“So, do you lay under a palm tree all day and drink sangria?” joked one client, on discovering that I live in Southern Spain most of the time.
“No,” I replied, “not every day…” It made me smile. It used to make me feel defensive, but I’ve moved beyond the need to justify or seek validation for what I do and how I choose to do it. I know I add value, but it’s taken me some time to believe that.
I’m now at the point where comments from clients that, as I consultant I ‘only work part-time’ and ‘swan in and out’ of their offices don’t faze me. I get that a lot. It’s par for the course as a consultant.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way because what I do wouldn’t work as well as it does if I didn’t ‘swan in and out’.
My job, as I see it, is to arrive, spread a bit of happiness (and fabulousness) around the place, make suggestions, help people and leave. I couldn’t do that if I worked there full-time, it just wouldn’t be possible. The dynamic would be very different.
By ‘swanning in’, I focus people’s attention.
I create a space in their work time for them to think and breathe, to question and resolve, to explore and discover.I’m there to be a positive influence, to help people see the way forward. They’d soon forget that or take it for granted if I were there all the time. And the openness, positivity and ideas I bring would lessen too.
Despite the label ‘swanning in and out,’ I do work. It may look like I spend all my time chatting to people but that is my job – and I’m very good at it. Years of happy client feedback and referrals prove it.
I talk to people, but I listen more.
I’m a sounding board, a confidant and source of ideas. It requires a lot of skill, experience, judgement and tenacity. It might look easy, but it’s not. Making it look effortless is part of the skill.
For me, knowing what I’m good at and feeling confident about what I do are essential to being happy at work. I don’t worry about how it looks to other people as long as my clients are happy too.
If you’d like to talk about how to focus on what you’re good at or how to feel more confident at work, get in touch.