How You View the World Can Lead To Burnout (Or Save You From It)

view the world

The eye is the window to the soul.

In case you missed it, I’m a board certified practicing ophthalmologist. My main “day job” actually involves a subspecialty of ophthalmology. I tell my patients, “We divide the eye into parts. Some people focus on the cornea; some on the retina; I focus on the eyelids.” Yes, it’s a “thing.”

But at the root of my training is the eye. I joke that ophthalmologists focus on the eyes and all they see.

And I’m only half-kidding.

Here’s the thing. . .

Some people are near-sighted (they can see things up close) and some are far-sighted (they can see things at a distance much better). I was the near-sighted kid. But I didn’t know it.

There I was, at the circus with my best friend, Connie, to celebrate her turning 10. She kept talking about the lions in the center of the stage. We were up in the nosebleed section, and all I could see was blurry colors.

It wasn’t until she handed me her glasses in the car on the way home, and I tried them on, that I realized, “Holy moly! There’s a whole world out there. The trees have leaves!”

So why the lesson on eyeglass prescriptions?

Because there’s a lesson in it for all of us. Even if you think you’ve got 20/20 vision.

When you’re near-sighted, in terms of how you view the world, it means you can’t see your vast potential. You can only see this moment’s action. You can’t see the future implications for what you’re doing right now.

When you mutter a curt word to your staff, or roll your eyes at your mate — you can’t “see” how that taints your future. You also might not see how spending that extra twenty minutes with a patient today, to explain her treatment options and encourage her, may impact her and her family for years to come.

And then there’s the other side of the spectrum…

When you’re far-sighted, you can’t appreciate what you have in your hand.

You keep thinking you’re not fulfilling your “purpose.” You miss the little things happening every day, right under your nose — your child’s smile when she scores a goal at the soccer game, your spouse’s hug as you leave for work — and forget to cherish them. Because you keep looking outward, further on down the road.

According to research, when you’re not seeing clearly, that lack of clarity and ambiguity can lead to burnout. This happens on so many levels. It’s in how we perceive ourselves, our lives, and our professions. This even happens to volunteers when they’re not clear about their role in the organization.

What’s the answer? How can we find the balance we need to nourish our souls? Oh, I wish there was corrective vision surgery that would cure what ails us, every day.

It might be that “we’re all becoming blind to each other.”

But remember this:


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Keeping your world in focus gives clarity. And that’s real 20/20 vision.


What could you be seeing more clearly to take you from burnout to balance?

Please share in the comments below.

 

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