If you’ve been saying to yourself or your firm for any length of time, “I want to become a rainmaker,” but so far haven’t committed the time, effort, or (gasp!) some of your own money to get there, you’ve probably been using the wrong object noun. A more accurate noun would be rain-haver.

When we say, “I want to get fitter,” or “I want to make more money,” or “I want to move to a warmer climate,” most of the time the translation table looks like this:

what we say vs what we mean.jpg

The key word is “already.”

We want to be fitter physically, but when we learn what it takes to achieve that, we discover that we don’t want it bad enough to fulfill the requirements.

Likewise with our earnings, where we live, generating business, or any other aspiration. We want it already to be true, without having to go through all that it takes to get it. We want to fast-forward to the good stuff, the outcome. We want all that effort and investment to be in our rear-view mirror.

Truth be told, we want to be rain-havers, not rain-makers. Having it is great. Making it is hard.

Test yourself by asking, “Why do I want to be a rainmaker?” What, specifically, do you want out of it. What will having a million-dollar book of business do for you?

You may answer, “That’s easy. I’ll make twice the income I make now.” Or, “I’ll have much greater status in my firm than I have now.”

But, in relation to what’s important to you, what will that additional income do for you, or enable you to do? Will you be able to retire 10 years earlier? Or send your kids to college without them amassing crippling debt?

In relation to what’s important to you, what will that elevated status do for you? Will it make it more likely that your firm will invest in your initiatives? Will you be freed from tedious administrative responsibilities? Will it give you bragging rights in your social circle?

Now that you’ve given yourself truthful answers, how important are those outcomes? The late John Kenneth Galbraith was fond of offering this straightforward advice:

  1. Decide what you want
  2. Define what you’re willing to give up to get it
  3. Get on with it

What are you willing to give up to get what you say you want? Are you willing to

  • abandon your longstanding habit of relegating business development to an occasional after-the-fact bolt-on rather than an integral part of every day?
  • change the structure of your day, shifting some of your billable work to traditional off-hours to make time for BD during prime time?
  • acknowledge that marketing and sales are not innate abilities, but are learned skills, that will require you to devote time, effort, and (gasp!) personal expense to acquire?
  • make learning those skills a priority, allocating time to them every week?
  • apply what you learn every week, to the point where it becomes like hygiene?
  • engage a coach to guide you and give you feedback?

If you’re willing to do these things, it’s possible that you’re actually willing to be a rain-maker, not merely hoping to be a rain-haver.

Mike O'Horo


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