A Superhuman Clone?
“I need to clone myself” is a phrase I hear surprisingly often from clients and from others I meet in the tourism industry. I hear it practically every day. It usually comes from people who are who are persistently overworked and dangerously close to being fully burnt out.
Have you ever heard yourself saying “I need a clone” or “I just need two of me”? This comes at the point where your To-Do-List is hopelessly impossible – even if you worked solidly around the clock for the next 2 weeks, what’s on your list for the next two weeks isn’t humanly possible. Yet, with some superhuman effort, you try to make it possible.
Stuck & Trapped
This is a tough place to be because you know change is needed – you just can’t continue like that indefinitely. You are either faced with containing your business and cutting it back or going with it and allowing it to grow. If more people are needed to grow, this can be a terrible point due to the fear that getting more help will just mean even more work. It would just add to the burden. You feel you can’t move forward or backward. The fear keeps you stuck in a persistently and ridiculously busy work cycle. You feel trapped.
The Busy Badge
Ironically, there’s a temptation to think it’s a good thing. After all, your business is growing to the extent that you need another pair of hands. There’s a certain pride in how much you are actually able to get done when your back really is to the wall – how many hours you can pack in, how little sleep you can survive on. There’s also a certain deluded badge of honour in our modern ‘it’s-great-to-be-busy’ culture.
The Uncomfortable Truth
However, getting to the point where you see nothing less than another you as the solution to your challenges is not really a positive thing. You could have said “I need another person” or “I need more help, but instead you choose to say “I need another me” or “I need a clone.” My own experience with clients, as well as the documented experiences and research of others, tells us that this statement is actually an outward expression of a number of uncomfortable truths about ourselves as entrepreneurs and business owners.
What lies beneath
What I might be revealing about myself when I say ‘I need to clone myself’ is one (or several) of the following:
1. I think I’m so brilliant at doing this that only another me could pull this off.
2. I’m not open to delegating. In fact, I’m afraid of delegating. I don’t trust other people.
3. I don’t manage my time well. I’m not in control of my day – I’m on catch-up all day long and all month long.
4. I’m not organized. I don’t have clear systems and processes.
5. I’m not thinking clearly anymore. I want to clone myself is the same as saying I want somebody else to end up where I am right now.
6. I’ve lost my freedom. I’ve become trapped in this business and enslaved to it.
7. My business is growing faster than me, which means I’m not growing fast enough.
8. I’ve become the bottleneck in my business. My personal and business leadership skills are not strong enough to allow my business to grow.
A perspective from Peter Shallard (The Shrink for Entrepreneurs!) that I came across when researching this article really made me pause for thought: “If we boil down the psychology of the “Clone me!” business owner, we’re almost always left with some who doesn’t value themselves enough to truly escape the cycle of being overworked.”
Dealing with the truth
All of these things are hard to hear and uncomfortable to acknowledge. Yet, when we choose to say we want a double of ourselves rather than an additional other person, we are in fact admitting to some or all of the above truths. Acknowledging these underlying realities is the first positive step to addressing them.
What is most ironic in this case is that what you really need is somebody very different to yourself. What you might actually need is the opposite of yourself – someone who plugs the gaps and will love the bits that you don’t love, somebody who has a different skillset to you, somebody who complements you.
Congratulate yourself and move on
Congratulate yourself on growing your business to where it needs another pair of hands. Then embrace it. Right now, it may be possible that you’re the only or the main asset of value in your business. If it is, then take the time to make your business worth more by building assets of value other than yourself. Mentally separating yourself from your business is vital. Identifying the tasks that you add the most value to and detaching yourself mentally from the remainder is a critical first step forward. Once you’re mentally detached, you can document these tasks and systemise them. You can recruit somebody to carry them out or outsource them. You can free yourself up to take back control of your business and your life.
If you’ve ever said I need a clone, I would dearly love for you to share your thoughts on this piece in the comment box. If you need help getting organized, finding more clarity around this so you can create more money and more freedom for yourself, send me a direct message to schedule a free ½ hour consultation.