Greensilkmuse's Blog

It’s not for everyone

Posted in Feedback by greensilkmuse on February 4, 2010

Had dinner with a former colleague and friend the other night.  We talked about our styles and how we’ve had to learn hard lessons to get to where we want to be — learning to adapt our styles when the situation calls for it.

Sometimes clients decide they just don’t want to work with you.  It’s not that they don’t like you as a person….because they do.  It’s just that they need a different touch… something that engages them in a different way so that they really own the plan and spur themselves to action.  Sometimes, they decide that they didn’t get what they needed from you.  It’s hard when someone  just doesn’t feel the fit is right.  But it’s OK.  In the end, its important that they get what they need and that you deliver your best to those who need what you have to offer.

Sensing what is right for you and for your client can be tricky.  An opportunity to take that next assignment, do interesting work, make that next sale is very seductive.  Knowing when to go for it ( because you can do it well and have positive impact) and when to let it go (because it really isn’t in your sweet spot) is a real art.   It is part of what makes this work so challenging.  Some might think you’re being picky about the work you do.  Hopefully being selective shows good judgment and gives clients a sense of comfort that you wouldn’t disappoint them when you do commit to a project. 

My friend observed,  “this is really hard work.  It’s not for everyone.”  You put yourself  “out there” – it’s your thinking and approach.  While you may do really good work, there are those times when your style doesn’t fit with what people want and you have to accept that it’s OK — better they work with someone they feel comfortable with. 

In the world of consulting, the barrier to entry is low.  I hear almost every day about another person who is out on their own, doing consulting projects.  Some of them will make it work over the long haul, but far more will move on to something else.  It takes a tough skin, self-awareness, and a lot of persistance and continuous improvement to keep it going. 

So, we take the feedback with appreciation.  Great when someone really feels supported by what you are doing. That reinforces you and helps you put in that next effort.  When someone needs something different from what you have to offer– that’s OK too.  While I’m not suggesting you try to be someone you aren’t, you can still learn new tricks and get a little bit better.