Stir the conversation
Stir the conversation
Monday, May 22 | 2017

Embrace What You “Suck At”

One thing I have learned as an entrepreneur and human being is that I was wired a certain way from birth. Many things I naturally do well, and others I can achieve with study and practice. However, it is best to walk away from the tasks I won’t be able to complete effectively, and surround myself with people who can accomplish them efficiently, shoring up my weaknesses. Or in the case of an individual effort, like playing tennis, which I was just plain horrible at, I had to put that racket down.

Lessons from our Border Collies

 

1

I have always loved dogs, and rescuing dogs has been a passion and one of my causes. Certainly, I support animal rescue programs and always will. However, a few years ago, we decided we needed to bring Border Collies to our Double Heart Ranch in the Texas Hill Country. It was simply time to call in the experts. We added Boer goats to our livestock mix, along with the Texas Longhorn cattle. Border Collies are absolutely the preferred herding dogs (in our opinion) so we sought to find the best. The first thing I learned about Border Collie commands is the phrase, “Leave it.” That is tough when a Collie is staring down a squirrel or moving goats to another pen. However, a great Collie knows when she hears the command, “Leave it,” she must walk away and move on. Never looking back.

This lesson applies to business success stories and especially entrepreneurs. It is essential to let go and leave the things you do not do well and find people who excel at them. At first, you may say that you can handle all of the tasks to save money or to prove you are the best at your business. This is simply not true. When I started my business, I did the financial books. Mistake. So, I hired a CPA and soared !

One thing I have learned as an entrepreneur and human being is that I was wired a certain way from birth. Many things I naturally do well, and others I can achieve with study and practice. However, it is best to walk away from the tasks I won’t be able to complete effectively, and surround myself with people who can accomplish them efficiently, shoring up my weaknesses. Or in the case of an individual effort, like playing tennis, which I was just plain horrible at, I had to put that racket down.

Lessons from our Border Collies

My Border Collie herding

My Border Collie herding

I have always loved dogs, and rescuing dogs has been a passion and one of my causes. Certainly, I support animal rescue programs and always will. However, a few years ago, we decided we needed to bring Border Collies to our Double Heart Ranch in the Texas Hill Country. It was simply time to call in the experts. We added Boer goats to our livestock mix, along with the Texas Longhorn cattle. Border Collies are absolutely the preferred herding dogs (in our opinion) so we sought to find the best. The first thing I learned about Border Collie commands is the phrase, “Leave it.” That is tough when a Collie is staring down a squirrel or moving goats to another pen. However, a great Collie knows when she hears the command, “Leave it,” she must walk away and move on. Never looking back.

This lesson applies to business success stories and especially entrepreneurs. It is essential to let go and leave the things you do not do well and find people who excel at them. At first, you may say that you can handle all of the tasks to save money or to prove you are the best at your business. This is simply not true. When I started my business, I did the financial books. Mistake. So, I hired a CPA and soared!

Take an Honest Assessment

Whether you take a personality test (like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which I recommend) or if you just look at the man or woman in the mirror and face your weaknesses and embrace your strengths, this is the time to be honest with yourself.

I learned this the hard way. In my first job, many years ago, I was a failure because I was isolated in a cubicle and expected to create great advertising concepts. Another job down the road taught me that my style of leadership was collaboration and discussing ideas with my team members. Once I understood this, my career and later my company took off, because I hired people who could collaborate with me, but also see things from a different point of view. The best ideas come from a diversity of people and thinking.

If You Have a Hard Time, Ask a Trusted Friend

Many times it is hard to do an honest assessment of your capabilities. Hopefully you have a trusted friend or colleague to talk to. And, perhaps, you can reciprocate and do the same for them. This is not a harsh critique but a great way to unleash the powerful things you can do to build your company, family and community. It is also a productive way to learn to say “no.” By the way, Nelson Mandela once said that no is a complete sentence.

When you can match your strengths with a situation, you have hit the jackpot. Trying to shoehorn yourself in a situation that doesn’t match your abilities is a recipe for frustration and disaster. Avoid time- and energy-consuming battles with yourself, as you struggle to be a master of all things, and simply say no to tasks and responsibilities you are not suited for.

Embrace the greatness within you, and be your best today and every day. Your weakness is another’s strength. Let them contribute to solve those issues, and you both shine.

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