some effective solutions for these issues can be always keeping a notebook to hand so as to write down random thoughts and ideas and then return to the task at hand. A diary or other kind of planning system can assist with appointment issues, as well as setting reminders and alarms.

When it comes to boredom, it is important to find ways of maintaining concentration and interest in the project. It may be that a career change is necessary in order to find work that captivates interest.

For issues with hyperactivity, taking regular breaks and exploring physical ways of dealing with excess energy and a need for constant movement can be useful techniques. A standing desk may be another solution.

Gaining the support of your manager or a colleague can be hugely beneficial. They can help to build a schedule that you can keep to, and it is widely reported that having structure can ease the challenges of living with ADHD.

Impulse control difficulties can be mediated by having ready responses when others make offers that could lead you off track. It is possible to train yourself to check the diary or schedule rather than jumping at the chance of distraction.

When planning meetings, factor in extra time so that if distractions emerge, you can still avoid being late. Stick to the schedule you’ve created and be realistic in your expectations of yourself.

Navigating your workday can be especially difficult when your to-do list seems to be never-ending. Counselors can help you to prioritize and avoid overwhelming yourself with anxiety while still keeping on schedule with the project at hand.

Counselor Coaches

It can be helpful for adults with ADHD to view their counselors as “coaches” who can keep them on track and help create structure and build effective schedules. Reporting back to their counselor about what is and isn’t working means that new skills and techniques can be implemented as necessary.

Over time, this enables the adult with ADHD to develop their ability to self-monitor, and there will come a time when they no longer need the help of their coach.

For some people, even making the smallest of changes to their approach can have a considerable impact on their workplace efficiency. It is important to remember that everyone is different, and has different needs, so what works for one person may not work for another.

A counselor can help to establish what each individual needs, and build a personalized skill set that addresses the specific difficulties being faced.

Disclosing ADHD to Employers

While some adults with ADHD are open with their employers about their condition, many individuals are afraid that disclosing that they have ADHD will result in discrimination.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RA) prohibit employers from discriminating against staff with disabilities. Unfortunately, these protections do not automatically extend to adults with ADHD.

To be protected by the ADA and RA, an individual has to meet four specific conditions, and there is a requirement that they disclose their disability to their employer. If the ADA and RA apply, the company is required to make allowances for the difficulties a person experiences, but if an employee fails to disclose their disorder, no such allowances are necessary.

In certain cases, disclosing that you have ADHD is essential:

  • When you are afraid that you will lose your job, and can only succeed in your work if the allowances of ADA and RA are made
  • When your employer is planning to dismiss you because you have failed to perform to the standards required by your role
  • When you are on medication but are still unable to cope with the demands of your job—in this situation, making a disclosure can help to reduce the pressure you are experiencing and may open up new avenues of support in addition to improving workplace relationships.

Assessing Your Career Choice

When an adult is diagnosed with ADHD, they may begin to realize that part of their difficulties is related to their career choice. Some careers may prove to be incompatible with their needs resulting from ADHD.

It is worthwhile considering a career change if one of your major difficulties is a lack of engagement in work that leads to excessive daydreaming. It is much easier to stay focused if you are genuinely interested in and enjoy the work that you are doing. It can be helpful to:

  • Recognize the things that interest you the most, and research jobs that fit in this area
  • Reflect on your abilities and achievements, as these will reveal your strongest capabilities
  • Look back at your school years to discover the subjects you found easiest and most enjoyable, as well as uncovering particular strengths
  • Investigate your personality type
  • Consider your values and find careers that align with what matters most to you
  • Evaluate your aptitudes
  • Look at your energy levels and consider careers that fit best with these
  • Reflect on any patterns of failure in previous jobs—identifying these can help prevent repeating the same mistakes.

Christian Counseling for Adult ADHD

Statistically, over 8 million American adults are battling with the challenges of ADHD, and inevitably this means that there is a high demand for support. A Christian counselor can work with adults with ADHD, utilizing talk therapy, building spiritual coping mechanisms, and helping the client to build essential skills that can improve work satisfaction and efficiency.

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How to Create a Professional Development Plan

“Aim at nothing, and you’ll hit it every time.”

You’ve probably heard this saying before; it’s well-known because it carries a kernel of truth. When there’s no plan or no goal in mind, you’re probably not going to accomplish much.

People often approach productivity on either end of a spectrum. On one hand, you might be more spontaneous and neglect planning. On the other hand, you might be controlling and too focused on an outcome.

Diligence and perseverance are rare and valuable character traits. But they shouldn’t be cultivated because you’re focused on a specific result. It’s natural to work towards bettering your life, as long as you’re still thankful and content with what you have now.

