Those of us who own businesses and who will admit to being control freaks or perfectionists know one thing in our heart of hearts. We cannot control everything and grow our businesses! It is simply impossible and its insanity – I know first hand as I’ve tried for many years. As someone who speaks and consults with business owners nationwide regarding delegation and what partnering with a VA looks like AND who is a recovering control freak, I am uniquely qualified to speak on this subject.
As someone who has been in support roles the bulk of my life ‘It’s good enough’ is not my mantra. My clients delight in delegating tasks to me that are necessary to make their businesses hum along. I take tremendous pride in my work and being a go-to gal and solutions provider. My clients are not those who want me to just ‘slap it together and get it out’. However we also realize though excellence is paramount in everything we do, perfection is only for God and we are not Him. That said, letting go can be very difficult when you take pride in your work as we business owners do.
So how did I go from there to here? It has been (I’m a work in progress) a combination of fear (Seeing the effects of major stress in those control freaks/perfectionists I knew and know), some great letting go books/articles, faith (Let go and let God) and tremendous coaches and mentors (Including my calm and patient husband) I need in my life to make me a better everything. I know first hand just how hard it is as a business owner to let go. I can honestly say that I’ve said hundreds of times ‘No one can do it as good as me’. I’m not going to ask for a show of hands to see how many of you have said the same thing. First of all, let’s get real – that statement just screams arrogance though some of us probably didn’t think that at the time (Some of us did). Secondly, that statement is wrong – there ARE folks that could do ‘it’ better however it’s very humbling to admit that fact.
So how do we back away from whatever task or tasks are the ‘it’ in our business? I wish I could tell you this is a pain free decision and process – it’s not. Like everything in life delegation starts with making a decision. That’s right, we wake up and make the conscious decision to choose to delegate AND stick to that choice. Delegation for control freaks and perfectionists also takes effort. ‘I could do it faster than if I have to train someone’ – sound familiar? Yes, of course it does and yes, you probably can do it faster. However, fast forward six months from now when you are reviewing what you didn’t achieve this year or better yet, when your mastermind group (Remember those lovely folks who YOU choose to keep you accountable) asks ‘Why you didn’t achieve X again?’(Of course they know why but it’s their job to ask you as your wriggle in your seat). It’s time to give ‘it’ up and join the ranks of your fellow recovering control freaks that made the decision to join the ranks of successful business owners who delegate.
So here we are, we’ve taken the first step to choose to let go (Applause! Applause! This is HUGE for us). From here I encourage you to stay the course and take baby steps. Find someone who tolerates you (Personally I thank God for my husband) and knows you are a recovering control freak. Then begin your next baby step by delegating some simple tasks or projects (Someone besides you can do the following: input contacts into a CRM, order flowers, purchase thank you notes – give instructions on the exact ones you want, pay/mail vendor bills, make simple updates to your website) to someone you were referred to by someone you trust (Hopefully a successful business owner who’s a great delegator!). Once you’ve seen that these items can be accomplished (Gasp!) by someone other than you, you’ll find you have more time in your day. Next, move on and delegate more important tasks (Booking travel, scheduling, consulting on the makeover of your website or marketing materials, etc.). Congratulations! I’ll see you on the delegation side where all the successful business owners live!