Clients discover me after they’ve had poor outsourcing experiences that left them skeptical & gun shy. They still need virtual help but claim, ‘there are no good freelancers out there’.
We sit down to chat. That’s when the real story comes out. The professional was busy and didn’t have time to do the necessary pre-go preparations before delegating. He dumped and dashed. Or, the lawyer who thought her graphic project was so simple anyone could do it but didn’t bother to say what style she wanted. When her talent delivered a funny graphic, instead of the traditional one she envisioned she was not too happy.
I once worked with a lawyer and her assistant to determine why their work relationship was so tense and unproductive. I spoke with the lawyer who said she is clear about what she wants and that her virtual assistant just doesn’t do it. Then I spoke with her VA and it was a whole other story.
The VA told me that she was doing her best with very little guidance from the lawyer who assumed she’d know what to do. The Dunning-Keating phenomenon was in full effect. Clearly, the lawyer that she was doing a better job at delegating than the situation revealed.
The Talent is not the problem
Your virtual assistant isn’t the problem. You are. You have no idea what it’s like what it’s like to work with you. Sure, you might be aware that you’re a bit controlling or particular but you don’t quite know how that impacts others.
We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are- Anais Nin
As professionals, we tend to overestimate our abilities sometimes. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect. You see yourself as an organized, clear communicator, but really, are you? Here’s an excerpt from the article:
The irony of the Dunning-Kruger Effect is that, Professor Dunning notes, “the knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task—and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at that task.”
The Sovereign Nation of You
Turns out that every person is their ‘own island’ contrary to the popular saying. I call this concept the Sovereign Nation of You. Like any nation, you have customs, rules, beliefs, assumptions and your own special language that developed over time.
You are so comfortable in your Nation you might not realize how lost a new visitor can get. Your virtual assistant is a tourist visiting your Nation for the first time. Be sure to give her the full tour.
Touring your Nation
Walk your VA past your institutions (your procedures).
Point out your monuments (the values that you hold high).
Show her your culture (your beliefs, norms & accomplishments).
Take her to your jail (so she knows what will get her into hot water)
Parade your armed forces before her (so she knows what you’ll fight for)
Wave your flag high (so she sees your accomplishments and what you cherish)
You see what I’m saying. Your law business has its own rules and you can’t expect a tourist to know them on the first day. What I love about the exercise of defining your Nation is that it gives you the opportunity to move from the default position to an intentional stance. You are designing the law practice that you want. That’s pretty special. But then again, so are you.
You had the self-confidence and courage to build your own law business. That makes you special. Your reward for taking the risk is working in a way that fits and supports your life.
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