Last week, I helped my mom prepare for Passover by peeling and grating over 5 pounds of potatoes for her potato kugel.
I had actually offered to make the whole thing, which would have allowed me to do it on my own timing.
There was only one catch: my mom doesn’t have a recipe. She makes it by “feel.”
Like any artist or creative, my mom enjoys the freedom to improvise. Cooking is an art, and like all arts, it is a practice infused with intuition and informed by instinct.
And, like many creative business owners or solopreneur, my mom often feels overloaded and overwhelmed by the volume of tasks she has to do to prepare for the holiday, which, for her, is like a big “program launch.”
In business, the “artist” archetype believes that they are the only person who can do what they do. Many of us in client services are an “artist” archetype even if we are not “artists” in the traditional sense of that word. The branding culture encourages us to “stand out” and find our “unique value proposition.”
This obviously helps when marketing and positioning your work. If you’re the only one who can do a certain thing, then you can own your market. You can charge higher rates. And, perhaps more important for many who are driven by the need and desire to serve:
If you’re the only one who can do what you do, people will need you. That feeds your need to be needed, which Maslow would call your need for significance.
The flip side to this is that if you’re the only one who can do what you do, and if you do it all by feel, it means you can’t delegate it to someone else.
That often leaves us feeling overwhelmed, overloaded, and trapped.
Herein lies the tension:
Creative people want to bask in the freedom to create without limitations that “recipes” might impose, but without a recipe you can’t delegate the work, which makes you feel like you’re a slave.
In other words: the stronger the belief that only we can do what we do, the less freedom we feel.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, the structure of a recipe creates freedom.
You might see clearly that, if she had a recipe, my mom could have delegated the entire task to me. This same principle applies in your business. If you want freedom from your to-do list, you need a recipe.