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Episode 70: Cultivating a Habit of Courage as a Consultant—with Laura Khalil

Deb Zahn: Hi, I want to welcome you to this week's episode of the Craft of Consulting podcast. Now, if you are thinking of being a consultant or you already are one, one of the things that you have to have, no matter what, is courage. And I don't mean courage just in terms of deciding to become a consultant, but there's all sorts of courageous acts that you have to do on a regular basis once you get into consulting. Now the beautiful thing is that courage, as many other things, is ultimately about developing a habit of courage. It's so important for your success as a consultant that I brought on a guest who knows all about this and understands the research, the science, and the application of developing a habit of courage.

So, my guest is Laura Khalil and she is a speaker and a trainer who helps people develop those courageous skills that they need to be able to succeed in their careers and in life. So we're going to get into some of the nitty gritty detail about why it's so important, when you need to apply it, how to do it, and some specific techniques for overcoming things like the dreaded imposter syndrome. So much great stuff in this episode. Let's get started.

I want to welcome to my show today, Laura Khalil. Laura, welcome to the show.

Laura Khalil: Deb, thank you so much for having me. I cannot wait for us to dive in.

Deb Zahn: I am very excited as well. So let's start off and tell my listeners what do you do?

Laura Khalil: Deb, that's a great question because, to be honest with you, a lot of my work as a consultant has really shifted based on our current situation in the world with the pandemic. So I worked primarily as a public speaker and a facilitator. My favorite thing in the world…

Deb Zahn: Ruh-roh.

Laura Khalil: Right? I know, uh-oh. We had to shift gears here. And so, for anyone who's listening, who is feeling that shift of, "Oh, I used to be with the clients. I used to be on site so much." That has been a big shift into now being more virtual on Zoom, and there's some huge benefits I found to that. But yeah, I'm a speaker and a facilitator and I really focus with individuals on building a foundation of self-worth because I have learned that that is one of the most important things we need to actually feel confident and have courage to go out and do things that scare us. If we believe in ourselves, we believe in our worth. We believe in our ability. So that's what I teach.

Deb Zahn: That is a wonderful thing. And I do love your tagline so much, which is, "You're a force of badassery." Which…

Laura Khalil: Well, Deb, to be honest with you, I did not give myself that title.

Deb Zahn:  Oh, that's even better.

Laura Khalil: That was appointed to me. Yeah. It was appointed to me a few years ago, and as I was explaining some of the work that I was doing around facilitating with empowerment issues and women's issues, someone said, "Boy, you're really a force of badassery." And I said, "May I quote you?" And they said, "Yeah." So the URL, I got it. And I said, "All right, great. That's me."

Deb Zahn: Well, I think that would be one of the highest compliments anybody could get, to tell you the truth.

Laura Khalil: It was really cool.

Deb Zahn: So you talk a lot about bravery and courage and that's some of what I want to touch upon today because I think you're going to have some nice, juicy, helpful insights. And particularly for people who are dreaming of becoming consultants, and maybe they're too afraid to let themselves take the leap or they've already made the leap and now there's a whole slew of courageous acts that they have to take in order to be successful. So let's start off with the courage part of it because obviously everybody needs a lot of that, especially these days. So when you think about the work world in particular and folks who are becoming consultants or thinking about it, why is courage so important for them?

Laura Khalil: How many people listening to this right now...And just, if you're listening, just raise your hand in your car or wherever you are, thinking to yourself, "Well, right now the circumstances aren't right, but maybe in a year when my stock has increased or I've got a little bit more experience or I've saved a little bit more money or whatever it may be, then it will be right." And how many people have said that and how many people have watched that year come and go, and they've said the same thing over and over and over? What I tell people about courage is, there is never going to be a perfect moment. There's never going to be a moment where the stars align in the way that you think they should, in order for you to feel ready. You're never going to feel ready.

That is what is stopping most people. They feel not ready. But courage is just a habit. It's a step-by-step process. You don't have to blow up the world in a day. You don't have to flip a table and quit your job tomorrow. But start taking the small steps towards consulting. If you're not already consulting. And if you are starting to consult and you've realized, "Oh wow. I thought my biggest decision would be choosing to become a consultant."

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Laura Khalil: Suddenly consultants realize, "Oh, that's nothing." You've got to deal with clients. You've got to deal with contracts. You've got a whole new world open to you of new challenges and opportunities. And we need to go step-by-step every day. It is a habit. It is a process and do not wait for a mythical, magical moment that I guarantee you is not coming. When I started consulting, that was back in 2013, and I did not do it by choice. I mean, I guess it was sort of by choice because I decided to do it. But I was getting, Deb, what I'd like to call...I was collecting an honorary PhD in getting laid off.

