I really enjoyed Seth Godin’s post today on Is effort a myth?

Delete the outliers–the people who are hit by a bus or win the lottery, the people who luck out in a big way, and we’re left with everyone else. And for everyone else, effort is directly related to success. Not all the time, but as much as you would expect. Smarter, harder working, better informed and better liked people do better than other people, most of the time.

Effort takes many forms. Showing up, certainly. Knowing stuff (being smart might be luck of the draw, but knowing stuff is the result of effort). Being kind when it’s more fun not to. Paying forward when there’s no hope of tangible reward. Doing the right thing. You’ve heard these things a hundred times before, of course, but I guess it’s easier to bet on luck.

Of course, this got me thinking about (drum roll, please) business development.

Having worked with attorneys for more than 10 years on their marketing and business development, I can say, that in my experience, most lawyers are successful despite themselves. In Seth Godin speak, they are the lucky ones. They fell into or inherited a client relationship, they fell into a practice that became extremely successful due to the marketplace (tech boom, anyone???).

Yes, there are rainmakers out there with a plan and a knack for business development, but most lawyers will agree that they fell into their success.

In today’s economy we (marketers, lawyers, IT folks, HR professionals, consultants, etc) cannot bet on luck. We need to get out there and make our own, put some elbow grease into it, and get to work.

Now, more than ever, it is time to be a thought leader in your particular area of expertise. We need to get out ahead of the trends and lead others to success. We need to be vocal, and forceful if necessary. If in our roles as Pied Piper we cannot attract followers, then we must get behind them and push.

We live in uncertain times and we need to get over it. Success, now more than ever, will take effort, and that we have full control over.