A Chipmunk in Traffic

You’re like a chipmunk in traffic because you need to prove yourself. Someone asks, “How are things going?” You say, “Crazy busy.”

It’s a mortal sin to say, “I’m looking for something to do.”

Stress may reflect a need for self-importance. You unknowingly enjoy frustration because it makes you look important. “Oh my! You must be important. Your blood pressure is through the roof.”

Competition to contribute:

Insecure leaders need to judge themselves as busier than others so they can feel more important than others. But the real issue is contribution.

You might be running around like a chipmunk in traffic, but what if you aren’t making meaningful contributions?

  1. Worry about doing things that matter, not about rushing from one meeting to the next.
  2. Compete with yourself to make a greater contribution, not to appear busier than others.

Avoid over-helping:

Over-helping turns leaders into chipmunks in traffic.

Are you doing someone’s work for them? It’s useful to help. It’s harmful to do someone’s job for them.

Over-helping might feel important, but it frustrates, disempowers, and promotes laziness.

Trust competent people to do their jobs. If your team is incompetent, train them, reassign them, or manage them out.

Tip: When someone comes for help, ask, “What have you tried?”


Feeling over-worked leads to resentment.

Resentment justifies giving less than your best. For example…

You feel resentment because you arrive early and stay late, but others arrive and leave on time.

You’re frustrated because you care more and try harder, but others don’t have passion.

Feeling over-worked promotes the false belief that bringing your best isn’t worth it. When you justify bringing less than your best, you sabotage yourself.

What suggestions do you have for leaders who feel like chipmunks in traffic?