And for anyone who's listening here, who would like advice on how to get laid off, please contact me. I'm happy to tell you exactly how it's done because I could not, I mean, I couldn't stop getting laid off. And in 2013 I said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over, and I am the common denominator in these situations. I am the common denominator. So, only thing I can do is change my situation." OK, that's it. And so I said, "Well, clearly I'm not cut out for the full-time corporate world. Clearly, I'm too bold. I'm too confident. I'm intimidating the men in the office." All feedback that I had received. And I said, "Well, I got to try something else. So I'm going to try consulting." And within six weeks, and this is just for me, I know everyone has their...I'm not trying to guarantee everything, but everyone has their own path.

Within six weeks of me making that decision, I got my first Fortune 500 client. I'd never worked with the Fortune 500. I had zero connections. Zero contacts. Nothing. But I put myself out there and I believed in myself enough to know, this has got to be the path forward because the other way doesn't work. So I've just got to try. That's it. That's how you start.

Deb Zahn: That's right. And I love how you define courage because waiting for this mythical, magical moment where everything's right, actually doesn't require courage. If that could exist, you wouldn't have to have courage.

Laura Khalil: Right.

Deb Zahn: That's right. Courage is the absence of that and you do it anyway, and you do it as bravely as you can.

Laura Khalil Yeah. And it's a belief that you're capable. You're a capable individual. You're a very resourceful individual and you have overcome. And I don't care who's listening to this, if you have been in the world, which you all have, you have overcome a number of things in your life. And I know you have had to rely on courage at certain points in your life to get where you are today. And it's simply a matter of reactivating that and saying, instead of saying, “What's the worst thing that could happen?” Which is where everyone goes, right? Whenever we think about getting fired, leaving a job, starting something new, we think, "Oh my God, what are all the terrible things that could happen? Oh no, it's just going to all go downhill."

I'd love you to reframe that thought in your head and say to yourself, "Why might this be the best thing that's ever happened? Why might taking up this exciting and juicy challenge of going to find new clients. Really pushing myself, my skills. Putting them on display. Learning. Why might that be one of the best things that's ever happened to me?" And when you begin to write down the reasons for that, in your life, and in how it will help you enable you to serve your audience because that's ultimately what we're all about, is being of service. It becomes easier to say, "No, I'm really supposed to be doing this because I have something important to share with the world. I have a skill. I have a talent. There's something I love that I believe other people need." And you're worth sharing it with the world. Period.

Deb Zahn: And the world needs it. Who are we not to share that with the world? I love that. I particularly love the habit of courage because that resonates very, very deeply with me. And if you'll indulge me, I'm going to do a quick confession, which is…

Laura Khalil: Oh. Can't wait, Deb, what have we got?

Deb Zahn: Oh, I got some good stuff. But this one is, so nobody who knows me ever believes this, and people who are listening who know me are going to shout, "Liar," as soon as I say it. But I used to be really unassertive. I used to be painfully unassertive. I would have a hard time returning things to stores is how unassertive I was. And at one point in my 20s, when it clearly wasn't working for me, and I was the common denominator, exactly as you said, I thought, "Well, I bet if I just had enough courage to do it the first time, and then had a little bit more to do it the second time, and through repetition, I wonder if it's going to get easier for me?" And at that point, I didn't know the neuroscience. I didn't know any of the things related to how habits form and how that actually works in our brain. But I was right. And so now I'm at the far end of continuum in terms of assertive, simply because I developed that habit, but it wasn't natural to me.

Laura Khalil: And I don't think it's natural to most people. I mean, most people, I'm going to talk a little bit about conflict now, most people are terrified of conflict, right?

Deb Zahn:  Yeah.

Laura Khalil: And that's natural because, listen, we all grew up with parents who probably said to us, "Don't disagree with me. How dare you say that?" And we got in trouble whenever we spoke up. And so it's very normal, as adults, that we avoid, "Oh my gosh, well mom or dad..." No one's consciously thinking this, but, "Oh, mom or dad. I got in a lot of trouble as a kid where I spoke up and I was told to get back into my place." Or, "I was told not to contradict my parents or it ended in an argument." And so, of course, as an adult, we have that muscle memory of, if I speak up, the authority figure is going to get upset with me. But when we stand up, when we have the courage to do things that are hard, like engage in difficult conversations, which happens with client interactions all the time. It happens in writing out scopes of work. It happens in contract negotiations. It happens when things aren't done on time, or there's client demands.

