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From "obsessive" passion to working endless hours, there are several things that commonly cause burnout for entrepreneurs. Here's what they are—and how you can avoid them. — Getty Images/Ippei Naoi

Burnout is caused by chronic stress at work, and it can be detrimental to your health and business success. Here are four causes of entrepreneurial burnout, and steps you can take to address it.

Obsessive passion when it comes to work

As a business owner, it’s important to be passionate about the work you’re doing and the company you’re building. But it needs to be the right kind of passion.

According to Psychology Today, there are two different types of passion — harmonious passion and obsessive passion. If someone has harmonious passion, they find satisfaction in their work because they enjoy it and it’s an important aspect of who they are.

In comparison, obsessive passion is often tied to money, social status, or some other reward the job brings. The biggest difference between the two is that obsessive passion often becomes rigid and inflexible.

These entrepreneurs often feel unable to step away from work, which negatively impacts other areas of their lives. As a result, entrepreneurs who report high levels of obsessive passion are more likely to experience burnout and find their work emotionally draining.

According to the Harvard Business Review, developing a flexible mindset is the best way to overcome obsessive passion. Recognize that there are many different paths to success and that there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to grow your business.

Social isolation

Most people are quick to blame burnout on heavy workloads, but isolation and loneliness can be key contributors as well. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, especially if you don’t have a network you can turn to for support and advice.

And when you’re socially isolated, it’s easy to develop a limited perspective and lose sight of creative ways of thinking. Plus, social isolation can lead to feelings of stress and cause you to lose motivation.

The only real way to avoid social isolation is to build a supportive network of friends, colleagues, and mentors. You can also look for ways to collaborate with other people and businesses.

The only real way to avoid social isolation is to build a supportive network of friends, colleagues, and mentors. You can also look for ways to collaborate with other people and businesses.

Living with constant uncertainty

There are many benefits to starting your own business, but job security isn’t one of them. You probably had to take a lot of risks to start your company, and the reality is that most businesses won’t last beyond five years.

There are many factors outside of your control that could stall your company’s growth. And if you don’t have any savings or a financial safety net in place, that can be hard to deal with.

One way to deal with a fear of the unknown is by developing contingency plans. For instance, diversifying your income streams can mitigate some of the financial stress you’re dealing with. However, it’s also important to develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Avoid doom scrolling Twitter or watching the news constantly. Worrying about your business or finances 24 hours a day will not improve the situation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with stress, consider talking to a spouse, friend, or therapist about it.


Working excessively long hours while trying to build your business is a recipe for burnout. If you aren’t giving your body enough time to rest and recover, you may begin to feel exhausted and low on energy.

And constantly putting pressure on yourself to perform at your best can lead to emotional exhaustion. Plus, overworking can affect your work-life balance and begin to damage your relationships with family and friends.

One of the best ways to deal with overworking is by learning to delegate tasks to other people. You may not be in a position where you can hire employees, but maybe you could bring on one or two freelance contractors to help you. The work has to get done, but that doesn’t mean it has to be done by you.

Once you have people in place to help you, start setting firm boundaries between your work and personal life. For example, you may set working hours for yourself during the week and give yourself the weekends off to recharge.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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