ATTORNEY RAINMAKING sometimes can feel like a whole separate career, above and beyond being a good lawyer. Yet, if you are a solo practitioner, it is critical you master the art of rainmaking. To help you, I’ve created a series called “Attorney Rainmaking Hacks.” This first article is about how to squeeze in rainmaking activities when you are pressed for time. I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know how it works for you!
TRUE CONFESSION TIME: My name is Davina Frederick, and I’m a perfectionist. You might not think so if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while now, though. If you have, surely, you’ve spotted a typo or two. A few years ago, you see, one of my mentors shook me by the shoulders (figuratively, of course) and said: “Published and imperfect is better than perfect and unpublished!”
It’s taken years of practice to overcome the urge to work and rework every project before I release it into the world. As an attorney, certainly, there are matters that require this kind of effort. A wrong word or phrase in a contract can change the entire meaning of an agreement, after all.
However, I’ve found, not only in my own life, but in speaking with hundreds of clients, prospective clients, friends and colleagues, this desire to be “perfect”–which we all know, logically, is an impossibility, is insidious. It can spill over into all aspects of our lives, even the ones where are performance is not critical, let’s say, for example, how we fold the towels, or while planning a dinner party, or in writing and publishing a blog.
THE PERFECTIONIST’S DILEMMA
Which leads me to the topic I want to discuss today: The perfectionist’s desire to create just the right conditions in which to work on our marketing and business development, i.e. “I need to set aside X number of hours to work on my marketing this week, and I don’t have that kind of time in my schedule.” Or, “I will get to that as soon as I finish this project and that trial and this trial and that matter…” Or, “Well, I scheduled Friday morning to work on marketing but then the Judge set an emergency hearing…???”
We fret so much about needing the exact right conditions–that big block of time, all the research and understanding of how everything works, the microphone recommended by our favorite vlogger–we never get around to taking action…or achieving results. This, my friends, is analysis paralysis and it is very common among perfectionists.
Boy, do I get it, I have this philosophy, as any of my clients can tell you: “If it doesn’t get on the calendar, it doesn’t get done.” And it’s sister philosophy: “If it’s on the calendar, it definitely gets done.” The problem is, I’m always squeezing people into that calendar and then squeezing in “my” projects in the spaces that are left.
Here’s the secret I want to share with you, though. You’d be amazed at the progress you can make in your business growth if you let go of your perfectionist mentality just a grunt and take imperfect action in the time you have available on a daily basis.
FINDING THE TREASURE IN IMPERFECTION
There’s an ancient Japanese art called Kintsugi. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. The Japanese take old broken pieces of pottery or dishes and they fuse them back together by pour gold into the cracks. In so doing, they not only recreate a functional piece, they actually create a unique and timeless work of art. They create a treasure where others might only have seen trash.
This is what I am suggesting you do. I am suggesting you pour gold into the cracks of your day. In those few stolen moments, ask yourself: What can I do today to let my prospective clients and best referral sources know 1) who my ideal clients are 2) how I can help those ideal clients solve their most pressing problems, and 3) how I do it in a unique way (in other words, why might they prefer to work with me)? And then take action. Don’t worry if it is perfect action. Trust me, nobody else is thinking that hard about whether your hair is sticking up in the back when you are on that live FB video, or whether your blog had a typo in paragraph three, or your Instagram photo filter was too dark.
Here’s the key, though: I want you to focus only on the joy of CREATING.
WHAT CAN YOU CREATE IN FIVE MINUTES?
Not sure what to create? Here are five five-minute ideas:
- Create an opportunity: Pick up the phone and call a colleague. Ask “who do you know who might be looking for a speaker on X topic?”
- Create a video: Flip on your iPhone are record a Facebook live answering one question your clients ALWAYS ask you during an initial consultation (Hint: What’s the difference between a will and a trust? If I don’t get to see my child, do I still have to pay child support? I don’t really need all this boilerplate in a contract, do I?)
- Create a blog content topic list for the next 30 days by writing the top 30 questions your clients ask you. Set a timer and write the first 30 that come to mind.
- Create a good time: Schedule/reply to invitations to at least two business networking events per week for the rest of the month–go where your prospective clients hang out, not just where other lawyers hang out (though some of those are good, too).
- Create an moment of gratitude: Send handwritten thank-you notes to past clients and/or referral sources thanking them for their business/referrals and telling them how much you appreciate them.
Do this for a few months and before long, I suspect you will begin to notice three changes:
- You will have formed a new routine, and you won’t even remember what your life was like before you started “pouring gold in the cracks”
- If you are focusing on the fun of creating, you notice that you feel happier and more fulfilled in your career as you surround yourself with more people engaged in supporting you in your growth.
- You’ll start to see more gold showing up in your life, and it will be beautiful.