“Only do what you can do.”~Author unknown
One of the keys to success? Doing what you can do. One of the keys to floundering? Taking on more than you can handle, or something you have no hopes of achieving. But how to know the difference? That’s the key question.
Because if you focus on doing what you can’t do, you run the risk of being too cautious. And if you try to not be too cautious, you run the risk of being too reckless. It’s a fine balance.
I don’t think there is a final answer to figuring out this balance. I think it is a continuous watchful eye and thoughtful approach. A constant inner question (and sometimes outer question, if you hopefully have the right advisors) as opportunities come up. “Is this something that I can do?” you can ask yourself. “Can I, should I, go further?” you can ask yourself next.
Of course, this quote changes a bit, and adds even more guidance to leaders, if I put a bit of emphasis on the word “you.” Only do what you can do.
I work with so many of my clients on their need – and sometimes inability – to pull themselves out of things. Of meetings. Of discussions. Of decisions. I push them to delegate, and then to delegate more. I question them, and then teach them to question themselves. “Is this something that only I can do?” .
One of the keys to effective leadership is surrounding yourself with a team that you can turn things over to. And then turning things over to them. One of the keys to effective leadership is to make yourself dispensable.
Two of the keys to effective leadership are to only do the things that you can do, and to do only the things that you, and you alone, can do. These keys unlock a lot.
What can you do? What can only you do?
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