How delegation led to my identity crisis

Jan 18, 2019

2010 was the year that my business officially became bigger than me.

It was the year that I shifted my business model from 1-1 service provider to a training/coaching model.

And as part of the shift there was simply too much work for me to keep doing it all myself – so I needed to start hiring.

My very first hire that year was my OBM Tiffany. She jumped in with both feet – working side by side with me to manage projects and move the business forward. I delegated stuff to her and she took it on.

It was EXACTLY what I wanted, but what I didn’t expect was how I was going to feel about it.

I remember waking up one morning thinking:

“If I’m no longer the one DOING all the work – then what value am I bringing to the table?”

It was a major identity crisis for me! I had spent the past 10 years of my business as the DOER. It was what I was good at. It was what people paid me for. It was the place I knew best and felt comfortable in.

And suddenly here I was – less doing on my plate (which is exactly what I wanted) and feeling like I needed to keep myself involved, constantly checking in with my team and looking over their shoulders because I didn’t know what else to do with myself!

Thankfully I had a great coach at the time who walked me through this, and helped me to realign my identity from DOER to LEADER. To realize that my role was now to be a leader for my team, my clients and my business.

Perhaps you can relate?

I find that when people struggle with delegation it is often based on an underlying fear of losing their identity. And that if they aren’t careful they will default to ‘taking it all back’ simply to keep that identity in place.

If this resonates with you my best advice is this:

  • Notice It – we can’t change that which we can’t see
  • Honor It – your identity has been the foundation of your success to date and it deserves to be honored!
  • Redefine It – what new identity will serve the next level of your growth? Maybe it’s the shift from DOER to LEADER (like it was for me.) Maybe it is something else
  • Shift It – operate as though the new identity is in place. Make decisions from that space. Spend your time in that new identity. Initially it will be uncomfortable to make this shift and the lure of going back to your old identity may be strong… but the only way to make the change is to stay the course here until your new identity becomes your norm.


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