It’s normal to hit walls in our work lives when we feel dissatisfied and stuck. Creating a professional development plan can help you move past obstacles like this. (If you’re married, include your spouse in your plan; otherwise, you’re definitely going to have some adjustments to make!)

How to Create a Professional Development Plan

Considering changes in your profession can be a wonderful, energized time of evaluating

possibilities. Before doing anything else, if you believe in a higher power, it is good practice to invite that higher power into your process.

Changing your approach to your career can seem intimidating. But it’s also an opportunity to consider options you might not have thought of in the past.

If you are a Christian, it’s important to start this process with prayer and acknowledging God’s hand in your life:

  • Take time to ask the Lord for wisdom and direction.
  • Remember that this life is temporary. How can you live with eternity in mind, even in your work life?
  • Remember that he works all things together for the good of his children.
  • Remember that he is with you and that you do not have to walk through any change or growth alone.

What Do I Want?

On the surface, this seems obvious, but sometimes our dreams and desires can get lost in the muddle of everyday life as the years pass. So think of an ideal situation. If you could suddenly have your dream job, what would it be? Let the ideas come without immediately dismissing them.

No matter how crazy the idea, it’s helpful in this stage of your plan, because the purpose is to find out what you truly desire. You can also identify which dreams are actually possible and which are probably pipe dreams (such as being rich and famous).

Think specifically about the vocation you really want to have. Maybe you’re already in it and you want to get better at what you’re doing. Maybe you despise your current job and desperately want to make a change but don’t know how. Or you could be anywhere on the spectrum between these two extremes.

This is where a professional development plan is so valuable. It helps you set clear objectives so you can move towards those dreams that may seem out of each but are actually possible.

Setting the Main Objective

Planning is the easy part compared to carrying out the plan. The reason we make plans, or set objectives, is so that our efforts lead to the best possible outcome. This is why we recommend starting with one main objective in your professional development plan.

A single objective doesn’t take the place of having multiple other interests, but it focuses your efforts so you don’t overwork or feel scattered.

What are the most important aspects of your vocation to you? Is it the salary, the work environment, the proximity to your home? Or maybe the benefits, flexibility, or work-life balance? Maybe you feel the need to have a strong sense of purpose in your work, such as helping people.

With this in mind, here are some examples of single main objectives in a professional development plan:

  • Find a career that allows me to work outside frequently
  • Become a lawyer working in private practice
  • Become a mid-level manager at Google
  • Advance in my current workplace
  • Take over my boss’s job when he retires
  • Work for Pixar

There’s no reason why you can’t have more than one objective, but it’s best to focus on one at a time. If you do choose to focus on more than one, you’ll have a more complex timeline. You can create separate plans for 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc. And of course your plans can and will change over time.

Evaluating Alternatives

Setting a main objective is just the beginning. With an overarching goal like this, the next essential step is to eat the elephant one bite at a time. In other words, we need to break down the goal into smaller tasks that are concrete and achievable.

To start with, think about all the options you have to achieve your objective, especially if it involves a change in career. Exploring your options inevitably involves research, like reading books and articles, talking to people who are already in the field, listing pros and cons, looking into job availability, etc.

Here are some things you might do while you’re in the exploring alternatives stage:

  • Take a class on a particular skill (e.g. coding) or an area of professional growth (e.g. management)
  • Get an entry-level job at the company you want to work for
  • Learn another language
  • Pursue a license you’ll need for your target field
  • Pursue a new degree
  • Talk to HR about advancement opportunities

Depending on your main objective, your alternatives might still be at a high level (pursuing a new degree, for example). If this is the case, you’ll need to break them down into smaller steps you can take.

But don’t worry about that yet. Work on your plan gradually and take the time to thoroughly research your alternatives. You don’t have to do this all at once. If you get stuck, a counselor can be a great help as you work through the process.

Once you feel like your list of alternatives is complete, you can make it into a task list by eliminating any options you’ve decided not to pursue. Some alternatives may be mutually exclusive, so when you decide to pursue one, you can automatically eliminate the other. Or you may simply decide to limit yourself because you know you can’t pursue every path at once.

Count the Cost

So now that you’ve set your objective and created a task list based on your alternatives, the next step is to count the cost! What is involved in carrying out this plan? What investment will it require of your time and finances? Do you have the mental and emotional capacity to carry it out?

What about your family and other relationships? If you decide to pursue a master’s degree, for example, your experience will be very different depending on whether you have a family or not.

If you do plan to pursue further education, you’ll have to consider your finances in detail, including hidden costs such as the sacrifice of your time, the cost of commuting, etc.

If you are married, your spouse is an integral part of your personal development plan. S/he needs to be on board with it in order for you to succeed because you’ll need his or her support. If you are making a significant career change, this will bring stress to your relationship. Both of you need to be prepared for this to happen.

