7 Steps To Banishing Burnout And Walk In Shoes That Fit!


Wearing shoes that don’t fit is a recipe for burnout! Let me explain.

My husband is a road warrior. When he’s working, he’s traveling. He thrives on adventure, variety, and change. The opportunity to explore new places, a new crowd to train, and a new topic to teach is exciting to him. As you can imagine, the pandemic has truly cramped his style.

While my husband and I share a love of learning, we are different. I don’t dislike travel. I too enjoy exploring new places, but since I gravitate more toward routine and consistency, being home – that’s my happy place! To tell you the truth, if I had to walk in my husband’s shoes, my shoes would be tired and sad.

A dear friend of mine is a nurse and after her boys were grown, she worked tirelessly to pursue a burning desire to become a nurse. I admit that I admire her tenacity. She’s delightfully suited for the role of a nurse, and if I needed a nurse, I hope she would be the one assigned to me.

However, the path to becoming a nurse would be pure torture for me. The thought of the required classes makes me want to cry. I’m uncomfortable with medical stuff, and that includes nurses, doctors, and hospitals. When blood and guts pop up on the TV screen, I quickly close my eyes. Dealing with cranky patients and their families – that would not bring out my best like it does in my compassionate friend. Walking in her shoes would make me miserable.

There’s more!

A family friend is a well-respected veterinarian. He cares for pets like they were his own. It’s a needed occupation, yet with my dog and cat allergies, I have my doubts about my excelling as a vet. It’s hard to accomplish much between sneezes!

I have great respect for accountants. How anyone spends day in and day out dealing with numbers and government policy and procedures is beyond me!

There is so much to appreciate about the protection the police provide. We truly need fireman, EMTs  – really all first responders. Their quick thinking and tolerance for danger is a gift…and not a gift I possess!

I could go on and on. There are dozens and dozens of other professions that would suck the life out of me!

A Unique Design

God has made me in a unique and wonderful way. I have abilities that serve my purpose well. I also have limitations that keep me on the path He has for me.I’ve found my own special pair of shoes to walk out my life in; a pair that’s style, size, and width fit me as perfectly as Cinderella’s slipper fit her.

When I try to walk in other people’s shoes, or shoes that are not suited for me, it leads to frustration and burnout. How I walk out being a wife, mother, Grammy, friend, curriculum writer, coach, etc. will be different from how anyone else does it. When I try to copy others, I am not only dishonoring God and who He created me to be, I’m wandering from the path He has for me. God has unique and incredible opportunities for each of us to do if we fully embrace the design He’s blessed us with.

Work is exciting and meaningful when I pursue the path that’s exclusively mine – the career or profession that suits me to a T. One that aligns with my personality, abilities, interests, and values. Searching for your perfect pair of shoes – ones that won’t lead to burnout? Here are some steps to take:

1. Increase Your Awareness of YOU

The better you know yourself, the easier it is to know what fits. You are a complex person. There is always more to learn about you.

With greater clarity comes greater confidence. Here are a few areas to get to know you better: Personality, values, strengths, spiritual gifts, unique talents, passion, and purpose. Each of these will be contributing factors in however God desires to use you to make a difference. When you engage in work that’s counter to how He made you, burnout is sure to follow.

2. Know Your Limitations

You have limits. Limits are not negative. They keep you from investing energy into activities that won’t provide much return.

Keep your focus on what’s within your capabilities. Resist the urge to replicate what someone else is doing, pursue a path just for the money, or for status.

Focus on what you are responsible for; let go of what is the responsibility of others.

Good stewardship of your time and money is best invested in endeavors within your own skill set, roles that jibe with your personality, and are in keeping with your values. That doesn’t mean you stop stretching and growing, but that you don’t waste your time in areas that are not right for you.

3. Appreciate Your Season

Sandals are inappropriate footwear for winter weather and fleece boots are foolish in the heat of summer. They both might fit perfectly, but are not suited for the season.

What God has in mind for you is different depending on the season. And each season is preparation for the next season. What you put your time and energy into as a teen, college student, single person, married, married with kids, empty nester, retired, etc. will change. Attempting to pursue inappropriate goals for the season of life you are currently in will ensure that burnout and frustration will follow.

