The importance of learning to delegate
Ep. 277
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power of delegation

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In this episode, I discuss a powerful concept: doing less to live a life you truly enjoy. We’re bombarded with messages about work-life balance and the need to prove ourselves through constant productivity. But it’s time to challenge these notions. The key is to learn how to do less and reject these toxic beliefs. I dive into the benefits of delegating tasks and question why we’re so hesitant to ask for help. Listen to reclaim your life, embrace the idea of doing less, and find joy and fulfillment in the process.

Show Transcript
Hey! Welcome to Lessons from a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you've spent getting to where you are. If ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.
Hello my friends and welcome to another episode. I'm so excited you are here. I just recorded this whole episode and then my computer didn't save it, so now I'm rerecording, which I love.
For me, this has only happened like two other times out of 200 and what, like almost 70 episodes. So I guess I should be okay with it and yet I'm not. It is what it is. My computer is acting up and I'm really hoping that it saves this one. So we're gonna try this again. It's actually a good thing because I realized when I finished recording it last time, there were so many other things I wanted to say, so I, now I get another shot.
Anyways, onto the episode, how are you all? I have been, well, I have been fighting some kind of cold allergy situation where I've lost my voice and cough for the last three weeks, so I'm glad to have a voice back.
I didn't have one last week, which is why we went back with a replay episode. I obviously do wanna still play a lot of episodes that I think are really important, but I am happy to have my voice back and back be back with you guys, especially for really, an extremely important episode on delegating and why I wanna convince you all to delegate as much as possible.
Here's the thing, if, you know, if you've been around here for any little while, you know that I talk a lot about society and the beliefs that we've been programmed with, whether that's culture, like religion, hustle, culture, capitalism, patriarchy, all of it. All of it has conditioned us to be, think a certain way. We don't just wake up and just naturally have these thoughts of like, I should do more. It has been messages that you have internalized from when you were born and these messages are so deep seated and it's really important to see them to realize.
A lot of times we think like, oh, I just like getting things done. I just like crossing off things off my to-do list. There's a reason you don't like, you know, crossing off written words on a paper doesn't do anything for anyone. It's simply because we have been given so many beliefs about our self worth being tied to our productivity that when we think we are being productive, we get to think really good thoughts about ourselves. We get to think that we are a good person. We get to think that we're doing okay in the world, like we're acting like an adult or whatever it is, and then we get to feel good. And so in order to be okay with resting, with not being burned out, with not being exhausted all the time, we have to change those beliefs. We have to understand that we are still a good person even if we're not doing, doing, doing all the time. And so this is a topic that I talk about a lot and we've mostly talked about it like with respect to how to do less. I've taught a class on that. I talk about that a lot in my membership, the Quitter Club. And I've done a podcast episode on it.
It's my belief that if you want to have a life that you actually enjoy, if you wanna have a life that you love, if you wanna have a career you love, we have to all learn how to do less because we are all doing way too much. And I think that for so many of us, we get obsessed with this idea of like work-life balance and productivity hacks and figuring out how do we balance it all and how do we create, you know, these different pockets of time to make sure we give ourselves to different areas of our life. And I think that it ignores the fact that you just cannot maintain the level at which we are all running for decades and decades and still have a life that is conducive with peace and happiness and calmness and not stress. We have all been extremely programmed to believe that our worth, our self-worth is tied to how much we do to how productive we are.
It starts with, you know, the Puritan work ethic and kind of the religious undertones that we have in our countries… That really equates hard work with godliness. And you know, there's tons of messages like, the, what is it, the devil's playground, like idle Hands or the Devil's Playground. Like all of these thoughts like slothfulness is a sin, right? We have been really trained to believe that the more we are working, the harder we are working, the more we are closer to salvation, to proving that we are a good person. Now you add onto that hustle culture and capitalism. And obviously capitalism is, benefits from all of us believing that the more productive we are, the better we are. And so you get sayings like, I'll sleep when I die, work hard, play hard, and all these other tropes that we have that like if you go really hard, then that somehow makes you a better person.
