Rainmaking Recommendation #209: How to Finish 2020 Strong – Part 1: Mindset Matters

Image by Sabine Mondestin from Pixabay 

Can you finish 2020 strong?

That’s an interesting question considering all that we have gone through in the first six months of this year.

But, your answer should be “Hell yes! I can finish 2020 strong.” 

We have exactly 6 months left to this year.  It is just a matter of changing your strategies and more importantly your mindset so that you are achieving the revised goals you are going to set for the next six months.

Please understand that I am not discounting the many issues that we have been experiencing since the beginning of this year.  I, like many people in this world, have been emotionally, physically, and financially impacted by all of the events that have taken place.  However, I have chosen (and believe it or not, have to choose daily) to use this as an opportunity to modify my own mindset and marketing and business development plans for my business in the wake of the changes that have taken place. 

You can do so too. 

The way to take the rest of the year by storm is to decide to do so.  You must change your way of thinking from this “year is already ruined, why bother” to “I am going to salvage this rest of this year and make it the best 6 months I can.” 

This is going to be a 4 part series that details how to finish 2020 strong starting with:

Part 1: Mindset Matters

It is so ridiculously easy to get caught up in the vicious news cycles these days.  Everything is negative and if you watch the news (as religiously as I used to), you would think that it is the apocalypse of Biblical proportions.  But, you must start zealously guarding your mind against the negative information that is creeping in regularly.

For more than a year, American Lawyer Media and Law.com have been investigating the mental health, addiction, stress, and well-being of lawyers intheir series:  Minds Over Matters: An Examination of Mental Health in the Legal Profession

We’ve all seen the statistics that are out there:

  • Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from a major depressive disorder
  • 45% suffer from some sort of depression at some point in their career
  • 21 percent of attorneys qualify as problem drinkers,
  • 28 percent struggle with some level of depression and
  • 19 percent demonstrate symptoms of anxiety.

 As someone who has struggled with what is called situational depression a few times in her life, I can empathize.  Situational depression is defined as:

“. . .a short-term, stress-related type of depression. It can develop after you experience a traumatic event or series of events. Situational depression is a type of adjustment disorder. It can make it hard for you to adjust to your everyday life following a traumatic event. It’s also known as reactive depression.”

My most recent episode began on March 9, 2018, with the death of my father and concluded towards the end of 2019.  And, as the definition says, it made it hard for me to adjust to everyday life. 

I’m lucky, while sometimes these depressive episodes (which are always caused by a traumatic event of some sort) last longer than I would like, they do go away.  And what I have found out is that mindset matters.

When I have been positive and optimistic, my business has grown.  But during those depressive episodes, my business contracts and I struggle day-to-day. 

When 2020 began, I was truly excited for this new decade. I had just come out of my depression; I had set truly ambitious goals.  In fact, one of my biggest goals was to help 2,020 attorneys build the books of businesses of their dreams. 

And then the pandemic hit! And the protests began! And. . . and  . . . and. . .

And like every other person in this world, I became fearful and anxious about what was happening.  I glued myself to the news and watched every day as my anxiety levels skyrocketed.  I stopped concentrating on my goals and my activities and became paralyzed with uneasiness.  It wasn’t until I stopped watching the news that I was able to get my fear and worry under control. 

I started practicing self-care. 

One of the best definitions of self-care that I have read is:

“Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” 

Self-Care can be different for every person.  For me, it meant eliminating my addiction to the news.  It meant eating more healthfully (which always falls by the wayside when I am feeling down) and starting to do more of the things I loved, like reading or listening to music which I had stopped doing in my anxious and depressive states.  And I look for opportunities to laugh, even if it is watching silly YouTube videos.

 Dr. Larry Richards, an expert on the psychology of lawyers, recently put together an article entitled Tips For Coping with Coronavirus-Induced Anxiety  in which he details 13 techniques for dealing with what you are currently feeling.  These techniques can be used regardless of what causes your unease and they include:

1. Accept Your Emotions Without Judgment

2. Do Some Deep Breathing

3. Practice Mindfulness Meditation

4. Increase Social Connection

5. Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation 6. Express Gratitude

7. Help Others (Giving)

8. Spend Time Appreciating Nature

9. Keep a Journal

10. Change Your Thoughts

11. Go on a News Diet

12. Listen to Your Favorite Music

13. Focus on Self-Care

 The point is that you need to begin to take control of your mind and create an outlook that will allow you to become a Rainmaker.  Now, before you dismiss this as bunk, I have been studying personal and professional development for more than 30 years.  And every author, speaker, and so-called guru out there says the same thing – you must take 100% responsibility for your life.

Take responsibility for making sure that you are caring for yourself and becoming a more positive and optimistic person, even in the face of what is happening in the world.

Dr. Richard summarizes his article this way:

“Anxiety is our brain’s normal mechanism for directing our attention to a potential threat that we can’t immediately control. What we can control, however, is how we respond to that threat.”

Since 2002, I have used the tag line “Rainmakers Are Not Born; They Are Taught” not just as a slogan, but because I truly believe it. And I also believe that every attorney who wants to and is willing to do the work can become a Rainmaker. 

But it’s not just adjusting your Rainmaking Plan (which we will discuss in part 2 of this series) or marketing and business development techniques and tactics that you need to build your book of business, but you also need the right mindset to do so.

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