Those of us with control issues really have a hard time with this one but let’s be honest sometimes we waste time doing what someone else is equally, if not more qualified to do. I heard this line a while ago at a conference and it has just stuck with me. I think it was from Andy Stanley, but can’t be totally certain. All I know is it’s not my original thought, because I’m not quite this witty or intelligent.
Only do what only you can do.
The phrase at face value seems a little bit obvious. But when we really think about it, how much time do we spend doing what other people are way more suited to do? What’s worse is when we do the things that others are capable of doing, we often short change those people to whom we’re called to serve. Enough of the abstract here’s a quick example.
I’m a husband and a dad. And to be totally honest, I’m not all that great at either some days. And if I were to honestly evaluate the moments when I’m less effective at either of these roles, I’d find that I am doing things that are not my primary role. That means sometimes I let my job come before my primary role as a dad or husband. Sometimes I let my passions come in the way of the things that are most important. Only I can be the husband to my wife and the dad to my kids. Only I can do these things right now and if I don’t then they are neglected.
So what are you doing that you’re not really the most gifted at doing? When we free ourselves from the things we can do to do the things we’re really supposed to do, we allow for greater success in those areas.
Another principle that dovetails nicely here comes from the book Good to Great. The line goes something like good is the enemy of great. We have to be careful not to hear that these things we’re doing are bad because they’re not bad at all. Actually on the contrary, many, if not most, of these extra things are good and very much worthwhile. But when we only do the good things, we prevent ourselves from doing the great things.
So the long and short is this. Do what you can do. The good and the great things that God established for you to do. Empower others to do the rest. Give away things that will help others feel that sense of accomplishment. When we delegate not only the task but also the authority for an area of our work, we multiply our effectiveness.