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  • Erin Conlon

On Burnout, Never Enough, and Revolutionizing Abundance

Greetings and Salutations!

In this newsletter I’m going to do my annual self-review/reflection. Tomorrow is my three year anniversary of being a full-time coach and entrepreneur! Time is wild, this newsletter is meandering, but you don’t have to read it. That’s the beauty of the delete button! Nevertheless, I hope you continue on.

I haven’t practiced law in three years. I dreamed of this day! And for a long time I worried that it wasn’t possible for me. I believed I was too scared, too needy, and too milquetoast to do anything but what I’d found myself doing. I worried that I was a “someday” person, a dreamer, not a doer.

When I was writing and performing comedy regularly I made a promise to myself that I would not be one of the people who talked a big game but refused to back it up. I knew that meant I would probably have to move to NYC or L.A., take a pay cut, be an intern, drop my ego, and be and do whatever it takes to make the change. It turns out, I wasn’t willing to do that . . . for comedy.

When I differentiate between my coaching practice and comedy, the two biggest differences were my willingness to make it happen and my vision. I could not only see myself here, I could feel what it would be like to be this version of myself. Not only could I feel it; I yearned for it.

It takes more than commitment to make this kind of transformation. I’ve needed determination, blind faith, and unwavering support from amazing people who have both championed and challenged me. For me, this wasn’t just a career change - it’s so much more than that. I had to really shift my relationship with myself to be here today, sending you this email.

This has been the most fulfilling year of my life, and I also found myself lawyer-level burnt out at the beginning of the summer. Granted, some of this burnout was from the pandemic & isolation, and the tipping point was definitely getting a mild case of Covid (I’m gratefully vaccinated and boosted). I was physically, emotionally, and spiritually spent.

In short, my burnout was mostly a byproduct of what I like to call the Never Enough Monster. I like to think of my N.E.M. as a non-discerning cookie monster, where the cookies can be anything - praise, money, acknowledgment, results, and actual cookies.



When that Never Enough Monster is running the show, I will say yes to everything, I am a productivity machine, and I will get things done! I become hyper-focused on results, and I forget to check in with myself. Ultimately, it’s unsustainable, because the Never Enough Monster will always say that once one result has been achieved, it’s onto the next. There’s literally nothing that will satisfy that creature!

Now, if I were to live my life purely fueled by the N.E.M., my clients would rightfully be able to call me a hypocrite. And while sometimes I lose sight of it, my mission as a human is to build an inclusive and supportive community in service of magical and loving trailblazers.

The thing is, we all have these patterns that are old, pretty effective, but maybe aren’t the healthiest for us. Maybe you don’t suffer from Never Enough, maybe you do; but whatever yours is, it works amazingly well - until it doesn’t. When it stops working you might feel burnt out, bored, disconnected, rudderless, lacking identity, etc. It’s at this point that many people go looking for a change.

Burnout is a different experience when you are committed to and enjoy all of the things you’re doing. For the first time in my life, it was clear to me that I was burnt out because I kept feeding the N.E.M., that I gave more credence to others’ needs, that well-being is a journey, and that if I want to continue doing this kind of work and also grow this community into an empire, then I will have to really change my relationship with myself, my professional identities, and the life I yearn for.

I’ve said this in various forms, on various platforms for years, but I firmly believe that there is more than enough on this planet for each and every human being to thrive. There’s enough food, water, money, love, connection, possibility - you name it. I know people will believe I’m naive for saying this, but I think the actual question is more along the lines of “What’s equitable/fair in distributing resources?” Or, “What does a person need to thrive?” Those questions are probably unanswerable en masse, because what you need might be different from what Matt needs, or from what Katie needs. And, we all know that fairness and what’s equitable are largely shaped by circumstances and perspective.

The craziest thing about the Never Enough Monster is that it’s not just something I made up and let take control of my life. It’s everywhere. Capitalism thrives off of Never Enough. I’m not anti-money or capitalism, but I also think that many of the systems in which we operate feed upon the insecurities and fears of humans. I believe that we can be better with each other.

The past five months have been about getting clearer on my vision, getting rid of professional clutter, and shaking some of the crappy stories that I learned as an attorney about the purpose of “hard work.” There is no one here to count my hours or measure my productivity except for myself, and I refuse to be a shitty boss.

To that end, well-being is front and center again. I don’t just mean physical fitness, though I have gotten back into the pool. My personal well-being vision is that I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. What this entails is ever-changing - health isn’t a destination.

This shift in focus has allowed me to live my vision. My goal for this year was to revolutionize abundance, and I’m starting this revolution with myself. To me, abundance isn’t just about money - it’s about living from the belief that there is enough energy, love, attention, trust, faith, time, money, and fun for everyone.

With this understanding of abundance front and center, I’ve been able to connect with family and friends, share great meals and drinks, travel, help my parents pack and unpack, cheer on Michigan Football, hang out with my dog, and take baths in my big-ass soaking tub. Oh, and I’ve also seen really great results with my individual and institutional clients. Turns out, I don’t have to kill myself to be great!

Neither do you.

With love,

Erin

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