Back at Uni, I hated winters:
for 3 endlessly long months, I’d be surrounded by fellow students, who, rather than deal with the sniffles by blowing their nose into a handkerchief like they taught you in “you’ve now left the swamp, and you can climb on trees”-school, they’d be performing their rhythmical “snot reverse osmosis” concert in unison.
and for years, I thought this was the worst thing in the world (brussels sprouts are in a separate category…. obviously) until one day I find out, things can get worse:
my boss Jerome teams me up with Bruno.
(this is around 2006, and I’m still stuck in in the parallel Universe of cubicles)
Now, let me tell you about Bruno:
Bruno doesn’t just love rules & regulations, this guy eats, drink, breathes rules & regulations.
Thinking about it: Bruno IS rules and regulations.
If there is a way or just a glimmer of a reason for creating some new rules, all meticulously documented of course, then Bruno will.
So, the 1-page outline – preferably handscribbled on the back of a napkin – I had in mind for a new project turns into a stack of documents.
And when I say ‘stack’, I mean a stack so high, it should be added to any serious mountaineer’s “must do before you die” list of peaks to be climbed.
The one I remember ever so fondly is the “architecture document” – which, if I remember correctly, is the guide to which tick-boxes to use in the document that says how to lay out the document that’s going to almost really say what we’re going to say. (the handscribbled napkin in a simpler Universe).
So, with Bruno’s help, my life turns into a nightmare of SOPs (standard operating procedures), tick-boxes galore and half the trees in the Amazon forest chopped down to keep that laser-printer busy printing out …. well, what should’ve been scribbled on the back of a napkin.
Or should it?
Here’s the thing: as much as I ‘enjoyed’ working with Bruno (in hindsight, my boss did the right thing, and I’m grateful for it, even if it resulted in short-term pain;-) – it gave me one big, life-changing insight:
the stuff you don’t enjoy doing, you shouldn’t be doing!
Instead you should have someone else do it – ideally of course someone who enjoys doing it.
Think about it:
Most readers of this blog are solo-preneurs – meaning: most are doing pretty much all the jobs that are needed to build their business or keep it running.
When you encounter an obstacle, what do you do?
You bang your head against it repeatedly, or harder and harder.
You try to go around it, over it, under it, through it (watch out for the bear!)
You may even – if you consider yourself a ‘strategic entrepreneur’ – buy a course that teaches you how to solve that one problem.
Which is all very well if 2 things are in place:
- that course helps you enhance one of your existing strengths (aka: you already enjoy this particular thing)
- the solution to the problem is an event, not a process.
The first one should be obvious, the second one (event vs process) we’ll tackle in a future post.
But for now, let’s return to this main take-away and ever so gentle wake-up call by Jerome:
whenever you find something that’s really, really annoying, it’s probably something you should absolutely have done for you, but not do yourself.
I personally absolutely had to look at systematizing everything I’m doing – otherwise it would forever be a semi-documented mess on the back of napkins.
However, there was no way I should’ve done it myself – maybe going as far as *helping* to create the system (in the sense of giving an input where it’s supposed to go), but definitely not executing the system myself!
That part in itself may be obvious, but what’s probably not so obvious (in fact, I know it’s not obvious) is that whenever you encounter a Bruno-situation, it’s a subtle hint that this is probably you should put right up to the top of your “absolutely must do this week” list.
(well, ok, your “absolutely must HAVE DONE this week” list)
More likely than not, it’s one of the biggest obstacles that’s holding you back more than anything else.
And for this insight alone I’m eternally gratful to my former boss Jerome and Mr Systems, er, Bruno…
So, what gets YOUR toenails curling more than a SNIFFSLUUURRP-concerto, what’s YOUR Bruno-situation that’s holding you back more than anything else? What’s the one thing you’re telling yourself it really, really sucks, but when you think about, maybe, just maybe it’s something that should really get done … by someone else?