Fear-Setting For Consultants

Easy has a cost.

Here's a beautiful quote I came across yesterday, by James Clear:

Strangely, life gets harder when you try to make it easy.

Exercising might be hard, but never moving makes life harder. Uncomfortable conversations are hard, but avoiding every conflict is harder. Mastering your craft is hard, but having no skills is harder.

Easy has a cost.

This is one of those few universal truths that we need to be constantly reminded of, from time to time. And as someone who's leading a consulting business, this probably resonates with you as well.

Are you making the courageous and sensible choices, or the easy ones? The only way to find out is by hitting pause and asking ourselves good questions.

When I feel like I'm avoiding action or a difficult decision, I usually perform a fear-setting exercise:

  1. Put your fears under a microscope: Define everything you fear might go wrong. Then list ways you can prevent the worst-case scenarios from happening, and repair the damage if these situations were to come true.
  2. Clarify what you gain by taking action: Be more optimistic and list the positive benefits of acting on what you've been postponing, even if you see only small results in the short term.
  3. Estimate the RONI (return on not investing): Ask "What do I lose by not doing this? What are the potential costs of maintaining the status quo and doing what I'm doing now for the next 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years?" Consider all consequences, including emotional, financial, and physical.

Every single time I've completed this exercise in the past I found out that:

  • I've exaggerated the potential risks of taking action, which often can be easily prevented or repaired.
  • The benefits of doing it are far better than I first thought.
  • Avoiding or postponing action costs me a fortune in the long term.

When excuses always get the best of you, inaction will lead you to failure. Feel free to drop a line if you need a template to perform the fear-setting exercise.

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