How to Build the Determination and Discipline to Reach Your Rainmaking Goals
This week, I’d like to share some thoughts on determination. Business development is not a one-time effort. It isn’t rocket science, as the saying goes, but it does call for sustained effort over a long period of time, especially when things aren’t going quite as well as you’d like. And that requires determination.
I could share stories of determined lawyers and those who let go too early, but I’d rather draw from other sources. Sometimes we see best when we see outside our own worlds.
The Determined Dog
My dog is inspiring to me with her example of deep-rooted, unshakeable determination. (Even though I’m a certified dog nut, I never thought I would say that!) Toward the end of my vacation, Patches got an infection that landed her in the hospital. This is the fourth round of something that’s nearly killed her three times — this last round hasn’t been as bad, fortunately.
One of the first signs of the infection is that she’ll limp for a couple of hours and then lose all use of the affected leg until the infection is gone. In the past, she’s been unable to move much at all for a month or so. She’d try, but getting up and walking was just too hard, and she’d stay in the same spot until I’d lift her and help her walk with a sling.
But this time, it’s almost as if she knows she’s been through this before, that it’s annoying and unpleasant, but that she’ll be ok. Instead of lying around, she’s been hopping from the first day. Her entire being telegraphs, “I want to bark at squirrels and protect my pack, and nothing is going to get in my way!”
Patches’ body is weak right now, but her determination is strong. Hopping is difficult for her, and after she’s moved 10 feet or so, she’ll rest for a while, breathless, before picking up and moving on. Unless, of course, there’s something she wants to do more than rest, and then she won’t allow her body to stop her.
Her infected leg is weak, but rather than letting that weakness stop her, she’s learned to compensate with her three strong legs.
The Disciplined Mind…with Safeguards
Before I left for vacation, I’d settled into a nice routine with my workouts. Up at 5, at the gym around 5:30, and done around 6:30. It wasn’t easy (especially since I’m not at all a morning person) but it had become habit and I’d maintained the effort for months.
One of the first things I remember learning about working out (years ago!) is that the mind will give up before the body does. That’s a mantra I use most days in the gym, especially when I’m pushing myself, when my legs or arms hurt, I’m out of breath, I feel like I can’t keep going, and I want nothing more than to stop.
I’ve learned, after a lot of work, that I can pay attention to the discomfort and doubts, or I can crank up the music and keep on going until I achieve what I know I can do. Even though Lance Armstrong is operating under a shadow these days, he nailed it with this quote:
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with?“
There’s a confidence that comes with completing the designated task on a consistent basis. It’s a confidence born of experience, and there’s no substitute for or shortcut to developing it. (Read this terrific article that drives this point home in the context of athletic training, and then extrapolate to business development or any other professional objective.) I haven’t hit my overall goals yet, but because I keep hitting the interim goals as planned, I know that I will reach that ultimate success.
Even though I usually don’t let temporary discomfort derail me, I’ve learned that I need safeguards on some occasions. Most recently, I knew I’d be facing a challenge to get back to the gym after being away for more than two weeks. I wanted to be sure that I’d manage that challenge, so I booked an appointment with my trainer for the first day I planned to return to the gym. No excuses on the time. And, in fact, I booked a double appointment, for help with cardio as well as weight training. No wiggle room on leaving out part of my planned workout.
And sure enough, the workout was not pleasant. And my trainer encouraged me and pushed me, giving me the support and push that I needed so that I could do what I’d planned — and, in fact, to stretch a little bit further. The next workout was much easier (mentally, if not physically), and my confidence continues to grow.
Questions for Reflection
The message here is pretty obvious. Give some thought to these questions.
- How developed is your determination when it comes to business development?
- Are you making the most of your strengths and minimizing your weaknesses in rainmaking activities?
- Do you have a solid business development plan in place?
- Are you confident in your ability to put that plan into action and reach the goals you’ve set?
- Have you identified danger zones, when you may be likely to slide backwards?
- What support do you need to get through those danger zones and to stretch you beyond your comfort zone? Do you need to line up additional help?
I’d love to hear your answers to these questions — just send me an email. And, of course, I’d be happy to arrange a conversation with you if I might help you reach your business development goals.