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June, 2010
 
Is your ego driving you to work till you drop?
As summer rolls in, so do the lazy, hazy days that comes with it.  Summer brings us back to a time of kicking back, taking some time off, and just relaxing. 

But do you heed its call?

Have you decided to stop working  by taking a much-needed vacation, working less hours or simply doing less of the seemingly "productive activities?" 
 
I hate to admit; too many summers have passed me by without doing just that.  While working in marketing for Fortune 100 companies for over 20 years, summer was the start of our planning season for the following year so I missed many sun-filled days and rarely took vacation.

I could have taken the time off, but I didn't.

The reality is that I believed I was just too important to take time off.   I believed that if I weren't there, something would fall through the cracks or not get done the way I wanted it to get it done. 
 
So, I continued to work around the clock, despite my own needs to pull back. 

Some might say I was loyal. 

I would say that it wasn't loyalty but instead it was my ego driving me to work excessively. 
 
When your ego is driving you, you can become arrogant and buy into the false belief that you are the only one capable of pumping productivity forward.  Your sense of self-importance can become distorted and therefore impact your ability to pull back and let others to step in.
 
The more you are proactively pushing, the less you allow others to help you progress your business.
 
Because our productivity-driven society has wired us as doers, the best leadership lesson we need to learn is not "to do," but instead "allow others to do." This requires the ability to pull back. 
 
Do you believe that you are so important that you can't take the time and pull back?
 
In my book, The Connected and Committed Leader, I speak about how keeping your ego in check is a necessary tool for leadership.  When your ego is in check, you realize you are not the only one driving productivity, but instead you understand the importance of others in order to achieve long-term results.  Our egos get in the way of really trusting others.
 
I learned this, and continue to learn this, most with my daughter Leila.  She is the best teacher for expanding my leadership capabilities.  When I push too much I don't allow her to step in.  When she doesn't step in, I do it for her.  When I do it for her nobody wins since I don't grow and she doesn't learn. It becomes a vicious cycle.
 
So for those of you unable to take a vacation, realize that this has a lot more to do with your inability of letting go and your need for control, than of your ability to effectively lead.  In fact, effective leaders don't need to oversee every detail; their presence isn't required for others to do a great job and continue to push forward in their absence.
 
My leadership with my daughter will stand the test only by her actions when I am not present.
 
I know that I am not alone in my struggle with over-doing. It is challenging for doers to pull back and not do as much.  But when you learn the power of pulling back, trusting and guiding others, I promise you will do more of it.
 
You will have less on your plate and your results will be better...plus you will be empowering and developing others. 
 
So try pulling back a lot more and take that much needed vacation or break. 
 
And it's best to do it, before you really do drop. 
 
 
Join me June 23, 2010 for a leadership workshop, learn other counter intuitive leadership lessons to help you become more effective at work and at home. 
 
 
Laura Lopez is an award-winning author of The Connected and Committed Leader.  She is also a consultant, and a Birkman Method certified business and life coach who has been featured on the Today Show and Fox News.
 
In addition, her accomplishments have been highlighted in several business periodicals including  Personal Excellence, The Long Beach Business Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Latina Magazine, and Central Valley Business Times. Her articles on management and leadership are regularly seen in Leadership Excellence. 
 
Laura can be contacted via her Web site at: http://www.laura-lopez.com 
 
 
 
All the best,
 
Laura Lopez
 
Laura Lopez & Company
www.Laura-Lopez.com
(713) 868-5025
cell (713) 828-8829