4. Gather A Team

You need other people – isn’t that the one of the lessons the pandemic has taught us? Without their encouragement, support, feedback or feed-forward, and help, pursing work is hard, even if it’s a good fit! You need the expertise others offer. And others often see the strengths in you that you miss because they come so naturally to you.

Your team may be made up of family, friends, mentors, respected professionals, even a coach!

5. Understand Your Motivation

No matter what God’s created you to do, or be, He longs for you to do it so that He will be glorified. That’s counter to what the world tells you. When you do things for selfish reasons, acknowledgement, success, fame, or to make a bunch of money, the shoes you are wearing won’t match who God created you to be.

Dig deep. Be honest. It’s easy to deceive yourself about why you are chasing work.

6. Keep It Sustainable

Attempting to do work that is outside your design limits your creativity, impedes your abilities, and affects your mood (and your relationships!). It also contributes to feeling overloaded and overwhelmed. When your shoes don’t fit right, you can’t stand in them very long!

Let go of distractions or tasks that you can delegate. Make sure you are putting your efforts into the responsibilities that count; the ones that only you can do. Remember, God never gives us more than we can handle.

7. Walk With God

Attempting to accomplish something big or that makes a difference takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. It’s easy to get so caught up in it all that you forget to make Him your priority. Basking in His presence daily and feeding on His Word is always time well spent. Not only does He encourage, He also directs, and opens doors that would be closed otherwise.

It takes faith to prioritize time with Him. Don’t settle for a quick morning chat with God. Continue the conversation with Him throughout the day. Depend on Him!

You can’t do everything, but you can walk fully in your purpose and calling! Skip burnout – you can love the work you do! Be true to who He designed you to be. He has bigger shoes for you than you ever dreamed possible!

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1:11-12 (MSG)

Walking in shoes that don’t fit – how has that lead to burnout for you? How is your work in keeping with your design?

Ready to find work that suits you – work that is comfortable and just the right style? Get started here.

Originally posted on 8/4/14 – I’ve updated it just for you!

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / anyunov


Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.


  1. Julia Winston on August 4, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    This is a great analogy. May I share with my readers? (A link back to this page)

    • Marvae on August 4, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      Happy to hear that this analogy resonated with you Julia. Feel free to share a link to my blog post with your readers. Blessings!

  2. April on August 4, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    This is my favorite analogy so far –I printed it out and put it into my “notebook of gems” where I will refer to it again and again.
    For the first time in my life, I am having difficulty selecting the shoes God would have me wear this season. I am at a crossroads where I will soon (fall) have an empty nest, which means taking off for good, the “Mom” shoes I wore (a perfect fit in every way) for 23 years. This season means a life change, and I feel somewhat scattered, somewhat paralyzed as I look at my options and pray over them. The steps you shared are so helpful –thank you!

    • Michele on August 4, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Hi April! I had to comment on your post. I am in the same position as you. Trying to figure out what I should do with the next half of my life. Funny thing happened. My neighbors asked me to be their full time Nanny. I get to keep my mom shoes on. Blessings, as you go towards your next steps in whatever shoes God places in your path. I hope they’re comfy!

      • Marvae on August 4, 2014 at 9:49 pm

        I feel honored to make your “notebook of gems” April! I will be praying that God shows you the perfect pair of shoes for your next season of life! It is hard to let go of shoes that fit so comfortably like mom shoes, and yet I know there is another perfect fit ahead!

  3. Elise Photini Adams on August 4, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Loving this encouragement! Thank you SO much for encouraging us to “keep it sustainable”! This is my biggest challenge since I want to do ten things at once!

    • Marvae on August 4, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      I know the feeling Elise! Learning the fine art or priorities and investing my limited energy into what really matters.

  4. Mary Lu Saylor on August 4, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Awesome perspective for all of us! Thank you for sharing this with us!

    • Marvae on August 4, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      You are welcome Mary Lu!

  5. veletta reed on August 4, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Great perspective! Enjoyed this post.

    • Marvae on August 4, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Veletta!

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