While you’re pursuing your plan, unexpected things will happen. Obstacles will arise, and frustration will likely ensue. A calm response is the most beneficial for everyone. You can always reschedule an event or retake a class, but none of your accomplishments are more important than your marriage. What does it matter if you succeed professionally if you lose your marriage in the process?

Schedule it Out

Of course, your plan will have to become linear so you can decide what to tackle first. Put all of your tasks in chronological order; if you’re not sure how to prioritize them now, you can always rearrange them later, but this way you’ll know where to start. Consider your work-life balance and family commitments when you’re making your list.

Work the List

Finally, make a separate list and put the first ten tasks on it. Start working down the list. You’ll face obstacles but persevere. There’s always a solution, even if it’s to get rid of a task and replace it with another that accomplishes the same goal.

Pacing yourself is absolutely crucial to your success. Productivity is healthy, but not if it’s unbalanced and causes you to become sick, overwhelmed, or out of touch with your family. Make sure you schedule periods of rest and reconnection so you can approach your personal development plan in a healthy and sustainable way.

Review Periodically

It’s important to revisit your task list every so often to make sure you’re on the right track. Is your plan getting you closer to achieving your goals? Are there any steps that you can eliminate? Do you need to add something?

This task list is meant to be fluid and to morph over time as you discover the best way to achieve your professional dreams. The goal is to be efficient with your time and money while also being productive.

Sample Professional Development Plan

In our example scenario, J. Sample works as a clerk for a waste management company. His main objective (after three years with the company) is to move into a mid-level management position.

Here are his alternatives:

  1. This plan could easily take 5-7 years: he continues to work hard in his current position and wait for internal job openings.
  2. Or, he could begin working on his master’s degree in Business Administration while waiting for job openings. His parents might be willing to help with tuition.

J. Sample decides on the second alternative, and this is the task list he comes up with:

Professional Development Plan

Objective: Move into mid-level management at my company

Task List:

  • Pray and seek wisdom
  • Discuss the plan with my wife and seek her agreement
  • Discuss the idea with my current manager
  • Look into MBA programs nearby
    • Quality of program
    • Tuition costs
    • Night classes
    • Commute
  • Decide which class schedule would work for me and my family
  • Select a program
  • Budget for the program
    • Tuition
    • Mileage
    • Books and supplies
  • Discuss tuition costs with parents
  • Apply to the program
  • Set up a payment schedule with parents
  • Buy books and other materials
  • Schedule reading and studying
  • Set up a note-taking system
  • Organize books, notes, and materials
  • Prepare for each course
    • Read syllabus
    • Write down assignments and exams
    • Check for updates
  • Successfully complete classes
  • Graduate
  • Let my boss and HR know
  • Monitor available job openings
  • Apply to available jobs until I get one
  • Celebrate!

A plan like this would only take a couple of hours to formulate. This doesn’t mean it’s fail-proof, of course! Maybe the boss will suggest a different way to move towards management. Maybe the parents won’t want to help pay for tuition. Maybe the classes will be too difficult or overwhelming. Maybe the main objective itself will need to be changed.

Nothing is guaranteed, but the effort is what matters, no matter what obstacles and changes happen along the way. If you don’t try, you’ll never know what might have happened. And you don’t have to do this alone. Pray, talk to your loved ones and friends, and if you get stuck, talk to a career counselor who can help you work on a realistic and hopeful professional development plan.

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How to Overcome Job Burnout

For many hardworking people today, it is common to experience job burnout at some time in their career. The increasing workload, complex demands at home (especially as the kids get older), and the monotony of routine cause workers to feel that what they are doing is not worth it.

People experiencing job burnout describe it in different ways. Some feel like they are in a panic or even “lost” as they are no longer sure about what it is they are doing.

This affects their current duties as their panicked feeling causes them to doubt their work routines (even if they have been at it for a long time!). This may also affect their thoughts about the future as they are now unsure about their career path, causing sleepless nights.

For others, burnout results in a lack of motivation. They feel “lost” like the panicky people; however, the response is more of indifference and even disgust about what they do. This creates thoughts of quitting because they just don’t care anymore (many students fed up with their class and teacher can easily relate to this feeling!).

Taking the First Steps to Beat Job Burnout

In today’s world, people applaud the idea of always being busy – at work, at home, and even in the community. When one is busy, it means that one is hardworking; one has initiative; one has ambition.

People, however, were not meant to be working non-stop. In Scripture, God implemented a day of rest for His people to reflect, pray, and rest. It was true for people then and it certainly applies to people now.

Here are the initial steps to take to overcome job burnout:

1. Acknowledge your current situation in life. Know that you do deserve to have a job that you like yet still have quality time with the family. But tell yourself that healing must start now, that life can be better for you and your family with God’s help.