That makes you admirable, that makes us look up to you, right? We love these stories of like people 30 under 30 and people achieving these really huge successes and working really hard and underdog stories because we like this idea of people that are showing like inhuman like levels of strength and work and work ethic and all these things.
And so for most of us, we're constantly trying to run on this treadmill of like proving that we're good enough. Now if you look at women, we again added a layer, thank you patriarchy to that myth, right? Women have been socialized from when we were born that our value comes from how we can give to other people. Like all of our value is based on our relations with other people. How we give to our spouses, to our children, to anybody like we are, we're more care.
You know, we're seen as being more of caregivers because we are taught that that is where we are valuable when we can give and give and give. And so we do and we take on all of these things to try to keep proving like I have value. Look, I am a worthy person. I am a good person, I am a hardworking person, right? Which is why for so many of us in this society, we may not notice it, but we wear busyness as a badge of honor. Everybody is busy. Everywhere you go, everyone's busy. The first thing people say like, how how's it going? Ugh, busy. You know, like so busy. And if busyness had a bad connotation, like let's say if, if you were busy it meant you didn't know how to manage your time, we wouldn't all be touting it. We wouldn't all be going around like proclaiming it.
We would have shame around it, right? But we don't. There's this level of like, so important. Look at me, I'm doing all the things right. I'm a good mom, I'm a good wife, I'm a good employee. When they say jump, I say how high I do all the things. And especially for women, this standard, this really impossible standard has been set because not only did we fight for the right to work and kind of have our own careers, that didn't change kind of the expectations of how much we give in domestic labor. And so we didn't like shift. We are now seeing more of a shift, but it's not as though we shifted and now there's like an equal division of domestic labor. It just became like, okay, you just take on more. And then even on top of that, just the ideas that we have for women of like the quote unquote good mother.
You know, I've talked about this before. Like there's studies that stay-at-home. Moms in the sixties spent less time with their children than working moms now because there's Pinterest and there's Instagram and everything we're supposed to do. And so we all just keep taking on more and more and more to keep proving that we're good, that we're good enough, that we're worthy. And so when we talk about this idea of work-life balance or really like for so many of us, I see so many people, so many of us in our this society are just so exhausted. We're all so burned out because we're running at a million miles an hour. We're running on this hamster wheel and it feels like we're not getting anywhere. It's like I'm constantly doing, it never slows down. There's never not a busy season. I'm constantly going and yet I can never take the foot off the gas.
I can never stop. Like when do I get to enjoy this? When do I get to rest? I was read, recently reading a book called On Our Best Behavior by Elise Loin. That's incredible. And it's really all about women and how the patriarchy has really conditioned us to believe really harmful things. And in one of it, when she's talking about like this sin of so thoughtfulness and how it permeates a lot of our psyches, she was saying like the, the, basically the, the message that we've gotten is you should do more. We're, I'm gonna read a quote from it. She says, you should do more. We're told because through the face of work you'll climb a mountain built from your own talent and then be able to look back and survey the summation of your life, your worth. And we believe this that like if I just keep working hard enough, at some point I'm gonna look back and I can like breathe a sigh of relief and look at everything I've created and then know that I'm worthy.
And it just doesn't work like that, right? Like we have to really understand that all of this stuff was made up. That the way that humans have evolved was not meant to be like this. Like we had involved in tribes, we've evolved in villages, we'd evolved in communities where everything was done together, where cooking and cleaning and raising children and hunting and gathering and everything was done with multiple hands. And yet now we've created this society that's very individualistic and you're kind of, we're all within our own nuclear family like homes and we're expected to do everything for everybody. And there's a reason we're all so burned out. And so if you want to be able to have a life where you can actually enjoy it, where you can actually like breathe a little bit of a sigh of relief, you have to learn how to do less.
You have to learn how to reject these narratives and this this toxic programming. And I think that we obviously have seen a shift, like we've seen a shift away from hustle culture, but we really have to understand how deep it goes into every aspect of our psyche into all of our religion and our, you know, family homes. And like just notice the messages that you were probably raised with if you came from a working class family. If your parents really valued hard work, think about how you would, you were maybe treated if you slept in or if you took a nap or if you, you know, were thought of as quote unquote lazy. Like we all received a lot of these messages. And so in you have to work it on doing that. Otherwise you will continuously keep running on this treadmill and you'll never get quote unquote there–no matter how much you do, your brain will tell you there's more you can do, right?
