Are you good at everything? Do you delegate? Or do you believe no one can do it better than you and end up doing everything yourself?
Is it moving your closer to writing a new Chapter? Or is it an excuse for holding you back?
Be Good At What You Want to Do
Several years ago I was having a conversation with my friend Vee Mossburg, an interior designer and owner of the Cottage Company (http://www.cottage-company.com) in Harbor Springs, MI. She is constantly busy creating beautiful interiors for clients, barely coming up for air until she’s satisfied with the end result.
Vee had just finished a project for me and we were having a casual conversation in my kitchen as I prepared for a dinner party later that evening. As she watched me chopping and mixing and baking, offhandedly Vee said, “You don’t know this about me but I’m a really good cook. And I actually like to cook and entertain. I just choose not to do it very often.”
I shot her a surprised look because I just assumed she was one of those people who didn’t give two hoots about what went on in the kitchen.
“Before I was married my grandmother gave me a great piece of advice when she said, ‘Honey, if you’re good at everything, you’ll end up doing everything.’ It stuck with me.”
I’m not sure I’d ever heard something expressed quite so well. Instantly I loved Vee’s grandmother.
Vee continued, “I know how to do everything you’re doing. I could probably even give you a few hints. But if I try to be Martha Stewart, my business will suffer. If I don’t delegate some things to other people who are just as capable, I have no time for myself. If I honestly think I’m the only one who can wash, iron, fold & fluff the bed linens, I end up doing those too. True confession? I ruined a couple of my husbands shirts and he insisted on doing the laundry from that day forward.”
“So I choose NOT to be good at everything. And only be good at the things I really want to do.”
Now there’s a great piece of advice.
You’ve Got To Let Them Do It
Recently I met Jill Belconis, a successful entrepreneur (http://jillbelconis.com), who was also the first female International Chairperson for Young President’s Organization . . . no small feat. She is smart, savvy, charming, and most important . . . the mother of three great kids.
When I asked Jill how she manages to balance so many moving parts in her life she said, “Here’s the secret. There are areas of my life and business where other people can do just as good a job as I can. Many of them do things even better. I only had to step aside and let them do it.”
She continued, “You see, it’s really all about our precious egos. We want to think we can do it all. And we love it when someone thinks we’re practically superhuman because we ARE doing it all. ButI know if I want time for other areas of my life, I need to give up some of that control.”
If You’re Good at Everything, You’ll End Up Doing Everything…
I meet people who fail to launch their next Chapter because they’re caught up in trying to be good at too many of the “shoulds” instead of zeroing in on their “wants”. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you have to make it a priority if it’s not something you really want to do. Make sense?
If you find yourself thinking no one can do quite as good a job as you, take a long hard critical look at why it has to be you, You, and only YOU! Really?!
Granted . . . no one can love kids like their mom or dad. And kids will love you right back regardless of whether you’re room parent of the year or creator of the most creative Halloween costume.
Just because you are the most efficient and best team player at the office does not mean you have to make up for someone else’s shortcomings. Let people do their job and if they don’t do it well enough, allow them to suffer the consequences. Assign responsibilities and leave people to their tasks. If you insist on micromanaging everyone, don’t complain about being stressed and overworked.
If you’re good at everything you’ll end up doing everything. And you’ll get the bonus of carrying all the added stress around when you do. It’s not the healthiest way to live.
Ways I Learned To Let Go
I used to make myself crazy at Christmas with all the shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping, and entertaining. I felt like I needed to make everything perfect for everyone around me. It was only when I finally let go and let up that I realized how miserable I managed to make myself and my family when things didn’t turn out quite as perfect as I thought they should . . . that word again.
No one expected me to be good at everything. They didn’t even want me to be good at everything. True confession? They wanted ME to have some fun and enjoy the holiday because it made it more fun for THEM. Especially if I wasn’t all hung up on whether or not everyone had an equal number of gifts to open and whether or not the bows coordinated with the wrapping paper that coordinated with the tree and the lights.
So I’ve learned to accept that I don’t have to be good at everything. I like to entertain . . . and entertain casually. That’s my style. I enjoy Christmas . . . so I do what I like to do and what there’s time to do. I don’t stress about all the decorating and tree trimming any more although I still like my wrapping paper and ribbon to coordinate. Old habits die hard.
What Will You Delegate?
So ask yourself if you’re trying too hard to be good at everything. And then make a list of the things you can delegate to someone else in order to free up time to do things you’re good at and things you enjoy doing.
Remember grandma’s advice: “If you’re good at everything, you’ll end up doing everything.”
Maybe that’s what made Wonder Woman such a wonder. Superman so super. They did what they did best and left the rest to someone else.
How about you? What are the “should’s” in you life? Which ones are you willing to delegate in order to make room for more “wants”? To make time to live your next Chapter? Please let me know what happens when you take grandma’s advice, ok?