I have a dilemma. In fact, I’m having an argument with myself, which isn’t entirely new. I have a long history of rebellion from childhood, up to and including rebelling against myself when I have a bit of discipline I invite myself to partake of. Then I engage in what I call, “I’m not the boss of me” behavior. Which, of course, does me a world of good.
So I’ve tried to curb that uselessness. There is something both sobering and freeing about getting older. For one, time is running out, so whatever you’ve got in mind had probably better be on the schedule sooner rather than never. For another, you don’t really give much of a damn what other people think, even if you’ve been an approval junkie most of your life.
But I still, often enough, find myself at odds with myself.
My dilemma right now has to do with whether or not I’m going to take a dose of my own medicine.
Like many coaches, I have a standard philosophy that, if you’re going to uplevel, you’re going to need some help.
Because if you could have done it by yourself, you would have done it already, right?
I know for a fact that the only way to defy even my own sometimes minimal expectations (how important hope is!) is to get quality help.
This of course applies to writing books. I’ve invested a lot in my education and training and I charge a good price for my services. I’ve argued with myself about this rate, but I don’t so much anymore. My friend Sarah says that her plumber once explained why he’d charged so much for a pretty quick little job.
He explained that she wasn’t paying for what he did—she was paying for what he knows. He was a very experienced plumber and could do an excellent job quickly.
But my own wisdom sometimes isn’t available when I have to make a decision about making a change. When I am thinking about upleveling, which means making some strategic investments, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that when I enter that echo chamber what happens?
I go into the same dance my clients tell me they do:
I’m sure I could do this myself.
I don’t have the money.
Aren’t there cheaper ways to do this?
Couldn’t my friends help me with this?
Do I really want to invest the time that would take?
Isn’t it really okay to stay where I am?
Maybe I’ll do that later.
I’m not sure getting help will make that much difference.
How do I know this is the right place to get help?
Shouldn’t this be cheaper/free?
Here is how I answer get some answers:
- I ask myself how much time, treasure, and talent I want to invest.If I want to do it myself, I certainly can—I’m an inveterate student and I love learning. I can Google with the best of them. I’m actually good at sorting through the noise out there. So I could do that.
That would take a whole lot of time.
2. I could pay for help. I’ve paid a lot for help. Graduate school cost me $150,000 and that was long time ago. The average cost of an MFA is $30,000 a year. Quality education costs money.
So I might need to shell out some treasure.
3. I could take some chances on who I hire, not get the best. That could work too, but bargaining with someone else’s talent could well use up my creative energy. I love creativity and I feel that it is infinite. But time is not, nor is my share of creative energy/talent infinite on any given day. As my fitness coach says, you start off each day with an energy bucket and whatever you use it on, at the end of the day you will have used it all up.
So I know from experience to line up my talent with the talent level I want to reach and find the person whose talent can take me there. Do research. Ask for references. Examine credentials. Sign up on their mailing list. And finally let my inner guides help me make this choice.
In short, I have three categories I can choose from.
- I can be a wisher—wishing that things would be magically different. That takes very little of my treasure and not much talent, though it can devour my time, with very little result.
- Or I can be a dreamer—this is quite a bit more active and takes more time, more treasure, and more talent. The results will reflect the effort.
- Or I can be a doer—and then I’m all in with all three of the T’s. I might not hit it out of the ballpark, but I will have given myself the best possible chance.
Depending on the circumstances, any of these can be the right choice and I’ve followed each of the paths. The important part is that I understand my choice and can live with it.
There are more complicated issues at work here, but I want to focus on my area of influence rather than my area of concern. I can be concerned about a whole lot of things without being able to do a lot about them. Or I can focus on the circle within that circle, where I have some influence, can make choices, and have some mastery over the results.
I know I don’t have to go it alone—there is a lot of help out there—and I can partake of it—or not.
How about you? How do you make decisions about using your time, talent, and treasure?