When you allow yourself to say, "You know what? I'm going to allow myself to have this challenging conversation. I'm going to have the courage to step into it." Because what's on the other side of that is actual deeper connection. Most people think conflict means, "Someone's going to hate me and I'm not going to be liked and then we're not going to get along." But what I want to tell you is that, if you know how to talk to people, if you know how to be empathetic, to listen, to listen to respond and not to react, to share openly, I've actually found that conflict and doing difficult things actually breeds better connection to ourselves and understanding our needs and communicating them. And also to other people who see us as a real human being, and we're not a robot.

A lot of consultants like to think, "Oh my God, the client emailed me at 11:00 PM. They want something at 9:00 AM tomorrow." How many consultants have been through that? And they're scared. They're really living in this place of fear because, "If I don't do it, I might lose the contract." OK. But the client's not thinking about you in the way that you're thinking about you. So what I say is, set up some healthy boundaries and say, "Hey, you know what? In our scope of work, we get to requests within two business days or within five business..." Whatever it is for your business and write it in, so that you have a place to go back to. Set the boundaries within your contract.

Deb Zahn: I love that.

Laura Khalil: I can't tell you how much this changes lives. So one of my first clients was a huge tech company. It's that Fortune 500. Huge. And here's what happens with a lot of these companies is they hire an agency, and the agency, if anyone's ever worked for an ad agency, it's basically like everyone's pants are on fire-

Deb Zahn: All the time.

Laura Khalil: And they're running around all the time. And they're constantly in the scarcity mindset, of constantly being fearful of the client, of losing work, and people are working like dogs and it's really that burn and churn mentality. And so, my first client, huge, huge client and I was being subcontracted through an agency like this. And so, of course we get on client calls with the client and he says, "Hey, can you do this tomorrow? Hey, can you do this yesterday?" And I said, "We want to do the best work for you possible within a reasonable deadline, so I'd like us to set some reasonable times for response because we want to do good work for you. We have a shared outcome."

And when you talk to people that way, what happened with that client is instead of them throwing things at us morning, noon, and night, we set up a structure. We do it on this day of the week, is when all the requests come in. You know that you will get back responses and back what we were working on, within one week. Where we will review it at this separate meeting. And that's how we work. And sometimes, rarely, we will allow for exceptions. This completely, completely shifted the way the agency worked. They had never considered that by putting in structures, it helps us all be more successful, but we had that client for five years, Deb. Five years because they felt so taken care of.

Deb Zahn: That's right. And the agency had a Jedi such as yourself come in and show them the way. So, here's what I love about how this all goes together. Courage, you have to develop and cultivate the habit of courage. But things like that, what you're talking about, is almost the scaffolding around it, that actually makes it easier for you because now you've set expectations at the beginning. Now you have something to refer back to. Now you've framed it in such a way that it's related to client value, so that you're also setting it up so that every time you respond to a client or engage a client, you don't have to have courage in that moment, or you don't have to summon all of your courage.

Laura Khalil: We've done the pre-work.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Laura Khalil: We've done the pre-work, and that's also, again, talking about that...I'm going to go a layer deeper than courage. It's related to self-worth.

Deb Zahn: Yes.

Laura Khalil: I deserve to have clients that don't drive me up a wall. I deserve to have clear boundaries and expectations with clients and I'm going to be proactive in setting them, mutually, in ways that make sense. That's about you knowing you deserve better. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to stop work at 5:00 PM, if you would like to. Here's another one guys, you deserve to be paid extraordinarily well for your services.

Deb Zahn: Again for the folks in the bleachers. Yes, you do!

Laura Khalil: Right. You deserve to be paid very well for your services and to have the courage to ask for what you're worth and the courage to walk away when someone does not see the value.

Deb Zahn: Love that, but you're right. You have to know that you're worth defending because you're a beautiful, valuable creature on the planet who's doing good things.

Laura Khalil: What I always tell people is, "Your self-worth plus your worth to the outside world. So meaning their perception of what you offer is going to equal net worth."

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Laura Khalil: Self-worth plus other worth equals net worth. So when I talk to people about consulting, there's a few things I say. "First of all, if you are..." Look, there's a lot of people who say, "Oh, well, I do writing. OK. I do writing as a consultant." And I said, "Well, what's the maximum you're going to be paid for writing as a consultant?" And, I'm going to go hourly, which I'm sure you tell people never go hourly. Let's just go hourly, just for the sake of this argument.

