How Kenny Rogers Helped Me Overcome My "Delegation Phobia"

We're gonna talk about a BIG one today, DELEGATING.

For a lot of busyaholics this is a four letter word, whispered behind closed doors. Thought about, but never utilized.

You know the lyrics to "The Gambler," right?

If you’re gonna play the game, boy
(just insert WOMAN here!)
You gotta learn to play it right

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
— Kenny Rogers

You following me?

Kenny and Overcoming my Delegation Phobia

I find myself using Kenny Rogers' famous song, "The Gambler," to help me illustrate to my clients AND myself probably too many things, but today... how to overcome your delegation anxiety.

I also love to use this song as a metaphor for dating and relationships...but that's another story.

The cards you deal in delegating

I view two levels of delegating, the small stuff (tactical) and the big stuff (strategic). Both forms of delegating can be challenging for the busyaholic, and really for lots of people. Over the last year I’ve seen the power of delegating the small stuff and how it’s helped me make even more progress. But let’s talk about the big stuff. When you hire good people, delegating strategic projects to them both empowers them AND exponentially increases your focus and impact in your business and even your home and family life.

There’s always a but……

"I’m responsible for making every piece of my dream happen!"

Have you heard that hidden thought floating around in your mind ever? That feeling that every step, every action, every curve, either has to be done by you or can only be done by you. So, while it’s true we are absolutely 100% in charge of making our dreams come true, that doesn’t mean we have to do it alone. BUT for some of us busyaholics, having someone else do “our work” is either too big a risk, or just not possible because it won’t get done right, or we feel guilty or ashamed because we are "supposed to do it all."

And here’s the deal. You are capable of WAAAAAY more than you see now.

I don’t mean you avoid things that make you nervous or seem too hard to do, but actually, I kind of do. Why do those things that are not in your wheelhouse? Sometimes it’s great to do them because it expands your foundation. Sometimes it just isn’t a strength and it isn’t a strength you’re invested in developing. Sometimes it's just some mundane task that is stealing time away from you spending it with those you love.

Be clear on which it is you are choosing and why. And then either ask for help or find the right expert to do it for you.

It can really be anything, get creative - if money is a concern you can barter with someone and exchange help.

Some real life examples

One of my busy friends who has experienced health issues just hired a grocery service because she needed help shopping so that she could prepare a healthy family meal. She feels great about this.

Sometimes you have to let go, to grow.

Just last week, I took another big step in the area of managing my schedule versus being managed by it. I delegated two big pieces of my business to my Business Manager.

From now on she’ll run both projects and keep me updated on progress. This was difficult for me to get to because I love my businesses, and I want to nurture and take care of every aspect of them. Please note I said “I want to” not that “I always do.” :)

It took a lot of late nights and falling behind for me to finally increase my capacity by delegating strategic pieces of my business. I’m still involved, I’m still shaping it, but I’m no longer driving all the work. Not only does this free up my calendar, it also frees up brain space. It helps me focus on my priorities, on my creative process, and oh yeah — on having more free time to enjoy my life outside of work! You know I love my work, but recovering buyaholics need to pay attention to work-life balance.

Delegating is one of the busyaholics BFFs

As busyaholics we have lots of ideas and things we want to make happen, and we also sometimes think we are the only ones to make it happen. This puts us in a position of figuring out how to pack all of our work onto our schedule, rather than figuring out how to create a productive manageable schedule.

Do you see the difference in the goals here?

One is working really hard to get everything you have to do on your schedule, essentially holding a full deck of cards and just shuffling them. One is defining your work hours, knowing your priorities, saying no and delegating; dealing yourself a subset of those cards and putting the rest down.

It’s hard to let go of things. Too much is still too much if we don’t do some editing. Like Kenny says, "Know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away..."

To trust someone else to take the lead can be scary. And, of course, you want to ensure you have talented and competent people working with you to delegate to. My experience is, even though I have such good intentions and commitment to all of my priorities (top priorities and otherwise), I don’t always do a good job staying on top of them and keeping the project in motion.

Then things stay on my list longer and begin to drag and I begin to feel stressed about their dragging, while I try to pick up another card from my deck and add it to my already full hand.

The Power of Intentional Focus

Back to the power of what I call “intentional focus.” Your goal is to apply your skills and brain space to manage the cards in your hand. You love your deck of cards. You want ALL of them to be on the table one day, but you are intentionally choosing just those you are holding. And intentionally delegating or NOT choosing the rest. For now.

What you can do now

Small steps. What is one thing you are doing that you could either delegate or drop for the sake of your dreams? It could be a tactical or strategic size item. Try working together with people to make things happen versus doing it all on your own.

If you want to play more with what is between you and delegating click here and set up a free 30 minute Mini Session to explore how our thinking impacts our actions and how powerful you really are in creating in your life.

Here's some Kenny just for fun and inspiration:

Kenny Rogers image Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.