Do You Carry “I Should Do It MYSELF!” Shame?

Design Concepts pencil drawing ideas

Reposted from Marina Darlow of Vision-Framework email, May 2017.

Here’s some great advice about our tendency to try to do everything ourselves. Marina has this to say:

Let’s talk for a sec about a particular kind of shame. The “I should be able to do it myself!” feeling. It can keep you stuck for ages – you should be able to do it yourself, but you don’t. And you won’t outsource or delegate, because you should be able to do it yourself. Welcome to a vicious circle.

I should be able to make scrambled eggs without burning the skillet.
I should be able to update my website without crashing it half the time.
I should be able to know how much I made last month.

Well, no.
No, you shouldn’t.
We aren’t in the Dark Ages anymore.

You don’t have to chop wood to heat your house. You won’t stay an old maid if you can’t cook. You don’t even have to be good at math, whatever they said in grade school.
Same is true for a business owner who cannot do her social media, or keep his books, or organize her schedule. You don’t have to be able to do all-the-things, all by yourself.

 For some reason (natural harmony? universal justice?) people with brilliant strengths, those with some unusual genius, tend to lack “basic skills”. And very often they are ashamed to admit it. Ashamed that their handwriting in school was so illegible, they were never given an A. Ashamed they can’t add seven and six and conclude to 13. Ashamed they avoid phone calls to service providers (the person in the last example one of the most successful people I’m friends with).

It’s a destructive and paralyzing kind of shame (wait, is there another kind? I’m trying to think up a action-spurring kind of shame. Help me out here, I’m coming up empty).

Well, as you can imagine, I call B.S. Let me illuminate my viewpoint with a few examples of true, recognized geniuses that are known for lacking some “really basic” skills:

  • J.K. Rowling admits she’s bad at math

  • Bruce Willis was stuttering(!) for the first twenty years of his life

  • Napoleon Hill couldn’t work in an office

  • Sir Richard Branson is famously dyslexic. Do you really think he did the proof-reading for Student magazine he started at 16?

 What’s NOT destructive and paralyzing?

Zero on a skill that you are really good at. Maybe you’re an incredible saleswoman (Hi Jennifer!). Maybe you create inspiring content at a breakneck pace, leaving the rest of us jealous and amazed. Maybe your coaching skills are so rare, they are life-changing.

Once you shine a light on your genius, it’s much easier to admit you are a sorry proof-reader. And then – let go.

Automate, delegate, or outsource.
Focus on the stuff that makes you feel powerful. The stuff that makes you happy. The very thing that made you start your own venture.

That’s it for today.
Go do amazing things!
Marina (Darlow)

Thanks, Marina! Now, all of you get out there and do amazing things. Actually, you’re already doing amazing things – bravo!

A Visit to Town Day

Arlington Massachuetts Town Day 2015

Town Day Crosswalk 2015

I walked to Arlington Town Day earlier this month. It was a nice ramble, in relatively decent weather. Most of my Town Day memories involve a lot of unseasonable heat. The crowds were there as before, but I thought I detected a bit of a breeze in the air.

Arlington has a very strong, active community and its local organizations – as well as its businesses – reflect that. I’m always amazed at the number of community organizations at Town Day, everything from student groups, to sister city initiatives, to sustainable life and development and more. Arlington’s small businesses are out in force as well, of course. Not surprisingly, I also ran into some of our member organizations.

Arlington Housing Corporation Pam Hallett
Pam Hallett of Arlington Housing Corporation

At some point I visited the Arlington Housing Corporation table and chatted a bit with its Executive Director (and AE member) Pam Hallett. Check out the work of the housing corporation if you hadn’t done so before. They do great work in the community and help make Arlington a more affordable, equitable place to live.

I also met the new Director of Libraries, Andrea Nicolay. I’m looking forward to seeing her again in my many trips to the Robbins Library (a/k/a “My second home”).

Andrea Nicolay New Director Robbins Library
Meet Andrea Nicolay, New Director of Libraries in Arlington

AE member Bob Sprague of YourArlington.com also made an appearance, along with his wife and local author, Marjorie Howard. Marjorie and fellow author Barbara Goodman are in the process of publishing  the book “Legendary Locals Arlington.” Be on the lookout for it!

There’s an arts area at Town Day, in front of the Jefferson Cutter house on Massachusetts Ave. It’s there I ran into Linda Shoemaker, Executive Director of the Arlington Center for the Arts. I just checked their website a moment ago and it looks like there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on: Arlington Open Studios in October, along with its regular lineup of courses and events.

AE Member Linda Shoemaker, Executive Director of the Arlington Center for the Arts
AE Member Linda Shoemaker, Executive Director of the Arlington Center for the Arts

Before finishing up, I thought I’d give a shout out to our Arlington business association neighbors, The Capitol Square Business Association and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. It’s good to know we’re all here and pulling together for the economic development of our town!

East Arlington's Capitol Square
East Arlington’s Capitol Square

 

Beth Locke, Director of the Chamber of Commerce
Beth Locke, Director of the Chamber of Commerce

Check out all that Arlington has to offer. It’s just a walk, bike ride or short walk away!

Skip to toolbar