I spoke with a fellow consultant a couple of weeks ago. She asked for some coaching about rates. A potential client asked about a keynote. Then it turned into a workshop. Then it turned into a potential series of many workshops. Maybe even an entire agile journey for this organization. How awesome is that?
She was thinking of a modest keynote fee. I suggested she raise her fee. “I don’t know. That’s not what I normally charge.”
“I know. What do you normally consider?”
“Well, I normally keynote in driving distance of my home. Oooh. I won’t be, will I?”
“No. You won’t be. You’ll ‘lose’ the entire day.” We spoke more about the economics and the potential upside, downside, and what the client would expect. I’m not sure what she’ll do. Yes, I have made my colleague anonymous to protect her identity. This situation happens to men and women equally.
We make choices based on what we were, where we were, not where we are now. It’s as if we are allowing our four-year-old, twelve year old, twenty year old, 40 year old or whatever year old selves to make choices for us, instead of our current selves.
Don’t worry, we all do it.
You don’t have to be a consultant to do this. You can be a manager, a parent, any human who makes choices.
I do this with jeans and pants. It takes a lot for me to buy a new kind of jeans and pants. Why? Because sizes are not normalized across manufacturers. If I find a size and style that fits, I buy it, regardless of whether it still fits the situation, my age, or the context. Ouch. Yes, I just realized that. Oopsie. Might be time for a change, eh?
Sometimes, it’s difficult to say, “I am in the here and now. My context has changed. I need to change how I make my choices. I’m not in the there-and-then. The old rules don’t apply now.”
The old rules have been useful for so long, we forget we have them. My colleague has rules about keynotes. But those rules don’t apply when she has to fly to a keynote, and when the keynote is part of a package consulting deal, do they? Well, they might. But they might not. She developed those rules about ten years ago. The rules might have outlived their usefulness, at least for this client.
I talked about turning rules into guides in Do Your Rules Prevent You From Solving Problems?
I talked about being in the present in Are You In the “Here-and-Now” or in the “There-and-Then”?
This post is recognizing who you are. Sometimes, I want to retreat, to go back to the person I was. It’s easier. It’s more comfortable. That’s because I’m in a little chaos. No surprise there.
When I’m in chaos, I find it difficult to make great decisions. Or, I try to make a good decision and I’m not sure if it’s a good decision. I try something, I may or may not succeed. When I write proposals for clients with tough problems, I’m often in chaos until I get the transforming idea. Then, the proposal almost writes itself. (As I drafted this post, that happened last night :-)
It’s easier to retreat, to go back to something I already know and am good at. There’s a problem with that—I don’t grow. I don’t provide my clients my best possible work. Sure, it’s risky. But I know how to manage risk. This is the growth mindset at work: I may not know what to do right now, but I can learn it.
This is why you need to know who makes the choices in your life: you in the present, or you in the past.
Dear adaptable problem solvers, that is the question of the week. Who makes the choices in your life?
- Can You Ask for Help?
- Are You Sure You Don’t Have Enough?