I read something recently that stopped me in my tracks. For my entire adult life, I have been aware of, preaching against, and trying to avoid Instructor Burnout. Pouring so much energy, time and resources into your work, your passion, that you have nothing left for the people and things closest to you…including yourSelf. People in the healing fields call it Compassion Fatigue. But the following quote has me re-thinking everything…

“There’s a silent killer that stalks America. It’s called “rustout” and it’s far more deadly and scary than burnout. Sure, burnout can wear down your body, but rust out can wipe out your soul and your spirit. Rustout is the slow death that follows when we stop making choices that keep life alive. It’s the feeling of numbness that comes from always taking the safe way, never accepting new challenges, continually surrendering  to the day-to-day routine. Rustout means we are no longer growing, but at best, are simply maintaining. It implies that we have traded the sensation of life for the security of a paycheck…Rustout is the opposite of burnout. Burnout is overdoing. Rustout us underbeing.”

~Richard Leader and Steve Buchhoz, The Rustout Syndrome

Woah…Burnout is overdoing…Rustout is underbeing…

I know a lot about doing. But what do I know about BEING???

As I unpacked this in my mind, and spent some time meditating on the word BEING…here is what I have come up with. Being is happening right now. As my fingers touch the keys of my MacBook, I am being. As I pour my thoughts out into the “InterWorld” I am being. As I picture you, my friend, the person reading these words, I am being. And I am overcome with a sense of gratitude. Gratitude that I live in a way that allows me to express my thoughts and feelings freely. Gratitude that there are people who want to hear what I say. Gratitude that maybe in some small way, these meandering thoughts will make a difference in someone’s life.

BEING is tasting food, lingering over a sunset, dancing in the middle of the day, keeping fresh flowers in the house, wearing Sunday Best on a Tuesday, calling a friend on their birthday instead of sending a quick Facebook message. Being is listening to a spouse. Being is taking the time to visit your neighbor who is a single Mom with her hands full. Being is taking a day to ski with your teenage son who has asked a hundred times. Being is actually living the life right in front of you.

For the record, I suck at every single one of these. Epic fail at the Being Game. I am living, breathing Rustout. Dear God, I’m hoping some of you can relate.

So I’m going out on a vulnerability limb here. I’m going to declare publicly my desire to BE as much as I DO moving forward. Keep me accountable.

  • In the coming week, I will reach out and actually connect with my neighbors.
  • In the coming week, I will schedule a time to golf with my son.
  • In the coming week, I will actually listen to my spouse, without looking at a screen.

I vow to step into the week ahead with less doing and more being. Will you join me?

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    About Denise Druce


    1. Denise,
      LOVE this! My mantra for the year is to “Be Present”! So this week, I too will reach out and connect with my neighbors. I know that our next door neighbor would love the visits! She and her husband are getting older and every day tasks have become more of a challenge. Her husband is getting more and more forgetful which is wearing on her!
      I’ll check with you if you check with me on more “being”!

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