I call it the Handy Serving Tool that Transforms into the Tricky Task Master Stick.
Catchy title? I know!
My highly skilled, intellectually advanced and hardworking clients are evolved to the point of recognizing when they need help and gracefully hire it.
It Started Out Great
Zara does not have time to clean her house, ever, because she is busy running a multi million dollar program. So she hires a service that does that for her. Many ‘problems’ are solved; she has a happy, clean environment to return to at the end of a long day, hours of time are saved to be used on recovering physically, mentally, emotionally and to even have some fun. But…over time the ‘service’ begins to dictate to Zara what needs to be done before the service arrives. Zara eventually finds herself frantically gathering and stuffing items and cleaning spaces before her ‘cleaner’ arrives!
Meme, after years and years of working to take care of her family’s needs, decides she will add bit of fun to her life, so she signs up for art class. The first couple of classes are inspiring and refreshing and amazingly enjoyable. But then Meme’s children get sick, the children have extra-curricular events she needs to attend, Meme gets sick, all which results in Meme missing classes. Meme feels very bad because she doesn’t want to be thought of as ‘flaky’ so she apologized profusely to the teacher, over and over.
I enrolled my daughter in piano lessons at one of those music lesson sweat shops—a hallway of tiny closet sized rooms stuffed with musical instruments that rotate kids every ½ hour. I told the young teacher (he may have been 16?) that I wanted my daughter prepped for a Grade 2 piano exam by the end of the 6 months of weekly lessons. I also told him to let us know when it was time to register for said exam. My daughter dutifully trudged into that closet every week for 6 months and diligently practiced. When it seemed like the time he should be notifying us of the exam
registration, I inquired, only to find out we’d missed the deadline. The sweat shop music store was not going to let me cancel my daughter’s remaining lessons without keeping my post-dated cheques.
We all began asking for and hiring the help we needed to get to where we wanted to go. But somehow that ‘help’ got turned into more ‘work.’
The 'Doh!' Moment
After Zara heard herself telling me that she was cleaning before the cleaner, her ‘Doh!-O-Meter’ sounded and she immediately felt relief and fired the cleaner and hired someone else to clean the house. I assured her she was not only doing herself a favour, she was also giving the ex-cleaner what she was asking for, the freedom to have someone else clean before she got there.
Meme finally saw that it was not her job to please the art teacher. She'd hired her. Meme has
her priorities in order and will fit in what she can when she can.
The ‘old’ me would have timidly shuffled out of that music store and accepted the ‘strict store policy.’ But the ‘real’ me, the one that is in charge of what I want and need, informed the store owner that, yes, they most certainly would let us cancel the remaining lessons and give us our post-dated cheques back or else they would soon be shunned by all of the people that I know in this community and that as a music teacher myself, I would no longer be buying my music teaching materials there. The owner found that she agreed with my policy. I never
told my ‘story’ to my community and I have been shopping for my music supplies (at a discount!) there ever since.
We Get to Decide
We are the designers of our lives. We get to determine what works for us and what doesn’t.
Has your inner helper turned into a task master?