As consultants, we’re largely in charge of our own destiny – which can be both a blessing and a curse. Most (all?) of us have things we enjoy that we aren’t good at, and things we’re good at that we don’t find enjoyable.
I love to sing — but no one ever accused me of being the next American Idol. I’m more of a sing-a-long at the pub after one too many-kind of singer. No use trying to pursue it any further than that – no one would pay me to sing, so I don’t focus my time on making that happen.
On the other hand, I’m pretty good at large-scale project management: corralling disperse people, companies and information to make a long-term program work or a big deliverable come together within deadlines. Over the years, a number of clients have paid me pretty well to do this activity, and I have the gray hairs to prove it. I’ve discovered that though this can be a lucrative business offering for me, I’d rather work with someone else to manage the truly enormous projects.
What does this mean for you?
These are just a couple of my own personal examples of knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. It’s often a challenge to stay centered and not get pulled away from our areas of focus, but recognizing what to relentlessly pursue – and perhaps even more importantly, when to pass – is critical to avoiding burnout and thriving as a successful, profitable consultant.
If you haven’t lately, be brutally honest with yourself and take some time to think through where you should be focusing. Share your experiences and decisions with us in the comments!