Thursday, 28 February 2008

Getting the chutzpah back

I don't know how it works. Sometimes you exercise and rest and eat well, and still feel like crap. Other times, you feel like you've been completely rebooted, and rediscovered your mojo.

That's how I feel this morning. Here's what I reckon happened:

1. I had a great heart-to-heart with God and my diary last night, putting into words some of the things that were bugging me.

The thing with these things that bug me is that I often don't know what's happening. I just know I feel vaguely uneasy, but it takes some proper reflection to really know what's going on.

So what was bugging me? I was starting to feel like the tail, not the head. I was beginning to feel pulled around by client demands, by tight deadlines, by the need to make money and unable to regain that much-needed sense of self-leadership.

I'd lost my chutzpah. And when you're in any kind of consulting work, that is deadly. My clients depend on me to know everything. Of course, no-one can know everything, but the next best thing is to know a lot, and act as if I knew everything (not arrogance, but confidence). It's surprising how well it works. But an important precondition is to actually know a lot, that helps with the perception you know everything.

2. I read something completely fictional and irrelevant before going to sleep. A short story by the improbably named Samuel Lover, as far as I could tell a comedic little tale about an Irish butler telling comedic little tales about being at sea. Helped take me to a different place - always a good prerequisite to sleep.

3. I worked out hard this morning. (Hard, according to my own standards) I challenged my benchmarks on the treadmill, I spent longer on the bike, I figured out - almost symbolically - how to not let the cross-trainer set the pace, but instead show it what pace I wanted to go.

And seemingly at random, I got my chutzpah back. But I realise how fragile it can be. That's why I'm writing this down. I'll be back!

(photo borrowed from

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