I was talking with one of my clients, John, a couple of months ago who was dealing with a challenge that many professionals face – short-term burnout. He was buried with client work, had a wife and two kids who wanted to spend time with him, needed to conduct business development per his coach’s instruction, and had no time to pursue his own hobbies.
John is a sports nut and recharges his batteries by attending sporting events. His only problem was that he had no time based on the other responsibilities mentioned above. The fix was relatively simple. Start combining work with pleasure by inviting clients to sporting events. Whether it is attending a live baseball game or catching a basketball playoff game at a local venue over a beer, John was much more motivated to reach out to his network to find ways to keep his relationships warm while recharging his batteries.
When professionals are busy, the two things that often get neglected are business development and personal passions. This can be manageable in the short-term, however, it can quickly become a concern when it turns into a longer-term habit. Eventually, work turns into a grind, your network starts looking elsewhere because they never hear from you anymore, and you get cranky in front of your family because you don’t make time to pursue the things you enjoy most outside of work.
When you reach this point, it is time to make a change in your habits. Take a step back and ask yourself what is important in your life. If one of those things is exercise and you love to hike, find those in your network who also love to hike. Your next BD meeting could be on the trail and not in a conference room.
If you love to cook, start sharing recipes with those in your network who also love to cook. Better yet, invite them over for a summer BBQ and show off your new smoker!
A long-term client of mine loves to ride motorcycles and over time he has built a wonderful network of clients who are motorcycle lovers. He has conducted several “BD meetings” riding along Highway 1 in California with clients.
Some of you reading this still might be thinking “that’s all good, but I still don’t even have time to do any of this.” I get it when you are heads-down in work, but take the time to look up and plan something ahead when you see a break in your schedule. Be prepared for when that big case settles or the investigation ends sooner than you thought.
Like what John is starting to do now, paying attention to what is important to you outside of work can not only be that charge you need to keep you going, but also an effective and enjoyable way to strengthen the relationships in your network.