Rainmaking trainer and expert, Jaimie Field, is bringing us another solid tip for business development today, and it’s about exercise! She mentions me in here – not by name, but I’m the one who ran the Paris marathon this weekend – but that’s not the only reason I’m sharing this post. I’ll add to her comments that exercise is a great tool for business development, not just for the reasons she outlines below, but also because it gives you opportunities to connect to potential business contacts. Running with my lawyers enables a different group of people to network as we explore a new city – you may find that joining your local gym exposes you to potential clients or referral sources, or your weekly squash game is something that you can play with a new client. Rather than meeting for drinks, you meet for a round of golf or a new running route. Train for a race with a client or potential client, and it could change your whole relationship. Explore exercise as another way to develop business, as well as change the relationship you have with your health. And if you are a female runner, or a woman wanting to become a runner, check out the Badass Lady Gang, which has almost 60 chapters around the world and is a great way to get started (full disclosure, I lead my local chapter). 

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I have three embarrassing admissions:

First, I wrote this article three years ago for Legal Ink Magazine and still have not done much about it, so I have decided to update it and try again.

Second, I am writing this because I really need it, probably more than a lot of the readers.

And finally, I am publicly declaring that today I am doing something about it (accountability to the world or at least to those who read this – and feel free to hold me to it by sending an email).

Okay, with those admissions out of the way, I want to ask you a few questions:

  • Do you exercise?  Do you do some sort of movement for an extended period of time that raises your heart rate and works out your muscles?
  • Do you eat healthfully?  No, I am not advocating dieting, or eating in a specific manner – we are all smart enough to know what eating healthfully means.

Recently, I have been motivated by two people that I know.  One is an old client who, when we were determining the goals she wanted to achieve for her career and her life, made becoming a fitness competitor one of those goals.  She has just won a few women’s physique competitions and looks incredible.  The other is a friend who just ran the Paris Marathon after making this a goal of hers, and she was not a marathon runner until recently. Both of these women have proved to be a catalyst in my desire to finally get my health back on track.

Unfortunately, I am not great at this – I start exercising for an extended period of time and then let other things get in the way.  I eat healthfully for a few days or weeks and then get lazy and grab fast food when I just don’t feel like cooking.  And this post is not about weight loss, although I know I definitely could stand to lose a few pounds.

I know I am not the only attorney who suffers from this issue.  When you are busy with cases and stressed, it is easy to allow your health to become secondary to everything in your life.
One of the ideas I have been researching lately is the effect of exercise on becoming more successful.  Here’s what I found out:

  • Exercise can improve memory and concentrationResearch from Harvard shows regular exercise can actually help improve your cognitive processes.
  • Exercise helps with the symptoms of depression:  In a report issued early in 2016, the American Bar Association and the Hazelton Betty Ford Clinic conducted a study which showed

    that 21 percent of licensed, employed attorneys qualify as problem drinkers, 28 percent struggle with some level of depression and 19 percent demonstrate symptoms of anxiety.”

Exercise releases endorphins, which is a “feel good” biological chemical that helps to alleviate depression in most people. In fact, studies have shown that exercise helps improve the symptoms of depression for a longer period of time than medication taken for this.

  • Exercise boosts your self-confidence:  In addition to looking better in the mirror which enhances the way you feel about yourself, exercise helps to boost your self-esteem by forcing you to reach goals.  Let’s say that you have always wanted to run a 5K race, but you have been a couch potato for years –you aren’t going to accomplish this goal tomorrow.  But, if you are consistent with your exercise and gradually keep improving, building your stamina, increasing your strength, you will be able to reach that goal.  In fact, there are a bunch of smartphone apps and websites designed to help you achieve this (C25K, Running For Beginners).

Lest you think that I am advocating running as your form of exercise, I am not – I hate running! But any exercise routine you undertake should be something that you love, something that you will do consistently and something in which you can improve your performance each time you do it. So if it’s playing pick-up basketball, aim for more baskets each time. That’s the goal.

What does this have to do with Rainmaking?

Just about everything.

  • By setting fitness goals and achieving them, you know you have the abilities to set and achieve your Rainmaking goals.
  • When your self-confidence is high, you have no problems meeting with new people.
  • When you are thinking clearer, you’re able to help your clients in a more efficient way.

There are so many articles out there on the connection between success and exercise.

And, before you use the excuse “I don’t have the time,” Business Insider has published a list of the exercise habits of 19 very, VERY successful people who do not use that excuse.