Blueprint for Rainmaking Success – Part 3 Effective Goal Setting


In part 1 of this series, I wrote about the different, but ineffective, strategies many lawyers undertake to create new business and why it is important to have a written business development/marketing plan in order to become a Rainmaker.  In part 2, you learned how to find your ideal client or niche. Now you are ready to start creating your plan by determining the goals you want to achieve and this post will teach you how to effectively set goals that you will want to achieve.

To state the obvious, being a lawyer is stressful; being a solo practitioner 10 x more so because, even if you have administrative help, you are responsible for everything in order to become successful.  And so, you need to find a way to not only have a great career, but a great life as well.

This is why I suggest, and truly believe, that you must have goals in 5 different areas of life:

  • Physical and Health,
  • Career and Financial,
  • Home and Family,
  • Friends and Social Life, and
  • Intellectual and Spiritual.

Creating and achieving goals in each of these areas leads to a well-rounded life.


From time immemorial, personal development authors and gurus have been writing about how to create effective goals.

They have used the SMART Acronym to describe the best way to write a goal to make it easy to achieve.

SMART stands for:

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Actionable (or the activities you can do to achieve the goal)
R = Realistic
T = Time Bound (or deadline)

So let’s use an example that many people can understand:

Saying  “I want to lose weight is not a goal.”  It’s a wish, a hope, a dream. Why?  It doesn’t meet any of the criteria of a well written goal.  However, if you write:  “I weigh 10 lbs. less by February 28th”, this is a real and well- written goal.

It’s specific – you know exactly how much weight you want to lose.

It’s measurable – 10 lbs. is 10 lbs. and you can measure the loss as you go along.

It’s actionable – you can take actions to lose 10 lbs.  Maybe it’s to give up sugar, maybe it’s to count your calories, maybe it’s to work out a 3 days per week.  Regardless of how you go about it, there are steps you can take to achieve that goal.

It’s reasonable or realistic:  February 28th is a month away and doctors say that the healthiest way to lose weight is at a 2 lbs. per week weight loss rate.  In four weeks you can lose 8 lbs.  and trying to lose 2 more lbs. is not unreasonable.

However saying I want to lose 50 lbs by February 28th is a bit unrealistic.  Can it be done, sure – but you better be very big when you start, eat an incredibly low calorie intake and work out 6-8 hours per day (which by the way is how they do it on The Biggest Loser television show ) but this is not sustainable and this is why most gain some if not all the weight back when they are off the show.  It is unrealistic for you to eat that little and work out that much for the rest of your life.

And of course, our goal above is time bound, or has a deadline, of February 28th.

But there is an added part of my goal setting formula:

Y = both You and the question “why?”.

See, if you don’t have a reason why or it’s not your goal but someone else’s goal for you, chances are it won’t be accomplished.

By the way, the only way that you will accomplish someone else’s goal for you is if there is a negative consequence that you are not willing to face.  But it still becomes your goal. For example, if the doctor says lose this weight or you will die. If you don’t want to die, then you will turn it into your goal.

Each goal that you write, in each area of your life, can then be broken down into the steps you need to achieve it.  You can put deadlines on each step and measure your progress along the way.

Have big goals in every area of your life – the bigger and more audacious the better.  Then start taking action. Because, even if you don’t achieve it by the deadline you set, you’re closer than you were before to getting what you want.

In my next posts for Solo Practice University, over the next few months, I will be concentrating on the tactics you will need to achieve your Rainmaking Goals – the marketing and business development tools that will bring you more clients.

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

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