I have great clients who know that I’m a nerd.
I went to visit one of them in March, and they structured our meetings so I could leave in the afternoon and see an exhibit called Van Gogh’s Bedrooms.
It’s an art show based on three paintings of the same bedroom, created by Van Gogh at different times in his life. Whoop dee doo, right?
Well, the paintings are lovely. Full stop. Van Gogh is no slouch.
The Art Institute of Chicago created an experiential show where you could take pictures, which is unique for an art museum. (Other museums are so stuffy. From Paris to Paducah, art museums are limiting photography.) And you could see different artists who inspired Van Gogh, which is is always helpful. They also used Instagram to promote the show and partnered with AirBnB and let people rent a room based on Van Gogh’s bedroom.
(I like all of that.)
Mostly I like a client who sees our relationship as a partnership. So often, consultants are expected to show up and perform like a circus monkey. It’s as if we don’t earn our money if we’re not thoroughly tired and exhausted after a grueling day of meetings.
I don’t want to go crazy like Van Gogh, which is why I try to keep my life at a leisurely pace. Travel is taxing. Managing a business on top of helping other people do great work is one of the biggest challenges of my life. And it’s pretty impressive when clients are like, hey, don’t you have something fun you want to do while you’re in Chicago?
(Yes. Yes, I do.)
I want to see three paintings from a guy who had Meniere’s Disease (like me!) and lived in relative poverty and then lost his mind before committing suicide.
It’s art. It’s beautiful. It’s a signal. Thank God for Van Gogh!