broken arm

Singlehandedly

Nothing like a broken arm to get lessons in delegation. Just as we were putting together our latest e-book, Strength through Delegation: Secrets of Women in Control, I broke my right arm (and I’m right-handed) just below the wrist. My arm has been in a cast for three weeks, from above the elbow to down over my knuckles.

The sudden handicap has been revealing. Having never had a broken bone before, I had no idea what to expect from myself. Would I feel depressed and defeated? Would I be able to get my work done? Would that even be possible? These questions went through my mind as the pain medication kicked in  and the work week loomed before me.

I was surprised by what I chose to let go, and what I kept on my plate. The e-book project stayed on schedule. A couple of freelance projects slipped–with the graceful permission of our clients. Social media slipped–which I think has more to do with my tendency to withdraw during difficult times, than with physical ability. Yet, except for the first couple of days, I kept almost all of my in-person appointments.

Surprisingly, I didn’t feel awkward asking business associates for rides to meetings, or asking friends for grocery runs, laundry folding, dog walking, and even doing my hair. The fact that I was injured made it easy for me to ask people for favors–and it prompted them to offer, for which I’m grateful.

What I am learning about delegating is that it is easy to ask for help, and let go of control, when I can’t guilt-trip myself for not “doing it all.” As I regain the use of my right hand, I can work to keep that guilt from returning. It shouldn’t matter if my limitations are physical and obvious, or self-imposed and private—I have limitations either way. The key to delegating is to accept them gracefully.

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