I have a system for emails. It's loosely based on Getting Things Done. The foundation of the system is that there is one place that I trust to put all of the work in progress. One place to know what I need to do. For me that one place is a folder labeled "actions" in my email. In fact, I send emails to myself that remind me to buy flowers for my wife or follow up with a potential lead. One folder with all of the activities I need to complete. Nothing gets lost or forgotten.
Your email may be sitting there, waiting for a response.
It could even be something simple. If I remember correctly, the GTD model instructs us to complete any task immediately if it takes less than 2 minutes. Just do it! Don't move it into a queue of items needing action later. Yet, there your email sits. Or perhaps it's a voicemail waiting for a response.
My phone could be ringing right now and yet I don't pick it up. No excuse.
This imperfect leader just doesn't feel like it. Have you ever been there? Staring at an email or text message and almost completely paralysed to respond? Of course we have our good days too. Happy that you called or achieving the enviable, zero inbox! Days when I am more than happy to connect or send a pithy response to your serious inquiry.
So why are there days we don't want to connect with others?
Days when we can't seem to answer an email or call? It's certainly not the email, or request, or person that influences this lack of ability. It's something more internal. Self inflicted.
My best friend since college who lives in Raleigh will occasionally call me to touch base. Of all the calls to take it should be his. We speak once a month if we're lucky and it's always a healthy, encouraging and satisfying conversation. Yet I've let his call go to voicemail when there was no reason not to pick up. Why?
I didn't feel like I had anything to offer.
Which leads us to our imperfect insight...
My self-worth meter is always low when I don't want to connect with others.
If your emails are piling up or the voicemail box is full then take a moment and consider why you don't feel like connecting. We don't have to struggle with self worth. Each of us were uniquely made. Period. That in and of itself is one reason to respond. My uniqueness means that I have a view that no one else has. I have a collection of experiences that no one else has and yet someone needs to hear about. I have something to offer.
Hit reply. Pick up the phone. Connect. You and I were made to respond because we were made to remember that we have worth and something valuable to offer!