consulting

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

“Excuse me, you’re in the way”

“A man of knowledge lives by acting,
not by thinking about acting.”

Carlos Castaneda

By now you know that I think a lot about attitude, and if there are any major secrets to my success, one of them is that at some point I learned that I was smart enough, and aggressive enough, to know when I was right about something. Once I gained confidence in myself, if I was clearly right about something and someone didn’t agree with me, I didn’t hesitate to say, or at least think, “Excuse me, you’re in my way.”

Port covers

Just a few months out of college, I was assigned to a missile project that had to do with something known as “port covers.” In short, port covers are like little doors on the sides of air-breathing rockets. If you’ve seen a little model rocket, or perhaps a firework that shoots up into the sky, you know that a rocket is basically a tube, like the cardboard tube that’s inside a roll of toilet paper. A normal solid rocket motor like this is filled with solid rocket fuel, which is something like a solid version of gasoline.

Getting back to work (again, again ..)

The first time I started to go back to work after moving to Colorado, I ended up with thyroid cancer. Then I went unconscious seven times, had two fake heart attacks, and eventually learned I have a rare blood disease that caused those problems and more. Then I had diverticulitis twice, possibly epiploic appendagitis several times more, and ended up having to have part of my colon removed. Come September I’m not going to look for work, I’m just going to be like Kramer and show up at someone’s office.

“They’ve got the keys to the car and they can drive it”

Several years ago I stepped away from a consulting gig. I had an opportunity to continue the gig, but I didn’t enjoy it, and didn’t like the direction the project was headed in. This quote from this article about the Denver Post expresses how I feel very well:

“I have total disagreement with how they're managing the place, but I'm not going to stand up and be overly critical of them. They've got the keys to the car and they can drive it any way they want to. But they're not driving it in a way that I want to be a passenger of the car.”

(That reminds me of the old Alaska sled dog saying: “If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.”)

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

Recommended Reading

After I sold Mission Data in 2007, I also sold most of my belongings and drove to Alaska, a state I fell in love with during several vacations many years ago. As a result of that moving process, I sold over 400 books, keeping only the 100 or so “best” books that would fit in my car.

Forced to think about keeping only ~100 books, I learned that my favorite business books are:

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

The karma of a pessimist

“You will not be punished for your anger.
You will be punished by your anger.”

Buddha

As you can tell from this book, when I was young, I was a pessimistic person, but as I grew older, I worked hard to change my attitude into a positive, can-do person. If you think you can’t change your attitude, I’m living proof that you can.

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

Career lessons from “Project Runway”

“It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes,
and an even wiser man to learn from others.”

Zen proverb

When I returned from Alaska in 2008, I lived with a friend for a little while, and she made me watch a TV show named Project Runway. She didn’t really have to try too hard; I watched one episode with her, and I was hooked.

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

The two things I learned in college

“The discipline of Zen consists in upsetting this groundwork once and for all, and reconstructing the old frame on an entirely new basis.”

D.T. Suzuki

I was talking to a friend the other day about what I learned in college, and I came to the conclusion that I learned two major things.