Rainmaking Recommendation #246: A Deeper Dive Into Rainmaking Tactics (Part 1 – Goals)

In the last Rainmaking Recommendation, I provided a listicle of 22 different methods to use for Rainmaking Success.  As promised, I will provide a deeper dive into how to use these tactics so that you can become the Rainmaker you wish to be.

For the almost 20 years that I have been coaching attorneys, there are two things that I insist that every attorney do before they even begin their business development activities:

  1. Set Goals, and
  2. Create an Ideal Client Profile

Today we discuss Goal Setting:

One of the most important tasks you can undertake in your legal practice and life is setting goals. Many books have been written on the importance of goal setting. There are millions of websites devoted just to this task. Yet, the percentage of people who set goals, really sit down, and WRITE their goals out is small.

In 2007, Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University in California did a study of students who tracked goal achievement, comparing groups who wrote down their goals to those who didn’t.

She found that writing down your goals contributed to a 42% increase in goal achievement. What’s more, she also found adding accountability works even better. Those who translated their goals into actions, made a commitment to a friend or accountability partner/coach, and provided weekly progress reports increased goal achievement by 76%.

Is a 76% increase in the probability of your success worth the effort of writing your goals and taking action on them?

There are more concrete reasons to set your goals:

• Provide you with direction: Think of your life like a GPS. When you use your GPS to get directions to where you want to go, you have to input your destination. Goals are like this. They provide you with an idea of where you want to go in your career. When you set goals, particularly in writing, it also allows you to “recalculate” when you run into obstacles or detours to get to the endpoint. This is particularly true in these current days of the pandemic, where you may have thought you would do one thing but now have to pivot to do another.

• Provides you with Motivation: When you write down the goals you want to achieve and break them into small steps to get to the end, every stage you accomplish gives you that extra push to get to the end. Nothing is more satisfying than literally crossing off a task on your list that will help you reach your goal.

• Increase Productivity: When you know what you want to accomplish – your goals – and have the steps to get there in writing – your tasks – you can increase your productivity. For the most part, when people walk into their offices, they allow the day to dictate what they do. You can increase your productivity when you know exactly what to do and when to do it.


There is a method for effectively having goals that can help you solidify your mind’s plans and work to just get to the 42% increase in goal achievement.

1. Your goals must be written;

2. Your goals must be written in the present tense;

3. Your goals must be positively stated; and

4. Your goals follow the SMARTY formula


The SMART acronym was first coined by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham in the November 1981 issue of Management Review in an article titled, “There’s a SMART way to write management goals and objectives. Since then, it has been used in almost every industry and by nearly every personal development guru as a way to set goals and track progress.

Since then, various versions of the acronym have been developed by others, including the one created by The-Rain-Maker, which includes the “Y” to make it SMARTY goals.

The Y in the acronym, which stands both for “You” and the question “Why?” is one of the essential additions to the formula.

To achieve your goals, you must have a big enough “Why” “you” want to accomplish it. And the goal must be yours. If you are trying to achieve a goal for someone else, you will never put in the effort to accomplish it. Well, that’s not entirely true. If your boss says to write this brief or you’ll be fired, although it is not your goal, per se, you will work to finish it if you don’t want to get fired.

 S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Action Oriented (or you can do something to achieve that goal)

R = Realistic

T = Time-Bound (or you have a deadline)

Y = “Why?” and “You”

An example:

Not a goal: I want to lose weight

Goal: I am 10 lbs lighter on August 15, 2021, because I want to look better in my clothes.

The first one expresses little more than just a wish. And wishing to do something will not help you achieve the goals you would like. However, the second one is a goal because:

• It is specific: 10 lbs.

• It is measurable: again, you know exactly how much you want to lose.

• It is action-oriented: you must do something (eat less, work out more) to achieve this goal.

• It is realistic: Healthy weight loss is 1-2 lbs per week; therefore if you began on June 16, 2021, in the next 8 weeks you could lose this amount of weight (and more).

• It is time-bound: You have a deadline of August 15, 2021

• Why and You: Because I want to look better in my clothes

Again, without a compelling reason, when the first opportunity to either cheat on your eating habits or not go to the gym (or work out at home) arises, you will find yourself not doing the things you need to do to achieve your goals.

Goal Setting For Your Life

Because life is not all about your legal practice, you need to set goals in all of the areas of your life. The importance of this cannot be stressed – you will burn out and become less effective in your work-life if you do not have goals in the following areas:

• Physical: Improving your health and well-being

• Spiritual: Growing your spirituality

• Intellectual: Developing your mind

• Family: Strengthening your family

• Social: Nurturing personal and professional relationships

• Career: Advancing your career or business objectives

• Financial: Taking control of or improving your finances

Your goals should stretch you a little without being impossible. Important goals should then be broken down into bitesize pieces.

For example, let’s go back to the losing weight goal. If your goal is to lose 100 lbs in the next year, you need to break these down into monthly or weekly, or even daily goals. In this instance, you would break it down to 10 lbs per month – this is more readily acceptable to your mind than the thought of losing 100 lbs. Then, it would help if you also started determining what you would need to achieve that goal. These are your tasks.

Think of it this way:

For me to achieve the goal of losing 10 lbs this month, I am:

• Going to the gym 3 days per week

• Walking 1 mile per day

• Eating 2000 calories per day

• Making sure the house is only filled with healthy food (all junk food has been removed)

Each one of these tasks then requires you to take some action:

• Scheduling the three days at the gym on your calendar;

• Scheduling what time are you walking each day;

• Planning a menu you like either daily or weekly or monthly;

• Scheduling trips to the grocery store,

and so forth.

Please take the time to break your goals into “bite-size” pieces

Your goals will be personal to you.  This is the “Y” of the SMARTY formula.  There must be a compelling reason you would like to achieve that goal  – even if the reason is a negative one (I don’t want to lose my job).  However, you should find a positive reason for achieving that goal – you will be more likely to do the work necessary when you want to, rather than when you have to.

Goal setting is one of the most critical aspects of Rainmaking because it will provide you with the direction you want to take in your legal career and life.

And remember, Jim Rohn, a personal and professional development guru, once said:

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan.  And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

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