As soon as maybe work becomes a little bit more doable, you're like well maybe I should bake the cookies for the PTA meeting or maybe I should volunteer to go on the field trip or maybe I should decorate my house for the holidays because that's what everyone in my neighborhood's doing. And you have to be able to catch this and really ask yourself like why am I doing this? And so I've talked about on other episodes the fact that the first line of defense is just really doing less. It's just cutting out things, okay? Like things that you don't want to do. You need to ask yourself why am I doing this? And here's a better question. What do I get to think about myself if I do this? Because that's what we're after, right? If my house is decorated for the holidays like everybody else on the block, then what do I get to believe about myself?
I get to believe that I'm like a good mom, right? And I'm creating magical memories for my kids and that I'm good at as good as everybody else. They won't judge me. 'cause if I don't do it, then I'm gonna think I must be terrible or there's something wrong with me. Or why can't I just get it together? Or why did everyone else, why was everyone else able to do this and I can't, right? And so you wanna know like if that's the reason I'm doing this, then maybe it's working on my thoughts instead of actually doing this thing. Because I, I promise you, once you've decorated the house, you're onto the next thing your brain's like, well you should have been able to put together a holiday party or a ginger house making party for your kids. Or you should have volunteered to help throw the holiday party at work. Or you should have, you know, whatever made it more special in some way because we have now created this thing where we look for what else should I do? What else can I do? How else can I prove? And when we put it down and realize I don't have to prove anything, me doing this stuff doesn't prove anything.
And so I've talked about this in other episodes about how to do less and I do think that's where you start is like what are the things I don't want to do? I don't want to take my kids to 14 different sporting events like they can be in one sport 'cause I don't wanna drive them. I and if I have thoughts about whether that makes me selfish or whatnot like that, those are the thoughts I need to work on. I don't want to volunteer for this, you know, whatever panel is at work because then it makes me look like a team player. I don't wanna do it and my rest and my time off also mean is important, right? Like that's where we first start.
But what do we do when there's things that we have to do quote unquote, okay? And you wanna question whether you actually have to, but yeah, there's stuff where it's like well we have to eat or we're gonna need food in the house or we're gonna have to clean the house at some point and make it livable because that act actually enjoyable or maybe at work like these tasks need to get done.
The second line of defense is delegating is okay if I have to do these, do I have to do these? Do I have to be the one? And you really wanna question this. Why do I have to be the one? I'm gonna give you two reasons why I see that people don't delegate.
The first is “I can do it better. They don't know how to do it, I can do it better,” right? Or I just know how to do it, it'll take me less time to do it. Whatever the excuse is. And this is some perfectionist fantasy that like I know how to do better than other people and you wanna really like question why you think that you are the only one that can do stuff.
And I think for a lot of us, again because we have been told especially as women that like it's our responsibility. We've taken on the responsibility of doing things and then we've become very particular about it. And part of it is letting a little bit of control go. So it's like okay, maybe they can't do it as good as I can, but can they still do it? Does it have to be as good as me? Right? What if it was at 70% instead of a hundred percent? Like could I be okay with that? That's my problem, my own discomfort. And a lot of us think like no I don't want 70%.
But what you're real not realizing is we're not comparing like their 70% to your a hundred percent. What we're comparing is like is their 70% good enough so that you are not at 0% 'cause you're burned out and you can't function anymore or you are not at, you know, maybe a hundred percent but with bitterness and anger and resentment that nobody wants to be around, right? It's like it's not just comparing apples, it's what does their 70% free me from? What does it free me up to do? I remember when, a couple of years ago, my, someone I follow on social media, she travels a lot for work.
