I am, by nature, a very cautious person and a loner. I don’t like people. I don’t like to socialize. I don’t take risks. And, I care what people think about me … too much.
Now, for those of you who know me, I’m sure you’re laughing out loud right now. When I have confessed this in the past, I hear protestations of: “You’re so social.” “You’re always taking a stand and speaking your mind.” “You’re bold and forward thinking.” Yes, I am those things as well, but only because I work at it, on a daily basis. Over the years it has become easier and more natural for me … but I can easily revert back into my cave at any given moment.
Every day I have to actively work against my natural state of being so that I can participate in my life: at home, at work, and in my personal and professional communities.
So what does this have to do with lawyers? Attorneys are, by nature, cautious, autonomous and lack sociability.
There are natural “rainmakers” out there, who are few and far between, but what about the rest of the lawyers?
I have been asked before: “can you turn that service partner into a rainmaker?” The answer is “No.” I cannot turn a service partner into a rainmaker … but he or she can. It will take work. Daily work.
I would counsel the attorney to read books, attend seminars, subscribe to blogs and e-zines that promote the habits of highly successful rainmakers and salespersons. I would also counsel them to go against their nature every day. Pick up the phone when you’d rather send an e-mail. Write that commentary when you’d rather shut your door and play fantasy football. Go see your clients, speak at that conference, call that referral source. Get out of your cave. Go against your nature every day and fool us all.
From Eknath Easwaran’s Words to Live By:
Mind is consciousness which has put on limitations. You are originally unlimited and perfect. Later you take on limitations and become the mind.
– Ramana Maharshi
Much of our daily behavior is conditioned by forces deep below the conscious level of our minds. This means we are limited to a conditioned, automatic way of thinking and responding to the events of life around us. When such a conditioned behavior is strong, we think of it as a fixed part of the personality. Othello is jealous, Hamlet indecisive, Macbeth ambitious; that, we say, is their nature. To many biologists, this is something that is built into our very genes.
I do not agree. Jealousy, vacillation, competition, and the rest are not permanent mental furniture; they are a process. A mental trait is a thought repeated over and over a thousand times, leading to words repeated a thousand times, resulting in action repeated a thousand times. At the beginning it is only a burgeoning habit of thought; you do not necessarily act on it. But once it becomes rigid, it dictates behavior. It is possible, through the practice of meditation and the other disciplines, to go against these conditioned ways of thinking and actually change ourselves from the inside out.