Picking up sports when you’re out of shape is uncomfortable. You really don’t want to be the old guy with the beer belly in the gym. You don’t want to be coached by some ripped 25-year old. So you decide to stay home and promise yourself you’ll mind your diet a bit. Meanwhile, your health deteriorates.
There is something vulnerable about accepting help. And even more so in a professional environment.
Career people tend to take a lot of pride in their expertise. We’ve worked hard to reach a certain level in our career and what we do is often deeply ingrained in our personality. What we do is a big part of who we are. That’s what we’ve been taught.
So if being an expert is a big part of our self, asking for outside expertise feels like a weakness. It’s a shortcoming. It’s admitting that we can’t do it on our own. It’s the opposite of what we think an expert does.
Yet it shouldn’t feel that way. The more you know, the more you know what you don’t know. As your body of knowledge grows, so do its edges.
There is this harmful myth that getting help is weak. Kim hired a consultant to get her project back on track. She must be a weak manager if she needs an outsider. Hugh Jackman needed a fitness coach to get into Wolverine shape. Bill Gates was mentored by Warren Buffet. What a bunch of losers.
Great leaders are not the ones who know everything. Steve Jobs did not understand electronics, yet he brought us the IPad. A leader brings in expertise by setting up a great team around them. That’s how they grow and that’s how we remember them.
When your body is out of shape, you have the choice. Do you want to be a whining couch potato who watches sports? Or do you decide to address the problem by acknowledging it and bringing in the right expertise?
When your project is out of shape you have the exact same choice. Do you want to be a meeting potato or do you want to get shit done?
What’s keeping you?