First Things First

There was a time when I spent an entire weekend outlining and getting started on writing two books. They were both about business development, of course, but one was designed to be an idea-generator and action-prompter, while the other was more of a teaching book. I got outlines done for both and started working on the actual writing. By that Monday morning, I was really ready for a weekend. (Ooops.)

The reason I started two books at once was because the subject matter was so intertwined that I needed to rough out the scope of each before starting to write. And as I did that, I started thinking of related articles and blog posts I should write, seminars I should offer, and how to incorporate the information into a workshop that I was doing at the time. I ended up with my desk covered in notes, windows galore open on my computer, ideas exploding every few minutes, and way too many avenues to pursue.

At first, the energy was seductive: I was excited and everything was flowing, so I kept working on multiple ideas at once…

But then, everything shifted.I started feeling confused as to which idea belonged to which project, I lost sight of which project should take priority, and I couldn’t decide whether one idea was reinforcing another or simply repeating it. UGH. 

Have you ever felt like that when it comes to business development?
 Especially when first diving into rainmaking activity, some lawyers get neck-deep in activity without a cohesive plan that defines objectives, priorities, and strategy. And sometimes, even successful rainmakers can have so many ideas that it’s hard to know where to start… And so all those lovely ideas go to waste or, worse yet, get partially implemented without the necessary support to reach the goal.

When I realized that I was falling victim to idea frenzy, I stepped away from the desk to clear my head. When I came back, I cleared my desk and my screen, leaving only the text of one book and a gathering place for notes and ideas for other projects. That allowed me to focus, and I was able to make a substantial dent in writing. Better yet, I could see how each project fit into the overall picture, and I could assign priorities.

Do you ever get deep into business development activity and find yourself spinning? That’s a symptom of an unclear (or nonexistent) plan or attempting to implement all parts of a plan at once, without regard for priorities.But the fix is simple: stop, consult (or create) the plan, and then move forward deliberately. (Just don’t deliberate when action is needed.)
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