Why self-reliance is a myth

For most of my business life I’ve been the type of person who always wanted to learn how do everything myself.

Even things like network server maintenance. It was so difficult explaining what I wanted or finding someone who could fix it, I just learned it and repaired it myself. I figured it was easier to do it myself than try to find someone else and to communicate what I wanted. It’s made me really good at a lot of tasks. But although I have so many skills, it’s left me lacking in one important way.

I started figuring out that my approach was all wrong about 8 years ago.   I had a telephone call with Rory Fatt of Restaurant Marketing Systems. He told me, “I never try to learn how to do something myself. Instead, I find the best person and pay them to implement for me. It’s a lot faster.”

Interesting, I thought. But then, I came up with a whole bunch of reasons why Rory’s way was wrong and my approach of doing everything myself was better. For instance, quality control, independence, investment, the challenge of explaining what you want and a bunch more.

A few months later, I began to discover that Rory is right. Speed of implementation is more important than any of the other “reasons” I had come up with.   The world is changing too fast. By the time you or I go through all the work to learn a completely new business, the opportunity may have already passed.

Today, I work with a lot of vendors and partners to help me implement projects and business plans a lot more quickly. I discovered that my problems with communicating what I expect and delegating are skills. And, the reason I was getting so frustrated was because I hadn’t developed those skills. Now I understand that learning how to delegate, communicate expectations and reward success are a lot more important skills than anything as technical as network support or video editing.

For years I told myself I should be self-sufficient. It seemed like a worthy goal. Yet, in today’s world it’s impossible. Our productivity and leverage comes from being part of a group of people working together to achieve more than they could if they were each “self-sufficient.”

Have you found this to be true? What did you insist on doing yourself that you’ve finally let go of? Or do you disagree? Scroll down to the bottom of this page to leave me a comment. I read every comment and reply when appropriate.

Best wishes,

About Robert Skrob

The problem with subscription membership programs is that members quit, I fix that problem. For more than 20-years I have specialized in direct response marketing for member recruitment, retention and ascension in diverse subscription members environments including non-profit associations, for-profit publishers/coaching, subscriptions and SAAS companies. For an evaluation of your current churn rate and how I can improve it, contact me here. I discover there are often two or three quick wins you can implement within a week to lower churn immediately, let’s talk about your quick wins.
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4 Comments on “Why self-reliance is a myth”

  1. Hear, hear! I used to do this too, until I finally took Dan’s advice “that you can’t change what you can’t measure and you can’t measure what you don’t track”. I found that how long something takes to do and how long I thought it took me to do were 2 completely different things! Whilst Mastery is a worthy goal, one does not have enough time to master everything. and working harder doesn’t change that. This led to my re-evaluation of my own achievements. So for me, trying to do everything myself was really an insufficient value of self not a desire to master everything. Reminds me of Dan’s other comment, “Some things don’t need to be done and some things don’t need to be done Now!”

  2. Yes, 100% true.

    Being ‘independent’ and ‘self sufficient’ are different. I think you can maintain a large degree of independence while still working with other people but you cannot be 100% self sufficient in technology because it is so multi-faceted.

    In my view, “Success comes down to partnerships and joint ventures. It is that simple”.

    You can hire people and sometimes you have to…you can even hire people to create solutions you yourself have devised…but perhaps it is even better is to find a way to JV with the people you work with and leverage all of your skills to create a system that is more effective, far more profitable and requires less time…And yet at the same time remain ‘independent’ of certain binding agreements that more traditional business models require.

    Jesse Gilbert

  3. This all is under development, yet the notion of self-reliance does deserve some constructive and affirmative comments in its’ own right. Taken to the extreme, it is counter-productive, for sure. However, carrying the knowledge, confidence that if needed you(oneself) can do any one given task, is incredibly valuable. I think in this context, efficiency is the most important factor to consider.

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