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A 12-Week Challenge that Will Lift Your Consulting Firm

You’re surrounded by opportunities to accelerate your success and to enjoy the rewards of running your solo or boutique, independent consulting firm.

Those opportunities are like flights that will lift you away from your current condition and land you in a different, better place.

You’ve learned to ignore the flight announcements over your mental loudspeakers. They sound like “Now boarding, I-Know-I-Should                ” and “Announcing immediate departure of I-Wish-I                  .

Today—right now, in fact—you’re going to buy a non-refundable, one-way ticket on one of those flights to greater satisfaction.

Your flight is going to last 12 weeks, and I guarantee you’ll land in a different, better location than where you’re currently residing.

Think of it as a 12-week challenge.

The steps to embark on your 12-week challenge are:

  1. Choose Your Destination – Select one of those “I know I should” or “I wish I would” statements floating around your brain. The only rule is it has to be within your control.
  2. Set Your Flight Times – You’re embarking on the opposite of a non-stop flight. Set a repeatable, predictable time to depart (again and again).
  3. Determine Your Flight Path – The exact behavior you engage in will determine where you land. What, specifically, are you going to do for the next 12 weeks?
  4. Announce Your Flight – Talk about your flight publicly. Let the world know your commitment.
  5. Hop on Board – Start this week.
  6. Celebrate at Touchdown – Act like there’s a military band greeting you every time you complete one leg of your 12-week journey. Reward yourself for each success.

You can ask your team or your consulting firm staff to take on a 12-week challenge too; however, start with yourself. Invite others after you’ve completed a successful flight.

Example 12-Week Challenges:

  • Reach Out – Every Tuesday and Thursday at 12:00 p.m.—before eating lunch—complete 30 minutes of outreach to prospective consulting clients.
  • Write Your Book – Every Monday morning, before looking at email or anything on your desk, write for 30 minutes.
  • Congratulate – Every Wednesday at 8:00 a.m., review all the automatic personal notifications you received on LinkedIn (e.g., it’s Sally’s birthday), and send those people a congratulations message.
  • Send Thank Yous – Every Friday at 4:00 p.m., send at least 5 Thank You cards to people whom you appreciate. (What an uplifting way to head into the weekend!)
  • Let Go – Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. completely walk away from your consulting firm. No talking about any business-related topic at home. Try to dismiss your work-related thoughts until the next day.
  • Exercise – Every Monday and Friday at 7:00 a.m., ride the bike at the gym for 30 minutes.
  • Eat Better – Every Saturday at midnight, start your 24-hour, sugar Sabbath. Eat nothing that contains refined sugar that entire day.

Personally, I’m amidst a 12-week challenge to conduct research every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. for my next book.

Hop a flight to a more successful consulting firm. What 12-week challenge will you take on?

  1. Ted Demopoulos
    July 18, 2018 at 7:01 am Reply

    OK, I’ve just converted my “run 20 miles a week so I’m less old and fat” into a 12 week challenge. I’m claiming that consulting and the resulting travel has caused the weight gain.

    And since I’ve already started the above, will also add “shoot a video on something processional for my YouTube channel” on a weekly basis for 12 weeks

    • David A. Fields
      July 18, 2018 at 7:50 am Reply

      The 12-week challenge to reverse time is impressive, Ted. Consulting travel can definitely be rough on the waistline (or hip-line), and I applaud you for the exercise routine. If you do end up younger in 12-weeks, you can safely exit consulting.

      Shooting a weekly video also sounds impressive. You’ll be heading into the fourth quarter with a lot of IP momentum. Nice!

      Thanks for sharing your 12-week challenges, Ted.

  2. Tim Kist
    July 18, 2018 at 11:32 am Reply

    Terrific and simple plan. Two weeks ago I started putting blocks of time in my calendar to complete activities such as you specified. I am going to revisit them and get more detailed (not just PD time but specific “write new one pager from my topic list”) and track my progress. Wonderful nudge and based on how I have improved in a couple of areas with my general time allocation I believe I will be more successful by getting specific.
    Thanks kindly,

    • David A. Fields
      July 18, 2018 at 11:41 am Reply

      Excellent case study in using specific, short-term, time-based goals to drive progress, Tim. Let me know how revising your time blocks to add specificity works for you.

  3. Josh Prigge
    July 18, 2018 at 12:47 pm Reply

    Okay…finally starting my ebook this week!

    • David A. Fields
      July 18, 2018 at 2:07 pm Reply

      Hooray! Congratulations on starting the book, Josh. I look forward to reading it when you’re done.

      You’ve also set a great example for others on what a 12-week challenge could be.

  4. Mike Brassaw
    July 19, 2018 at 2:40 pm Reply

    Great examples David. Having an operational rhythm is important. I encourage clients to hard schedule items like these into their calendar and plan around it. Otherwise you have a tendency to get overwhelmed by other events.

    • David A. Fields
      July 19, 2018 at 4:33 pm Reply

      Exactly, Mike. Operational rhythm is a good way of phrasing it. When you combine that operational rhythm with a concrete, time-based goal, progress really accelerates. Is there a 12-week challenge you’re taking on?

  5. Eric Billman
    July 22, 2018 at 4:11 pm Reply

    David, I have some ideas, but am having a hard time putting them in the format you suggest. I already walk daily, but would like to lose some weight so as to be in fighting trim this fall. It sounds as if this challenge is about a daily or weekly rhythm more than a 12 week goal like losing 30 lbs. this is my biggest “I should do…” on my list that is not already in progress. Your thoughts or permission are appreciated.

    • David A. Fields
      July 22, 2018 at 5:32 pm Reply

      Eric, thanks for sharing openly about your challenge. Goals are useful; however, progress is made through activity. Losing 30 lbs can’t be on your to-do list, because it’s a result, not an activity.

      Net, you’re right: the 12-week challenge is focused on creating a weekly rhythm. It’s a process for increasing the likelihood that you’ll complete the activities that will take you to your goal.

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