Before I discuss the topic of conditioning your consulting mindset, I'm curious as to whether you've watched the TV series Westworld?
If you have, you'll know there is a suggestion throughout the show that the characters go to this fictional world (Westworld) to find out who they really are...
...to search for their true identity!
Now, I’m a big fan of the show, but here’s the key insight most people overlooked.
The outcomes of the characters has nothing to do with searching, and everything to do with creating.
In other words, their outcomes are determined by the actions they choose to take.
And it’s the same for you.
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself... George Bernard Shaw
If you want to be a consultant, the only thing that can get in the way of that happening is you!
The self-limiting mindset is to accept the hand you have been dealt. But the truth is each of us has the ability to create our character.
To create our own path and follow it to become the consultant we want to be, not the consultant you think you are today.
And so, the first stage is conditioning your consulting mindset for success. And, you do this in four simple steps.
It’s a $240 billion industry and growing. It helps clients get results faster. The obstacles to entry (i.e. cost being one of them) are minimal. And it provides an incredible opportunity to break free.
Everyone must be rushing to consulting and coaching so right?
Of course, there is competition but, if you were to survey 100 online entrepreneurs, I bet less than 0.1% are offering consulting.
So the question is why?
It has to do with a common consulting myth. But this myth can only stem the tide for those who choose to believe in it.
And so, your first objective in conditioning your consulting mindset is to dispel this myth.
People are afraid to offer their services unless recognised as an expert in their niche.
They worry that without validation, they won’t be taken seriously. In other words, they wait for permission...
Waiting for someone to say, "okay, you’ve spent 10,000 hours working at your craft. Now you’re an expert".
It's silly, but most of us struggle with self-doubt. I’m no exception. Even after seven years of studying marketing online, I questioned whether I knew enough.
Online consultant Frank Kern released an ebook dismissing such thinking a few years ago.
If we could help somebody get the results for themselves faster, easier, more efficiently, than they could do it for themselves, that’s all the credentials we need.
Because that’s all the client cares about. Forget about the letters after your name, the Harvard degree, the jam-packed CV or where you grew up. None of it matters.
I grew up in a town of 3,500 people. I’m an introvert who suffers from anxiety and freezes at the thought of public speaking. I have zero connections in this world of digital consulting.
For seven years in the online marketing space. And in college, I failed my first-year exams. When I repeated them that summer, I passed by a mere 1%...
...my poor mother was so worried when I told her I thought I’d failed the repeat exams… sorry mom!
But it doesn’t matter.
Because, in my quest for freedom from the cubicle, I’ve accepted failure as par for the course. And today, I know more about digital marketing than my consulting clients.
I provide clarity, and I help them get more clients by knowing above all else, what not to do! It’s the same for anyone of you reading this right now.
The “lack of credentials” barrier is a myth. Time to banish it to strengthen your consulting mindset.
Stating Your Big Prize
In my 20’s, if you’d asked me what my "big prize" was, I would have said…To be rich!
How rich, I wasn’t quite sure. But, a millionaire by the time I was 30 and a billionaire by the time I was 40... that would do nicely!
Arianna wasn’t lying…
But as pleasant as dancing might be, this dance of entrepreneurial success isn't always pleasant.
It's full of sudden moves. Twists that catch you off guard. Leaving you feeling a bit silly and unqualified at times.
Having people to turn to is important during these moment. I was lucky that way. However, looking back, one of the major consulting mindset flaws I had in my earlier years was not being crystal clear on my big prize.
Because as I learned in later years, it’s your big prize that keeps you motivated during difficult times.
When all you want to do is lie down, your big prize makes you stand up. When you want to retreat, your big prize makes you step forth.
When everything inside you says no more, your big prize makes you keep dancing and strengthens your consulting mindset.
"I want to be rich" is not a big prize. Neither is “I want to be famous”, or “I want to be a doctor” or even “I want to be President".
Because as humans, it’s not just about wants. It’s also about needs, and our needs go far deeper.
This is best demonstrated by Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in pyramid form. The further you move up the pyramid, the greater the level of need.
At the base of the pyramid are our physiological needs. The things we need to survive such as air, food, water etc.
But as we move toward the top layers, it has more to do with earning respect, being confident in our own skin and reaching our full potential in life.
So, when it comes to staying motivated as a consultant, not only must your big prize cover your wants, it must also reflect your needs.
The full statement looks like this…
I WANT TO …………………… SO I CAN ………………………
I want to build a consistent 7-figure consulting business, so I can…
Don’t be afraid to go deep down the rabbit hole with your big prize statement. Even when you reach your self-actualisation need, keep asking why.
You’ll reach the point where you’ll be so emotionally attached to your big prize, you can’t help but feel motivated to keep going.
It’s a powerful mindset shift so be sure to do it.
Setting Your Goals
Goals are important. For some people, more than others. But important nonetheless. Without goals, there’s no direction.
However, I’m not talking about those half-ass goals we all set now and again.
You know the ones I’m talking about. The one in particular, thousands of us make every year on December 31st as we tuck into that last Christmas mince pie…
…to go to the gym, lose weight and get in shape.
