To know what you want, know who you are


Chris Lee, me, Susan Baier and Brian Shea, plotting to revolutionize how small businesses grow 

This week, I got to hang out with my dear friend and long-time client Brian Shea.

We have known each other since Brian was working full-time as a corporate employee. With hard work and good planning (and a decent coach!), he quit his job and began a successful consulting business, working with large companies doing process improvements and software implementations.

As he eased into working for himself, he began to build relationships with other small business owners, and learned about the overwhelm they feel when they balance running a business with marketing for future growth.

So he has expanded his practice to include small business consulting, where he helps small business owners put the processes, people and technology in place so they can scale their business while having a great quality of life. (check him out here: )

In our animated discussions about the small business market, we talked about the kinds of projects that would be ideal to pursue in the future. Certain things were immediately ruled out.

Get rich quick schemes? Not a chance.
Solutions in a box that don’t take into account unique business needs? Out.
Sales schemes that pressure buyers? Never.


Rosie, Brian and Josh, horsing around at Saguaro Lake Ranch

The reason these decisions were so clear is that Brian knows who he is and what he values. Here is what I know about him:

  • He is passionate about process. He is always looking for a way to streamline and improve things.
  • He is adamant about ethics. He refuses to force a wrong solution on a customer, even if it means it would make him lots of money.
  • He is hilarious. He finds humor, and creates joy, wherever he goes.
  • He believes that everyone has the right to meaningful work.
  • He believes that companies can be healthy and vibrant, when they have the right people, processes and technology in place.

These passionate beliefs have guided Brian through every step in his successful career, and they will continue to guide him as he grows new products, services and customer segments.

What do you want?

What career decisions are you wrestling with? Are you trying to decide what job to choose, what book to write, who to partner with or what business to start?

Your decision criteria should be built around the core principles of who you are.

  • What do you believe?
  • What do you value?
  • What piques your curiosity?
  • What problems do you love to solve?
  • Who do you want to serve?
  • What gets you riled up?

In Body of Work, I call these your roots, and they are the building blocks of great decisions.

When you filter your opportunities through these criteria, it becomes easier to make better choices.

Who you are amplifies and deepens what you do.

Trust yourself.

Reader Interactions


  1. Brian Shea says

    Hi Pam,
    I love this! Thank you for this and for always 🙂

    One of the cool things about this article: knowing who I am has definitely helped me to steer my business in the right direction, but your example has been critical too. There’s been a number of times when I’ve looked at your business practices as a model for my own. You are my ultimate example of someone who’s values have guided her business. When business gets tough we need to know our values, we also need to have our family, friends, trusted colleagues and high council of jedi knights for support, guidance and to provide an example. I’m blessed that you’ve always been all those things for me.

    Big hugs,
    Brian Shea

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