Some years ago, I started to notice that the AssistU VAs gravitated toward one of two ways of being in their relationships with clients. Given that I love storytelling, metaphor, and analogy, I came up with a story to help explain it—to them, and to the clients I was helping in Wise Help sessions and the Registry Gold process.
Once upon a time, there was a farm. On this farm lived a family and a lot of different animals, all who were there for different purposes. One of them—an eagle—was there to keep an eye on things, and make sure everything ran smoothly.
She was supremely made for this job because she could fly at great heights while her vision was so keen that she could both see vast swatches of the farm and what was going on, as well as noticing things happening on the ground with great detail and pinpoint accuracy. She often would, for instance, fly down to the pond where a duckling had started to wander off without his mother noticing. Our eagle (benevolent as she is) would flap her wings at the duckling, ushering him back to his mom where he belongs.
And occasionally, she loved to sit on the pasture fence and visit with the goats. The goats are terrific, and great company, and they fascinated her, because they couldn’t be more different from her. For instance, goats can’t see more than four feet in front of their faces. And all they want to do is chew things. They chew grass, and tree bark, and fence wire, and cans—anything in front of them is something they’ll try to eat. Keeping a goat happy just requires you to throw something in front of them so they can try to eat it.
And after a good visit, the eagle has to say goodbye to the goats, because she’s not meant to stay on the ground and chew things any more than they’re meant to fly high and watch out over things.
The end. (Yep; I need a better ending.)
But I remember the first time I told the story to a group of VAs, and heard one of them make a decidedly goat-like noise as if to say that she identified with what I’ve come to call the “goat path.”
Other VAs chimed in, saying they identified with the goat or the eagle. And some of them have used the story with clients to help them understand how they see themselves in their work.
Now, before I say another thing, please don’t think that goats are in any way less than eagles. A person can be a truly kick-ass goat, just as someone can be a kick-ass eagle.
The moral of the story is that your business needs both.
You need a right-hand person who can watch over everything for you, and you need people to make light work of everything you need to get done.
Most people begin with someone who is a heck of a doer (a goat). As the business grows, either the VA grows into the eagle role, or one can be added to the team. But you do need one because otherwise, you have to be your own eagle—and there’s not a soul I know who got into business to do that work.
So keep it in mind as you’re considering your needs.
And if you can think of a solid ending for my sweet little story, I’m all ears.