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Most of us need to let go of tasks we dislike as our career progresses.
But that's not always so easy to do.
Matt is a good example. I've fictionalized his story to protect his privacy, and I'm telling it with permission. He was the owner of a successful accounting firm. He was good at accounting but disliked it.
He enjoyed conceptual thinking, following trends, developing strategies, and then taking action. That sounded like financial management so I asked if he'd considered delegating the accounting to his subordinates and shifting his personal focus to advising clients about investments.
At first he said that he’d feel guilty about making his subordinates do the drudge work. But then he realized it went deeper than that.
He grew up believing work was not enjoyable but if you did it faithfully, you’d be rewarded with a comfortable lifestyle. At an unconscious level, he'd translated that into a fear that if he didn’t do his share of work he disliked, it'd come back to haunt him.
He’d never really articulated or examined these assumptions. As we discussed them, they began to lose their grip.
Eventually he did delegate most of the accounting work and developed a thriving investment management practice, which he enjoys.
Sometimes disciplined people, especially those who are successful, are reluctant to give up things they dislike. They become like painful lucky charms. But it’s usually a mistake to engage in activities you don’t enjoy past the time when you can delegate or avoid them.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)