I have always been a stickler about how things are done. My drilled me as a young man how to do work with excellence, even if it was cleaning toilets or washing cars. Couple that with a high level of earnestness and passion, and it is very tempting for me to do the work that needs to be done all by myself out of fear that it won’t be done “the right way.” I imagine some of you know what I’m talking about.

About this time last year, I recognized that leading two startups along with pastoring part-time was requiring me to do so much work to maintain, there was no way I was going to be able to move forward unless something changed. It was either do less work (remove some things off the plate) or learn to work smarter. Not having an assistant for four years had me doing a lot of work that others could be doing (at least 80%) with little to no time to be doing the work that only I could do. That’s a recipe for burning out and stalling out at the same time!

By this time last year, I had been reading about getting a  “virtual assistant” through Michael Hyatt’s blog for several months and wanted to explore it further. I inquired with a couple of guys who had a virtual assistant and came away with strong affirmation that I should pursue this myself. The company that was unanimously recommended to me was EAHelp from Miles Advisory Group (MAG). Check out this introductory video they produced:

After engaging Bryan Miles and his team on Twitter, I took the plunge in May and have not looked back. Beginning with the on-boarding process during the Summer, I realized that I should have done this a long time ago. No doubt the reason for that is my stubbornness and unwillingness to let go of work that I should not be doing that someone else could be doing just as well or better than I had in the past.

599730_10200510641104967_1451482581_nMy virtual assistant is Colleen Garcia. She is a mother of six and lives in Chicago. Though we have never met in person, we have come to know and understand how each other works in ways that have enabled me to move forward and dedicate the majority of my time doing what I, as a leader and director, can only do for the ministries I oversee.

Over the past year, she has integrated her skills and experience into just about every area of my work, including managing day-to-day matters related to PLNTD, Haiti Collective, and Grace. Before I was dropping the ball left and right, unable to juggle all the various responsibilities. I would close my computer in the evening to be with my family but my brain would not shut down because there was still so much work left over. Since that time, I have seen the competence of Colleen in handling the things entrusted to her care and can walk away with confidence in knowing the things I need done will be completed with excellence and diligence. I have to say that getting a virtual assistant this time last year was one of the smartest things I’ve done (though it really is a no-brainer!).

What’s so cool with Colleen is that I have thrown just about everything at her that an executive assistant can imagine, and she has jumped in with both feet to figure out a solution and complete the task/project. I think she secretly thinks I’m making her into the “virtual assistant tech guru”. 🙂  But seriously, I had no idea what this next year would bring and the way developing ministries would grow, and in spite of all the unknowns and demand for flexibility, we have been able to grow together and became what I think is a pretty dynamic team.

So on this Administrative Professional’s Day, I want to express my appreciation to Colleen for everything she have done for me over the past year. It has been a joy not only to work together with her but to pray with her regarding family needs and decisions and see how God is using her in her home to love and care for her family (while getting pinged by me via instant message). I look forward with joyful anticipation in all the ways God is going to us our labors to serve local churches, advance the mission, and bless others with the good news of Jesus Christ!

N.B. – For those interested, I plan on sharing more about my personal experience with a virtual assistant and how that work experience has developed over the past year.