Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” (Seneca, mid-1st Century Roman philosopher.)

I was reminded of this saying this week after I congratulated three lawyers on getting new clients within the last week, and then, when discussing business development, three other lawyers told me that they weren’t born into country club families and/or their relatives didn’t own businesses.

The second group of lawyers shares a narrow perspective about how lawyers start to develop a book of business. We could name the perspective “I Don’t Have a Book of Business Because I Wasn’t Lucky Enough to Have Family Connections.” I think it’s a commonly held perspective about rainmakers and rainmaking. It’s often a very strong self-limiting belief for lawyers.

If these lawyers shifted their perspective even slightly to “Having a Book of Business Depends on Luck”, they might see some new ways to attack the challenge of getting more clients.

For example, if you believe luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, then (1) prepare, and (2) start improving your chances for opportunities.

I’ll leave the preparation part alone for now, and focus on how you can increase your number of opportunities, and thus improve your rainmaking.

Are you always eating lunch alone (author Keith Ferrazzi says never do this), avoiding colleagues in embarrassment because of your hours and other statistics, wondering why referral sources have gone dry, letting friendships slide, shunning networking events, procrastinating over writing articles for industry associations, making no new friends (business or otherwise), always sending email but never using the phone, giving up on new marketing efforts after just six months?

Do you talk to strangers in the airport, in line at the grocery store, at your child’s soccer game, at networking events? Are you getting involved in issues and organizations that you care about and becoming a leader? Are you letting your world know who you are, what you care about, and what you can do for people and organizations that matter to you?

Or do you assume and hope that people who know you and what you do will come to you when they need a lawyer, and that those who don’t know you will somehow find you?

Creating opportunities boils down to putting yourself out there, meeting people and building relationships.

Here are a few recent success stories of lawyers overcoming their own resistance, putting themselves out there and increasing their business opportunities. One of my lawyer coaching clients joined FaceBook in the last two months and this week received a job opportunity through an old friend. Another reached out to reconnect with former colleagues and now is local counsel on a matter. A third befriended a quiet partner last week and now has a strong new champion. Another lawyer recently resisted a last minute urge to skip his law school reunion and now has a new relationship.

So here are my questions for you: What’s the name of the perspective you want to have on business development? And what can you start doing to create your own “luck”?

I’ll write more about “resistance” in a later post. For now, consider this challenge compiled from real life examples in the last two months, including the reunion one above.

Challenge: If you get a last minute urge not to attend an event you planned to attend, RESIST! Resist that urge. Even if you were always luke warm about attending, resist and attend. Notice what happens. See what business development opportunities are there. You’ll never know who you might meet unless you go.