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The Biggest Pitfall of Executive Burnout


As a successful executive or entrepreneur, no one is really hopeful awaiting a (beginning) Burnout. And yet for very many it becomes a dire reality. A (beginning) Burnout cannot be timed, cannot be rationally controlled or reasoned, and unfortunately for many it is also not without relapse.

In my recently published article, I went into more detail about the emergence, recognition and recovery of a (beginning) executive or entrepreneurial Burnout. I also indicated that successful executives and entrepreneurs are not insured against getting a (beginning) Burnout because of their success.

In this article, I would like to highlight the biggest Burnout pitfall for the executive or entrepreneur.


The biggest pitfall for the executive or entrepreneur with (beginning) Burnout is one of rationalisation. Rationalising the (beginning) Burnout situation, and therefore seeking both the origination and the solution of the Burnout, almost exclusively in external factors.

Many executives or entrepreneurs are particularly skilled in analysing business situations, in planning, and in having strategy being implemented by an organisation, leading to successful results. Unfortunately, the same pattern is also followed when the executive or entrepreneur is faced with a (beginning) Burnout.

This leads to probably the biggest controversy – When a (beginning) burnout situation is being analysed at the action level and a plan and rational solution is being developed at this same level too – the executive or entrepreneur has just stepped in the biggest pitfall of (beginning) Burnout.

To me, one of the biggest misunderstandings in the relief efforts of (beginning) Burnout is that a good plan aimed at making changes in external action will create sustainable personal change.

For example, it is recommended to take compulsory breaks, to take training in time management methods, to say “no” more often and to provide even more rational solutions for this non-rational situation. Not that these kinds of things cannot be supportive to an executive or entrepreneur – one should however never expect for these to lead to sustainable recovery of (beginning) Burnout.

For information, the current burn-out relapse rate stands at around seventy (70) percent according to a variety of data sources!


Burnout is not what many people may think – a situation caused by too much work, which can be resolved and then be further prevented by action-oriented training and learning.

Preventing a (beginning) Burnout to occur is definitely far better than recovering from one. Also, it may be quite interesting to mention that prevention and recovery of a (beginning) Burnout is based on the same principles.

Executive or entrepreneurial Burnout is thus more than “Falling Rising and Moving Again”. To me, it is critical to provide an executive or entrepreneur with (beginning) Burnout, as quickly as possible grip at the situation again, by clearly mapping root causes of the Burnout and systematically and step-wise removing them.

In my practice, I use my proprietary True Change™ Executive Coaching. A five (5) step roadmap, which assists in mapping and removing root causes, and rediscovering lost vision and personal space – something that is urgently needed for successful reintegration and sustainable burnout recovery.

Furthermore, as part of the process, the executive or entrepreneur learns relatively simple, yet very powerful executive performance tools. This way, contributions to sustainable change can be made, not just in the current situation, but also in future situations. This will practically support the executive or entrepreneur in a way, so that she/he can make confident choices and exercise her/his duties with passion.

Would you like to know how Stress-Fit™ you may be at this time, or would you like to receive more information about True Change™ Executive Coaching and perhaps plan a free strategy coaching session? Please contact me confidentially and without obligation: Tel. +31(0)23-576 7581, or email me at: Alternatively, you may also use the Top-Coach website contact form to contact me.

I wish you good health and continuous success,

Johan F. Reinhoudt

CEO/owner Top-Coach and Certified Master Executive Coach

Photo credit:

Johan Reinhoudt

Johan Reinhoudt, oprichter/directeur van Top-Coach, heeft gedurende de afgelopen dertig jaar organisaties en individuen geholpen naar een hoger prestatieniveau.

Zijn indrukwekkende ervaring als DGA, algemeen directeur, management consultant, maar ook zijn brede wetenschappelijke, operationele en R&D achtergrond in organisaties variërend van start-up, MKB tot gerenommeerde internationale concerns (zoals bijvoorbeeld Abbvie, Cognizant, Eurofins, Leiden Universitair Medisch Centrum, Pfizer, PRA Health Sciences, Sanofi) zorgt voor een bijzonder praktische, creatieve en innovatieve achtergrond.

In zijn huidig executive coaching werk helpt Johan executives en ondernemers die kampen met prestatie en/of (beginnende-) burn-out, hoe ze snel hun passie en energie terug kunnen krijgen en weer kunnen gebruiken in hun werk, duidelijkheid en visie kunnen herwinnen en meetbare duurzame verbetering in hun resultaten te krijgen.

Tel. (+31) (0)30-200 6761

During the past thirty years Johan Reinhoudt, Founder/CEO of Top-Coach, assisted organisations and individuals to a higher performance level.

His impressive experience as CEO, President, Management Consultant, but also his broad scientific, operations and R&D background in a variety of organisations, ranging from start-up, SME to renowned international concerns (such as for example, Abbvie, Cognizant, Eurofins, Leiden University Medical Center, Pfizer, PRA Health Sciences, Sanofi) provides an exceptional practical, creative and innovative background.

In his current executive coaching work, Johan works with executives and entrepreneurs who struggle with performance and/or (pre-) burnout. He shows them how to quickly recover their passion and bring bonfire energy back to work, regain clarity and vision to get sustainable and measurable improvement in their results.

Tel. (+31) (0)30-200 6761

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