Successful people think about possibilities and how to get there. They don’t dwell on the reasons why it won’t work, they think that… it can be done and “I’m going to figure out a way!” John C. Maxwell wrote a great little book… How Successful People Think and shares 6 ways that could open the door to new possibilities for your business development.
People with an it-can’t-be-done mindset have two choices. They can expect the worse and continually experience it; or they can change their thinking. That’s what George Lucas did. Believe it or not, even though he is a possibility thinker, he is not a naturally positive person. He says, ‘I’m very cynical, and as a result, I think the defense I have against it is to be optimistic.’ In other words he chooses to think positively. He sums it up this way: ‘As corny as it sounds, the power of positive thinking goes a long way. So determination and positive thinking combined with talent combined with knowing your craft… that may sound like a naive point of view, but at the same time it’s worked for me and it’s worked for my friends – so I have come to believe it.’
If you want possibility thinking to work for you, then begin by following these suggestions:
1. Stop Focusing on The Impossibility. The first step in becoming a possibility thinker is to stop yourself from searching for and dwelling on what’s wrong with any given situation.
It’s rare to be in a meeting with several lawyers when the first comment isn’t why an idea won’t work. I have a colleague that has a meeting rule… “We have to love every idea for 5 minutes.” Imagine what could be uncovered if you put all those bright minds in a meeting to work on the possibilities.
2. Stay Away From The “Experts.” So-called experts do more to shoot down people’s dreams than just about anybody else.
There are lawyers in every firm that are “expert business developers” and usually they think there is only one-way… their way! Don’t listen when someone can only see his or her way. Find your unique path and do it your way!
3. Look For Possibilities in Every Situation. Becoming a possibility thinker is more than just refusing to let yourself be negative. It’s something more. It’s looking for positive possibilities despite the circumstances.
This is a great one when put into practice because there is always a nugget to be learned from any situation. We are all rushed and short on time… But if we don’t focus on looking for possibilities and opportunities, the moment will pass and the possibility will be lost.
4. Dream One Size Bigger. One of the best ways to cultivate a possibility mind-set is to prompt yourself to dream one size bigger than your normally do. Let’s face it: most people dream too small. They don’t think big enough.
When I ask clients to tell me their dream client they are seldom thinking big enough. They only think of the dream clients they know how to go after. If they can’t see the path to reach a possible client… they don’t list them. I say, don’t worry about the path, just set your sights on them and the path will emerge.
5. Question The Status Quo. Most people want their lives to keep improving, yet they value peace and stability at the same time. People often forget that you can’t improve and still stay the same. Growth means change. Change requires challenging the status quo.
There is always a better way, more efficient processes, more enjoyable practice areas, colleagues to work with that are better team players that you enjoy working with… so move in those directions, everyday. Challenge the status quo!
6. Find Inspiration From Great Achievers. Find some achievers you admire and study them. Look for people with the attitude of Robert F. Kennedy, who popularized George Bernard Shaw’s stirring statement: ‘Why? I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’
Inspiration is all around us. Take the time to find those that fuel you and revisit their thinking often… be it a book, a quote or simply their image to remind you of their philosophy and accomplishments.
Let’s face it, you didn’t go to law school because you wanted to develop business! Some are natural born business developers… but most are not. It’s a learned skill. It takes commitment, focus and the ability to see the possibilities. Put Maxwell’s 6 tips into action and maximize your results. Why not?