One of the hardest lessons I had to learn, and I still struggle with today, is not doing everything for my family. When my son was younger, I might have done things to save time. Some of my family is not very technically savvy so, as I am on my computer for the better part of every day, I was asked to perform certain tasks.
It was a matter of convenience. It was easier if I just did the tasks.
It would not take me as long, I was more versed in the arena or I had more time to complete it since it would take them much longer to complete it.
Guess what – that is a big load of cow manure.
It is a huge disservice for everyone involved.
I received several “binkies” from my baby showers. I don’t know what you call those little mouth plugs we give to infants but around here we call them binkies.
I remember him sitting in his swing one day and being a little fussy so I thought we would give the binkie a try. I popped it in his mouth and as soon as I sat back down he looked at me and spit it out. So I got up and gave it to him again. Again, he waited until I sat down and looked at me and spit it out. We were done with the binkie. The way I looked at it is one less bad habit I would have to break later.
I wish I had the same wisdom when it came to doing for others.
When he was younger I might have done tasks for him or completed them for him as a matter of convenience. Let me also admit here that I am not the most patient person in the world. But what happened was as he grew up it became an expectation.
I was expected to complete not just past tasks, but any tasks for him if he didn’t want to do them. Becaue I was Mom, that is what I did. Same for family members. I would help out and then it became an expectation.
The problem with this is once you realize the expectation and the true disservice that you are doing, it is damn near impossible to break the habit.
When you first deny the person you immediately get resistance. They may think you are joking, or mad at them. I mean, why else would you not do it? When you put your foot down and say no, hostility can very easily crop up from them.
You have always done it before. It isn’t like it is a big deal for you. You are being selfish. You aren’t being supportive of your family. Nowhere in their reality do they ever see it as an imposition or using of you. This is partially your fault – you set the stage. I am fully responsible for the bad habits I instilled in my family.
I didn’t always handle this change in dynamics well. I have very hard-headed, stubborn and sometimes short-sighted family members. Hey, I am not judging, I can be one of them. So when I started saying no there was a lot of resistance. The calm talks, explanations and flat out no’s were not received well nor did they sink in.
I had to take quite a loud and drastic stance. A couple yelling sessions and a couple breakdowns were involved. It wasn’t pretty nor was it fun. I just kept telling myself that I had accountability in this so I had to just suck it up and stick to my guns.
Yes, I was being selfish because here are a couple of cold hard truths:
– If I don’t take care of myself how can I possibly be at my best to take care of anyone else?
– What makes me think I can solve everyone else’s problems by taking them on?
You see, when I kept trying to do all for everyone else it was sucking the life out of me. I was becoming distracted, short tempered, exhausted and just a lot of things I did not like. My family noticed I was not myself, but could not connect the dots as to why.
I have come a long way with this, but I still have a ways to go – personally that is.
Professionally, I have a hard fast rule: You have to have skin in the game or we will not be working together. Prospects will ask me how successful I am, they want to know how many people have gotten jobs based on working with me. My reply is simple:
I am 100% successful. I provide my clients with what they need; however it is up to my clients to use this information and put it into practice to reach their goals.
I cannot take all credit for my clients’ successes, nor do I take all responsibility for their failures. There are some that will have all the best tools but never take them out of the box.
That is the best thing I can do for my clients. I can provide them with the most fantastic resume, LinkedIn profile, interview or network coaching but I cannot perform the actions necessary for them to succeed. They must be involved in the process of these things in order that they can fully engage in them and take full ownership.
In my process I incorporate a method of teaching. I will finalize their resume for the first position that they want to target. For the second target I have them make the revisions and then we go through them. I transition the process to them, giving them coaching and guidance, in order for them to take full ownership and move on without me.
I cut the cord, I kick them out of the nest.
That is an important part of my job – not just give them the tools they need, but teach them how to use them.
When you are evaluating hiring a professional to hire you in any activity for improvement do not sell yourself short and expect them to do it all for you.
Would you hire a personal trainer and expect that by watching them work out you will get in better shape?
Would you hire a dietitian that tells you what foods to eat and outline a change in your eating behaviors but not incorporate the changes yourself?
When you take ownership of or within a project you take accountability and are more engaged in the process to ensure you reach a successful outcome. The outcome you want. The outcome you help create.
When you expect others to do the work for you then you are giving up your control and creating an opportunity for blame. You get an outcome that is decided for and given to you.
I saw a quote the other day that I think applies perfectly: you can have results or excuses but not both.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Coach & Brand Strategies
Certified Professional Resume Writer