Last week I was in Greenfield, CT, attending my business mastermind meeting. Once a quarter, I meet with 12-16 other entrepreneurs and business owners working in a variety of fields, and we spend time working on our businesses. These meetings have helped me to look beyond the day-to-day work and have prompted the development of various programs and products — not to mention the challenge to write The Reluctant Rainmaker.
Who helps you to step back from your day-to-day work and look at the development of your practice? This is a key function served by coaches and consultants, but you can also get help from dedicated colleagues or even from a set time on your calendar that you carve out for business reflection. Especially as we head into a new year, make sure you set some time aside to check this year’s progress and to set next year’s plans. And schedule time once or twice a month to focus on the business of your practice. You’ll find that the results (especially if you work with someone who can give you feedback, resources, and new ideas) is well worth the investment.
In addition to getting good ideas and feedback from my fellow mastermind members and the mentor who leads the group, I enjoy working with other business owners because it’s just plain fun. Law is, in many ways, such a competitive profession that it can feel lonely (as a sole practitioner or a member of a megafirm) to work on one’s own practice. But when you’re in touch with others who are doing the same thing, it creates momentum, offers encouragement, and often produces tight professional relationships. It also helps to eliminate the “lone ranger syndrome” that so many lawyers (me included!) suffer from.
Your assignment: identify who can hold you accountable and work with you on your business development (or other) goals. Set specific times to meet and, if you’re joining a peer group, a format that calls for rotating leadership and responsibility for keeping the group on track. If you’re so inclined, investigate coaches or consultants who work one-on-one with lawyers, or search out professionally-directed groups. Getting support may be just the kick to keep you moving forward.