She goes to a lot of business conferences and stuff and she had posted about like, she had asked the question like what do you think I leave for my husband? And their two boys, uh, would I leave for my trips? Like what? Like, you know, I don't know. She was asking about like instructions, food, you know, like what do people normally leave? And then she responded to that saying like nothing, I don't leave anything. I don't leave instructions. I don't pre-make meals, I don't, he's their father. He's half of the responsibility of these children and if I can take care of them on my own, then he sure as hell can too and he'll figure it out. And I remember being blown away by it because the way that me and my husband had created our lives at that point was that most of the domestic labor with our children especially fell on me.
Now my husband is extremely involved and I mean extremely and like he did his share in other ways and I took on stuff with the kids, which I was fine with. I wasn't actually like upset about it but I realized that like I sort of started treating him as a babysitter and I would have to, it would have to be the way I wanted it and I would set out these rules and everything would have to like, I would be terrified that if it didn't go well, you know, I don't know thing the whole world was gonna come crashing down. And so I remember after that seeing that like a little while later I was gonna go to a conference and I remember thinking like, what if I just don't do anything? What if I, I, I'm the one that cooks in our house too.
So like I would usually make meals if I was gonna be gone for like three days, I would make sure they have enough to have like leftovers and whatnot. And I was like, what if I just don't do any of it? What if I don't put on the pressure on myself to get everything done before I leave? What if I don't have to like tell 'em what to do? What if they just figure it out, and I did it. And lo and behold the earth did not swallow them all. They made it through and not only did they make it through, they made it through with fine colors. They created their own little rituals for when I'm gone they got to go out to eat, which was great, right? Like part of it was like this idea that I thought there's a right way to do it and they're not gonna do it the right way. And in the process like not only was I infantilizing my husband but I was also like getting in the way of them being able to create a relationship for themselves because everything had to be done the way I wanted.
And when I realized I don't know any better and one of the questions I kept asking myself is what do I get to believe about myself if I do this stuff? And it was really like I wanna think that I'm a good mom. I wanna think that I'm a good wife because if I leave I feel guilty that like I didn't, I didn't leave them with anything. And when I started realizing how ridiculous that was that I'm just as good of a mom and wife and my husband is just as good of a father if not better, if he can just take it on himself, it helped everyone.
Like my husband was so much more calm because he didn't have to stick to my like 470 point plan of like what to do with the children. And he was like, yeah, I got it, it's fine. He never like shied away from doing it. I just wouldn't let him. And when I realized oh I'm the problem here , hey it's me, I'm the problem, it's me. It made things a lot easier for me to start letting go and being like what else am I stopping other people from helping me from what the thing is am I not doing because of the guilt of like well I'm not gonna be a good mom if I do this or a good worker or a good business owner or whatnot. I realized how much help I could get from like family members or people that offered it but I wasn't doing it because I didn't wanna feel bad or I didn't think they could do it as well as I could.
And when I started like disabusing myself of that thought and realizing like I get to still be a good mom, I'm actually a better mom. Like how is it the best thing for me to do this because I'm less angry and I'm less bitter and I'm less resentful and I'm not arguing with everyone and I'm not trying to make everyone do exactly the way I want it and I let go of some of my perfectionism and I let just let things be. And I start saying that like even if it's not done perfectly, it doesn't matter. And even if some balls get, like fall through the cracks, who caress? Because I started realizing what does this opened me up to do? It opens me up to so much more free time to so much more help and that's worth not having someone do it at a hundred percent.
And so I want you to really think about like even within work, right? I do this a lot, I did this a lot with my business and you see this a lot with entrepreneurs is like no one's gonna love your business as much as you. No one's gonna know what as good as you. No one's gonna do as good of a job. Like we can all agree on that. Okay, what if they just did it at 80% so that you then have some free time, right? I remember in the beginning like it was really hard for me to get a virtual assistant because I just wanted them to do it as good as I do. And then when I realized like, but I don't need it to be as good as me, I just need it to get done.
What if it doesn't have to be perfect? What if it could, what if mistakes are made but still if 80% of the time they're right, what does that free me up to? And you have to be really careful by the way when I say what does that free me up to? It doesn't mean like free you up to do a bunch more to-dos doesn't mean like let me fill it up with a bunch more projects. It's like can this free me up for some space? For some just time to think to develop like as much as as a business owner it's important to then be able to free myself up to work on other things in the business. It's also important for me to like give myself the space for creativity to think about things the way that I want to. And so I started really like thinking like, okay, if I don't need it to be at a hundred percent, what are things I could delegate, right? What if they don't need to be better than I do it? What if I can make this easy?
