June 8, 2022
I often hear from people that while they want to catapult their careers or business forward, they were unsuccessful in the past and are tired and frustrated of trying. Making another attempt feels like being Animal House’s Chip Diller (played by Kevin Bacon) during his hazing, when a paddle is hitting him and he must say, “thank you, sir, may I have another." It seems fruitless.
I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, you can be more like Bluto in the movie (minus the misogyny, drunkenness, and poor knowledge of history). Bluto boldly said:
"What? Over? Did you say 'over'? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! It ain't over now, 'cause when the goin' gets tough, the tough get goin'. Who's with me? Let's go! Come on!..."
You get to decide when it is over.
To be successful, you need to know what it is you are aiming for. Without clarity around your goal, you cannot develop a clear plan for success.
Beyond the end goal, you also need clarity around:
Clarity comes into being by researching internally and externally the information you need to create a plan.
Most importantly, you need to know why you want this goal and its meaning for your life. Perhaps a new role or more business would result in more compensation, but it can also mean more freedom, vacation, or impact. As investing in your career can be a long-term endeavor, you need to appreciate why this is important.
Changing your career - whether it is through a new position or developing a business - rarely happens overnight. It takes working consistently over time with a significant investment up-front while creating the foundation to move you forward.
Instant gratification has become the norm in this Amazon Prime world, which is not the case in career development. It takes time to build skills, habits, and relationships. Many attack career development furiously, then become frustrated or overwhelmed and then whimper away from it.
To prevent this, you need a realistic plan (see below) to prevent you from becoming burned out or frustrated. To make a goal attainable, you should "chunk up" specific tasks over time and block time on your calendar to concentrate on your career. Creating a viable plan will help you stay committed. Finally, you may want to pair up with an accountability partner to keep you on track.
People with written plans are much more likely to be successful. By writing out a plan, you have taken the time to develop a strategic approach to your career, rather than winging it. When you have a written plan, you know what you have committed to and the due dates.
Your plan should consist of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound). Increasing and strengthening your network is not a SMART goal as it is not specific, measurable, or timebound.
Here are some examples of SMART goals that will help you increase and strengthen your network:
Download Sheila's 9 Tips for Lawyers Struggling to Build a Book of Business where she shares her time-tested tips to release fear, transform your relationship with business development, and launch your rainmaker journey.