As I was scrolling through Instagram the other night, I came across a post from a former ILN lawyer (shoutout to Craig Levey) who announced that he’ll be running the Boston Marathon in 20 weeks. What’s more, he’s using those 20 weeks as an opportunity to spend a training session each week with “a local executive, entrepreneur, or Boston personality,” and sharing that on social media. This is something I just love, and it’s also something you can emulate, without having to run the Boston Marathon (though, if that’s your goal, more power to you!).

Let’s talk about why this works, and how you can do what Craig is doing. 

  • Identify your passion: It may be running, cycling, painting, photography, cooking, reading, fill in the blank – name the thing that you love doing outside of work. Why do you have to pick something you’re passionate about? Because it means that you’re more likely to stick with it throughout the duration of the project.
  • Look for ways to make it shareable: Will you work out during your training cycle with others? Will you organize book clubs? Will you organize cooking competitions for charity? Paint nights, with an auction for the best artwork? How can you use your passion to connect with others? Bonus points for being able to connect with multiple people over a period of time, as Craig is doing with his weekly workouts. The goal here is twofold – first, you’re expanding your pool of relationships, either with new people that share your passion that you haven’t met before, but could be important business connections for you, or existing connections that also share your passion. There’s something about a shared passion (or suffering, in the case of workouts) that bonds you with your connections in a way that coffee or a conversation often won’t.
  • Bonus: if you can connect it with a charity or competition, all the better. Not only because it helps draw attention to what you’re doing, but because it helps put an end date to it, and because it’s the right thing to do. Also, it’s an opportunity to combine your passions – if you’re equally engaged with raising money to end children’s cancer and cycling, finding a way to combine the two will light you on fire in a way you’ll be truly excited about.
  • Share on social: There’s no shame in using social media to share what you’re doing – use your instagram to document your workouts, and introduce your followers to your new connections. Get them invested in helping you to succeed in reaching your charitable goals, as well as your project goals. Showing them the types of connections that you’re making will also let them know who else you may want to be introduced to, and allow them to reach out to make additional connections.

This may feel contrived for some of you, but essentially, what you’re doing it taking something that you would be doing anyway – your passion – and leveraging it to connect with business people with whom you share that same passion. It shows you as a more well-rounded person than just the legal work that you do, and it’s when you’re at your best because when you’re doing something that you love, all of your best qualities come out, whether that is perseverance, grit, determination, joy, creativity, and more. Those are all qualities that you may want to be communicating to your clients or potential clients, who already know that you’re a good lawyer. And if you can also combine it with some social good, engage your social networks to involve them in the process, why not use all of the tools at your disposal to supercharge your good works and put that passion to good use?

How are you using your passion to better develop your business relationships today? And don’t forget to follow Craig and cheer him on in his journey to the Boston Marathon!

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.