And that changed how I relate to my business. It changed how I relate to people that work for me and it opened me up to doing so much to focusing on the things I like doing and the things that maybe I can't delegate, giving everything else off and being like, huh, I don't need to be the one do to do all this. Maybe they even do it better than me. That's been the surprise that has been amazing is oftentimes they're way better at it than I am.
So that's the first one is you sort of have to ask yourself like can someone else do this job? Even if it's not as good as me, can I ask for help from my kids? Can they get involved? Can from my spouse, from my parents, from my friends, from my coworkers, from my boss, can I start telling people I need help with this thing? Can I advocate for myself?
The second reason I hear people don't delegate is, “I can't afford it.” And I want you to just get really clear on what that means. I want us to question this, right? Because I think that for a lot of us, we use this again, I've talked about this a lot of times like finances just are front for our own fears. And I think that we have a certain idea of like who can delegate, who's allowed to outsource? And it's like, oh yeah, once you're rich, once you have all this disposable income, then you can maybe outsource but it doesn't have to be all or nothing.
And so you wanna really understand like and actually look at the numbers, right? Because I think for a lot of us, we don't even know first what we would wanna outsource and second how much it costs, right? So like you don't have to outsource everything, but can you outsource one thing? Can you look at like maybe I can have someone clean my house once a month. Maybe I can put aside a hundred, $200 for that. Maybe I can have a laundry service that does my laundry so I don't have to do it. Maybe I can hire a virtual assistant for five hours a week, right? At $20, a hundred dollars a week to just do the tasks that freed me up.
Like what would I gain in those five hours, right? And I think that when you look at that, when you start realizing like maybe I can't afford it, then you really have to sit with the thoughts of like, why does it make me uncomfortable to actually delegate this? Because usually it's not even the money.
I know for myself I thought the same thing. I was like, oh wait, we can't afford that. And then when I did this exercise, I like wrote down everything I would wanna delegate and I went and I found prices for like what it would be. And it was so surprising to me that it wasn't as expensive as I thought it was. Like I wasn't gonna delegate everything, but even if I did want to, I had thought like oh I have to have millions and millions of dollars to be able to like, you know, have all of these things done for me.
And I was like, that's actually not true. I still needed more money, right? Like it was still a couple grand a month or however much it was and that's not nothing. But it was fascinating for me to see like, oh it's not even what I thought in my mind would be required in order to delegate this. And then I could break down like, okay, well what is the main tasks that I hate doing that really cause me a lot of stress? Can I delegate those? Can I delegate partially? Can I delegate it some of the time? Can I not make this all or nothing?
And once I realized I could, I really had to grapple with my thoughts because there was a lot of guilt, there was a lot of guilt of like, well I should be the one that cooks for my family. If I'm gonna make it healthy, I should be the one I should want to cook. That was an interesting one. Like I do all the cooking and I don't particularly like it and I was making that mean something about me. Like if I was a good mom then I would love to cook healthy meals for my children. It's just bullshit. Like I don't like doing it, right? So like why was I not able to accept that for myself?
And again, it's because of these tropes and these lies and these beliefs that we've been programmed with that like this is what a good mom does, this is what a Pinterest mom does, this is what a good wife does, this is what a good employee does. And you just wanna question it like, you know that I have talked a lot about how everything is made up.
I was recently, I don't even remember what I was reading it, but I was reading about like hundreds of years ago and people didn't have like kitchens in their homes. Like peasants didn't. And so people wouldn't, nobody cooked. Like you would eat dinner at the town square, you would buy dinner, it was like potatoes and onions or whatever, but like you would go every night. It was not just not expected. You couldn't cook so you wouldn't cook at home, right? And I, it was fascinating 'cause I was like, it's so interesting to think that like now we have this morality around it where it's like, no, if you wanna be healthy, you cook at home and if you eat out then that's bad. And if someone else, if you, god forbid, like you get someone to meal prep for you or you get one of these meal services, then you're lazy and it, it's completely made up. If you just lived in another time where nobody cooked, nobody would think you're a bad mom because you're not cooking. It just wasn't what people did.
