Your ego loves to be needed, or at least mine does. It feels good to be needed by your colleagues and clients. In fact, it feels so good that you may start to feel you are irreplaceable.
Beyoncé would disagree. She would say, “Don’t you ever for second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable.”
As we start vacation season here in the United States with the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, I started thinking about the last time I took completely disconnected time off.
It’s been 13 years.
Yep, I haven’t gone for more than 48 hours without checking email or LinkedIn. (And yes, I know that is bonkers.)
I am very good at disconnecting for hours or a day or two, but longer than that, not so much. Overall, I have pretty good boundaries in place with my phone. Yes, I have found myself “doom scrolling” from time to time, but I tend to notice it fairly quickly and am able to stop.
The real issue is stepping away from my clients and my business for more than a day or two. I find myself wondering how much of that is my ego wanting to be needed, and how much of that is anxiety around missing an opportunity.
The truth is I could probably manage for both of these.
When a friend of mine went to Europe with her family for a long vacation, she left me in charge of her clients and her business. I knew enough of what was going on to answer any questions and jump in to help, if necessary. I also knew I could get in touch with her if I had to. This worked pretty well and I even did a client pitch meeting for her, which went quite well, and converted into a client when she got back.
I am good at what I do, but I am not the only person who does it. I could easily find a colleague to cover for me. There are people who I highly respect and I know would do a great job. So, the question is: Why don’t I do this?
Another possibility, and one I am actually pursuing now, is bringing in a junior resource to help with coaching overflow, client service, and technology. If I decide to go away or check out for a while, this person would know everything about my business and would be able to take care of anything that came up. Bliss for the small business owner!
To be fair, my clients do have genuine emergencies and immediate needs from time to time. Given the type of work I do, I don’t think I could completely check out without some coverage, but I am going to call nonsense on my self-importance and admit that someone else could cover for me, certainly for a few days or a week.