I’m feeling a bit overextended lately. This is nothing new for me; after all, I gave myself an ulcer when I was an undergrad with the stress of the various things I was trying to accomplish. I’m still surprised on a day like today when it seems I haven’t learned my lesson.
This summer, I’m trying to do the following:
- Complete a successful internship
- Customize a commercial calendar package for MIT’s entrepreneurship portal, e-MIT
- Give the web site for the Sloan Leadership Forum a facelift
- Get ready for a new season of the Sloan E-52s — including arranging some music
- Oh, yeah–and be a good husband
Am I stupid? Why do I always overpromise things?
A few years ago at AMS, I had a 360-degree review. If you’ve never been through one of these, I highly recommend it as a diagnostic tool. A group of your direct reports, managers, customers, and peers provide you with anonymized feedback in response to a questionnaire designed to measure your leadership effectiveness. It can be pretty humbling. One of the respondents noted my tendency to get involved in a lot of things (at the time, I was, at the request of my management and my clients, holding two unrelated full-time positions), and accused me essentially of letting my ambition write checks that I couldn’t cash.
Maybe there’s some truth in that statement. I don’t know that I’d ever considered ambition a major component of my personality, but maybe that’s the problem — or vanity, or something. Or just a chronic inability to estimate time. I do know it’s frustrating not having the time and energy to deliver the best things that I can.