Originally posted in The National Law Journal on January 7, 2013
I admit it: I am not tech-savvy. If the monitor freezes or I can’t figure out why a program isn’t working, I simply reboot my computer and 95 percent of the time that solves the problem. As we look back at our victories and set backs during 2012, we could all use the equivalent of a reboot of our business development and marketing plans.
There are three reasons the reboot works for your computer, and they have parallels to the way we run our businesses. First, when you reboot a computer, you resolve any conflicts among programs. When a computer runs for hours or for days on end, it can create conflicts that aren’t always easy to diagnose. The reboot sends you back to the beginning.
Similarly, when rebooting your “biz-dev” goals for 2013, it may help to start from the beginning. I’m not just talking the goals you set in January 2012; you should go even farther back. What was your big vision when you finished law school, or even when you were finishing grade school? Have you lost sight of the reason business success matters to you? You know what I’m talking about: your dreams to scale Everest, scuba dive in Tahiti or to build something meaningful — something that would continue long after you are gone.
With a computer, you can start and stop tasks on command, but people can be more difficult. If you find yourself stuck, you can wipe the slate clean during 2013 by returning your focus to the big-picture goals that mean the most to you.
Second, when a computer is rebooting, it goes through the same routine every single time:
Mouse installed: Check.
Keyboard installed: Check.
Monitor installed: Check.
You get the idea. The reboot never misses the elements essential to making your computer work; it has a precise routine. Continue your personal reboot by making sure you aren’t missing the basic marketing elements. Do you have a plan to reach out to high-value contacts on a weekly or monthly basis? Have you reviewed your contact list recently? What is your plan to engage those contacts in a meaningful way during 2013? Are you writing a blog? Are you speaking during any important events? Are you scheduling time every week to review your goals, plan your strategy and follow through?
Finally, the biggest advantage the computer has during a reboot is cold, mechanical efficiency. The computer has no fear, no trepidation; it executes as requested. Let 2013 be the year when you leave fear and self-doubt behind. Go big this year. Stop making excuses and put yourself in a position to be great.