In the comments section of yesterday’s post, Law Firm Rainmakers: The New Untouchables, Toby Brown wrote: I recall seeing numerous articles in the last downturn about how the lawyer personality is opposite of what you need for sales. I don’t have a current reference to one of these articles, but the basic theme was: people drawn to the law (self selected) are introverts who fear risk. This means your untouchables class is indeed an elite one. From experience, even with business development coaching, many of these lawyers will never enter this class. These people love to create lists of people to call and do research to prepare (and eliminate risk), but picking up the phone scares them to death. Although I agree with your conclusions – they better try. The article Toby refers to is Herding Cats: The Lawyer Personality Revealed by Dr. Larry Richard. In his report, which I referenced here and here, Dr. Richard finds that:

“Lawyers are thinkers,” Richard says. “[Consider] what a lawyer does–thinking, analyzing documents, editing and writing.” According to Richard’s research, low sociability scorers are less inclined to enjoy interaction with others” and “may prefer to spend more time with information.”

So, the question is: “How do you take a lawyer who is introverted, skeptical and autonomous and create a rainmaker??” As I told a partner just this week: Fake it. Then I read the following passage in my morning meditation book, which I thought completely appropriate for this conversation:

– Ramana Maharshi Mind is consciousness which has put on limitations. You are originally unlimited and perfect. Later you take on limitations and become the mind. Much of our daily behavior is conditioned by forces deep below the conscious level of our minds. This means we are limited to a conditioned, automatic way of thinking and responding to the events of life around us. When such a conditioned behavior is strong, we think of it as a fixed part of the personality. Othello is jealous, Hamlet indecisive, Macbeth ambitious; that, we say, is their nature. To many biologists, this is something that is built into our very genes. I do not agree. Jealousy, vacillation, competition, and the rest are not permanent mental furniture; they are a process. A mental trait is a thought repeated over and over a thousand times, leading to words repeated a thousand times, resulting in action repeated a thousand times. At the beginning it is only a burgeoning habit of thought; you do not necessarily act on it. But once it becomes rigid, it dictates behavior. It is possible, through the practice of meditation and the other disciplines, to go against these conditioned ways of thinking and actually change ourselves from the inside out. The Thought for the Day is today’s entry from Eknath Easwaran’s Words to Live By. (Copyright 1999 and 2005 by The Blue Mountain Center of Meditation.)

Many of the negative messages swirling around in our minds are of our own making. We have picked them up growing up in our homes, in school, from society. We are truly limited only by our minds and what we tell ourselves. Toby says that the lawyers “better try” when it comes to rainmaking. I say forget “trying” and, in the words of Nike, Just Do It! Don’t let the limitations of your mind hold you back. Drop the “I don’t like to …” or “I don’t know how to …” mentality. Because I bet you like to eat well, live where you live, drive the car that you drive, and vacation where you like to vacation (not to mention afford those little rugrats running around in your life). All of that takes money and right now this is your career. Own it! It won’t be easy in the beginning, but over time you can let go of the negative messages and “habit(s) of thought” that you tell yourself, and recondition the “ways of thinking and actually change [yourself] … from the inside out.”