I have a cousin in the music business.
He started out as a musician and became wildly successful—he had a Facebook following that was full of raving fans and he literally traveled the world getting paid for his art.
We cheered him on since it looked like he was having the time of his life, living the dream.
But it turns out, the business of being a musician did not suit him. Feeding the social media beast, having to share his every move to engage people he didn’t really know felt unnatural to his more introverted self.
So he began—quietly—managing other musicians on the side. Helping them figure out overseas tours and working some booking magic. And pretty quickly realized he was not only good at it, but he loved it far more than being on the stage himself.
Today he’s a sought-after manager of a cadre of bands whose music—and missions—he loves. And his Facebook is now a place he can hang out and build relationships with the people he most wants to serve: other musicians.
His journey is not so different from that of most consultants.
We tend to start out in a specialty of sorts and then gradually carve out a space for ourselves—we might branch out to other related areas for a time, incorporating what we learn—but we keep digging into what eventually emerges as a niche that makes us fire on all cylinders.
Here’s the thing: almost no one ever just figures it out and travels in a straight line to their destination.
It’s a trip full of detours, obstacles and serendipity.
The key is to take action. To try one small thing as an experiment, like my cousin and the first musician he helped.
Maybe you say yes to an unusual client whose mission intrigues you.
Or you follow that small voice telling you to pitch a strategy project vs. your usual execution-intensive approach.
You might even shift your client focus altogether, anticipating radical changes in your marketplace or your interests.
If we’ve learned nothing else from a pandemic raging around us, it’s that we need to grab our future with both hands.
What moves do you know you need to make right now so your future self will be happier?