How do I do it All? – Superhero Syndrome

ironmanI recently read the book Virtual Freedom by author and entrepreneur Chris Ducker. The book focuses on learning how to work with virtual assistants which is something I’ve recently begun doing. If you haven’t investigated it as an option for you in your personal and business life, it is definitely worth looking into. (There will be a post here about it soon so keep an eye out and the service I’m using is called and you can check out my testimonial about them in the resource page!)

In the book he coins the phrase “Superhero Syndrome” which basically encompasses our (often times ridiculous) desire to do it all ourselves.   Somewhere along the way we’ve picked up this idea that by getting support or (even worse) asking for help is a sign of weakness or an admission that we’re not good enough to do the job on our own. While I do love the independent spirit it’s restrictive thinking like this that often keeps us from reaching our goals.

Say you need a website but know nothing about coding and even the idea of using one of the template sites like Squarespace or Wix gives you heart palpations. Well you can spent hours ripping your hair out and rending your garments trying to figure it out and end up with a meh website or you can get some help. Hire someone who knows what they’re doing to make it for you. It’s still YOUR website. Find an intern who has design experience and make that one of their projects. Get your nephew who’s better at computers than you to do it for the cost of a trip to Disneyland (AND YOU GET TO GO TOO).

A somewhat more charged example of Superhero Syndrome is being unable to ask for or receive emotional support. Some of us may be wizards at getting tech support, administrate support or support hosiery (is that a thing still? Do spanx count?) but when it comes to going for emotional support we just don’t know how to ask. It’s easy to feel like a total screw up when you’re talking about something as personal as your thoughts and feelings.   The old saying of “it takes a village” applies even after the child has grown up.

Humans are hardwired for connection and we crave the feeling of safety, belonging/love and self-esteem/mattering. If we’ve got some underlying emotional issue that is keeping us from feeling any of those 3, we’re not going to be able to perform at our best.   click here People claim to be on the hunt for their peak performance. They devour lists of productivity tips and tricks while working with tomato timers and site blockers to keep them on the path to being a personal powerhouse. It’s a sexy image too right. The self-made man. The executive mom who kicks ass in the boardroom, the bedroom and the babies room. We all have these ideas of these super human people (who we must be unlucky enough to not know any personally) who don’t need anyone else. They do it all on their own and they do it effortlessly.

If you could pull back the curtain a la Wizard of Oz style you’d probably hear something like “Pay no attention to the army of men behind the curtain!” No man is an island…well at least not successful and emotionally balanced ones.   It can be extremely difficult and confronting to ask for help or find support. It seems a bit silly as we all crave the feeling (“I wish I could just let someone else handle it for a couple of days.”) but we talk ourselves out of it.   “I’m just too busy.” “How would they get along without me?” “No one else knows how to do this right.” “I could never afford someone to help with this.” “What if I did all this work and then someone else gets the credit?” “I wouldn’t even know what to do with free time!”   Time to get rid of your excuses and drop this superhero syndrome.

Start practicing letting go of non-mission critical tasks. Delegate if you have a team at work. Sure you could do it better (you’re just so smart!) but can they do it well enough?   Hire a maid to help you handle things at the house so you can spend that extra time recharging. That mental recharge may be just what you need to end up with that big fat raise which suddenly makes a maid (and a virtual assistant, and a therapist and a personal trainer and a coach and an intern) accessible to you 10 times over.   Find a therapist who can help you work through your past emotional issues so you aren’t constantly dragging that all over with you. It’s exhausting.   Hire a coach to help keep you accountable to your goals and really start moving towards the life and career you want. You may feel like you should do it on your own, but how has that been working out so far?

Support is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of being a bad-ass. Go get the support you need. Make it happen.

Spanx, Strother