Occasionally when I am working out in the field flicking between short term engagements I can develop a bit of Consulting Anxiety. Technical folk are often introverts, and before I came to consulting I would have definitely put myself in that category.
Things that helped me overcome it were forming, and regularly presenting at a user group, presenting at larger technical conferences like Tech.Ed and generally getting out and socialising more. However – every now and then I can see myself reverting back.
For example, from the end of November I had a good block of off-site development work and a good chunk of annual leave. When I got back from leave I went into a consulting engagement feeling a little bit uncertain, then, once again when I had a different client that week – and this week I had the same sensation.
On one hand it is refreshing because that added stress possibly gives me a bit of an edge, but on the other it can be quite debilitating as you debate with yourself the merit of keeping doing this kind of front-line technical work (if severe cases).
I once attended a consulting workshop by Graeme Simsion and he described the “accidental consultant” phenomenon. The gist of it is that consulting is something that _happens to you_. In my case I seemed to do a reasonable job at developing software, reasonable enough for others to start asking me my opinion about the software that they are developing – and hey presto I am a consultant.
When I find myself a bit anxious about a consulting engagement I usually talk myself off the ledge by reminding myself that I have around eight years experience with .NET (yep, I started using in 2000) and that I could probably just let go and let the benefit of that experience flow a bit.
No need to be anxious.