Much like you, I imagine, I’m always trying to raise things to the next level. Professionally, personally – whatever it is, it could be better than it is now.
I want to be a faster runner so I download apps and training plans, buy a heart rate monitor, and if I could, I’d hire a coach, and hey, while I’m at it, a personal chef to cook me meals that would not only help me lose weight but would also be designed specifically to make me faster.
It’s pretty much my first reaction when I have a goal: I need to go buy things and hire people to help me get there.
As I ponder my business and how to scale it, the same comes to mind. I’m not exactly sure how to get from here to there so I need help. Which is funny because it’s what I help brands do: Get from here to there. It’s more embarrassing than funny, actually and I didn’t want to admit my problem, when I realized it’s OK to get outside perspective. Hair stylists get their hair done. Psychologists still go to therapy. We shouldn’t always attempt to do for ourselves what we do for others. In fact, I’ve always liked the idea of being the dumbest person in the room, surrounding myself with smart people.
So I took a leap and hired a consultant. It was a big decision I contemplated for a few months. I did it with the excited feeling of investing in my business. This is the “key” to taking me to the next level. It’s going to be rays of sunshine and golden flutes of champagne on the white sand beach after this. The light will shine brighter; the path will open before me, and in my ruby slippers, I’ll step forth into success and adulation. Oh! I’ll even write a blog post about how important it is to invest in your business and hire people smarter than you to achieve what you want. You can’t do this alone.
Which is true. No big success story happens without a strong team in place and without help along the way.
But maybe it won’t go as planned. Maybe the rays of sunshine aren’t peaking through. You wake up in the morning and you’re disappointed. Because you have no eggs for breakfast. Why? Because you put them all in someone else’s basket, that’s why. So you go through (hopefully a brief) mourning period believing your dreams have been dashed. Until you realize you have it in you and you take your goddamned eggs back.
And you think about it and make your own plan and act on it and stuff starts happening. Whatever stuff it is -it’s happening on it’s own because you’re making it happen – not because you found the “key” – the one thing you needed – there is no “key.”
My husband managed restaurants for many years. One of the first things he did when he got into management was spend some time behind the line cooking, understanding how the kitchen works, and learning how to make everything on the menu. What if the chef should walk out in the middle of the shift one night? He could run the front of the house no problem, but it was the kitchen that made him nervous and he didn’t want the chef to have him by the balls.
Maybe your “key” isn’t a real person. Maybe it’s an excuse. Or a tool: “I need to have <insert expensive consultant, technology or other excuse> to get where I want to go. I can’t do it without.” Or it’s a situation: “I can’t do this until after…. <fill in the blank>.”
We all have to rely on people and things every single day – I’m not advocating off-grid, total self-sufficiency here. When my technology starts to fail, productivity plummets. But hey, I carry three backups for my powerpoint remote control in case one lets me down. I choose the people upon whom I rely carefully, and I carry my own basket of eggs.
Craig McBreen says
I choose people carefully too and I always have a contingency plan, but that’s because I’m a freak 😉 Funny, I’m thinking about several projects where I might need to bring in some outside help because I am my own worst client 😉
Also … imagine all the people who’ve wasted money hiring consultants. They expect someone to work magic, but they’re not willing to do the work themselves.
Lisa Gerber says
I’m a big fan of getting outside help and working with people who are smarter than you but sometimes you have to realize you’re trying to take the easy way out. And I think that’s what happened to me in this situation. I thought it would change everything, when *I* have to change everything. And it’s funny you said that about being your worst client. I often say to clients “do as i say, not as I do.” Since I don’t do a lot of the things I tell them to do. Sigh. 🙂
Frank Traylor says
Such important truth in this post. I often find answers simply through engagement with others. The value of others is to build your own intuition. If it doesn’t come from within, whether you inherently knew the answer, a light bulb went on, or you heard something that resonated, it’ll never stick and won’t be useful in building your life.
Lisa Gerber says
This is so true, Frank. For one,you have been a HUGE help and it’s the key- talk about stuff and get outside perspective. Light bulbs definitely go off. And I owe you some emails. Even a phone call!! 🙂
Skip Prichard says
Lisa, I agree with Frank as there is much truth here. Thank you for sharing your experience. I often wrestle with that – when do you need outside help and when do you need to power through something on your own, so I appreciate reading your story.
Lisa Gerber says
Thanks, Skip, (7 days later)! Thanks for the comment.