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How Free Days Keep You On Your Side Of “The Line”



In one of my previous blog posts, I wrote about the importance of staying on your side of the line when it comes to your involvement in your business—the side that engages your Unique Ability. The other side of the line is the “stuff”—all the energy-draining details and demands that keep you from making use of your talents, making a difference for your clientele, and making money.

One of the very best ways to get good at staying on your side of the line … is to leave. Get out of town. Take Free Days.

In my experience coaching entrepreneurs and their teams for 20 years, I’ve seen that a lot of business owners don’t take Free Days because they’re afraid that “while the cat’s away, the mice will play” and nothing will get done.

In reality, the team is thrilled when you take time off, but not for the reasons you think. They like your being away because:

  1. You come back the way they like you: rested and calm, rejuvenated and creative —not grumpy and reactive.
  2. They can get their work done because you’re not interrupting them. (Admit it: We all interrupt our team members.)
  3. They get to be a hero to you—using their Unique Ability, achieving things, and proving how very capable they are.

Dan Sullivan has a fabulous expression: “You don’t know how good your team is until you leave.” My corollary: Your team doesn’t know how good they are until you leave!

So there are lots of good reasons to take time off. You come back refreshed, rejuvenated, excited, and with lots of new ideas for the business. Your team members get to say, “Hey, this is taken care of, we solved that problem, and the building didn’t burn down.”

When you see that all these things are getting handled without you by intelligent, engaged people who love what they’re doing, you might ask, “What’s my purpose here again?” Well, that’s a great question because it leads you back to your Unique Ability. And that’s where you really belong in your business.

The bottom line here is, don’t meddle. Don’t cross the (Unique Ability) line. If you do it once, twice, or sporadically, your team will shut down because they won’t know when you’re going to jump back in and start micromanaging again.

Instead, build up your confidence in the team you’ve put in place—whether it’s virtual, remote, or in-house. Communicate a vision you’re really sold on, set the context for projects, share your expectations clearly, and leave the lines of communication open so that your team can ask for help if they don’t understand what you’re asking for or how to do it. No “drive-by delegations,” please! Likewise, let them know how much information you need back from them about what they’re doing so you can feel informed but not involved. Having regular update meetings and dashboards so your team can “close open files” for you are vital to your confidence. Practice being in charge rather than in control.

With all this working for you, you’ll benefit from incredible collaboration and cooperation from your team members. And all you need to do is stay on your side of the line!

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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