The crazy fear that you need to know it all.

September 28, 2018

Do you harbour a crazy fear that if you don’t seem to know it all, if you aren’t seen to be doing it all, then you aren’t doing your job?

Building a successful business or career is about so much more than having raw talent.

Whether you work for yourself or for someone else, the ‘formula’ to success is made up of a multitude of factors that all need simultaneous care and attention in order for you to realise your vision.

The thing that catches most of us out is the fear that we aren’t enough, that we need to prove ourselves capable, and that we can’t appear to need anyone else’s help.

Remember that first time you were promoted into a leadership role? The excitement… and then the pressure of worrying about whether you could do it? This doesn’t change for most of us as we take on more seniority or bigger roles (in fact it can get worse). The underlying question of whether we are ‘good enough’ has many symptoms, and one of those is being determined that we can do it all – by ourselves.

As a business owner, the pressure is just as intense. You have a point to prove that you can make this work. You have been given all the statistics about business that fail, you’ve had all the comments from friends and family that are intended to be supportive (“don’t worry, if it doesn’t work out you can always get another job“) but really serve to fuel that fear you have deep down that you won’t succeed.

So, what do you do? You keep pushing. Taking on more and more in a determined effort to make the point that you can do it all. And the result?

Well, you might just prove that you have a massive capacity for hard work, and that you can get results. Those around you will be impressed by the sheer volume of things you get done. But at what cost?


Inside, we get more and more overwhelmed and exhausted. You realise that you are only one person, and that in fact you can’t do everything.

Suddenly it dawns on you – your determination to prove a point and go it alone has morphed into a rod for your own back.

People see you as the sole decision maker, the one who has to sign everything off, the one who will step in and sort out every crisis.

Now, the voice in your head is on repeat saying “I’m just one person! I can’t do everything!” and the walls start crowding in.

And this is exactly my point.

You can’t know everything, you can’t do everything, and you certainly can’t be an expert in every field. You need to surround yourself with a team of people who will supercharge your efforts and give you a different perspective.                

One of my girlfriends is an incredible personal trainer with a very successful business. She is passionate, she is skilled, and she invests a huge amount of money and time in mastering her craft. She also absolutely believes that she can’t be her own trainer, and in this she 100% right.

This example applies to anyone.

Put simply –you can’t be your own coach. You need people you trust as part of your team, to bring perspective, objectivity and sometimes technical skills too.                                    

Jack of all trades, master of none.

This is a saying for a reason. Trying to hold sole responsibility for every aspect of your business or job will only exhaust you and make you ineffective. You will do what all of us do under pressure, which is to withdraw into our comfort zone and ignore everything else.

One of two scenarios will then play out:

As a leader, you fill your day with so many tasks and meetings, that you don’t get to the ‘real work’ until late at night.

Your busyness means you don’t have time to tackle the big issues you should be focused on, like painting the vision and creating context for your team.

You are reacting to the next crisis, and then the next, and your lack of time with your team means that you never have time to actually check in to see if everyone understands their role, and actually doing it.

Result: dysfunctional team, exhausted leader, lack of accountability, no direction...(need I go on?)

As a business owner, a couple of common scenarios play out:

  1. You can't get clients.In your want to do and perfect everything, you’re concentrating so hard on perfecting your ‘product’ that you don’t ‘have time’ to work out how to tell people about it. There is a reluctance to put yourself out there in the fear that maybe people won’t buy what you are selling. The ‘safer option’ here is tostay in the background and do some more ‘perfecting’ instead.

        Result:  failing business


     2. You may in fact be a business that does have clients.You’ve smashed the product design and have got that product out there. In fact, you have done so well with your           initial marketing, that you are a total hit. But trying to juggle this ‘instant success’ means you take your eye off everything else (think invoicing, forward planning, marketing           strategies, client service) and before you know it, the boom has become a bust and the phone has stopped ringing.

         Result: failing business


But this is my business and I need to control it!

A common concern with small business owners is not knowing who to trust. After all, you are the only one who understands your vision and it seems risky to delegate any part of it, especially in its fledgling stages. But here’s the thing - if you find the right experts, they won’t try and take over your vision. They will want to supercharge your success.

Do your research and invest the time in finding the right experts for you.              

This applies just as much to leaders in a corporate environment. Factor in the fear that if you ask for help you may be seen as ‘not being up to the job’ and before you know it, the control freak in you, coupled with a healthy dose of imposter syndrome, is causing havoc with you, your health and your team.

So, what do you do?Whether within your organization or outside – find yourself a great mentor or coach who you can use as a sounding board. Often, a mentor outside the organization can be the best thing, because you can speak freely without fear of politics or talking about others that they may know. The second thing to do is to surround yourself with a great team that you trust and who are capable and empowered to do their job. Yes, this takes time, but this is the essence of your role as a leader, and it will pay dividends in so many ways.

Creating a team around you doesn’t mean that you can take your eye off the ball.

Fundamentally, you need to understand your business performance, and nothing here negates that advice. Never ever think that getting an expert or outsourcing a function means you don’t need to understand what they are doing and how it will impact your business. Invest the time to get quality people, let them do the job you hired them for, but never forget they are representing your brand and your culture, and that you need to know what’s happening in your business.

You can still be in control – but in control of the right things.

Same goes as a leader. Delegate, empower and let others do their jobs. But make sure you don’t forget your role and responsibility, which is to keep an eye on the right things, and ask the right questions to keep everything on track and others accountable.


Investing in a team of experts  is investing in a short-cut to success. With the right people around you, you are creating a network to care for and nurture your brand, and additional ‘eyes’ who can help you foresee (and forestall) potential pitfalls and grasp opportunities.

Let them use their expertise so that you can use yours.

And don’t let that crazy fear beat you.

Need Help? I’ve got your back!

-      Have you created a situation where you feel like you have to do it all?

-      Are you working longer and harder and feeling less and less productive?

-      Have you reached the point where you know you need to build an ‘A’ team around you in order to be successful?

Book in a free discovery call with me below, and let’s see if we can get you back on track!

PS  If you have a burning question or a problem that needs a solution, contact us with the details and we will be in touch. Every fortnight we will answer a question for a reader as part of our case study series.  Leave a message on our Facebook page @alextullioconsulting or contact

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