2. Recognize that boundaries are needed to help you manage both your job’s difficulties and ensure family time.

3. Understand that being burned out is not unusual as many people will experience something like this at some point in their life (to varying degrees). And know that God sees your need and is just waiting for you to ask for His help.

4. Take the necessary steps to slow down and live life the way God meant you to.

Don’t Just Dream…Do!

For many people, their idea of goal-setting is to dream of where they want to be in five years’ time or so. While it is good to have dreams, they are still NOT concrete. Without the steps needed to achieve them, they remain as wishful thinking.

When young, it might not feel so bad as there are still many more years to accomplish them. But when you have been working for quite some time, not being able to achieve these dreams is very frustrating and can contribute to burnout.

Aim for More Joyful Living

In order to overcome burnout and prevent future episodes of such, a person should have the following:


A person needs to consider where they want to be, what they want to create, and who is it all for. Without such, whatever they are doing will eventually seem meaningless. Happy people work with a purpose knowing that the things they do, big or small, are done for a reason.

For example, if someone envisions having their own restaurant one day, they may see their current task of washing the dishes as understanding the small details of the business. In the future, they will know if their future employees are doing the job correctly since they have already experienced it.

Resilience & Mindset

People who have either overcome burnout or learned how to avoid it know what it takes to set firm boundaries for both professional and personal time. This includes developing a strong support group in times of crisis (e.g. friends or mentors one can count on for direct help or emotional support) and the ability to say “no” when there is too much to handle or if it contradicts your goals.

But burnout is not just about too much workload, it also depends on whether what a person is doing is within their strengths and desires in life. If what they do makes them happy and takes them a step towards their purposes in life, then they will be happy and productive in what they do. To do so, they must have the proper mindset.

Having the right mindset means knowing your purpose, your strengths and weaknesses, and being honest about your own effort in achieving your goals. Questions like “Why am I here?”, “What do I love?”, “What do I do best?”, and “Am I really giving my all?” are important to reflect upon to ensure that effort and time are not wasted.

The right mindset also means giving oneself the permission to seek a better life – something that many are not able to do because of low self-esteem, family demands, or socio-cultural expectations.


Big achievers do things with intention. These intentions are manageable goals that are part of their overall plan which is usually seen through, either by themselves or with the right help. Without them, one’s dreams may be impossible to achieve.

These intentions, however, must include mini-goals for a good work-life balance. This may include setting a time within the day for exercise and rest; blocking out days of the week for family and personal time; and allotting time within the month to see old friends.


Big achievers then activate their plans – they actually do it. Instead of procrastinating, they may work with others (e.g. personal coach) or do so on their own to set concrete timelines for these intentions and big goals.

Big achievers know that if they do not take that first step then everything is still but a dream. Achievers also realize that there is no one to blame for failure but themselves, so they take that responsibility and do what needs to be done to reach their target.


Finally, achievers transform. Life is dynamic. The successes of yesterday do not automatically repeat themselves. A person needs to transform, knowing that this is not a one-time thing. In order to do well, one must be willing to adapt. This may mean intentionally learning new skills; enhancing your network, or choosing to cut back on things that are no longer helpful to you (e.g. bad habits).

Transformation also includes overcoming fear. A big reason why people do not want to change is that they feel comfortable where they are and are simply awaiting their “big break.” This, however, means a person becomes stagnant while the competition around them becomes better. A person must be willing to get out of their comfort zone, and this means conquering their fears.

Always Include God in the Equation

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30, NIV

Sadly, in the midst of busyness, people often forget about God. Plans are made without Him; and in times of stress, people run to one another for comfort but not to Him.

In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus was making his way to visit Mary and Martha:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Though Martha knew the importance of being with the Lord, listening to Him, and taking time to know Him more, she was immersed in the preparations while her sister prioritized Jesus.

It is good to work hard. But at times, Christ wants everyone to sit at His feet and experience the peace that only He can give. Without this, burnout is sure to occur. Hence, it is important that part of one’s intentions is to regularly schedule time for prayer, both personal and corporate, and Scripture meditation. If a person’s spirit and direction are not renewed, then life’s complications will definitely feel overwhelming.

Christian Counseling for Job Burnout

The above-mentioned advice can be done on one’s own. However, some people require a helping hand, a coach to get them back on track.

If you or someone you know needs help in transitioning out of job burnout, contact a Christian counselor soon. With the help of an encouraging voice, Scripture, and prayer, you can refocus your life priorities so that your goals may be achieved.

“Young Girl Crossing Hands,” courtesy of, AMANDR 20160413 SplitShire-6661-2; “Working,” courtesy of Bench Accounting,, CC0 License; “Higher Goal”, Courtesy of Joshua Earle,; CC0 License; “Serenity,” courtesy of Jojo Nicdao, Flickr Creative Commons, CC0 License