So far my Valentine’s Day has been pretty good. The wife liked her present (tickets to Mamma Mia in Detroit this weekend) and we have some good steaks and a fine wine lined up for dinner. There was some chocolate too, but I couldn’t wait and ate it all yesterday.
This is the one day when I know that going the extra mile is mandatory and so I prepare mentally and financially in advance to make the most of it. Of course, Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday and I wouldn’t be doing any of this if it weren’t for the high expectations I set before we were married, back when I thought I had to try harder. But that’s beside the point. I made my bed, now I have to lie in it.
Despite my best efforts on February 14th, why do I occasionally find myself in doghouse on the other 364 days of the year? Because sometimes I don’t make an effort to go the extra mile and do the little, unexpected things that would truly make my wife happy when she least expects it. I don’t think about those things on a daily basis. I’ve become complacent.
Now for the metaphor. Consulting is a relationship business. It’s about treating your clients, prospects and partners with the same amount of intensity and dedication 365 days a year, rather than just focusing all of your efforts on one particular project or task and thinking you have it made. Take care of the little things, and the rest will take care of itself. Go above and beyond. Treat your clients to unexpected surprises and show a little more enthusiasm when things seem routine. Be thankful for your time together and do everything you can to make the relationship mutually beneficial. Even though it’s a lot easier for a client to move on than it is for a husband or wife, that doesn’t mean you won’t wake up one day to find yourself stuck in a rut, or worse, breaking up.
Best of luck to those of you in relationships (business and personal). And to the single people out there, you never know when opportunity will come knocking. Happy Valentine’s Day.