I consider myself to have been truly fortunate as I have progressed through my personal and professional life. Professionally, my career in the financial services industry began when I was hired by the individual who became my mentor, Howard Zimmerman. We worked together until his retirement, and I bought the practice from him, which many of you know today as Stein Financial Group.
During our fourteen years together, Howard shared with me many insights about business and life. Some I have shared with you in prior Life Lesson editions which you can find on our website www.steinfinancialgroup.com. One of the lessons he shared with me, which I still try to adhere to is “Do what you do best and let others do the rest.” It sounds simple, nice rhyme, and even makes sense. So why do so many of us fail to embrace this concept?
I am one of those people that needs to learn by doing. Often, the best way to get me to try and do something is for someone to tell me I can’t. Over time, I have discovered those people are often right. I can’t, I shouldn’t, I could hurt myself, it is a bad idea; I think you get the picture.
I’d like to share an example from my life.
Some of you may have heard me tell the story of wanting to finish the basement in one of my first homes. How hard could it be? I figured I would put up the framing, rough in the electrical, and do the sheetrock. Once I was done, I would hire someone to do the finishing work such as trim, plumbing, and electrical.
At that time, our girls were babies. Way too often Jeanne, my wife, would be shouting down the stairs to stop pounding or cutting, or just making so much noise because the girls were going to take their naps. The experience had me making multiple trips to the lumber yard to buy supplies that I would load into our Dodge Caravan (taking out and putting the seats back into the van almost killed me.) I am proud to say that after four expensive, grueling, and tension-filled months (I am still married) I was ready to bring the carpenter in to finish the job. The professional arrived and walked through the basement to understand what I wanted to be done.
After a few minutes, he wrote some things down and said he had the proposals for me. Being a good listener, I asked what he meant by proposals, as in more than one. He explained to me that the first proposal he put together was to do the work I asked for. He strongly encouraged me to consider the second proposal which was to tear down the work I had done, start over, and do it correctly, which he said would be less expensive than his fixing everything I had done wrong. Ouch.
True story – I again learned that what I thought was simple was not. The craft people that do the work every day know what they are doing and have the correct tools to do it (did you know a dumbbell can be used as a sledgehammer in a pinch.) This was an expensive lesson for me on so many levels, but what it boils down to is “Do what you do best and let others do the rest.”
If you don’t know, I do not handle Stein Financial Group’s daily operations. I have been fortunate to have found Kim, our operations manager, who has the skill and temperament to do the job incredibly well. If I were to do it, operations would be a mess and it would take me away from what I am good at, working with you. I don’t assemble the paperwork you need to sign or find out the status of a check you are expecting. That is what Margie does. She heads our administration, answers your paperwork/status questions, and does it with charm and skill. She is great working with you and loves those interactions. I have at best, a limited ability to do what she does.
What I am hoping you have picked up on is that doing what we love and doing what we do best is a gift that will reduce stress, probably save you money, and certainly save you time. I am also convinced it will make you happier. How valuable would it be for any of us to have less stress in our lives, potentially more money, and more time to do the things we want and love to do? I think it is worth a lot.
To make this happen in your life takes discipline and a shift in thinking, but you can do it. If you are like me, there are any number of things we could do or at least think we can do. The question each of us needs to ask ourselves is should we, or can we find someone else to do it for us? All we have is that precious commodity of time. Are we going to spend it on things that aggravate us or things that will inspire us and make us happy?
Working every day to help you achieve the Good Life,