One of these days, I’ll edit a compilation of the best advice that people got and didn’t follow. I envision separate sections for celebrities, scientists, politicians, writers, and so on. Coaches and teachers will have a section of their own, of course.
Because I won’t just be an editor, but also a contributor, I already have my entry written. It goes like this:
Advice. Perseverance is more important than raw talent, and consistent action will get you further than occasional flashes of super-activity. You’ll be in better shape if you exercise in moderation every day than if you’re a weekend warrior and a weekday couch potato. You’ll be a better writer if you write a page a day than if you write only when inspiration strikes (i.e., once in a blue moon, especially when you’re nowhere near a computer or a piece of paper).
I know this advice is true, I proselytize it in the context of business development, and I even occasionally live it.
Excuse(s). It’s easy to justify not “wasting” an hour a day on business development when work deadlines are piling up, and I’m tired, and my apartment looks like a raccoon has gotten into an overfull trashcan. It feels virtuous to dedicate myself to work-work; it’s the right thing to do for the case and for the team! Besides, business development is an ongoing process – I can pick it up again after the next deadline.
How I get back on the wagon. At a certain point, it dawns on me that after this brief is filed, a series of depositions will start, or maybe a hearing will loom, all of which are excellent, rational and highly-respectable excuses to avoid the uncomfortable. As painful as writing a motion to dismiss is, it’s easier than writing a blog post, or renewing contacts with people I’ve not spoken to in a while, or asking for a referral. I also point out to self that I advise all who would listen to dedicate time every day to business development, and that I’d prefer not being a hypocrite. This is usually sufficient to force me back to my daily business development practice, albeit creakily, achingly, and under protest from the part of me that would rather not.
But once I do, I learn all over again that business development practice is not the monster I made it out to be. Rather, it allows me to connect and build relationships with other people, and it is often the most fulfilling part of my day. Thus, a new virtuous cycle begins (at least until the next briefing deadline knocks it off course).
What does your “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” entry look like?