This is the sixth post in a series on the 12 Transition Points.

Fatigue comes from many sources. Here are four of the most widely experienced. While each type has a natural source, they may also indicate that we are at a transition point that requires us to step back and consider why we are tired.

Mental fatigue grows when the problems we face seem to increase in intensity and complexity without resolution. This is particularly true when outside influences create situations that demand our constant attention. This is one way we know that we are living in a time of transition. 

This kind of mental tiredness is the opposite of Transition Point 6 – “You are tired of doing the same thing over and over” – which is a sign of mental boredom. Both, however, produce mental fatigue that causes us to lose the mental agility that we need to make effective, timely decisions. If we are at a transition point, we need to make sure that we are mentally prepared to address the situation with clarity and intention. This kind of stress is not just psychological. It is also experienced physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

Physical fatigue comes from the inability to release the stresses that come from challenges to our decision-making and demands for ever-higher levels of performance. These stresses are mental, emotional and spiritual and are manifested in our inability have a restful sleep, to experience a decline in our basic health, and a disruption in our capacity to function well in our relationships at home and work. Unless we work in fields of daily high physical exertion, most of us never get tired from too much physical activity. We get tired from the physical effects of the stresses on our minds, our emotions and our sense of connection to our places we live and work.

I am not a physician. I am not diagnosing a specific cause to being fatigued, but high lighting the various sources of it. If you are experiencing fatigue that seems not to be alleviated by normal measures, then you may well be in the midst of a physical transition that you should take seriously. I’ve encountered many people for whom mental, emotional and spiritual stress has compromised their immune system leading to a series of illnesses that can be quite serious. If you are at this kind of transition point, then having a serious conversation with your personal physician is advised.

Emotional exhaustion results from situations like those described above. It also comes when our emotional connection with others breaks down. If you are working in a low trust situation, then you will emotionally experience a lack of respect each day. It may be manifested in feelings of fear and doubt. If you feel this way, then your motivation to give your best becomes difficult. If inter-personal conflict is the norm in our office or home, then the stress can lead to our emotional retreat into isolation. 

The fourth kind of tiredness is spiritual fatigue. It is marked by confusion about purpose, loss of connection to people and places, and in finding belief in ourselves diminished. The spiritual dimension is where we find our most complete and human selves. It is where deep satisfaction and fulfillment are realized. This spiritual reality is the ground upon which the other three aspects of our lives – our minds, our emotions, and our bodies – are connected. 

Vince Lombardi, NFL Hall of Fame Coach, was famous for saying, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” This is not just true on the football field. It is true in life.

Living in a fragmented state is tiring. It affects not just us personally, but also our organizations and the communities where we live. Fatigue causes us to accept half-measures as sufficient, to settle for just good enough, or lose clarity of perspective about where we are in life. My book, Circle of Impact: Taking Personal Initiative to Ignite Change, directly addresses this problem.

When our purpose for impact is aligned with our relationships and the structures of the world that occupy our lives, we can find work is energizing, not fatiguing or boring. For this reason, we should step back and consider that tiredness is an indicator of a transition point in life or work. Discovering how our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health are aligned into a integrated focus for each day may well be the best transition point that you will ever cross.

If you need to have a conversation about what you suspect may be a transition point in your life or work, I am glad to have a confidential consultation with you. Schedule an initial 20-minute call for no charge with me at

Dr. Ed Brenegar is a Leader for Leaders working with individuals, their teams, organizations and communities who find themselves at a point of transition. Ed has developed an innovative leadership model called, Circle of Impact, that clarifies what the impact of their life or the work of their organization can be. From this perspective, impact is the change that makes a difference that matters. Ed. for over 30 years, has inspired and equiped people and organizations to practice this fresh understanding of leadership. All leadership begins with personal initiative to create impact that makes a difference that matters. Everyone within an organization or a community can, therefore, practice leadership initiative. In so doing, they turn what were once leadership-starved organizations into leader-rich cultures that make a difference that matters.

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