Tony McLean Brown, It is your life


As consultants, we are in the problem-solving business.

Your problem is that between the bookends of birth and death there is only a very short amount of time.  Our problem is that we have a TON of folks who need our help in a hurry.  For consulting firms to be successful they need top talent, seasoned professionals, and folks who share core values and passions.

Let’s go to work!

Last week I got to witness two wonderful life events:  The birth of my first grandchild June Bug Brown, and the death of Kelli’s Granpa Brown.  Ton of emotion and reflection and here’s where I ended up:

  • DEATH:  Folks who have been reading my blog over the past decade on @LinkedIn @Facebook and #HappyGuidetoaShortLife, know that I’m not afraid to dust it up with the Grim Reaper and Father Time.  They both are pretty grouchy folks and remain undefeated.   So, when I propose that Kelli’s grandpa, Galen Brown (no biological connection to me) died a happy death, it must be put in the context of there are things worse than death:  terrible suffering, chronic loneliness, extreme boredom, oppression, hate … you get the idea.  The end is the end.
Tony McLean Brown 21 gun salute
  • BIRTH:  Now what I did NOT anticipate was the sheer joy of becoming a grandfather!  HOLY COW.  Who saw that coming?  I’ve run 100 miles, raced cars, rode bulls, and summited some of the nation’s highest peaks.  Doesn’t come close to the thrill … excitement … goose-bumps from holding that 2 day old little girl!!!!!!  PCG has done remarkable things.  Contributed to world peace and attacked global hunger.  Teary eye accomplishments that affirm decades of hard work with our dearest clients.  BUT … all that work stuff pales in comparison to watching that precious lil’ nugget of love yawn.
Tony McLean Brown June Bug
  • YOU:  If you are still reading this and we’ve shared a coffee/beer, you probably know I’m gonna turn this back on YOUR career and the choices ahead of you regarding your professional development.  While’s it’s not necessarily a life-or-death decision, you will probably be spending more time at work than doing anything else in your life.  So, we hope you keep/start helping us, help others help some of the most vulnerable people in the USA and around the world.  It’s YOUR life why not be exceptional.


Not insightful in any way, the human experience is easily put into four phases:  spring, summer, fall, winter.  During each phase, we have a chance to grow and contribute on various levels of capacity and quality.  Infants learn faster, most folks physically peak in their 20’s, and hopefully we are wisest in the 4th quarter after a lifetime of lived experiences!!

ted lasso 8 things for teachers

So, here’s the meat and taters of this post, the choices that you make in the summer and fall of your career will determine the overall impact you will have as a consulting professional.  The first 20 years and the last 20 years (assuming life expectancy is 80 years-ish) are gonna be less focused on the day-to-day grind of work.  It seems eating, sleeping, pooping, going to the doctor, and remembering where you put your things are the focus during those mirrored decades.

"Your real opportunity to contribute comes right out of college until just before you need your first colonoscopy."

No hate, just the reality of learning how to execute, build relationships, and innovate in your professional domain.  We all heard/accept the pop-culture declaration it takes 10k hours to become an expert.  For most of us mere mortals, the starting gun goes off in our mid-twenties and there are 2k work hours in a calendar year.  Competency comes around 30 years of age and now you look up at the clock and can see half-time of your game of life.  Hopefully, you’ve worked up a full sweat.


I’m not sure if this is science or some type of belief system, but here are the drivers I have witnessed over the last three (3) decades.


  • Lived Experiences – Basically all the stuff you’ve been through that didn’t kill you.  As a kid, in school, and a young professional, you flowed down the stream of life and plop … it’s time for you to do more, be more, and contribute well-beyond anything you ever imagined.  Go make your family proud.  If that don’t work, your dog will appreciate the extra skip in your step from helping others.


  • Entropy – It seems every little dang thing can be debated, but I promise you this:  you can’t outrun, out smart, out work, or pray yourself out of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.  It is this Law of Entropy which describes the deterioration process during a human’s life that can be combated by continual personal/professional development.


  • Production Potential – To be blunt, this is simply how efficiently can you perfect your professional craft before you run all the tread off your mental/spiritual/physical tires?  The clock is ticking. It started when they spanked you on the fanny and will only stop after you die.  Each day, each hour, each task has the potential to be exceptional … and so do you.


tony mclean brown growth cycle

EXECUTION:  I used to think the #1 thing that drives a successful consulting career was client relationships.  Bill Mosakowski has convinced me over the past 10 years, what clients want more than anything is execution excellence.  Today, we have unprecedented turn over and Baby Boomer retirements that make it almost impossible to live/die by the client relationship sword.  Clients stay with you and grow with you these days because you execute with excellence and provide unrelenting high quality.  Build yourself, your team, and your projects to execute with perfection.

RELATIONSHIPS:  Just do what you promise to do.  Don’t lie.  Be predictable and reliable.  Do a little more than is expected of you every day.  Do unto others as you might hope others will do unto you.  Be early and stay late.  Show up tomorrow.  Expect more.  Keep grinding. Do I need to keep going?

INNOVATION:  This is tantamount to restocking the shelves in your family grocery store.  You need new products, services, processes, marketing, technology, and whatever it takes to stay relevant to your current and future clients.  For you thinking people who understand the basics of the Theory of Evolution, life is a multi-dimensional, multi-phased, and 360 degree game of survival of the fittest.  Evolve or die.


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Author Tony McLean Brown Happy Guide

Tony McLean Brown

A Western NC hillbilly through and through, Tony McLean Brown was born in the small town of Enka-Candler outside of Asheville.  His parents re-named him when he was 3 years old to Tony (a nickname provided by his grandfather) McLean (middle name of his Uncle Michael) while retaining his legal surname Brown.

Throughout his career, Tony McLean Brown worked as a farmer, computer programmer, and management consultant – in his adventurous years – author, song-writer, bass player, poet, pilot, mountaineer, certified scuba diver, and competitor in professional bull riding, NASCAR late model racing, Toughman boxing, Crossfit Open, Ironman, pole vaulting, marathon and ultra-marathon running, as well as parenting. has been leveraged to help charities and non-profits across the globe, USA, NC, and Lake Norman area. If you, your family, school, church, or charity has been supported, please take the time to share, like, subscribe, comment, and provide a 5 star review!