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As an independent consultant, I am always questioned about my past performance and ability to support different projects. As a professional, I seek to provide assistance and guidance to clients that align with their expectations, and also within my set of capabilities and skills. What happens when you are pushed outside of the boundaries and how do you discern when it’s appropriate to say no to a project? Here are some questions that I have asked myself when taking on any new assignment.

1. Are you able to do what is being asked?
2. Will this project be a stretch for you and your capabilities? If so, how will you address?
3. Do you know when to ask for help?
4. Do you know whom to ask for help?
5. Do you have access to reference materials to educate yourself when there is uncertainty?
6. Will you be able to answer questions that arise and provide logical and clear guidance?
7. Does your work significantly impact the client you are supporting?
8. Are you and the client on the same page and share clear expectations on the path forward?
9. Is there a beginning and end to your work together, and if not, what does that look like?
10. How much additional time (outside of client facing hours) can you put towards this work in case more support is needed? Can other resources provide assistance?

I have made some missteps and have not always adhered to these principles, which has impacted the quality of my work. While you may be thinking through some of these questions already, it does help to ensure integrity and ethical standards when consultants adhere to certain basic principles and actions. This helps promote the profession of proposal writer and project manager, and the consulting practice in general.

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