These days, maintaining physical distance preserves your health and protects those around you.
News Flash: Mental and emotional distance between you and your business bolsters your health, happiness, and the success of your consulting firm.
All entrepreneurs tangle themselves in their businesses. As a consulting firm leader, this issue is magnified. The separation between you and your practice can narrow to nothing because your consulting business is an extension of who you are.
You promote and offer your own thinking, IP, approaches, brainpower, insights and skills. Your firm and you are conjoined, even if you employ a staff or team to tackle your projects.
When a prospect rebuffs your consulting firm’s proposal, it can feel like your contact is spurning you and passing judgment on you, personally. And that hurts.
Wait a second, though. Consulting is a personal business, and that’s one of the wonderful attributes of our profession. So, is linking yourself hip-to-hip with your consulting firm really so bad?
Binding yourself too tightly to your consulting firm’s performance can create a vicious cycle.
Rejections shatter your confidence, reducing your ability to win future engagements. Downturns sap the joy from your days, robbing your creativity and productivity, and rendering you less attractive to clients.
The flip side–wins and successes—is equally perilous when you wear your consulting business like a second skin. Business highs can become addictive, and chasing victories can shrink your world to a narrow point.
You need healthy separation from your consulting firm. Proper distancing allows you to:
- Maintain your energy, enthusiasm and excitement, even in the face of failures and rejection.
- Gain the perspective required to make smart decisions for yourself and your consulting firm.
- Lead your consulting firm’s staff with the consistency they deserve.
- Grow as a person outside your firm. In many cases, enriching your life will also help your firm thrive; however, either way it’s good for you.
- Improve your relationships with family and friends.
I quickly jotted down a dozen practices to help consulting firm leaders appropriately detach from their business. Half of them are below, plus there’s an empty space for your ideas.
7 Tips for Proper, Consulting Firm Distancing
Clear Your Head
At least once a day, engage in an activity that dampens the incessant, business buzzing in your brain. Practice yoga, meditate, run, scarf down chocolate, or partake in something else that quiets your mind.
Create Forced Time Off
Block out significant time on your calendar when you will completely remove yourself from your consulting firm.
My clients know our office closes Friday afternoon and access to me and my team is not possible through Saturday—no exceptions! Over the past few years, I’ve taken month-long, no-work vacations.
Both practices have been an incredible boon to me and helped my business grow rapidly. (Alas, C-19 nixed the plans for this year’s trip.)
When your workplace and your home collide, as they have for many consulting firm leaders recently, you may feel like you never leave the office.
Establish clear, physical boundaries that limit where you conduct your work. For instance, you could let your family know that no work or work discussions are allowed in your bedroom or kitchen.
Highlight Personal Blessings
Every day write down three non-work-related aspects of your life for which you’re grateful.
Push yourself to list at least three new blessings each day of the week. (This tip loses its potency if every day you write down, “My husband, my kids, Hu Chocolate Gems.”)
Cultivate Outside Relationships
Associate with friends that have no relation to your work. And, while this may sound nuts, spend an entire evening with your friends without mentioning your work once.
Pick Up Hobbies
Find an activity outside your consulting firm that completely absorbs you.
Obsess over some non-work interests. Sing, dance, play hockey, woodwork, Gloomhaven, write your truffles cookbook–those are all good options.
What’s your practice or tip for creating a healthy distance between you and your consulting firm?
Please share, so that other consulting firm leaders can learn from your good example.
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.