Whenever you’re learning a new and crucial skill, few compliments sound sweeter than the old standby, “You are kicking hiney.”
So I beamed a little when my virtual assistant Mandi said those words to me, in reference to my delegation skills. Mandi runs a company called She Can Coterie (rhymes with ‘You kick hi-i-ney’).
I am still learning to delegate. But I'm so much better off than when I started down this road in June, working with Mandi and her wonderful team. What I’ve learned just might make a difference for you—even if delegation is not your thing.
5 Tips to Learn Any New Skill More Easily
- Give yourself surreal amounts of patience. Learning any complex skill is like climbing a mountain—just when you think you've arrived, you look up and realize how much more you have to go. Pat yourself on the back for having made it this far—most people give up.
- As quickly as you can, establish a rhythm. It's taken me a good two months to figure this out. But gradually I’m forming the habit of sitting down on Friday afternoons to delegate for the upcoming week. It works and it feels wonderful.
What's one weekly habit that would make a world of difference for you? What would happen if you put it on your calendar? Every step in the right direction helps.
- Remind yourself the awkward phase is just that—a phase. Like any skill, from delegating to tennis, it’s harder and more time-consuming before it's easier and faster. As a friend said to me under different circumstances, "Hang in there, kid."
Breakthroughwill be yours.
- Get comfortable with the 80% rule. Some things need to be perfect, yes? If you’re having plastic surgery, for example, you don’t want it to turn out pretty good. No. You want it to be perfect. Especially if it's on your face.
But as I'm sure you've noticed, most things aren’t that crucial. For example, if you've ever sat through a meeting where the group took 30 minutes to decide on red name tags vs. green name tags, you know what I'm talking about.
John Maxwell's 80% rule (If someone else can do it at least 80% as well as you, delegate it) has another broader meaning: Don't let perfectionism steal your joy or progress. Sometimes 80% is good enough.
And sometimes another person can do a particular task 80% better than you. Be brilliant and let them. I believe it was Norm Peterson on Cheers who said, "Let's all play to our strengths."
- Ask for feedback. When you're learning a new skill, you might not know at first whether you're doing it right and where/how you can improve. So ask. Ask those who know more than you—and who can give you feedback constructively. Most if not all will be honored to do so.
But as you do gain more experience, make sure your confidence keeps pace. The people who are right for you will gladly make room for the more confident, successful you. Now it's your job and privilege to go encourage someone else.
Few compliments sound sweeter than the old standby, “You are kicking hiney.”
— Gina DeLapa