And looking back, I realise how lucky I was that my ex-boss was there giving me outplacement support.
When my first consulting assignment landed almost immediately – scuppering my plans to take out a few months to figure things out first – I was able to fall, panicking, into his care.
Ask yourself why
Malcolm offered me lots of practical tips – how to find the accountant, what the website needed to contain and how to develop a proposal. But the best piece of advice he gave me was this: Make conscious choices.
At the beginning, I didn’t know what opportunities to accept and which to ignore or reject. I didn’t know when to reduce my rate or bump it up.
But amid all this chaos, Malcolm’s advice rang out: You can make any decision you want, as long as you know why you’re doing it.
Take action with purpose
His rule is simple. You might do something for the money. Or perhaps to gain experience, exposure, or the opportunity to see a new working environment or culture. It doesn’t matter what the reason is – just make sure you have one.
Because if you fall into doing something by accident, the path it leads you to may not be the one you wanted to be on.
It really is great advice. And I live by it – in business and in pleasure.
I take time to think about why I am making every choice I make. I always ask myself: What is it ‘giving’ me? What can I take away from it? And where is it taking me?
These brief moments of consideration and conscious decision making enable me to stay on the planned path. And if I should choose to veer away from it, well, that will be a conscious choice too.