MF 083 : Having Line of Sight, with Sean Follin
Updated: Jun 17, 2022
Sean Follin is a management consultant with The Clearing, a DC-based consulting firm, dedicated to helping private sector clients government agencies on leadership, intelligence and efficiency. Today, Sean will share the importance of having “line of sight” when it comes to your business or career so you can grow, pivot and move forward.
Successes at a glance:
Management consultant at The Clearing, focusing on:
Team organization and alignment.
Shared services for the government.
Host of the podcast series, Pushing the Perimeter.
Ran own independent consultancy, focusing on:
Former maître d’.
Former baker in high school!
How Sean get inspired to conquer the day:
For Sean, it’s having the right perspective. Even though he loves what he does Sean accepts that there are some Monday mornings that challenge him to answer the “why am I doing this” question. What keeps Sean motivated is having “line of sight:” being reminded not only why he’s chosen his career path but more importantly, what’s possible if he keeps working at it. Having line of sight between the vision of what’s going to happen and what the day brings creates the positive inertia to take action and elevate those around you. Moving Forward listeners, do you have line of sight between your day-to-day activities and a vision of what is possible? Remember, it’s not just about counting the days till the weekend, it’s having something larger to aim for that will keep you motivated and moving forward.
Setback or failure that led to pivot and shift:
Early on and out of college, Sean started an independent consulting operation. During his 4-5 years in business, there a came a point where Sean realized if he wanted to jump to the next level, he would have to find a teacher, a mentor. As Sean notes, his energy and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship hit an upper bound in terms of what he could contribute to the organizations he worked with. While not a failure per se, it was a pivot point for Sean, as he realized that to create scale and a greater impact, he would have to work with others to grow and reach that level. The struggle was that Sean was doing quite well, making good money and enjoying the fruits of being his own boss. Finding the right person to coach him and joining a team would mean losing some of those perks. However, the tradeoff was worth it as Sean wanted to learn and play at a “championship” level. Once he moved the blockage from his path, he opened the doors to tremendous growth and opportunities that wouldn’t have come (or not as soon) had he continued on his own. Moving Forward listeners, we often see growth as a solo journey. But consider that sometimes, we hit the upper bounds of what we can do on our own. Put another way, if you’re trying to get from point A to B, working with a “sherpa” to guide you may get you there a lot faster than if you’re going at it alone.
Resource or cultural experience that inspired Sean to move forward:
Value Based Fees by Alan Weiss (Kindle | Hardcover): Don’t let the bland title fool you. This book was a turning point for Sean as it taught him the how to look at consulting through the lens of fees; answering the question “how much do you charge?” The book also explores why the hourly rate may be detrimental to your client and create a conflict against the value that you, as the consultant, provide. This is also the most appreciated book recommendation Sean has shared among friends and colleagues!
Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine TV (Sean had a chance to attend one of Gary’s presentations and this inspired him to learn more about social media and entrepreneurship).
How Sean stays organized and manages his time:
Basic to do lists. Sean is also open to receiving any great organizational tips to help improve his productivity!
Favorite app / website / resource or productivity hack:
Google calendar: Sean has this networked across all devices and describes it as a “relationship.” Admittedly, Sean not the best at scheduling but if a priority is on his calendar, it’s a certainty that he will be working on it at its designated date and time. Sean lives by the mantra “is this on my calendar?”
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Sean’s Advice for you to Move Forward:
Sean’s advice is bold. If you’re in a job or situation that is bringing you down and you can’t find the joy in it, get out. It’s scary to think about it and to say it, but when Sean hit his plateau, he created the space for exploring what is possible in the future. Sean further warns that if you continue working in something that doesn’t excite you, that has ripple effects into other areas of your life; holding you back from reaching your full potential. Moving Forward listeners, if you are seeing everyday as a “drag down Monday,” then maybe it’s time to take the risk, take the jump and see what happens. It does require a leap and the uncertainty can be scary. But those are the times when you can also feel the most alive and fulfilled. And as Sean’s story illustrates, that leap can open doors, provide opportunities and connections that will allow you to pivot and move forward.