The Difficulty of Letting Go: Part 1

A year or so ago, I was working for a company based out of Austin where we hired a recent college graduate. Part of my job was training her to do tasks I had previously done, so I could move on to other tasks. Being only a few years out of college myself, I decided to do more than train her on how to do tasks, but why. I would give her the broad idea of a task, and see if she carried it out differently than I would.

Of course, being a different person than me, she did execute tasks differently. It was a moment of strain for me. Even though what she had created wasn’t what I would have created, was it a job well done, or should I bend her creativity to mine?

Different tasks call for different outcomes, but the idea is still the same.

If the job is completed to the specifications of the order, regardless of how the end result differs from our own preference, we must accept and even congratulate the task.

Often, we struggle in the art of delegation because we believe we get things done better. At least, if you’re a perfectionist like me, you do.

Even companies must accept this variation.

For example, say you had a brilliant idea for a website, a magazine, a book or a television show. Then months into you trying to figure out all the pieces you would need to bring your idea to life, someone comes along with something remarkably similar. Maybe you’ve never met this person, or maybe they stole the idea from you: whatever the situation, you still feel robbed of an idea.

You can sit back, watch their project launch, and take every effort to point out its negatives while dragging their reputation through the mud to anyone who will give you an ear.

Or, you can objectively analyze the project, note and celebrate its strengths, and use their weaknesses in order to strengthen your idea. You could even dare to help, noting the difficulties you’ve had in your pursuit, and working together since obviously the collective goal is the same.

The difficulty of letting go is often the letting go of yourself, your ideals, and your opinion of yourself.

Read part 2 of this conversation.

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