I know you are really busy…

I know you are really busy…

This comment is made to me way too often.

What I hear in this phrase is “I’m sorry to bother you”, “Please give me just a minute”, “I’m scared to interrupt you”.

It breaks my heart.  You know why?  Because I’m responsible for it.  There is a reason I appear too busy for others.  Yes, I’m busy, but people should never feel like I’m too busy for them.

I believe that one of the fundamental laws of human nature is that we default to our comfort zones when we are under stress.  My comfort zone is in retreating and achieving.  I pull away and try to get stuff done because in accomplishment I feel valuable.  I turn off relationships for the sake of getting my “to do” list covered.

I hate this about myself.  It’s a daily battle for me, but so important because relationships have to be more important than task, especially for me to be effective as a leader.

What do you default to when you are under stress?  Where does your influence/leadership/management get sabbotaged by your default mode?

You may also like


  • Juli Jarvis September 9, 2008  

    What excellent thoughts Jenni! I love how transparent and open you are about everything. I hear what you’re saying. My default is probably to withdraw, because of insecurity. I can easily go into my little shell and not have to deal with other people at all, but I think He would like me to be more upfront and honest with others, as you have been here recently. I am in leadership positions, so it’s not always good to retreat, unless it’s for the purpose of getting alone with God.

  • Christina Schmidt September 10, 2008  

    I’m more up front when under stress. I’m fairly blunt, in general, but I may come across as mean, at times, although, it’s certainly not my intention. I often don’t think before I speak and have to apologize immediately after I say something that just came out wrong, that I know I shouldn’t have said.

    Maybe it’s not that you appear busy that makes people feel like they’re bothering you, maybe they see you as a dynamic and versatile leader, and are humbled by you! I haven’t met you yet, but that’s the feel I get from your blog and comments! 🙂

  • Rindy Walton September 10, 2008  

    Ouch…this one hit home…

  • janowen September 10, 2008  

    Um, I am not sure. Maybe frazzled and “let’s get this done” or something. I do tend to have more of a “take charge” attitude in crisis, but when I’m stressed personally I probably retreat a little or sometimes need some time with a friend to “verbally process”.

    I am not sure totally. I do know this. In the past few years I have “defended my heart” just a bit. I’ve experienced so many times – over and over – being hurt that I really have a harder time being open with others now.

    Feeling a bit defeated in this area this morning.

  • crosspointfitness September 10, 2008  

    Jenni, I never pick up that vibe that you are too busy. You always have a smile, and take the time to talk a minute (even with a 5 year old).
    my default is like half of yours: i prefer the retreating, don’t really think much is being acheived in the process though.

  • randi :) September 10, 2008  

    Thanks for your openness here.

    Our default is our personality weakness it seems….

    “It” really is all about relationships over wordly successes & achievements & to do lists. our relationship with Him is where we get our value – in Him alone. and then our relationships with others will be our treasures in heaven.

    thanks for ur thoughts 🙂

  • Ladybird September 10, 2008  

    I agree with CrossPointFitness, you have always been approachable to me. I have never felt that you have been too busy.

    When under stress, I go into an auto-pilot-mode of “lets-get-this-done”. If I get things organized, I tend to feel better……which is why I am really suprised that I haven’t gone into my “nesting” mode yet!

  • texaSUS September 10, 2008  

    well CRAP! this is a great one, and i think it speaks directly to me…thanks esch-o! miss you! too long since we’ve spent time together. 🙂

  • JudiFree.com September 10, 2008  

    Jenni – there’s definitely a balance because I have the opposite problem. I spend so much time catering to the people that I have no time to do what acutally needs to get done. We should create a plan to work this out!

  • tam September 10, 2008  

    I. hear. you.

    “relationships have to be more important than task”

    this is my problem…i too often see relationships AS the task themselves so then i will make myself unavailable. yah. i know. classy.

    this is something that i have been working on a lot the past several months.

  • Casey Graham - ReThink Money September 10, 2008  

    DANG that was good!!! I do exactly what you do. I work harder and longer hours. I think the more I get done the more valuable I am! Nice job.

  • fullofboys September 10, 2008  

    Girl – I hear you. Unfortunately, I tend to default to the ‘no compassion, get things finished mode’. If a meeting is running too long or people are getting off point and I have a million other things to do, I tend to be pretty curt…and I hate that! As Eve once told me, I am a paper before people person…and I totally battle that because she is right! As much as I love people, I am driven by my tasks.

  • Pete Wilson September 10, 2008  

    When I’m stressed I tend to get very task driven. I get focused on checking people off my list instead of really listening to them. My ability to listen is probably my first relational characteristic that disappears when stress comes on.

  • Pingback: Thank You Jenni & Peter! - betterthanblank October 11, 2008