The hardest thing about being an independent consultant for me is business development. Not on behalf of others, but for my practice. It’s not that I can’t do it or that I don’t know how. After all, I spent a good portion of my early career doing just that for ABC and CBS with excellent results. It’s more that I’d prefer to spend my time working on my clients’ business and not on my own, I’d guess. Maybe I need to be more selfish.
A good friend who has been on his own for 30+ years told me early on that this would be the hardest part and that there would be anxious months with not enough work. He was right, as usual, but the remedy is something far simpler than anti-anxiety drugs or meditation and is applicable even to those of you that live in the corporate world and is something I want to share since it goes beyond business as well.
Here is the truth: In my case, I need to get off my butt and work at something that is not particularly attractive to me but critically important to the enterprise. Which is a nice way to say that if I want to eat I need to hunt. This is why we call it “work”, folks. It doesn’t matter if the issue is finding business or losing weight. The solution is to get off your butt and work.
There is a gym near me that is adding 10,000 square feet. I like to think it’s because people have realized that the only cure for being fat is to change your lifestyle and go to work on the problem. How many of us sit at our desks and wait for the next assignment? We could be using the time to think proactively about the business – it’s not only the boss’ job to do that – and fix something about which we’d rather complain.
I’m sure even actors who’ve made it to Broadway get bored performing the same role every night. I’m sure there have been nights when bands on tour are tired, bored, hung over and not wanting to entertain the thousands that have paid to see them (listen to a dozen Grateful Dead shows and the range of quality is obvious). These are dream jobs for many people, but it’s still work to those doing it. Nevertheless, they get off their butts and do the best they can and hopefully their talent carries the day.
I don’t mean to lecture and maybe this piece is more for me than it is for you. But it’s a great reminder to us both that being passive and sitting around gets us nothing but fat. In the words of The Boss – “let’s rock.” Who’s with me?