People say, "Well, I charge...In Silicon Valley we were charging maybe $125, $150 an hour, at the high end." And say, "OK, now what do you think somebody who solves problems gets paid? Maybe you use your writing skills, but what's the problem the client's trying to solve? And how much money will you save them by being a part of that solution?" Because that's where you really talk about providing an incredible amount of value. And yes, that may use your writing skills or whatever your natural talents are. But that's where we're looking at six and seven figure contracts. OK. So you got to think about this in a totally different way. You got to really open your mind to the possibilities and that takes courage, Deb. You know that. You know that girlfriend.

Deb Zahn: Does. I mean, I'm embarrassed to say because sometimes one of the first engagements I've done with clients is, I'm really good at writing grants. And by writing grants, designing what they're actually doing. And I charged the same for helping someone win $200,000 than I charged when I helped a client get $58 million.

Laura Khalil: What?

Deb Zahn: Which, I say that out loud ... Right? Exactly. I say that out loud and now I'm red in the face, but you have to think of…

Laura Khalil: But we've all done it.

Deb Zahn: We've all done it. And you have to think about. I think you're right. You have to think about your worth related to the outcome you're trying to help folks achieve. And not, even if you're charging hourly, not what is an hour of my time worth? Because they're not getting an hour of your time. They're getting everything you know and you've accumulated over the course of your career.

Laura Khalil: Right.

Deb Zahn: So let me ask you about another piece for consultants. It's so important and it relates to courage, which is overcoming imposter syndrome and that particular ailment where so many people face. So let's start off with what it is, how you define it when you work with folks and why it's so important to seek a cure for it?

Laura Khalil: OK. So I want to just level set with anyone. Imposter syndrome is experienced by the vast majority of the population. And so your friends most likely have it. Your partners and spouses have it. It occurs in men and women. The research shows it probably occurs equally in men and women. And imposter syndrome is not the same as being an imposter, I just want to make that really clear. Imposter syndrome is the feeling that, I cannot be good enough despite outward approval or outward appreciation of my skill. So, for example, if you go into a meeting and someone says to you, "Hey, great presentation, Deb. That was awesome.” And the first thing that comes into your head is, "Thank God I got away with it this time."

Deb Zahn: Exactly. Right.

Laura Khalil: "They didn't catch me this time. Next time, I'm really going to have egg on my face." Someone's telling you you did a good job, and you're still minimizing that and saying, "No, no, no, you don't really know the truth. The truth is that I'm actually a phoney." And there could be nothing further from the truth. In fact, the actual imposters, what the research bears out is the actual imposters are psychopaths and sociopaths. They're not actually the vast majority of the healthy population. OK? So you're not an actual imposter. Imposter syndrome starts in childhood. I'll give you an example of where it can start. So let's say you're a kid and you're the A student. OK? And how many consultants are really high achievers? A lot of us grew up being very high achievers.

And so you take your report card home and you show mom and dad and they see A, A, A, B minus, A, and they look at your report card, and what they say to you is, "What's this B minus doing here?” OK. This is not like parents are trying to...They're just being parents, right? We don't realize this, but that's one example of it. You think, "Oh shoot, they found me out. I must not be good enough." It can happen in sports. It can happen in any sort of competition. And so what happens is we self-sabotage. And we self-sabotage because we keep wanting to affirm the imposter syndrome.

Deb Zahn: That's right. That's right.

Laura Khalil: So if you've ever had a really important meeting or a really important presentation Monday morning, and what do you happen to do Sunday night? You drink too much. You go to bed at 4:00 AM. You are up all night watching TV. You are under-prepared and then you flub it and you say, "Well, of course I flubbed it. I flubbed it because I was up too late." But you flubbed it because you didn't believe you could do it. Right? You had this belief that, "Oh, I can't really do it, so let me find a reason to fail."

Deb Zahn: And then you have the little devil on your shoulder saying, "See, see, we were right."

Laura Khalil:  "Told you so." Now, here's another interesting thing, and this is the last thing I'll say about it. Perfectionists, not always, but perfectionism is often a byproduct of imposter syndrome. That everything has to be perfect so that nobody will find me out. And that one usually really resonates with people when they hear it, they think, "Oh shoot, I might be that way." And what people don't realize is perfectionism actually really holds you back. It holds you back with your clients. It makes you a lot slower at your job. It makes the people you work with slow down as well because they're all waiting for you to get a pixel perfect. And some things do need to be really good. We all know that. But a lot of stuff can just be 60%. 80% is good enough. You've got to learn how to discern.

