Legal Business Development: A Positive Attitude Is An Essential Ingredient

by Paula Black
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A positive attitude is an essential ingredient for success. I’m not talking about a dreamer’s attitude. I’m talking about the confidence and enthusiasm for building relationships that will grow your practice. Do you need a little boost? Inc. Magazine contributor Geoffrey James writes… 8 Ways to Improve Your Attitude – A positive attitude make success easy: a negative one makes success pointless. He offers great tips that will help keep you on track and get you back on track, when you get derailed…

1. Always act with a purpose. Before you take any action, decide how it will serve your greater goals. If the connection is weak or non-existent, take that action off your to-do list. Aimless activity wastes time and energy.

Create a plan… who is your target market? Networking for networking’s sake makes no sense at all. When you write who are you writing to, why would they care and what impact do you want to make? Writing just to write is a waste of time.

 2. Stretch yourself past your limits every day. Doing the same-old, same-old is depressing, even if your same-old has been successful in the past. Success is like athletics; if you don’t stretch yourself every day, you gradually become slow and brittle.

Move beyond your comfort zone. Take small steps… give a 10 minute speech or write a 500 word article, before you embark on starting a blog or conducting a two hour seminar. You’ll find the thought of doing these things is worse than actually doing them.

3. Take action without expecting results. While you naturally must make decisions and take action based upon the results you’d like to achieve, it’s a big mistake to expect those results and then be disappointed when you don’t get them. Take your best shot but don’t obsess about the target.

Building relationships take time… a long time. Do things to build relationships because you really want to, not with the expectation that you will get a piece of business to work on next month. You will be disappointed if you expect immediate results. Believe me, it will happen over time, although it may not come from that person directly. It may become a winding road.

 4. Use setbacks to improve your skills. Rather than feeling bad if you fail or get rejected, look back at your actions and see what you can do (if anything) to improve your performances. Remember: the results you receive are the signposts for the results you want to achieve.

No matter how thick skinned you are, rejection doesn’t feel good. However, learning from every setback is very powerful. Always ask yourself “what would I do differently and what would I do again?”

 5. Seek out those who share your positive attitude. It’s a scientific fact your brain automatically imitates the behaviors of the people around you. (It’s because of something called a mirror neuron). Therefore, you should surround yourself with positive thinkers and shun those who are excessively negative.

Surround yourself with people who are focused on business development with the sense of possibility… not dread and negativity.

 6. Don’t take yourself so seriously. If you want to be happier and make those around you feel more comfortable, cultivate the ability to laugh at yourself. If you don’t (or can’t) laugh at yourself, I guarantee you that the people you work with are laughing behind your back!

I love this tip… we all want to laugh a little and if we can’t laugh at ourselves it will make the journey of business development a dismal one. So, laugh and laugh often! Remember this isn’t brain surgery.

 7. Forgive the limitations of others. High standards are important, but humans are, well, human. It’s crazy to make yourself miserable because other people can’t do a job as well as you think you could, or when people don’t share your vision with the same passion that you feel.

Let’s remember this one! There are some things in your legal practice that are non-negotiable, but in other areas make room for people to add their style and point of view… IF you are looking for a collaborator.

 8. Say “thank you” more frequently. Achieving an “attitude of gratitude” requires more than simply being aware of what’s wonderful in your life. You must, and should, thank other people for their gifts to you, even if that gift is something as simple as a smile.

This can make all the difference in your practice and your life. I’m sure you have experienced a day when you didn’t think things could get any worse and someone showed you a little kindness, and it made the day melt away even if for just a moment. THAT my friend is a gift! And we have the ability to give gifts like that every day… many times a day. Acknowledge a job well done, a kind gesture, a happy smile and certainly when a colleague goes above and beyond! It will make you feel good and make their day.

Written by:

Paula Black
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