No mention of how much weight we are going to lose, when we are going to lose it by or the specifics of how we will lose it once we get to the gym.
So, it comes as little surprise to learn months later, that the overwhelming majority of us have fallen off the wagon again.
It’s the same in consulting, where people repeatedly tell me their big prize is to build a 6 or even 7-figure business (want).
Not only have they not identified their need (as per Maslow's hierarchy of needs), but they have no idea when or how to get there.
Does this sound like you?
If so, it’s time to start setting goals.
I highly recommend reading the book, “The One Thing”, written by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.
One of my favourite quotes of all time is "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."...
"The ONE Thing” brings this statement to life. It helps you identify your long-term, medium-term and short-term goals but more importantly…
It helps get you laser focussed on the one thing you can do right now, to move you one step closer to achieving that long term goal.
The principles of The ONE Thing forces you to ask yourself each day…
“What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"
You see, in todays world of increasing noise and distraction, multi-tasking is celebrated as some sort of achievement. And so, it has become all too common.
And while it’s true, we can do two things at once, it’s also true that we cannot focus effectively on two things at once.
what’s happening when we’re actually doing two things at once? It’s simple. We’ve separated them. Our brain has channels, and as a result we’re able to process different kinds of data in different parts of our brain. This is why you can walk and talk at the same time. There is no channel interference.
But here’s the catch: you’re not really focused on both activities. One is happening in the foreground and the other in the background. If you were trying to talk a passenger through landing a DC-10, you’d stop walking. Likewise, if you were walking across a gorge on a rope bridge, you’d likely stop talking.
In other words, while your working on something important, remove all distractions. Turn off your phone, disable your email notifications...
...Do whatever it takes to remain laser focussed on your one thing!
A final thing on goal setting. Remember one simple rule. Your goals should be SMART. In other words, your goals should be…
Follow this rule for each of your goals, from your "someday" to your "five years" and even "right now" goals.
Forming Your Habits
Habits improve productivity. Keep you disciplined and help you get more done.
In any discussion about success, the words “discipline” and “habit” ultimately intersect. Though separate in meaning, they powerfully connect to form the foundation for achievement — regularly working at something until it regularly works for you. When you discipline yourself, you’re essentially training yourself to act in a specific way. Stay with this long enough and it becomes routine — in other words, a HABIT.
So, you know that colleague who goes to the gym every morning at 6am?
It’s not that they’re necessarily super disciplined all the time. Rather, they’ve been disciplined for just enough time that they've conditioned a habit in their life.
And you can too!
Habit formation comes down to three essential steps.
If we take going to the gym as an example again, it might look something like this...
The alarm in your phone goes off at 5:45am, which is the trigger for you to get up (Reminder).
You jump out of bed, get dressed, grab a banana and leave for the gym. You then do a 45 minute gym session before returning home at 7am (Routine).
Just before you jump in the shower, you look in the mirror. You notice your body is looking much leaner. You feel stronger and more confident with each passing day (Reward).
In the above example, it’s not the need to be super disciplined forever that’s required. It’s the need to be super disciplined until the Routine becomes a Habit.
"A goal without good habits, is like a dream without ambition. Both are appealing, but neither comes to fruition”.
As for the length of time for any habit to form, some suggest as little as 21 days. Others say 60-66 days. The reality is it, habit formation varies from person to person.
What is generally constant, however, are the three phases you go through in forming your habit.
During the honeymoon phase, getting up at 5:45am isn't so bad. You're motivated so jumping out of bed is easy in the first and even, second week.
Then, comes the fight through.
Each morning you wake to that damn alarm clock in week 3, you feel like flinging it across the room. It is these moments you must overcome. The urge to stay in bed. To ignore the alarm.
And if you come through these fight-through moments, that’s when it becomes second nature. It no longer even registers with you that 5:45am is early. It’s normal. Your body starts to wake naturally...
It’s just habit!
So, before you start out in the world of consulting, set your goals and identify the habits you need to form in order to achieve success.
Have the self-discipline to stay committed to these habits, until such time as the habit is formed.
To succeed in consulting, you must to have a mindset that is strong enough to…
It starts with dispelling the #1 myth in consulting…that you don’t have the credentials to even start out.
Successful consulting is not about you having all of the answers. It’s about knowing where to source them (i.e. your team of people) and how to deliver results fast for your clients.
Next, no matter what ups and downs the journey to becoming an authority consultant entails, you have the mental strength to push through.
There are three key areas here.
First, your big prize. Be clear on the the outcome you are striving towards, and ensure it combines your greatest wants AND needs.
Next, are the goals you set to achieve this big prize. Pare it right back to the one thing you can do right now to move you one step closer. This improves focus and removes overwhelm.
And then finally, commit to the habits you need to form in order to achieve each of these goals.
Once you have them written down, keep your big prize statement, goals and required habits at hand.
Revisit them daily until such time as your mindset is conditioned to that of a successful consultant.
James is a digital marketing consultant and online business strategist. He helps coaches, consultants, and solo professionals market their business online so they establish authority positioning and predictably generate 5-20 high-ticket, new clients every month.