So what I always say about imposter syndrome, you do not need to fake it until you make it. Just throw that stupid thing out of your head. You don't need to fake it. We're going to admit it. Because faking it is what imposter syndrome is about. Let's face it until we make it. Let's say, "I'm scared. I feel my imposter syndrome coming up and I'm going to do it anyway. I'm going to face this fear. I'm going to move forward. I'm going to recognize what my self-limiting beliefs are, around this, and I'm not going to let them stop me." And that helps too. Imposter syndrome doesn't go away. That's what people think is, "Oh, my boss doesn't have it." I guarantee you, your boss or your managers, or your clients, they have it too.

So it doesn't go away. It's just a matter of not letting it run the show. We can recognize, OK, it's coming because I'm being challenged right now. Maybe I'm learning more. I'm meeting people that are a higher level. I'm being challenged to do more work in a different way. That's exciting. Take on the challenge that's being given to you.

Deb Zahn: I love that. Yeah. I was coaching someone recently who was suffering from an intense case of imposter syndrome. But what she was also doing, is when she saw it, she was using that as a stick to beat herself with. To further the notion that, "I'm even more of a fake." And what I encouraged her, and I love your “face it until you make it.” That's beautiful. I encouraged her to do two things. One is to be really curious when it pops up and almost like you're watching a child play and you're thinking, "Oh, did you see that? That's adorable." Bring a gentleness to it and a curiosity to it because she thought it was killing her creativity. And I said, "No, you're actually finding new and better ways to be creative about imposter syndrome. So you're being creative." I said, "Don't worry about that."

Laura Khalil: What an interesting strategy.

Deb Zahn: Yeah. But get curious and playful with i, so that you can take the charge off. Because she knew enough and she's smart enough that she knew she had imposter syndrome. But then, she was using having imposter syndrome as a way to berate herself, which I think, I see happening all the time. And I think, "No, this is when to be courageous but also gentle with yourself."

Laura Khalil: Yes. Be kind. We don't need to inflict any more self-harm or self-violence, which we're all really good at doing. It's not necessary. You're good enough. You're worthy. And we need you here. We need you here to share what you have.

Deb Zahn: That's right. That's right. The world will be a better place. So what are some of the other mindset traps that you see that folks, particularly consultants, fall into that get in their way?

Laura Khalil: I think, I alluded to it earlier, but I'll say it a little more explicitly. I think that many consultants do not realize how big they can get. They don't realize they get used to the lane that they're in, either because they fell into working with a certain type of client that pays a certain amount of money and they don't think big enough about how big their piece of the pie could actually be. And one of the things I would recommend and one of the things we recommend when I talk about the habit of courage, is to get into a room, and if we're doing it virtual, get into a virtual room. Get into networking with people that think bigger than you. OK. You need to meet people. I always like to say, if anyone's heard this before, if you were the best player in the band, you need to get into another band.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Laura Khalil: I don't want to be the smartest person in the room. If I'm the smartest person in the room, it means I'm not learning anything.

Deb Zahn: That's right, and what a boring room.

Laura Khalil: Exactly. And it can feel really good to be in a room where you're the smartest person because you're like, "Oh, I'm so intelligent, and people are learning so much from me." And yeah, that can be good sometimes and it feels good, but you're not going to learn in that room.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Laura Khalil: You've got to get into bigger rooms. You've got to network with people who have something you're curious about, and say, "How did you get there? Tell me a little bit more." That's what I've done in my business. It's one of the reasons, one of the first reasons I learned not to charge hourly, which I had done previously. And I learned not to charge hourly because I realized I would work myself into the ground. I said, "Gosh, there's got to be a better way." And when I saw how much the agencies are charging their corporate clients, I nearly fell out of my chair, Deb. I said, "If they're charging that, I can charge half that and do really, really, really well." Why wouldn't I do such a thing?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Laura Khalil: So thinking bigger. Everyone needs to think a lot bigger. If you are running up against the same problems over and over and over, it's probably because you're not thinking big enough, honestly.

Deb Zahn: That's right. And I remember, and I've talked to other people about this, in employment, when you hit six figures, there's that moment and that imposter syndrome often crops up right about then. But then you do really amazing work. And then, hopefully later you say, "Wow, they are getting a bargain." And it's the same way with consulting is. You don't want to ever treat yourself as bargain basement, and you sure as heck don't want to charge as if you are.

