Rainmaking Recommendation #212: The Most Important Secret to Rainmaking Success

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Shhh… I’m going to tell you a secret.

Lean in a bit closer so I can YELL this in your ear! The most important secret to success is . . . .


(Sorry for screaming and it’s also the secret for all success.)

And if the current state of the world, a pandemic, hasn’t convinced you of that, I not sure what will but I will try to do so now. Even before COVID-19 many of us, I included, take our health for granted. 

The other day, in one of the virtual lunches I attend, we somehow got into the discussion on being consistent with working out and our fitness regimens.  And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I am not one who has been consistent on that front.  Oh, I go through phases where I work out for a few weeks and then something distracts me and I stop for a day while promising myself I will get back to it tomorrow.  Then a week passes, then a month, and then 6 months.  You get the point. 

However, recently I have been reading more information about fitness (including what you eat) and the link to success and mental health.  And while it is almost a no brainer, I don’t think many attorneys – particularly those who are in Mid-market and Big Law – actually stop to consider what all of the stress, sleepless nights, caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs (whether prescription or otherwise) is doing to them.

It is no secret that the legal industry is fraught with mental illness and substance abuse.  In 2019, the American Bar Association in collaboration with the Hazelton Betty Ford Foundation commissioned a study on “alcohol use, substance abuse, mental health issues and help-seeking behaviors of lawyers.”  Without going into all of the gripping findings, and frankly just a bit disheartening, it shows that our industry requires finding ways to deal with these issues. And one of the ways is good health and physical fitness.   

Study after study has shown that eating healthfully and regular exercise is beneficial not only for your body but for your mental health.  And as someone who has experienced situational depression in the past, I know how hard it can be to get your butt in gear to exercise when you are feeling down.  It’s circular logic:

And even if you don’t suffer from any mental health or substance abuse issues, there have been studies that show good health and fitness directly correlate to career success.  Just Google “the link between fitness and success” and 305,000,000 results appear.  One of the results is a blog written in 2007 by Brian Calkins, a personal trainer, which still stands the test of time.  He cites two studies that show how improved health and fitness levels provide a “Better ability to focus, improved confidence and enhanced ability to follow through.”

Also, article after article, blog post after post, tout the benefits of a regular fitness routine which includes the necessary factors needed to become a great Rainmaker:

  • Creating schedules and goals;
  • Building Self-confidence;
  • Cognitive enhancement;
  • Stress release; and
  • Increased energy and stamina (for those long billable days)

We haven’t even begun to discuss how sleep and what you eat fits into your health regimen but good health, mental and physical, requires both.

Now, I am not an expert in dietary matters, and that there are conflicting studies and reports every single day about various diet choices – keto or paleo? Vegan or vegetarian?  Low fat or low carb? Eat many small meals or intermittent fast? Is caffeine good for you or is it bad? Should you drink a glass of wine or beer a day or abstain totally?

All I do know is that we are all aware that eating more fresh vegetables and fruit, drinking lots of water, and staying away from too much refined sugar and processed foods is a healthier way of living.  The rest of it is as much of a mystery to me as to you. I am trying to find a way to eat that makes me feel good and gives me the fuel that I need to accomplish my daily goals.  I eat meat, fish, and eggs but try to eat more vegetarian meals each week – like a meatless Monday. Regardless of your diet style, it’s about getting the nutrients you need for your body and your mind.  ( I will also let you in on another little secret – I will never give up my morning cup of coffee and I take a little tipple now and again.)

And, I am also saying, that as smart lawyers you know that there are things you can do to stay mentally and physically healthy.  And there is NO shame in getting help on either front – hire a therapist for your mental health; hire a personal trainer for your physical health if need be.

So, I am declaring now that I am going to put my health first from now on – plus I want to take off a few of the COVID-19 pounds I have gained with all of the cooking (and boredom eating) I have done since I have been in self-quarantine.  And I am asking you, gentle readers, to keep me accountable.   

I will leave you with these two quotes:

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: 

“The first wealth is health”

And P.T. Barnum said:

“The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness.  A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well when he is sick.”

  • If you are a mid-level associate who would like to become a partner or a partner looking to become a Rainmaker and are interested in individual coaching but would like to take it for a test drive, schedule your FREE Rainmaking Coaching Session
  • If you are a law firm leader and would like to discuss bringing a virtual training program or a Rainmaking Webinar (with Ethics CLEs)  email me. 

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