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Why Playing with Your Food is Critical for Consultants

When you stood well under three feet tall, you chortled with unbridled glee at your father’s silly faces and merrily tried to ride the family dog. You’d also play with your food; catapulting carrot sticks and fashioning finger art with your mashed potatoes. What a hoot!

Now that you lead a consulting firm, I doubt you build teetering broccoli towers on your plate anymore.

Perhaps you should.

You may have always set your sights on leading a consulting firm, or you may (still) express surprise that you’re atop a small consulting practice. Either way, probably one of the reasons you’re where you are today is that independent consulting is a lifestyle business.

Whether you’re completely on your own, or leading a small shop with a few score consultants, running a consulting firm allows you to be who you want to be and do what you want to do without the constraints a large corporate organization imposes.

You’re the one setting the culture. You’re the one who chooses the lifestyle you’re going to inhabit.

Every day.

Seriously, you’re the chief, and each new day is a chance to make the rules for your consulting firm.

So, as you shape the culture, workstyle and rewards of your consulting firm, let me offer a suggestion:

Don’t forget to have fun!

No one’s going to look askance if you chuckle periodically (or frequently) throughout your work days.

Fun includes anything that makes you laugh and raises your spirits. Yeah, golf is out.

It’s okay if you treat your clients or employees to some bowling, inject puns that crack you up into your presentations, or pepper your thought-leading articles with goofy illustrations. (Egads!)

In fact, your colleagues, your family and, yes, your clients will appreciate your cheerful, upbeat demeanor. Your creativity, productivity and effectiveness all rev high when joie de vivre fills your hours.

Parental warning: alas, there are some rules. Never sacrifice the quality of your work. Don’t get drunk in front of clients. Don’t have your fun at the expense of others.

Other than that, cut loose.

Even though surfacing new consulting project opportunities can be hard, clients can be demanding, and the sheer number of tasks on your plate can be overwhelming, you can enjoy yourself while slashing through the jungle of challenges.

What do you do to infuse fun into your consulting firm’s days?


 

15 Comments
  1. David A. Fields
    September 12, 2018 at 3:02 am Reply

    Another reason we run our own firms… breakfasting this morning in Chianti.
    A sip of juice in Chianti

    • Anatoli Naoumov
      September 13, 2018 at 5:43 pm Reply

      In Greve in Chianti they have what they believe is the family grave of Vespucci family. Something to reflect about

      • David A. Fields
        October 10, 2018 at 7:02 am Reply

        Dang, I missed that particular place while I was touring around. Would have been interesting to stop by the resting place of the man whose name gave us America. Maybe on the next trip (after I finish my hunt for the inventor of Italian poached pears with hot fudge sauce, to whom I owe incredible thanks.)

  2. Aimee
    September 12, 2018 at 6:16 am Reply

    Salute!! and thanks for the reminder!

    • David A. Fields
      October 10, 2018 at 7:21 am Reply

      You’re quite welcome, Aimee. Thank you for the toast! (No breakfast pun intended.)

  3. Robin Goldsmith
    September 12, 2018 at 7:38 am Reply

    Buongiorno! Apparently it’s not just beer that’s not only for breakfast 🙂

    I don’t intend to speak for others, and I do enjoy some recreations as much as the next person; but I happen to find much of my work fun too.

    In hindsight, I realized some of my bosses were better than I considered them at the time. Overall, though, I continue to be glad to be away from most of them. On the other hand, I give a talk, “I work for a jerk, and I’m self-employed.” I have good clients, but they can be more demanding than my previous employment bosses. Fortunately they’re usually reasonable. BTW, check out Kim’s demanding client situation on “Better Call Saul.”

    • David A. Fields
      October 10, 2018 at 7:20 am Reply

      Many consultants who lead their own firms work for incredibly demanding bosses. Improve your management skills by insisting your firm’s leadership have fun. Fortunately, one of the great benefits of consulting is most of us also love our work.

      Dealing with challenging clients is part of the art of the profession. Thanks for chiming in on the conversation, Robin.

  4. Daniel Markovitz
    September 12, 2018 at 9:44 am Reply

    That’s the world’s lightest breakfast: 1/5 of a glass of juice.

    • David A. Fields
      October 10, 2018 at 7:16 am Reply

      The Italians eat very light breakfasts, then a heavy lunch followed by a few hours of somnolence. Finding an open restaurant or business mid-afternoon is nigh on impossible.

  5. Robert Wolf
    September 12, 2018 at 2:12 pm Reply

    Life is Short – if you can’t have some fun give it up!

    • David A. Fields
      October 10, 2018 at 7:12 am Reply

      Indeed. Life is short and a one-time-use product. We invest so much of our time, mental energy and emotion into our consulting practices, that it’s vital we ensure we’re enjoying it. Turns out that’s good for business too. Thanks for supporting the idea, Robert.

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