And so you wanna start questioning these things, you just wanna start questioning like, why does it make me a better mom to cook versus not cook? Why does it make me a better mom to do the laundry versus not do the laundry? Right? Why does it make me a better employee or employer or business owner to do all of my stuff by myself and save all of my money? Like how would it, how is the opposite true? How would it make me a better business owner by delegating, how would it make me a better mother by doing this? Like take your brain there and come up with those reasons. Because once you start doing it, you start realizing like, I know for me when I started delegating, I started realizing like I would much rather like cut from other places.
I'd rather not eat out as much. I would rather like not do my target runs. I'd rather not buy certain things and have money to delegate some of the tasks I don't wanna do. Because like I said, I think like in this day and age we don't have villages the way that we used to have. And so a lot of times before it was like you had help with someone raising your kids or you had help with making food and cleaning up and all that stuff and we don't have that. And so the equivalent now becomes like buying that village basically paying for it, right? Paying for people to help you do the things that you don't wanna do. And yet we're guilted into believing like no, you should be able to do it all. You should like we have this idea of having it all and it's and it's driving us into the ground and we're all exhausted.
And so I want you to like really just question like what if it was okay to not do it all? What if it was a sign of strength and intelligence to reject this theory that I have to burn myself out in order to prove that I'm good enough? What if I already knew I was good enough and everything else I can just decide like what are things that I want to do? What are the things I have money for? What are the things I don't wanna do and how can I have the, those conversations in earnest with vulnerability, with honesty, because when when you start to see that you can ask for help and other people are willing to give help and you can get the help and you start creating so much more time and space for yourself and you start realizing like, what do I gain by this? Like I gained so much. I gained like, rest and freedom and peace and joy and time to work on things that I wanna work on. And really just to get out of this fight or flight kind of state that we're all in all the time, it's worth all of the money that you pay and all of the work that you have to do on like when you start realizing I get to be a happier person and that ripple effect affects everybody around me and affects how I show up and affects how I do my work, it starts making so much more sense.
Because I think when we think of it as like, oh delegating is lazy or it's like me thinking I'm better than people or whatever crazy thoughts we have and it's simply that like I'm buying back some of the peace that's been taken from me. I'm buying back some of the village that I wasn't given. I'm buying back some of the rest that I deserve, that I've worked for. It's why I am making all this money. It can change everything. And I think it really, for so many of us that are trying to add more into our lives and we're trying to add like, you know, we wanna start a business or whatnot, you cannot do that without taking some things out first. And I just want you to know it's okay too.
And the last thing I'll say is like, I want you to just get really clear on what would I be able to think if I did all this stuff about myself, right? What would I get to think if I cooked all the meals and I cleaned the house and the holiday decorations were up and I did all my work and my to-do list was, you know, finished at the end of the day, what do I get to believe about myself? 'cause that's what you're after by doing all these things. And the spoiler alert is that you get to believe those things already. You get to believe that you're a good mom and a good wife and a good husband and a good son and a good employee and a good boss and whatever your role is. And if I did believe that without having to do all these other things, what would that open me up to doing? Right? What would I want to do here? What are the things that I could delegate? And I tell, I'm telling you that is what will transform your life.
So this week just find one thing to delegate. Find either one thing you're gonna pay someone to do or one thing you're gonna ask someone in your own village, in your own life. Ask your spouse, your kids, your friends, one thing that you're gonna ask for help and allow other people to do. And watch…One, watch your thoughts and figure out like what thoughts you have to work on. But really watch how much space and time that creates for you and how that feels. And I'm telling you, it becomes addicting 'cause you're like, I wanna get everything off my plate so I have so much more space and joy and peace. 'cause you all deserve it. So go forth my friends and delegate and delegate it all. It's the best thing ever.
I hope this was helpful and I really hope that this episode gets recorded on my computer. All right, if you're listening to it all went well. And I will see you guys next week for another episode.
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