Hi there, superhero! How are you? Working on a lot of projects simultaneously? Planning a holiday? Taking care of the family? Paying the bills? Hitting the gym every day? Going out with friends? And always solving problems that are not even yours?
I bet you’re doing it all. But here’s the thing: You’re not a superhero. So quit acting like one. You can’t do everything by yourself.
For a while, I thought I was Superman by doing almost everything in my business. On top of that, I also thought I could write blog posts, create online courses, podcasts episodes, and YouTube videos.
But I wasn’t Superman. I was Idiotman.
You might think that too much work and responsibilities cause burn out. Well, that wasn’t my biggest problem. I’ve been working hard ever since I was in my teens. I always had a job while I was in college. And when I was writing my master’s thesis, I started a business.
Over the years, I gradually built up my workload. I compare working to running. When you start, you can’t run a marathon. You build up the intensity through consistent exercise.
That’s also how it goes with hard work. Throughout the years, you’ll get better at coping with stress, effectiveness, and working more hours. But it requires you to put in the work every day. You can’t handle a lot of work if you dread work and always look for pleasure.
I bet you can handle a lot of work. But that’s not important. The question you should ask yourself is not: “Can I handle hard work?”
You must ask: “Do I want to do everything?”
The reason is simple. Superheroes take on too much responsibilities—that behavior isolates you from the people in your life. And you don’t want to end up as a lonely superhero who can do it all. What for?
The 14th and current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, said it best:
“Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.”
Superhero behavior is simply self-absorbed behavior in disguise. And you know what happens to people who end up alone? They die earlier.
It’s time to retire your cape. Here’s how.
1. Don’t expect so much from yourself
Superhero behavior starts with internal expectations: “I should do this. No else will do it.” If that’s your thought process, you’re wrong.
Release the pressure and tell yourself: “So what?”
That’s more an attitude than lazy behavior. You don’t want to scream “I don’t give a fuck!” and give up on everything in life.
No, still be responsible. Own your life. But understand that not EVERYTHING rests on your shoulders. Also, why do you need to do everything yourself? That brings us to the next strategy.
2. Trust others
Superheroes always pretend they do things to “help” people. But what they’re actually saying is: “I don’t trust others.”
This is especially important if you’re a leader (which is everyone at some point). If you want to work with others, you have to trust them. People won’t follow you because you’re smart or because of your great results.
That’s why successful sales people are often bad managers. They don’t trust others to do the job well. No genuine trust? Then you’re not a leader.
Trust is hard. It goes both ways. You trust the other, the other trusts you. But you have to start. When you build trust, you will find that people work for each other. That takes the load off everyone’s shoulders. So you don’t even need to be a superhero.
3. What’s the purpose?
A family, business, relationship, sports team, they all need another thing to function well: Purpose.
What are we trying to do? Where are we going? What are our values?
It’s so simple that we completely disregard it. We just assume that everyone’s on the same page. That’s why you get conflicts that go like this: “I thought you knew what we’re trying to accomplish!”
Nope. I didn’t.
How do you expect people to know if you don’t communicate your purpose? Do you expect people to smell it?
Or, maybe you don’t even know what you are doing? That’s okay. No one’s perfect. If you don’t know what your purpose is, work on it now.
While you’re at it, get rid of that cape and tights too. The world doesn’t rest on your shoulders.
Go lie on a hammock or something. We’ll be fine without your superhero contributions.
Kind of liberating, isn’t it?