Stop Working On the Wrong Things

Last week, on the blog and podcast, I discussed complacency and how it can kill every part of your life. Today, let’s talk about what I consider to be the opposite of complacency – that’s holding on too tightly. While the examples here are primarily for entrepreneurs and business professionals, this can apply to any aspect of your life.

As a consultant, people and organizations hire me for a number of different things:

  • As a performance coach, individuals hire me who want to improve their results. Maybe it’s a real estate professional who wants to increase their income but doesn’t know what else they need to do.
  • Some clients need me to help them work through a psychological barrier such as anxiety or low self-confidence.
  • I’ve been contracted by companies struggling with personnel issues. Sometimes it’s a salesperson who isn’t performing at the level they used to and they want me to work with them to help them get back to where they were.
  • Other clients hire me for my digital marketing expertise. They want me to craft a plan or point their team in the right direction for a product launch, or simply to improve the results they’re currently getting.

The great aspect of being a consultant is that I get to meet some incredible people and live a fun lifestyle. The downside is that I can’t force someone to implement the advice I give them.

Heck, I’ve made the same mistake. I have hired dozens of professionals for advice, and sometimes I get in my own way. I’ll think I know better and then don’t follow the advice I paid for.

The Big Mistake People Make

What has my front-row seat to dozens of companies shown me? Many people with big titles are afraid to let go. They want to be Superman or Superwoman. They think that they can and should control almost every aspect of their businesses… Aspects that they have no business messing around with.

Example #1
A company in the tech industry contracts me to help them with a corporate rebrand and get their marketing updated. “The competition looks sexier than we do and people say our products look outdated.”

I hire a graphic designer who meets with the executive team, gets agreement from the CEO on color scheme and looks they like. Then, the designer comes back with a handful of designs. The CEO says, “let me take these home.”

The next week, the CEO says that he took the graphic designer mock-ups and re-drew his own logo by hand. He wanted the graphic designer to adapt HIS design.

What’s wrong with this? 
The CEO is a brilliant person who knows his craft. He’s not a graphic designer. How much time did he spend away from his family and his own work to create a logo? Not only was this an incredibly expensive task (think about the CEO’s hourly rate of pay), the logo wasn’t that great.

Example #2
I spoke with a copywriter who was hired by a small business owner to write a sales letter for his company. After spending several hours writing some solid copy, she presented it to the client. The owner said, “I don’t like this copy,” and re-wrote the entire piece himself. What’s the point of hiring a professional if you’re just going to do the work yourself?

This was a finance company. The owner’s expertise was the financial field – not the world of writing persuasive copy.

If you’re not happy with the work submitted by a contractor, give them your critique with specific items that need to be updated, and send them on their way to update it for you. Is this a pain in the butt? Yes! I hate having to go back-and-forth by email with someone working on a project for me. I also hate wasting time.

To stop everything you’re doing in order to do something that’s NOT in your area of expertise is a waste of time and money.

Why Do People Make This Mistake?

Finish this saying: If you want something done right, you should ______.

The saying says, it’s “do it yourself.” That’s a load of B.S.

If I want my house painted right, I’m hiring a painter. Why? I don’t know the first thing about painting a house properly. I don’t know the type of paint to use, whether I’d have to use a roller instead of a paint brush, and I don’t have the time to spend on a project like that.

Often times, we think that we’re Superman or Superwoman.

“I’m Stressed Out and Tired… No, I Don’t Want Help!”

I’ve seen this with stay-at-home Mom’s. They’ll have the financial means to afford help around their house, whether a nanny to help watch the children while Mom runs errands, or someone who can run errands for Mom.

Their husbands will complain, “My wife is stressed out, I want to hire someone to help take the burden off of her, but she won’t accept help!”

Many times it’s from this lie we’ll tell ourselves that if we can’t do something, it means we’re not good enough. False! It’s about using your time and resources efficiently. That stay-at-home Mom is an incredible mother.

Accepting help doesn’t mean she’s weak. It means she’s going to be able to be a better mother and wife because she’ll have more energy. She’ll be able to be more present with them instead of running around taking care of tasks that can easily be handed off to another person.

Your Most Valuable Commodity

In life, the most valuable thing we have is time. We can’t save it, can’t bank it, can’t create more of it. If you’re a business owner, you can’t afford to waste time on tasks that are outside of your area of expertise.

Do you notice areas in your business or life where you’re trying to take on too much? Not able to relinquish control? I encourage you to reflect upon how you handle day-to-day tasks and see if you’re taking on too much that you could realistically hand off to someone else.

Focus on what you’re good at. Stop working on the wrong things, and stay focused on working on the right things.

Want to Learn More?

I discuss examples in-depth on my podcast, which you can listen to on iTunes, on my podcast site, or you can watch by viewing the video below.

You can also set up a time to chat with me for a 30 minute complimentary consultation to learn some new tools that can help you achieve the results you desire.

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