A scenic route
Please read How my love-hate relationship with Consulting keeps me in Consulting for context
Consulting is a good-time-but-not-a-long-time arrangement. Why do I repeatedly stress this point? Because this perspective dictates how I’ve approached my Consulting career - do as much as I can in the shortest time possible; in other words have a lot of ambition to create velocity. Together, ambition and velocity create momentum.
This made sense to me. Consulting is intense, and to keep up you have to reach the standard and surpass it - this usually means a more intense status quo. Putting your health on the line, sacrificing your social life, and sometimes even your holidays. This I knew, I happily drank the coolade and bought the Consulting dream - my imposter syndrome and type A personality traits were all the more happy (more on these two traits in later blogs).
But I recently found an alternative to momentum. Not by might nor by strength, but by serendipity, by trading in one Consulting dream for a bigger Consulting dream…and realising, I can’t use the same approach as before. I have to unlearn and relearn to fit into my new environment.
Change is a blessing
Before we discuss my new approach to Consulting, let’s reflect on what has changed in my career - cashing in on a bigger Consulting dream.
What do I mean by a bigger Consulting dream? Well everything that could possibly change has changed - I’ve relocated from Johannesburg to Riyadh, I’m invested in learning a new culture and language, I’m learning a new type of Consulting and how to deal with its pressures, as well as building a new social life.
The last three months have been simply spectacular. I get to start my Consulting dream all over again - a clean slate. There’s courage and hope in starting over, I love that about change. If you can’t tell by now, I’m in the “love” phase of my love/hate relationship with Consulting - but I have to stay focused to keep the “hate” part from emerging sooner than necessary.
The sky is the limit
The last three months have also had its difficult moments - missing my friends and family, dealing with the pressures of Consulting, and falling sick on multiple occasions. Although the change has been fun, you can’t fully prepare for all of it…this is where serendipity chose a new option for me…
A new approach to Consulting
In my illness, struggles of the new Consulting, and longing for my people, what if I slowed it all down and did my best on a day-to-day? What if I don’t have to get everything right in the first month? And in all my agility and resilience, I still have more to learn? What if I slowed down my momentum in the hopes that I’ll go further than three months or three years with this new Consulting dream?
What if I slowed it all down…and enjoyed the scenic route?
Let’s define the scenic route so we’re clear on this. The scenic route is slowing down to unlearn and relearn, calling on your Consulting experience to create impact and value in your work while using all the available time to get into your stride without the pressures of momentum.
The scenic route is a substitute for momentum - it’s a different approach to Consulting but wouldn’t be possible without the foundation of momentum. You can’t have a scenic route without a strong foundational career in Consulting - your Consulting foundations enable you to take the scenic route by calling on your experience and skills, while you slowly learn to fit into your new environment.
In this way you won’t feel stuck but see slow progress as a tradeoff to recover your momentum later down the line. Here’s three ways you can access the scenic route and keep yourself accountable to the bigger picture:
Recognise when you need to slow down. This won’t be obvious and might be in the form of a key moment such as pursuing studies, moving into a new job role, burnout, etc. Your circle can be helpful in alerting you of a key moment. Ask them
Once you have the awareness to slow down, create a simple plan for your scenic route. Here, you should have two/three easily achievable goals you’ll drive towards - the scenic route should build your confidence and not create anxiety and doubt. Easily achievable goals could be in the form of setting a routine sleep cycle, focusing on your family, ticking an item off your resolution list, etc.
With a plan for your scenic route in place, don’t aim to be in the scenic route longer than six months - you might lose too much momentum. Rather have shorter periods of more frequent scenic routes. But understand that momentum in your career comes from ambition and velocity…and keeping the scenic route period to what’s necessary will help you find momentum that takes you further in your career
My scenic route approach over the last three months has been such a thrill. However, with the progress I’ve made on the scenic route - I’ve settled into my new role in Consulting, I’ve minimised my procrastination habits, I’m more familiar with my environment, and I don’t want to rust - the time is right to switch back to momentum. The time is right to get back into championship mode and continue my ascent to world class.
Cashing in momentum for the scenic route isn’t once off
So what’s next for my Consulting journey in 2024?
Only bigger dreams and bigger goals. I’ll be using the early weeks of January to draft my 2024 resolutions which will focus on:
Recovering momentum by unlearning and relearning at a quicker rate
Creating more momentum by applying my recovered momentum to my new environment
Maintaining momentum by keeping my foundational skills at a world class level
Creating space to be inspired into new things by using the scenic route to slow down
… and with my newfound awareness to switch between momentum and the scenic route, I’ll be able to slow down to go further in my Consulting career and personal life. Before then, there’s a few days left of my scenic route. I plan to enjoy the break before 2024 comes along.
If you were to take the scenic route in your career or industry, what would that look like? What would force you to take a scenic route? What would keep you away from it - momentum or a different type of pressure?
Happy holidays. Always remember your dreams are valid. I hope 2024 takes you closer to your dreams.