“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” ~ John Maxwell

At one point or another in our lives we’ve each lived in a place of ease, security and poise.  Welcome to The Comfort Zone; a place where you drive to work and don’t really dream up ways to take that idea mentioned in yesterday’s meeting, create a project manager and put it into action.  No for you, you can pretty much predict what each day will bring, and you can deliver and conquer with your eyes closed. You’ve been in your current position for X amount of months or possibly years, and you do it damn well. However, something is “missing.” You meet the days without that butterfly-in-the-belly feeling. There is neither angst nor excitement on how you are possibly going to get “it” moving to produce remarkable results.   

Welcome to the doorstep of Growth. Welcome to the commencement of Replacing Yourself.

Are you thinking, “Wait a minute?  What does this mean? It sounds kind of scary.  I “like” what I do, and I do it better than anyone else in the office. There really is no one to take over what I do. Furthermore, well, then what would I do?”

The greatest mistake we see “great employees with a ton of potential” (what we like to call Intrapreneurs) make is the traditional “continuation” in the workplace.  You’re probably saying, “What’s wrong with that”? Well, this acceptable behavior is detrimental when companies are looking for ROI’s (Returns on Investment, including what they invest in employees) or employees are looking for that annual raise to climb the proverbial ladder. The real problem is most employees are not aware of the act of replacing yourself and stepping up out of the comfort zone.

The truth be told, many of us believe if we give up control of what is “ours” we are being reduced in importance.  In all honesty, the boss will have no trouble replacing you with someone who accepts and encourages capability, position and resourcefulness. So either get busy growing or stay busy existing, either way you have to choose, and yes, existing in a role without growth, is a choice.

We are not talking about managing up, delegating or giving up control. We are talking about reinventing yourself.

Molly actually found herself standing in this very crossroad just last month with an employee. Every year her company conducts a Year End Planning Retreat where they shut down the business for an entire day to work on revisiting the company organizational chart and designing their Top 10 Intentional Projects for the year to come. We started the day by going through the company “org” chart and outlined all the necessary roles and responsibilities needed to meet our goals, objectives and serve our clients in 2013. After two hours, the exercise was completed and Molly started feeling a bit “empty.”  Molly has served the company of three employees in the role of “CEO” for the past three years. Now, if you have ever worked for a small company, you know the CEO role means a little bit of this and a lot bit of that. Her roles ranged from accounting to customer service in any given day but every client loved her, and she did her work tirelessly with compassion, authenticity and most days, with a sense of accomplishment.

In their retreat, when they approached the Finance department someone else stepped up saying, “It makes the most logical sense for me to take that over to free Molly up to work on Relationship Building with Power Partners.”  When it came to event planning, Molly would find herself saying, “Actually, that is not the best use of my time if finding new Power Partners is my primary contribution to the company.” After completing the company organization chart on this early December morning Molly realized she just “gave away” over half of her job!  She knew enough to know this was a “story” she was creating in her head but, nonetheless, she was feeling a bit “empty.”  For so many years Molly took a tremendous amount of pride in the fact that she could “do it all and everyone depended on me.” The company of three had grown to a company of five over the past year.  She had to replace herself and grow into new roles to support the growth of the company and to allow other team members a place to grow into.

She now found herself feeling empty, nervous and excited all at the same time. WOW, this is the exact place she needed to be sitting in.  Molly had just replaced herself.

 NOW WHAT?

After going through the org chart Molly could put herself in one role/department and one only, Marketing. Never in a million, trillion years would Molly have put herself in the role of “Marketing.”  In fact, anytime the word marketing came up she would literally get a belly ache. However, finding herself in this place of angst and overwhelm she knew she was simply filling the role of a connector, cultivator and nurturer. Funny how this stuff works, THAT is Molly’s Unique Ability®.

Connecting, cultivating and nurturing…now that, Molly cannot only do and do with pride, but she is already thinking of ways she is going to enhance and grow this role.

Sealing the Deal – The Transition Phase

Often, if we get to this point, we stop and then wonder why our new, great ideas and plans never move forward.  Any major change requires a transition plan.

The very next morning the team scheduled a one-hour team meeting to distinguishing all the roles they have each reinvented themselves with. They realized they needed to be responsible and create a Transition Schedule to determine their current activities in their current roles, the time it would take to train the new person and the steps to systematize it. One hour later they had a transition schedule that would take four complete days to implement. They scheduled out an entire week, three weeks from now, to implement the Transition Plan.  Then they would each be able to step into their new worlds confident that someone else had stepped into their previous role and was trained and ready to succeed

This is Replacing Yourself

Sound interesting?  Then stay tuned for The 8 Laws of Replacing Yourself.