Do you have what it takes to be a successful consultant?

Gail Barrington, founder of a Calgary consulting firm specializing in program evaluation and applied research, identifies five key traits of successful consultants in her book, “Consulting Start-up and Management“:


  • Intellectual Capacity
  • Self-Confidence
  • Moxie
  • Adaptability
  • Endurance

I have worked with Gail and she exemplifies these powerful traits.

I would add Resilience to this list.  Resilience is the ability to quickly recover from disappointment, failure and adversity.  Perhaps it is threaded through all five of the traits. When I first started consulting, some of the best advice I received was to be prepared for “under the bed days” – days when no one returned your calls, proposals were rejected and you questioned whether you were meant to consult.  I have since shared that advice with many others as they start up their consulting businesses. It is empowering to acknowledge those feelings but to realize it is only part of the ebb and flow of consulting life.  As the famous World War II poster said, “Stay Calm and Carry On.”


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