Every morning, I go on a long hike. Today, I encountered a guy on the trail who sort of shocked me, which is hard to do, and as with almost everything, held a BizDev lesson.
I was hiking along, and he had come up behind me. I stood aside to let him pass and get in front of me. We started a casual conversation, which lasted for about ninety seconds, during which he shared the following:
- He was old.
- He was originally from Brooklyn.
- In Brooklyn, when someone comes up behind you, they're usually out to harm you.
- Someone came up behind him in Huddart County Park (another park around here) and as a reflex, my new friend almost pushed him off a cliff.
- Had he pushed him off the cliff, the next question would be, do I go down and finish him off, or just keep moving?
- There are a lot of women hiking alone in the park. They don't make eye contact, and they're crazy -- it's dangerous in here.
- I was holding a weapon (in fact, it was a wooden stake).
Now, this guy was a nice-looking, sixtyish man in shorts and sneakers. He was reasonably polite -- no screaming or yelling, no threatening gestures. But the content of this little conversation, which was between two complete strangers in the middle of the woods, amazed me.
I don't think he even realized how he came across. But rest assured, it was completely unrelated to the actual situation. Yes, I am very large. Yes, I hadn't shaved in three or four days (hey, I work alone). Yes, I was wearing muddy boots, and yes, I was holding this wooden stake. But come on.
My point: monitor your own behavior or assumptions, or ask a friend to do it for you. See how you come across. Law in particular is a very stressful profession, and if the stress has gotten to you, and you're being sarcastic, harsh, angry or something else without knowing it, then your chances of becoming an effective business developer are approximately zero. Not going to happen.
Make sure the inside of your own head is a reasonably pleasant place. That is, or should be, the First Commandment of business development.