Stop Controlling and Allow Your Business to Grow
How to master the art of letting go
Many entrepreneurs face an ongoing internal battle when it comes to letting go and delegating certain tasks and projects to others. If you find yourself keeping a five finger death grip on every decision and project, you’re probably your own worst enemy.
When you first launched your startup, you needed to have your hands in everything that went on. But if your ultimate goal involves scaling your business beyond startup and into a full-fledged company, you need to master the art of letting go.
Mindfulness Over Multitasking – The Key to Success
By now, you’ve probably heard or read about the harmful effects of multitasking on just about, well, everything – including the health of your business. Multitasking doesn’t help you get more done. In reality, it causes you to scatter your focus and constantly shift mental gears. In effect, you’re working harder, certainly not smarter.
In contrast to the disaster of multitasking, mindfulness involves taking on one task, one thought, one action at a time. Not only will you perform at a higher level and make better decisions, mindfulness can improve your capacity to cope with change and manage stress.
But, in order to practice mindfulness in your work life, you’ve got to let go and delegate.
Why Is Letting Go so Hard?
Let go. Delegate. Why is it so hard for small business owners like you? A couple of reasons come to mind.
- Control seems to somehow give you peace of mind.
- When you’re in control, you feel free. When you relinquish control feelings of frustration and even anger may emerge.
- Control gives you a feeling of security.
Chances are, if you’re a control freak at work, you probably exhibit the same behaviors in your personal life. It all comes down to fear – fear of what might happen if you give some of the control over to another person. After all, your business is like your baby and no one can love and nurture your baby the way you can. Wrong. It’s hard to face it, but it’s the truth.
Now that you’ve faced the cold, hard truth, it’s time to get to work at not working so much.
Kill Your Inner Control Freak to Awaken the Slumbering Leader
As your business grows, daily tasks to support operations increase as well. You take on what seems like an ever-increasing number of projects and tasks. The scope of your responsibilities widens so much; keeping up with it all becomes impossible. This can lead to overwhelm, longer hours, tightening that grip on control even more.
At this point, something has to change or you, and your baby (business), will crash and burn.
Five ways to empower yourself and others by letting go:
- Face your fear. Know that when you begin delegating, not everything will get done exactly the way you would have done it. That’s ok. In fact, by allowing others to find new ways to do things, you empower them to perform better for you and your business.
- Take honest inventory of things only you can do. Ask yourself if someone else could complete this project with acceptable results. Ask yourself if all of your new responsibilities keep you from performing the critical, high-value activities of a business owner.
- Defer to others as often as possible. Think of deferring, as delegating’s close cousin. When you delegate, you hand off responsibilities already on your radar. Deferring involves passing tasks and work off to appropriate parties before they ever get on your to-do list. Outsourcing social media, executive administrative duties, travel planning, and similar responsibilities to a virtual assistant represents one example of smart deferral.
- Develop a reliable follow-up system. When you delegate duties that directly impact how others perceive you or your brand — such as a presentation or social media marketing campaign — it’s critical that you receive status reports on progress. You might use project management software so that you can view progress and get notified at certain milestones. Or, you could simply use a shared Google Drive task list.
- Just say no to taking back control. Paradoxically, letting go of control actually gives you better, more consistent control. You may start wavering if a final project result simply doesn’t meet your standards. You may experience frustration, anger, and the fear that makes you want to get your death-grip working again. Resist the urge. Instead, investigate what went wrong and help those who worked on the project understand what went wrong.
There’s an easy way and a hard way to everything in life. If you make yourself busier than necessary, you run the risk of trading a meaningful life for a barren existence of busy-ness. Smash the control freak and lead by delegating, instead.
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“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.” ~Andrew Carnegie