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4 Steps To Freedom: When Firing Yourself Is The Smartest Thing To Do


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Why You Should Fire Yourself

Many entrepreneurs—and even team leaders and team members—fall into a trap that, at Strategic Coach, we call “Rugged Individualism.”

This is the belief that we can do it better ourselves. So instead of firing ourselves from a task we actually dislike doing and aren’t even very good at, we resist handing it off to someone who loves doing it and will do it much better than we can.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like spending time in my incompetent areas. It’s painful, I don’t feel capable, and I don’t produce the results I’m looking for.

“Fire yourself from the tasks that you dislike and that take time better spent on growth.”
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Did you become an entrepreneur to be “adequate”?

Out of necessity in the early days of being a business owner, many of us trained ourselves by the brute force method to do activities we’re not suited for.

These are the areas we want to take a close look at because they’re the ones that use up more of your time than you probably think, that get done just adequately, and that hold you back from the things you really should be focusing on to continually be growing your business.

As you grow and become more successful, this is a limiting strategy that will not work. Instead, why not try these 4 steps to always be growing:

1. Make a list that’ll shake up your thinking.

Write down all the activities you’re currently doing that you dislike doing, are bored with, know you’re not very good at, and that you just wish would go away. These often include things you procrastinate about getting done, and doing them usually worsens your mood. This list could be two or three things, or it could be 30 things. Take my word for it: You’ll have no trouble at all coming up with activities!

This list tells you all the things you need to fire yourself from.

2. Free yourself up … or hit a no-growth ceiling.

You might be feeling right now that you need to justify stepping away from the activities on your list. You’ve always done them, and you’ve become okay with that. You may not have anyone in the wings wanting to take them over. Or the habit may be so ingrained that you don’t even think about it anymore, which is likely the number one culprit.

The danger with this Rugged Individualist thinking is that at some point, you’re going to hit a ceiling. This is the point at which you can’t work any longer, and you can’t work any harder. You’re essentially at a standstill in terms of growth.

At some point, you have to look at this illogical situation you’ve put yourself in and ask, “What is holding us back?” That’s when you go back to your list, get resourceful, and ask yourself, “How could I possibly free myself from doing this?”

If you have big aspirations to make an even bigger impact and contribution in the world, to break through the ceiling, you have to be prepared to adopt a new strategy.

3. Embrace teamwork … and gain new capabilities.

When you make the decision to move on to what we call Unique Ability Teamwork—where each person is doing what they love to do and are best at, continually getting better and better at it—you acknowledge that you can no longer do everything or even the few tasks you’re still doing and shouldn’t be.

Building a Unique Ability Team to support you and your vision for your company isn’t a quick fix, but every person you hire makes a difference. And don’t forget about part-time help, outsourcing, and technology. In fact, the number of online resources entrepreneurs have access to now is staggering.

As you delegate, everything you free yourself up from allows you to have new capabilities you never had before. But you can’t access those until you fire yourself from the things you shouldn’t be doing.

What I focus on is, how do we get more done, and how do we get freed up from those things we’re not good at?

4. Search out new partnerships … human and technological.

At Strategic Coach, some brilliant developers on our team have written an app that helps our Program Advisors schedule appointments with their clients. Since their role is to be in workshops with clients or on the phone talking with clients, scheduling can be difficult. With the app, the client follows a link to their Program Advisor’s calendar, chooses an open time slot, and it’s done. Can you imagine the back-and-forth time and frustration saved on both sides?

Strategic Coach founder Dan Sullivan says this about technology: “Technology is actually automated teamwork.” It’s all teamwork: Some just happens to be programmed, and some of it happens to be with human beings.

An eye-opening example.

Here’s a client example you might relate to. This client was thinking about hiring an assistant, originally part-time. The amount he told me he’d have to pay a full-time assistant to do scheduling and administrative support was about $2,500 to $3,000 a month. It’s not an onerous amount to pay someone in this position, but it was an expense he wasn’t used to having.

When I asked him how much this would free him up from the tasks this person would take on, and how much more revenue he would be able to generate if he could focus on doing what he does best, his answer floored even me: $25,000 to $30,000 a month. The minute he said it, the look on his face told me he got it.

Not too many relatively safe investments produce an ROI like that! Could you, like this client, be thinking only about the cost of hiring or adopting a new technology and not about the opportunities it could open up for you?

The results of investing in a person or in technology are that the task will be done better, it’ll be done faster, and it’ll be a lot less expensive than doing it yourself.


Get out of your own way and do what you love.

It’s pretty amazing when we look at how successful we can become despite doing activities we’re not great at. Imagine the possibilities that open up when we fire ourselves and get out of our own way. It’s the possibilities that make us, and everyone around us, so much happier and more productive.

One of the best things you can do in your business is to free people up to do what they do best and love doing, you included. When you do this, you also free up creativity, innovation, excitement, and engagement—all hallmarks of a great and successfully growing company.

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About the Author

Shannon Waller, Entrepreneurial Team Strategist, is a natural collaborator who instinctively saw that a thriving Unique Ability® Team can strengthen their entrepreneur, the business, and themselves. A win-win-win. Go, team, is Shannon’s rallying cry.

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