It happens often: we decide we need to do something, or get inspired to do something, and then we get to what comes next – action.
Sometimes this is exciting, and we begin to start planning what needs to be done. And sometimes it’s overwhelming before we even get started. Regardless, it is a rare occasion when one first thinks, “I wonder who can help me make this happen?” No, that’s usually the last step – the step we take when we know it’s not going to happen unless someone else assists us.
This is usually not a good feeling. Asking for help at the end of a DIY downfall can be accompanied by feelings of failure, frustration, and shame. To avoid this, it can help to plan a project by thinking like an entrepreneur.
A good entrepreneur starts a project by deciding from the start which parts need to be delegated to others, which parts might need to be delegated, and which parts can be attempted by oneself in order to achieve timely success. And the key here is timely. It is unfortunate when one takes the DIY road so stubbornly that moving forward is halted while one attempts to figure everything out alone.
I’m not saying that the DIY route is bad – not at all. Learning how to do things yourself is empowering and can leave you with a sense of accomplishment. It can also increase self-confidence, and there is an opportunity to become more adept at certain skills. In these instances, going it alone can be a great experience. Doing It Yourself gets you in trouble, however, when you don’t have enough time to learn what you need to do, much less time to actually do it, and so the result becomes a frustrating state of stagnation. There comes a time when delegating to someone who can help you in a timely manner may become a better option. And if you’re a smart entrepreneur, you’ll think about whether that option has a bigger return on investment for you sooner or later depending on what needs to get done.
So, all of you entrepreneurs (I know, no one told you ‘Oh PS you’ll also need to be an entrepreneur’ when you first chose to be an artist) must ask yourselves some questions at the start of each project before embarking upon it. First, divide up the project/goal into things that need to be done, and then look at each component:
1. Is this something I enjoy doing?
2. Do I have the know-how to make this happen myself?
3. Do I have the time to make this happen myself?
4. Do I want to take the time to learn how to do this?
5. Is there someone who could do this as well as I could who might have more time?
6. Is there someone who could do a better job with this than me?
7. Could someone do this a lot faster than I could?
8. Can I invest in getting help with this?
Taking all of your answers to the above into consideration, decide whether you need to delegate. Especially #1 – nothing makes people feel more frustrated and/or burned out faster than getting stuck on something they hate doing.
It’s also important to check the ol’ ego at the door. For those of you with what I call ‘Smart Person Syndrome,’ you will probably have the hardest time. Smart people think they should be able to do almost anything with ease, and so asking for help feels like a sign of weakness or, even worse, a lack of intelligence. As someone who suffered from SPS, I can tell you that my DIY stubbornness led to many a frustrating experience. It took me a long time to realize that asking for help was not an admittance of defeat or a lack of aptitude; rather, it was the smartest thing I could possibly do. Getting someone who is faster or better at something to help you do it so you can move forward faster is brilliant – it’s allowing pride or ego to keep you from asking for help that’s a poor choice. So don’t let SPS stand in your way of asking for help and/or delegating. After all, if you take lessons in your craft, you’re already doing it – get out there and move forward faster!
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