the B-R-U-N-O anomaly

Back at Uni, I hated winters:

for 3 endlessly long months, I’d be surrounded by fellow students, who, rather than deal with the sniffles by blowing their nose into a handkerchief like they taught you in “you’ve now left the swamp, and you can climb on trees”-school, they’d be performing their rhythmical “snot reverse osmosis” concert in unison.

SNIFFSLUUURP ..

SNIIIFFSLUUURP …

slllllllUUUUURRRRRP …

and for years, I thought this was the worst thing in the world (brussels sprouts are in a separate category…. obviously) until one day I find out, things can get worse:

my boss Jerome teams me up with Bruno.

(this is around 2006, and I’m still stuck in in the parallel Universe of cubicles)

Now, let me tell you about Bruno:

Bruno doesn’t just love rules & regulations, this guy eats, drink, breathes rules & regulations.

Thinking about it: Bruno IS rules and regulations.

If there is a way or just a glimmer of a reason for creating some new rules, all meticulously documented of course, then Bruno will.

So, the 1-page outline – preferably handscribbled on the back of a napkin – I had in mind for a new project turns into a stack of documents.

And when I say ‘stack’, I mean a stack so high, it should be added to any serious mountaineer’s “must do before you die” list of peaks to be climbed.

The one I remember ever so fondly is the “architecture document” – which, if I remember correctly, is the guide to which tick-boxes to use in the document that says how to lay out the document that’s going to almost really say what we’re going to say. (the handscribbled napkin in a simpler Universe).

So, with Bruno’s help, my life turns into a nightmare of SOPs (standard operating procedures), tick-boxes galore and half the trees in the Amazon forest chopped down to keep that laser-printer busy printing out …. well, what should’ve been scribbled on the back of a napkin.

Or should it?

Here’s the thing: as much as I ‘enjoyed’ working with Bruno (in hindsight, my boss did the right thing, and I’m grateful  for it, even if it resulted in short-term pain;-) – it gave me one big, life-changing insight:

the stuff you don’t enjoy doing, you shouldn’t be doing!

Instead you should have someone else do it – ideally of course someone who enjoys doing it.

Think about it:

Most readers of this blog are solo-preneurs – meaning: most are doing pretty much all the jobs that are needed to build their business or keep it running.

When you encounter an obstacle, what do you do?

You bang your head against it repeatedly, or harder and harder.

You try to go around it, over it, under it, through it (watch out for the bear!)

You may even – if you consider yourself a ‘strategic entrepreneur’ – buy a course that teaches you how to solve that one problem.

Which is all very well if 2 things are in place:

  1. that course helps you enhance one of your existing strengths  (aka: you already enjoy this particular thing)
  2. the solution to the problem is an event, not a process.

The first one should be obvious, the second one (event vs process) we’ll tackle in a future post.

 

But for now, let’s return to this main take-away and ever so gentle wake-up call by Jerome:

whenever you find something that’s really, really annoying, it’s probably something you should absolutely have done for you, but not do yourself.

I personally absolutely had to look at systematizing everything I’m doing – otherwise it would forever be a semi-documented mess on the back of napkins.

However, there was no way I should’ve done it myself – maybe going as far as *helping* to create the system (in the sense of giving an input where it’s supposed to go), but definitely not executing the system myself!

That part in itself may be obvious, but what’s probably not so obvious (in fact, I know it’s not obvious) is that whenever you encounter a Bruno-situation, it’s a subtle hint that this is probably you should put right up to the top of your “absolutely must do this week” list.

(well, ok, your “absolutely must HAVE DONE this week” list)

More likely than not, it’s one of the biggest obstacles that’s holding you back more than anything else.

And for this insight alone I’m eternally gratful to my former boss Jerome and Mr Systems, er, Bruno…

So, what gets YOUR toenails curling more than a SNIFFSLUUURRP-concerto, what’s YOUR Bruno-situation that’s holding you back more than anything else? What’s the one thing you’re telling yourself it really, really sucks, but when you think about, maybe, just maybe it’s something that should really get done … by someone else?

Veit

 

 

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Comments

  1. That’s an easy one…! It has to be my accounts. You remember the scene from Dodgeball where Kate Veatch, the tax attorney from the bank opens Peter Lafleur’s filing cupboard and utters the line “15 of 30 years of financial transactions, devoid of any filing system known to man”… Well that’s about the size of it..!

    • i second that too
      don’t have much of business accounting to do yet
      but with tracking and keeping in order personal finances,bills,etc
      is something i tend to put on “i’ll do it tomorrow” list for as long as possible.

  2. Easy – a one word answer, backlinks.

    🙂

    Alex

    • this is kind of YES and NO for me
      i’ve never done backlinks for a long time and in large quantities
      and i imagine if i had to then probably i would hate it
      but a while ago when i started learning SEO and experimenting with niche blogs it wasn’t too bad, got bored of it quickly though + there was no need for me to carry on doing them due to low competition
      #interesting thing – with backlinks and other repetitive/dull tasks that i hate it might take a long time and severe self bullying into it, but often once i start and get through the initial “i f***ing hate it” i somehow switch into “beast” mode and sometimes even keep going at it and commit beyond the necessary level 🙂 weird…

      P.S. i do hate writing… i’m just on crack today lol(instead of smiley)

  3. Ha – so you use to live with “Sheldon”? 🙂 cool

    ok, where do i start with “stuff i don’t enjoy doing” that holding me back…
    i say writing (blog post, email, whatever) – putting thouts in writing…it takes me ages even to write comments to the blog posts… i repeat it inside my head, “rearrange”, delete-rewrite-delete, go for a fag break where i keep “rehearsing” it in my head, then sit down write 2 sentences and stare forever 🙂
    so in case of blog,content,info product i end up not doing it 🙁

    another thing (and here i’m going to question/object to “the stuff you don’t enjoy doing, you shouldn’t be doing!” again :))is doing video (live on screen)
    the thing is so far i’ve done only one, and it was screen cast,and it wasn’t public (did a little demo of the plugin for my “coach”) still took me 6-8 “takes” and at the end i thought it looked/sounded awful 🙂
    so i can’t really say i hate it more then anything but i’ve got ton’s of reasons(AKA excuses) for not doing it
    and the question/objection to “…you shouldn’t be doing” is – what is the indicator(s)between “get someone else to do it” and “get over it, break your comfort zone and do it anyway”?
    i kind of get a general idea of what should be definitely outsourced, like kind of things Jay and Alex mentioned (finances/accounts,backlinks) small,mundane,repetitive tasks that eat ton’s of time and don’t help you learn and “develop” (unless you are accountant or “professional backlinker”)
    but would be nice to see your opinion

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