I love my friend, Jennie Bayliss for three reasons. The first is because Jennie cuts through flimflam; she sees things analytically and applies good short phrases to describe them, no verbiage. A spade is most definitely a spade.
The second reason I love Jennie is because she runs an outfit called Office Wings who do two things: operate as a virtual PA doing things like filing and mailshots; and providing concierge services like waiting in for the plumber, or organising (and even writing) the Christmas cards. Absolutely invaluable.
And the third reason, and the focus of this blog post is because she has come up with the typically succinct term Team Me. Team Me is a brilliant way to describe the gathering of people around you who can help you juggle all the things you need to do, and give you the time and energy to focus on the things you really want to do.
Jennie Bayliss is a supreme juggler who makes things happen – I feel very thankful to say that she is most definitely a part of my Team Me!
We all need people like Jennie around us to stimulate and challenge our thinking, to sympathise with life’s vicissitudes and to help us put the broken pieces back together as and when required. Everyone needs a support network, everyone needs a Team Me.
Let’s take the example of a working mum with two teenage children who is in the first three years of running her own business; has a husband with his own demanding job; and whose parents, in-laws and siblings are scattered round the country rather than helpfully located down the road. On her Team Me she might have:
- Schools with reliable after school clubs and good child care for school holidays
- A trustworthy, experienced and conscientious cleaner who also does the ironing
- A gardener who can work without supervision
- Decorator/handyman/plumber/electrician/locksmith who will come out when she has regular work but more importantly in an emergency
- A friendly neighbour to take in parcels and let the various workmen in
- A motivational personal trainer
- An efficient book keeper and accountant for the business and to do her personal tax
- A good PA who keeps on top of everything
- Good professional advisers & associates – marketing; social media; legal and so on
- A network of likeminded business professionals
Does that sound good? Of course it does. But there is something missing.
The most important recruit to Team Me is the one who is objective; who believes in the ‘me’ unconditionally but can separate that from looking at the facts; who tells the truth; who challenges our thinking to refine it and improve it; who holds us to account so we stay on course and get things done; and very importantly who gives us the type of support we need when we need it. I call this person a Critical Friend. A person who is not emotionally involved; whose job is to help you move along the road at your own pace, without taking the wrong turn or getting distracted by the scenery!
One of my mantras is “Do what you are good at and delegate the rest to someone good at it who likes doing it”. If you hate ironing, the ironing basket just gets fuller and fuller – when you do eventually tackle the pile it takes you twice as long as it should. Delegate it; you do what only you can do, and let someone else do the ironing.
Our spouses, family and friends all want to help us but may not have the time; might not be objective (their lives might be affected if we take what they might see as risks); or might not have the skills we need. They love us unconditionally and do not want to see us hurt, stressed, or working like a demon. They are clearly important to Team Me but not necessarily part of it. Team Me is more about the support you need in order to create time to spend with your loved ones.
You need a Team Me if you know what you want out of life – if you have dreams. Turning them into a strategy and crafting plans to realise them is not easy. Things get in the way – we don’t know how to do it; we have not got the confidence to try; we get distracted; we fall down and can’t get up by ourselves; we believe our critics; we don’t believe our fans……….
Building a Team Me will enable you to focus specifically on your dreams and goals by giving you the precious gift of time. Time to help you become all you can be and stay focused on your objectives instead of dashing from crisis to crisis, always busy but never really making any real progress.
If you are serious about living your life to the full and being the very best you can be, if you are committed to following your dreams and realising your goals, if you know what you are good at and can leave the rest to everyone else – then it is imperative that you surround yourself with Team Me.
And might I be so bold as to suggest you add that Critical Friend to your Team Me, a professional like myself who specialises in challenge and support and is unfailingly and reassuringly, always on your side, always a part of your very own Team Me.