Do you have Spinach in your Teeth?
Do You Have Spinach in Your Teeth?
I love the holidays.
For a few weeks this year, somewhere near the end of the second week of December to the end of the first week in January, I spent a disproportionate amount of time wearing sweatpants and zippered hoodies, eating my way to the bottom of various trays of food I came across. At my family’s house, I woke up on several different occasions with practically no sense of self – sprawled in an easy chair situated near the fire, a cozy blanket draped over me. Coming back to consciousness with drool on my face and often a resilient piece of spinach wedged in my teeth. At least I had people around that cared enough to tell me when I needed to check a mirror.
That said, I am glad the holidays are over. A person can take only so much gluttony (and let’s face it, only so much family). For the first time in a while I was intentional about spending the holidays being internally quiet. In years past I would spend the holidays cramming all the catching-up with people as I could, as if gorging myself at an all-you-can-eat friendship buffet.
This year, however, I didn’t feel at all guilty about spending the time to quiet my mind. I also rejected the thought of filling my free-time with work-related items. By the end of all the slumbering and eating and boardgames and laughter, I found myself rejuvenated. A mind and heart once again full of inner peace and new perspectives. A mind eager to start back to work.
At this point in my Life, I have the largest amount of Time-Wealth I’ve ever had. Time-Wealth, by my definition, is simply being in control of your calendar. Somehow, I still find things that are not in alignment with my Vision that manage to work their way into my life; somehow finding their way onto my calendar. Distractions are a very persistent pest, you have to give them credit for that at least.
I logged into my 1,000 plus emails without much worry. I knew my assistant had already perused the most important or time-sensitive ones and flagged them for me. It is so good to have someone like her that will do that for me because, honestly, I really suck at email. If not for any other reason that it takes me away from what I enjoy doing most. Connecting, influencing, writing, coaching, teaching, and leading people to a better state of themselves.
In my email, I focused quickly on the ones that were flagged. There were several from my accountant, a couple from each of my managers, as well as a few of my clients. Plus, there were a few from my assistant with tasks and important reminders of things coming up.
It’s at times like these I remember how much I really value those people around me that do the things that I just am not very good at. Mind you, this isn’t by luck, it’s all part of the system. I am horrible at returning emails, mostly because I have a creative mind and I seem to get easily distracted. I try not to use that as an excuse, but I had to come to terms with it. It just wasn’t the highest and best use of my time. Other things I’ve come to terms with being horrible at is bookkeeping, accounting, making bank deposits, collecting rent, filing evictions, sending out late notices and 10-day letters, and quite a few other things that are administrative in nature. Fortunately, the system is being run by people that are not only amazing at those things, they very much enjoy doing them.
I suppose the lesson I gleaned over the holidays isn’t so much about hiring the right people as it is about firing myself. I suggest you do the same. Fire yourself from jobs that mentally tax you and sap your will. As difficult as it is to believe, there are people out there that enjoy doing the things you hate – or at least are better than you at doing them. The increased time and mental freedom you receive from having others doing jobs they are better at might seem almost criminal at first. Don’t be among the real estate investors that get stuck on the hamster wheel of operations with no clear way to hop off.
If you find yourself in this situation, I found it best to start small. Consider handing off just one or two tasks to a virtual assistant, drafting emails or reconciling your bank account, for example. Get used to the mindset of being a business owner, as opposed to being self-employed. Most important, get used to the idea of delegating lower-end tasks to others. These are the people that, when you have the right ones, will watch out for you and keep an eye on you when you’re not at your best.
It’s taken some time, but my team is amazing. These are the people that keep me in line and allow me to do what I’m best at. When I’m not at my best, they tell me when I have spinach in my teeth, in the business-sense that is. When you’re forming your team, work to bring together a cohesive group that will do the same for you.
Mark Dolfini – Landlord Coach
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