Hardwired for Burnout – Personal Human Design Reflections

05 March 2018

Last week I took a partial break from my business to recover quickly from an inevitable cycle of burnout. I say “inevitable” because I actually have burnout hardwired into my Human Design chart. You could say that I’m somewhat of an expert in burnout because of this.

While giving myself space to recuperate from the aftermath of energy moving through me at a breakneck pace, I took some time to reflect upon my experiences, so that perhaps you could glean something valuable to apply to your life.

The Human Design Background

I’m a 3/5 Projector with my conscious moon (the energy that drives my personality) in the gate 30 / line 4. The gate 30 is known as “The Clinging Fire” in the I’ching, and the line 4 is literally titled “burnout”. This defined gate is attached to an undefined emotional solar plexus. This means that I feel the dynamic of intense desire and clinging fire the most when I’m amplifying emotional energy that’s coming to me from the outside.


burnout-chart-illustration1-e1520285111143

Lately my undefined emotional solar plexus has been amplifying energy from the transits. My outer life and business have been a reflection of how emotional energy and passion build to a crescendo. Then as the transits leave, the energy leaves, the passion dissapates, and I’m left feeling like a limp, wrung out dish towel.

Now add to that the dynamics of my undefined sacral center. I’m not here to work consistently for long periods of time. Over the past few months, my dear little sacral has been activated by the transiting gate 42. On one hand, I’ve had the energy to complete a whole lot of projects. On the other hand … if you have an undefined sacral you know what I’m about to say … I’ve been very vulnerable to exhaustion by overworking.

With so much going on in the transits to put extra pressure on my harwiring for burnout, I could’ve been headed for a “perfect storm” of long term debilitation. And in fact, in the past, this has happened! I would often take on way too much and push myself way too hard, wearing myself down to the nub.

What I’ve Learned from Many Burnout Cycles

In “The Definitive Book of Human Design” by Lynda Bunnell and Ra Uru Hu, the line 4 in gate 30 is described as “An unrealistic pace that begs misfortune”. This, in my opinion, is pure truth!

Having an undefined sacral center, I can’t accurately judge when enough is enough. There have been many times in my past when I’ve gotten high on work energy and emotion, and then careened into the depths of “misfortune”, simply because I followed my exaggerated passions into the deep-end of waters where I truly didn’t belong.

Thanks to strategy, authority and deconditioning, I’ve become more adept at keeping myself out of places where the “misfortune” of debilitating burnout can befall me.

The truth is, I can’t escape burnout… (You may have a chance, if you don’t have the gate 30 / line 4 in your chart). The potential to experience it is hardwired into me. When I’m tapped into emotional energy, it’s very easy to be driven to take on more and more until I finally collapse.

I know now that I can’t count on the energy of juicy emotions and desires to carry me through my projects. In fact, when I feel this happening, I know that I’m going to deplete myself if I go down that road. Therefore I’m much more careful about what I take on.

I’ve learned that when my sacral is activated, I could succumb to the illusion that I can work for intense long stretches without physical repercussions. I’ve discovered through experience that this will drain my batteries very quickly. And it will take me weeks, months, or (as in the past) years to recuperate.

These days I pay very close attention to how my body feels, and what energies are fluctuating within me. I watch the transits. I pay attention to the designs of others in my life. And when I get a power surge that doesn’t feel like my usual baseline, I know to double down on my self-care, and remove myself from the influences that throw me off balance. I give myself space to recover, and I don’t plunge headlong into the waves (emotional waves that is) that belong to other people.

What You Can Learn from My Experience

While you may have dynamics in your design that could make you vulnerable to burnout, you probably don’t have it hardwired into your system. Take a deep breath and revel in the knowledge that if I’ve learned to recuperate quickly from the inevitable cycles of burnout that I experience, you can possibly avoid it altogether!

Just work on mastering a few things….

  • Know how you feel when you’re living from the energy that you innately have.
  • Recognize how you’re affected when you take in energy that isn’t innately yours.
  • Follow your strategy and make decisions according to your authority, so that you use your energy correctly.
  • Practice impeccable self-care at all times, and especially when you’re being affected by outside energy.


If you suffer from burnout, your Human Design chart can give you clues about how to manage your energy in a healthy and more efficient way.