Laura Khalil: Now I'll tell you a funny story. Back in the beginning of my career as a consultant, I had a potential client call me, and we were talking about the scope of work and they said, "Well, what would you charge for this?" And I didn't really know what I was doing in terms of how to negotiate anything. And so, I said, "Well, what do I think is a big number?" Said, "Well, I'm going to charge them $15,000 because I think that's a really big number for me, and oh my gosh, I hope he doesn't hang up the phone on me." So, I tell him, "Well, it's going to be $15,000." And he says, "I'm sorry, did you say 50?" And I said, "Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, 15." And he said, "OK, thank you, because everyone else has been quoting us 50."

Deb Zahn: Ouch.

Laura Khalil: Right. And I was like, "Oh my God, I am never going to make that mistake again." And so, learning what things are of value to other people is also really important. I was majorly undervaluing myself.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Laura Khalil: Majorly.

Deb Zahn: Yeah. And if they say yes immediately, you know you did it. If they don't hesitate and they don't negotiate, you know you underpriced yourself.

Laura Khalil: You were too low.

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Laura Khalil: Yeah.

Deb Zahn: Wow. That's great. I want to touch also about self-worth related to having life balance because one of the things that we defend is our overall life and not just how we operate in the work zone. So, how do you do that personally? How do you defend your life in such a way that it looks the way you want?

Laura Khalil: One of the things I think is most important is to have a vision for what you want and to write that down. A vision for what you want for your life, what is your legacy? What are you leaving to the world? And then, when I walk that back into how I want to be remembered and what I want to offer, and what I want to share, I break that down into a few action steps every day. And those action items are for me and I get those done first. So I don't put myself last. I put myself first, and when I get my stuff done, that fulfills me and fills me up. Then I have something to offer. I have something to give from because I'm full.

If I'm running on empty, I got nothing for you. So that's how I do that, is I really fill myself up first. And I also want to recommend to everyone listening, please get out of your head. Please, please, please go do something physical. I don't care if it's dancing around your leaving room for five minutes. Doing five minutes of yoga. Going for a walk. Breathing in the air. Get out and just move your body. It really, really helps.

Deb Zahn: Oh, absolutely. I love that one, and truthfully, even if you have 10 minutes.

Laura Khalil: Yeah.

Deb Zahn: 10 minutes, you can do that.

Laura Khalil: Yeah, just do that. It really helps, especially with the dancing and stuff. It actually...The brain chemistry starts firing and we start to feel joy. We start to feel happiness. We start to feel laughter. People say, "How can I be happy?" First thing I say is, "Dance like an idiot for 10 minutes. You're going to feel the happiest you've ever felt all day, I guarantee it. Just dance around like a silly person. It doesn't matter. Be playful. There's no point to it, that's where the joy is."

Deb Zahn: That's right. Just make sure the Zoom call is off and the video's off.

Laura Khalil: Turn the Zoom call off. It's just for you. It's just for you.

Deb Zahn: Yeah. I love that. I love, just get goofy. When in doubt, get goofy.

Laura Khalil: Exactly. Just have some fun. What are we doing? Children are so good at playing and adults are so bad at it. We've forgotten the beauty and the joy in just playing without any outcome. Just for the pleasure of it. And it's a beautiful thing to remind yourself of.

Deb Zahn:  I love that. Well, Laura, I have to thank you so much. This has been phenomenal. There's so many gems in there. We could have just picked one of those topics and gone deep, deep, deep, deep into it. So thank you so much for joining me on the show.

Laura Khalil: Well, thanks for having me, Deb.

Deb Zahn: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the Craft of Consulting podcast. I want to ask you to do actually three things. If you enjoyed this episode, or you've enjoyed any of my other ones, hit subscribe. I've got a lot of other great guests that are coming up and a lot of other great content and I don't want you to miss anything.

The other two things that I'm going to ask you to do is one is if you have any comments, so if you have any suggestions or any kind of feedback that will help make this podcast more helpful to more listeners, please include those. Then the last thing is, again, if you've gotten something out of this, share it. Share it with somebody you know who's a consultant or thinking about being a consultant, and make sure that they also have access to all this great content and all the other great content that's going to be coming up.

So as always, you can go and get more wonderful information and tools at

Thanks so much. I will talk to you on the next episode. Bye-bye.

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