It’s the middle of February. In many places, it’s cold and dreary and it’s a wee bit hard to feel motivated. You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, we talked about resolving to throw out your business development plan so that you could start fresh and see what is truly working and what isn’t – now it’s time for phase two.
Resolve to try something new.
Another area where it’s easy to get stuck when planning is the temptation to just alter or continue what you’ve been doing all along.
There is a great quote that is famous in the legal industry (and elsewhere) from Rear Admiral Grace Hopper:
The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘we’ve always done it this way.’”
Someone pointed out that this obviously wouldn’t work for, say, heart surgery, and I can hear some of my lawyers saying that it wouldn’t work for legal work either. And while that’s true, where you DO want to try new things is in your marketing and business development efforts (and really everywhere else). Trying new things can have significant benefits – a post on Psychology Today offers these four:
- It requires courage, which can open you up to be more courageous in other areas.
- It opens up the possibility that you’ll enjoy something new – maybe you’ll find a niche practice area that you love or a networking tactic that is wildly successful.
- It keeps you from becoming bored – when we’re bored with something, we give less of our attention to it, and less of our passion. It’s easy to say that a tactic or tool isn’t working if we’re bored with it. Plus, if you’re bored with something, it’s clear to everyone around you that you’re bored and so they have less interest in you too.
- It forces you to grow and that keeps you open to new things, which can lead you to professional success and growth.
While you don’t have to sign up for skydiving tomorrow, try throwing some new things into the mix to shake things up:
- Let’s say you had an interesting case in a specific niche area of the law that really excited you. Maybe there are organizations that focus just on that or you can start a blog or a podcast around that area of the law – it doesn’t mean that your entire practice is limited to that area of the law, but you develop a reputation for being an expert because you talk about it, have other guests on to talk about it, share nuances of that particular industry or niche and become known for it, so people bring you more of that type of work. That’s how lawyers become successful in art law or fashion law – there’s even the really fun example of the firm that developed a blog around citing the labor and employment snafus in episodes of The Office and how companies could avoid being sued for the same things that fictional company Dunder Mifflin was getting wrong.
- Start really small by reading a book that’s totally out of your comfort zone or usual genre. Pick up a magazine that you’ve never read, or subscribe to the RSS feeds for a couple of new blogs. Join Twitter and follow five people you’ve always thought were fascinating. Take a bike ride during your lunch hour, or try a different place to grab a sandwich. You just never know when you’ll meet someone, read something, hear an idea that will stick with you, and change everything.
- Another option is to sign up for an interesting class. During the pandemic, there are options both online and off, so I encourage you to stretch your wings and see what’s out there. Perhaps delving into your artistic side will free up your brain to solve some of your stickier client issues while your hands are deep into charcoal or clay. Or taking a photography class will expose you to the copyright issues that photographers face online. Maybe you’ll find you have an aptitude for languages and start working with more international clients. Or perhaps you’ll just enjoy yourself and get a break from the work you face daily when you find a new hobby.
There are so many benefits to trying something new, whether it’s professionally or personally – and never forget that growing yourself personally can often lead to professional benefits (not that you ever need that as a reason to try something new!). So whether you’re facing the winter doldrums or just looking to freshen things up, why not stretch yourself today with something new?