In honor of the St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series, led by their incandescent first-baseman, I’m reposting this item I originally posted July 19, when Albert Pujols was in the middle of another stellar year.
If you’re not a baseball fan, and never watch SportsCenter, let me introduce you to the St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman.
This is what he has done each year as a hitter in his first eleven years in the Major Leagues, he has never:
- had a batting average below .300
- hit fewer than 30 home runs
- knocked in fewer than 100 runs.
No one else in the history of Major League Baseball has ever done that in his first eleven seasons – not Babe Ruth, not Joe DiMaggio, not Ted Williams, Hall of Famers and legends all. Albert Pujols stands alone as the pinnacle of such consistent excellence.
So, how does he perform at such an unheard-of level, so absolutely consistently?
In a word, he “practices.” Every day, no matter what.
Diligently, with serious discipline. When he’s tired, he practices. When he doesn’t feel like it, he practices. When he’s going great, he practices. When he’s in a slump, he practices. Get the picture?
You may be thinking, “I practice.”
Yes, you practice the technical aspects of the law. But, if you’re honest, you’ll admit that you don’t practice business development. Sure, you go to some networking events, you make some follow-up sales calls. You may even call a dormant client occasionally, hoping to bring her back to life.
That’s not practice. For you, that’s “game day.” That’s why your results are disappointing.
Here’s Albert Pujols’ definition of practice: 15,000-20,000 practice swings per year.
Let’s compare that with actual games. Over the course of a full season, your (statistically) average hitter will see four pitches during each of his roughly 600 at-bats. Let’s say he swings at half of those. That’s 1,200 competitive swings per year.
That means Albert Pujols takes 16 times as many practice swings as competitive swings.
Over the course of 20 years, I trained and coached about 7000 lawyers. I’d say that they averaged about three encounters with their markets per week, e.g., networking events, sales calls, etc. That’s 150 “competitive swings” per year.
How many of you practice your business development skills 2250 times per year (Pujols' 16:1 practice:competition ratio)? How many practice at all?
I realize that, unlike Albert Pujols, your primary, full-time job is performing legal work, not marketing or selling. OK, so your practice/competition “swing ratio” isn’t going to be his 16:1. But it can’t be 0:4, either. To get the financial security, professional challenge and work/life balance you say you want, find a way to get in some practice time.
RainmakerVT offers you the equivalent of a batting cage. Each of the simulations offer you a free “Practice Mode” to refresh and sharpen your skills in 5-10 minutes just before applying that skill in the real world.