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Are You Fighting to Become a Unicorn?


Unicorns. Legend has it that they are fuzzy, cuddly, and magical, as every creature with a nasal horn must be. Yet, as children must learn, they do not exist.

So it is with the professional who can do everything.

When we're results-oriented, admitting that something is outside of our capabilities feels like admitting weakness. Weakness, when seen in the wild, leads to death, or, at the least, career demise. Thus, we throw ourselves into projects we should staff to, but not participate in at a technical level. We write job descriptions which are impossible to fill. We stress that our competitors will accept every challenge and, at some level, appear to succeed.

I say, "let them."

Say "Yes" to...

Whether it's an old Zig Ziglar recording or last week's New York Times, the advice we've been ignoring remains...

Say 'no' to the rest to say 'yes' to the best.

Frankly, I don't want to promise you results which I can't deliver.

Among those results which I can't deliver is being a "unicorn" who can do everything technical.

Why can't we get comfort around our expertise and abilities and own the value we bring to the table?

We are most valuable when we don't waste each other's time bobbing for solutions and are actually delivering what we can deliver. It isn't just scope in which we err. Our optimistic timelines and impact projections need right-sized, too.

If I can't deliver the solution you need, I think I should own that, saving us both time, stress, and money. Or, maybe, we can assemble a team to deliver an even better solution set? If not a team of employees, a team of capable contractors?

The possiblities are endless, once we stop deluding ourselves that unicorns exist. I can't be one. Neither can you.

I know. There's always someone demanding shorter timelines, lower cost and higher quality.

Pick two.

Unicorns don't exist.

"My name's 'Michael,' and I'm not a unicorn."