What I learned as I return to BCG

by Andrew Wien

Posted on March 26, 2021

What I learned as I return to BCG

I decided to re-join BCG as an internal coach and facilitator!

​Six years ago I made the decision to leave BCG. At the time, I struggled to articulate what made me happy and fulfilled, and I wanted to figure that out.

What followed was the greatest and most insightful experiment of my life. I moved to Boulder, CO, met my wife Ell, built a business around my dream job, and started a family.

So wait, why go back to work for someone else? Why end the experiment when the results have been so positive?

The experiment is not ending. I will be experimenting for as long as I have the pleasure of being on this earth. Still, it is a natural time to reflect on what I’ve learned over the past six years and why returning to a company is the next step on this experiment.

I’m in love with structure, sometimes to a fault. This article has two parts. What I’ve learned. And what I’m excited about.

If you are curious how what I’ve learned might be relevant in your life, start there.

If you are curious how this can possibly be the logical next step for me, then start with What I’m excited about.

What I learned

I learned that no amount of climbing, skiing, hanging out with friends, or freedom to do what I want will lead to sustainable happiness and fulfillment. (How did I get here?). Happiness is something we practice, not something we find. And it turns out that looking for happiness is a poor way to practice it.

I learned that life is more than just checking the boxes (The Problem with Achieving Your Goals). I achieved my wildest dreams beyond what I thought was possible. Rather than sitting in ever-present bliss after accomplishing all that I did, I instead reset my expectations around what I thought was possible and started again. This approach was exhausting.

I learned that mentioning my son Rudy in a LinkedIn post leads to tons of views (Sleep and Goodnight Moon). But seriously, Rudy has been teaching me to let go of expectations and be present in the moment. I can’t be reminded enough how important these topics are.

I learned that when you say yes to something, you say no to something else. I said no (for now) to the company I started after I had the most financially successful month of my life. I said no to all of my clients that I have been working with. This was unexpectedly painful. Sometimes you don’t fully realize how much people value you until you leave. This was true for me. I had the best clients in the world. They opened up to me, shared vulnerably what was happening in their life, and brought me deep into their inner circle. I learned so much from them and will be forever grateful. It was difficult to part ways.

I learned that working for yourself is amazing. There is something so freeing around being able to do whatever you want. To be able to make decisions so quickly and flexibly. To have no meetings. To be the architect of your day and your life. And it comes with some costs. To experience constant uncertainty. To work alone. To learn only from your mistakes, rather than from yours AND others. I’m still uncertain how the costs and benefits will play out in the long term.

I learned that some people benefit from what I have to say, and they benefit more when I share openly, honestly, and vulnerably. If you are one of those folks, thank you for encouraging me to write a book. I learned that a lot of folks don’t really care what I have to say, and some even disagree with it. And that’s okay. It has nothing to do with my self-worth.

Over the past six years, I have learned more than I could have ever dreamed. And I’m excited to bring that experience to others that are in my past-self shoes.

What I’m excited about

I am excited to work with people on topics that are deeply important. How to help people understand what they really want. How to help people realize that a lot more is in their control than they can currently imagine. How to help people say what they mean in a way that will help them get what they want. It feels like nothing else is more important.

I am excited to work with literally as many people as I can physically, mentally, and emotionally handle. BCG has an endless supply of people and teams that need help. Finding more “clients” will be as easy as raising my hand.

I am excited to work in a ridiculously time constrained environment. With my current clients, I help them identify what really matters in 90-minute sessions. The default interaction for my new work will be 15-minute sessions. How do I guide people to what really matters faster? How do I cut out all the fluff of the conversation and get them to a life changing insight in just 15 minutes? This feels like an impossible problem. I get excited about problems that initially feel impossible.

I’m excited to be on a team and learn from others. Doing whatever you want and being the only and ultimate decision maker is awesome. And sometimes it feels like it slows down learning.

And of course, I still think that BCG is the best company in the world, so I am excited to work there again.

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