Balancing a consulting lifestyle can be complex, between personal interests and doing triage for client services, marketing, research, writing, networking and more. How do I keep from getting overwhelmed by these demands?
Things happen, to be sure, but you have a lot of control over the circumstances in which you find yourself. You also have a lot of control over how you see the world. Bad days are inevitable; bad attitudes are optional.
Think of people you associate with. Some can find something positive to say about any situation. A lost client is an opportunity to hone the sales pitch. A project that gets off track is a chance to work on project management skills. You leave a conversation with them feeling invigorated and positive.
Then there are people who can find something negative to say about any situation, even a neutral one. The new engagement will make them too busy to take a vacation. The researcher they hired doesn't have any useful skills.You leave a conversation with these toxic people feeling drained and dreading the next encounter.
Consultants, by nature, look for flaws and, consequently, improvement opportunities in every situation. We are trained to see the downside of people and processes, but that doesn't mean we have to carry that perception over into our dealing with our colleagues. Even when you think you are being "honest" or "helpful," doing so does not help. Tip:
Commit to leave every conversation with people feeling better than when you found them, whether family, client or colleague. This applies to you and the other person or persons. Find something positive to comment on, work on or look forward to. Everyone wins. © 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA