This is the third installment of Christine and my monthly Peer-to-Peer Mentoring series. Funny enough, this month, we asked each other near identical questions… on her blog, I answered her question: I LOVE doing everything myself. While I joke that I need a clone, I always feel like the job is done best by me. How do you decide when it’s time to ask for help or hire another professional?
My Question to My Mentor:
As an independent business owner, I often find I am tempted to do ‘everything’ myself. How do you go about determining the roles you take on and which you will employ an outside professional for? When you do determine you need outside help, how do you go about finding the right person for the job?
Success is About Self-Correction Through Self-Actualization
I tend to do everything myself as well, so this is a great question for me to share my progress with you. First of all, everyone needs help. Acknowledging this need allows us to leverage it as an opportunity rather than a problem.
When I’m done seeing patients or coaching clients, settling in to work on my book, blogs or research projects are some of my favorite things to do.
It’s okay to let your work be a huge part of your life if it’s making you feel good and not jeopardizing your personal relationships or health, but when or if it does, believe me, speaking from experience, it’s a balance you want to re-gain and constantly re-align.
Try setting a good mantra that reminds you of the necessity to self-preserve. This will open you up to the idea of allowing others to help you and likely help you see more clearly who the right candidates are. Know your needs and listen to them (you can do this by developing mindfulness). Remember, if you’re running on fumes, everyone suffers. As a health care provider I constantly remind myself of this.
Have Some Fun As a Social Scientist & Meet New Collaborators
Paul Arden, ad guru and author of, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be suggests that we share our knowledge and ideas with everyone around us. If we covet them, we’ll become stale only with our reserves to rely on. Not a very colorful picture right?! Arden’s practical and cheerful suggestion says to me, “go out, paint the town, have some fun, look at the people around you… Gain new insight from your observations and bring it back to work to help create new projects and ideas for your clients.” Because our work is our passion, it’s interwoven through and through. Quench your need to research by having some fun. I’ve found when I’m fully engaged in my environment, especially in spontaneous situations, these multi-sensory experiences cultivate the greatest replenishment “in the design space” of my working brain.
Get Into a New Element & Look Back At Yourself.
It’s easier to anticipate people’s needs when you genuinely interact and see how people behave (anticipating other’s needs can really help you become aware of your own)! Try working from a cafe twice a week and make a point to introduce yourself to at least one new person. I always make viable business connections when I do! Cafes are community hubs full of other creatives. And what do creatives love doing? Collaborating! Extend a hand to offer an intro… Instead of blindly hiring outside professionals, making connections like this lend potential to offer real human help (to one another). Having been introduced to somebody on a personal, then professional level often engenders a sense of camaraderie or willingness to help-even among people who don’t know one another very well. It’s nice to establish a “wow, we both do something cool that we love, let’s call on one another from time to time for help relationship.”
How do I know these types of connections can help you cure the “do everything syndrome”? I put it to the test recently with you (Tara)! After spending countless hours researching how to align my HTML code to produce a desired color affect, I (humbly) emailed you, asked for you help and you supplied the answer in mere minutes! That assured me that it was okay to ask for help. I saved five whopping hours by asking you for insight.
Get An Intern… Really Do It
One of my trusted friends represents a cutting edge corporation responsible for making people’s lives better. I’ve always admired his ability to genuinely engage in his work for eight hours a day, yet then know when to call it quits and allow himself to shift mentally toward fun and personal development. He’s heard me say time and time again how I wish I could clone myself, but after about a year of prodding and making a case for an intern I finally listened to him and got one!
Lucky for me, I scooped up a super smart, creative, multi-talented intern! One of the best business decisions accomplished yet (love ya Karla).
Tips on finding an intern for a business owner accustomed to doing everything herself:
● Make your to-do list a Ta-Da! List. Write a list of as many things that you “do” on a regular basis. Write a sentence or two about what purpose they have. In your quest to detach from doing “everything” this will help you valuate what tasks and activities might not be necessary for anyone to be doing! Now go back and ask yourself, “is that a to-do or is that a project? Use specific action points that will set you in motion with guided purpose. Watch how much time you open up by re-framing your list making. This is even before you get the new intern!
● Multi-minded talent. Find someone a lot like you, but different enough where they’re willing to offer you objective, personal and honest feedback. You’ll need a critical thinker.
● Diplomacy is essential. Establish a mutual, “it won’t hurt my feelings” clause. When you’re in charge non-stop and somebody else takes the reigns it can be emotionally edgy if this isn’t established. I lucked out, I already knew the wonder-intern I’m working with so this isn’t something that comes up for us.
● Test their craftiness. Ask your potential intern to complete a task that requires some quirkiness or where a block seems heavy to shift. See what they can come up with. This is key as they may have to act as an extension of you in your absence.
● What would I do? Ask your intern to solve a problem by pretending they are you!
● Cost. Interns are interested in gaining real-world, cool experiences that will make them attractive to potential employers. The more you allow them to do, the better their resumes and CVs look. If you can’t afford an intern in dollars and cents or if you’d like to work out a trade, many interns will contribute and work very hard in exchange for the opportunity. I provide letters of reference and introductions to colleagues whenever possible.
Work Space Matters Whether You’re Doing One Thing Or Everything
Work-space is a huge factor and largely influences our decisions whether we realize it at first or not. Feng shui that joint! To be sure it’s conducive, think:
● flow with focus
● light, yet consolidated
● open yet safe…
The right set-up goes a long way for making the most use of your time. Decorate your office space with inspiration, but if you have eclectic taste like me, choose a few grounding elements that remind you to get up and walk around… And, add fun elements like a toy or a game or cool poster. It’ll remind you to get up and DO something for yourself!