#10: How to beat the BURN-OUT syndrome!

Let's look at the facts. You are a small Guerrilla Force of maybe 10 or 12 people fighting a monstrous army of thousands! Every few weeks, one or two of the troops are going to feel shell-shocked, exhausted, plain fed-up! Your flame's gone out! That's the dreaded BURN-OUT SYNDROME!

Just know that it happens to everyone. You're not a failure. You're not weak. You're not getting old and past it! You just need a week off sitting in the sun, reading a good sexy novel, watching a heap of frivolous videos. Your batteries need to be recharged. Suddenly you need to mix with people who are not engrossed in the Dreaded Battle.

First thing, in BURN-OUT is to ring the Group, and tell them where you're at! It's nothing to be ashamed of. Tell them you're going to be off the air for a while. It's up to them to rally round. Take the load off you for a while. They won't mind, because you'll be there to support them when they need it.

What sort of support will they need? Well, I know it's nice to be appreciated for what you've already done. Nice to be pampered with a freshly home-baked cake, an invite to dinner, a bunch of garden flowers, a basket of home-grown fruit. A funny card in the mailbox gives anyone a lift. But best of all, it's a great help to have someone with whom you can talk it out, who understands what you've been through. Someone who'll build up your courage, light your flame again. Someone who'll maybe come in and < My daughter Penny, the computer whiz-kid, swooped in and saved me with hands-on help, many a time. She injected fresh ideas, new approaches. Her phone calls, and phone calls with Phyllis of Greenpeace rebuilt my tattered ego. They'd been in that egg-whisked state and knew how I was feeling. They assured me I'd be on top of the world again in a week or so. Most important, the world wouldn't stop if I stepped off for a while.

One afternoon, when I had been stone-walled by four different bureaucrats within four hours, I felt like sitting down and having a good cry. I didn't know where to turn. On the pin-board in front of me were all the outstanding notes, messages and contacts. One small name blazed out at me. It was Steve Lamble, a reporter whom I'd never met or spoken to. For some reason I picked up the phone, and when he answered I just said: "You don't know me, but I'm in desperate need of help!" Next morning he was sitti< Someone in the Group says: "I'm in a corner. I don't know what to do next!" Move right in and help...immediately. But tell them what a great job they've done.

John Braby from our team, is big on giving approval: "Good one! That's an absolutely marvellous effort!" That pat-on-the-back is like an injection of energy. Jenifer and I get a buzz out of reading our latest Government Attack over the phone, before faxing. It irons out any mis-meanings and we respect each other's sincere comments and approval. Then of course, whenever a letter-to-the-editor is published, phone up and congratulate the writer. It will stir them on to greater efforts...and push back the

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Last Update: 8/21/97, This page © Copyright Barbara Corbett, World Rights Reserved, Universal rights reserved