How Consultants Help

Seth Godin recently commented on courage.

Bravery is for other people

Bravery is for the people who have no choice, people like Chesley Sullenberger and Audie Murphy.

Bravery is for the people who are gifted, people like Ralph Abernathy, Sarah Kay and Miles Davis.

Bravery is for the people who are called, people like Abraham Lincoln,  Rosa Parks and Mother Theresa.

Bravery is for other people.

When you see it that way, it’s so clearly and patently absurd that it’s pretty clear that bravery is merely a choice.

At least once in your life (maybe this week, maybe today) you did something that was brave and generous and important. The only question is one of degree… when will we care enough to be brave again?

How simple is that.  I know from experience that sometimes just a few seconds of courage will have profound and life changing effects.  Try it once in a while.

Life is made up of many decisions.  Some easy; some not.  We tend to avoid the hard ones and dither.  Why?  Because our courage has not yet overcome our fears.  Sometimes a consultant can help.

Consultants are just as lacking in courage in their own life, but within their realm, they have experience.  Experience is a wonderful neutralizer.  Knowledge and experience together build respect for situations, but they invariably help provide solutions.

A key element of risk is whether or not the decision is reversible.  Consultants have usually seen enough that they can tell when you are venturing into one-way territory.  You may lack that, and the lack contributes to fear.

If you want to make the right decision for the future, fear is not a very good consultant. –  Markus Dohle

Consultants are more objective than you can be.  Choose consultants carefully.  They may be medical, legal, financial, tax, life skills, spiritual or relationship oriented.  All share the experience you have neither the time, resources nor inclination to acquire on your own.  There are indicators of value.  Do they have current knowledge?  Do they have enough experience to have seen many unexpected outcomes?  Do they communicate well?  Do they relate well?

Consultants get “meaning.”  Ideally, they provide cheap experience.  They overcome dithering.  They add to your courage.  Sometimes they even say things like, “You can’t get there from here.”

Everyone has a good idea that won’t work.  Consultants are a useful filter.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.


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