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What John Mulaney Teaches Us About Delegating

Almost all of us can delegate or outsource something.

So why don't we? It's usually one of the following:

  1. We're perfectionists, and don't trust others to do it for us.

  2. We don't want to bother others with our petty tasks.

  3. It takes too much time to hire or train someone else.

  4. It's expensive.

  5. We don't want to lose control over the project.

It's tricky, because some or all of these may be valid. And yet, if we don't stay in what Gay Hendricks calls our “zone of genius”, we'll get resentful and burn out over time.

This means if we aren't continuously evolving to do the work that most lights us up, and that is the most challenging and rewarding, we won't be satisfied. Those who are growing are constantly delegating bigger and bigger tasks. They understand the investment, or slight loss of control, is worth it to free up the energy needed to continue to expand.

Stagnation breeds misery. Yet that's what we get when we refuse to zoom out, review what we're spending the most time on, and determine whether it is the best use of our time.

There's maturity in acknowledging our energy is finite, and there are consequences when we misuse it.

For some it can seem indulgent to pay for certain childcare options, or housecleaning, or hiring an assistant. Or if we're in a leadership position, it can be scary to let go of the reins to a junior associate, even when our whole team will be best served if we focus on bigger-picture tasks.

I like this comedian John Mulaney. In the clip below, I share how he explained what went wrong when he produced a failed TV show. Hint: not enough delegation was involved! The full episode is on RA MA TV.

I hope it inspires you to delegate (or eliminate!) a task this week, no matter how small. The extra energy is worth it, especially when the world certainly needs us all to be in our zone of genius.

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