How a Doctor, Some Geese & a Spin Instructor Taught Me to Be a Better Consultant

by Sara Gallagher | January 16, 2018

How to be a better consultant

Customer Service. What is it to you? Do you think of it as mesmerizing, blow-a-hole-in-your-worldview, almost paranormal experience that gives you absolutely no choice but to give your undivided loyalty to a person, or a business? To me, It’s something I like to call “magic”.

Our family’s pediatrician saved my daughter’s life earlier this year. Let’s be honest—that alone is enough to earn my personal, undying devotion. But that’s also his job. What’s not his job is giving us his cell phone number so we can text him with questions—or him texting us every few hours at the hospital for updates. But what really won me over were the geese.

You see, in the nine months since my daughter was hospitalized, we’ve been to the pediatrician approximately once every two weeks. She is measured, poked, prodded, and stuck nearly every time. But—weirdly—she enjoys going. One of her favorite parts of going to the doctor is looking at the geese who are mysteriously parked outside the window nearly every visit. I asked the nurse one day what drew them there. Her answer floored me.

“Every morning in the fall, Dr. Gordon gets to the office around 6 AM and lays birdseed down on the grass so that the kids get to see the geese on their journey south.”


My spin class instructor, Jeff… he’s a master magician in a totally different way. I started attending his classes last year when I was about 120 pounds heavier. Like most fitness professionals, Jeff is high-energy and in it to win it. He’s also hilarious. (“I want you to ride this song like you’re walking through Costco in 4” inseam cut-off jean shorts!”)

Jeff knew my name after the first class I attended, and he was great about keeping me motivated during those (awful) first few months. Frequently, he would shout our names during class to keep us engaged. (“You got this Sara!” “Keep pushing Kelly B!”)

But after a few months, Jeff got to know me a little better. He met my daughter, followed me on Facebook, and realized that my motivation had very little to do with keeping up with Kelly B (though I love a little friendly competition) and had everything to do with being a better mom.

One day, shortly after Sloan was hospitalized, I went to spin class to work off some anxiety. Somewhere during the second song, I heard him shout:

I see you Sloan’s mom!”

Tears welled in my eyes. And then I had the best workout of my life.

Now, as I think about this year and my own vocation, magic is on my mind. Having been lucky enough to experience it twice last year, I’m convinced it’s no longer enough to “go above and beyond,” “put the customer first,” or “deliver value.” As a consultant, and as a person, I’m thinking about how I can turn around days and change lives. What can I do, or say, or deliver that brings the magic?

This year, let’s find out together.

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