Where do you stop yourself from getting business?
A few days ago, a colleague and I were swapping stories about our business missteps: the things that just didn’t work and the things that were colossal, flaming failures. To listen to us, you might think that neither of us had a viable business, much less a successful one. Fortunately, that isn’t at all the case!
Although the failure stories are fun to tell (with sufficient hindsight and success in the time since), the real story is in how we respond to the failures and, more importantly, how we turn failures into success. Stella and I shared experiences in which we’d had to undertake massive action to change course and shift our results. Sometimes graceful, usually not, we’d refused to quit until we had succeeded.
Toward the end of our conversation, Stella said, “That’s the difference between success and failure: knowing when to quit, and when to dig in and do what it takes to succeed.”
Are you stopping yourself when instead you should shift strategy and keep going?
Here are some indicators:
• Have you put in enough effort? Every classroom in my high school featured a poster that read, “Bless me, Lord, according to my preparation.” If your preparation has been half-hearted, you can’t expect good results. Be honest: have you put in the necessary time and energy to get the results you want?
• Are you picking apart opportunities unfairly? Although it’s important to make strategic decisions about business development activity, there’s a difference between being discriminating and waiting for perfection. If no action seems to have a sufficient likelihood of success, you may stop yourself from taking any action at all—and that’s a certain route to failure.
• Are you unconsciously looking for proof that you can’t land business? If you believe that business development is a talent that you may lack, you may unintentionally expect and then highlight any evidence to support that proposition. Do you expect to succeed?
• Do you feel disheartened? It’s OK to feel discouraged for a time, but recognize that feeling as an impotent emotion. When you’re disheartened, you’ve given up and your activity will grind to a halt. When things aren’t working out, take a bit of time to be disappointed, but then get your energy flowing. Do whatever you do to pump yourself up (work out, listen to powerful music, review a list of your successful engagements) and then get active.
• Do you have a partner who can push you forward? Many times my mentors have urged me to continue when I really wanted to give up. Be sure that you have a mentor who can offer objective insight into whether you should keep going and who will give you a swift kick if you stop yourself. You may find this a difficult determination at times, and outside help and support makes all the difference.
A successful business development plan will require you to abandon unproductive activities, but before you stop, be sure that you’re stopping for the right reasons.
Don’t allow discomfort or discouragement to stop you short!
ABOUT JULIE FLEMING
Julie A. Fleming, principal of Lex Innova Consulting, teaches lawyers to use innovative and effective measures to build a strong book of business and a lucrative practice. A former patent litigator, she is the author of The Reluctant Rainmaker: A Guide for Lawyers Who Hate Selling, Seven Foundations of Time Mastery for Attorneys, and the forthcoming Legal Rainmaking Myths: What You Think You Know About Business Development Can Kill Your Practice,as well as numerous articles focusing on topics such as business development, practice management, work/life balance, and leadership development. Before launching her consulting business, Julie practiced law for over a decade in firms of 3 to more than 2100 attorneys, specializing in patent litigation. A graduate of the Emory University School of Law, Vanderbilt University (B.A.) and Georgia State University (B.S.), Julie is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and currently serves as Vice Chair of the ABA Section of Science and Technology Law.
Jory has invited me to write on how to grow a solid business, and I’d love to hear your questions! What frustrates you? What challenges would you like to transform into opportunity? What are you curious about? Comment on this post and/or send your questions directly to Julie@LexInnovaConsulting.com. Please let me know you’re a friend of Jory’s. Can’t wait to hear from you!