By Ron Hall
I'm Dr. Ron and I'm recovering from the I-can-do-it-all disease. Many small business owners, and especially those of you running small landscape and lawn service companies, seem to suffer from the same malady. Perhaps you don't recognize that you have it.
Let Dr. Ron tell you about it and what you can do about it. He's been fighting the disease for years and has yet to conquer it. Unfortunately, there may not be a complete cure. Medical journals don't have many references to it. The little available literature on the subject is frustratingly vague. It suggests that the illness can only be controlled after being diagnosed by the individuals affected by it.
Dr. Ron feels he's making progress. He takes it one day at a time. He's confident those of you suffering from this illness can make similar progress.
The good news is that diagnosis is relatively easy and reveals itself after periods of quiet, thoughtful reflection and self-examination. That's when sufferers are most likely to recognize the unhealthy nature of their nobody-can-do-it-better-than-me feelings and behavior. They'll identify the symptoms, which include regular and severe bouts of frustration and exhaustion. Also, sufferers often have difficulty sleeping at night as their minds race with what they failed to accomplish the previous day and what they need to get done when they arise in the morning.
Controlling and living with the illness never requires surgery and rarely medication, which only masks its effects. Control is simpler than that. Dr. Ron suggests you follow this three-step recovery process:
1. Train and empower team members to take over some of the tasks that you've been struggling to do. These are jobs that you dislike or are not particularly good at doing. This is called delegation. Train. Delegate.
2. Get professional help. No, not a psychiatrist or psychologist (well, not as a first step anyway). Would a contract bookkeeper or designer take some of the weight off of your shoulders? How about subs for those services not in your profit wheelhouse?
3. Lighten up. Adjust your attitude to allow you to appreciate the many joys and conveniences of our privileged society, and being a part of a great industry that provides so many life-enhancing services to so many other people.
Dr. Ron is working overtime on the last of these suggestions. "Every day is a blessing. Every day is a privilege," a good friend that, in spite of the cancer in his body, reminds Dr. Ron whenever they spend time together. Indeed, every day is special, and once it's over it can never be recovered.
Ron Hall is editor-in-chief of Turf magazine and has been reporting on the green industry since 1984.