Hi, friends & colleagues:

Motivation is what get’s you started; habit is what keeps you going.

Jim Ryan, Olympic runner, ESPN’s Best High School Athlete of all Time, first high school runner to break the 4 minute mile

This week’s excerpt from my new book, How To Win Client Business, is from Chapter 22: Making The Rainmaker Skills Stick – 66 Days That Will Shape Your FutureIn the previous chapter, I suggested that the common denominator of highly successful rainmakers is practicing the client development skills every day of the work week; not occasionally or randomly like most of us tend to do. This disciplined rainmaker approach to practicing the first four rainmaker skills (Create Your Personal Brand Identity, Demonstrate Your Professional Expertise, Build Your Professional Ecosystem, and Develop Trust-Based Relationships) is based upon a foundation of habit.

Each of us knows that habit is a powerful force. I’ve noticed in my university classes that most students sit in the same seat every day – even though I have no assigned seating. I have also noticed that I park in the same spot nearly every time when I go to the grocery store. I’m sure you have similar examples of things you do every day without even thinking about it. Habits – when established – make our lives easier. Because we don’t have to expend mental energy in making decisions. We just do it. Good habits are hard to form, and bad habits are hard to break.

In this chapter, I introduce new research that recently discovered it takes 66 days to build a new habit – dispelling the old myth of 21 days. And I offer practical steps in building daily and weekly habits that reinforce the rainmaker skills. In addition to the text excerpt below, I’m providing a short 5 minute audio version as well – narrated by me. So, if you’d rather listen to a sample from Chapter 22 rather than in text, simply click here. (Note: If your preferred format is audio, the audiobook is now available on Amazon and is beautifully narrated by Barry Abrams – one of the best in the industry.)

Here’s this week’s excerpt. I hope you enjoy it!



Chapter 22: Making The Rainmaker Skills Stick

66 Days That Will Shape Your Future


Each day must be approached as a unit; each must be lived with care; and if this is

done, the procession of days will turn out all right.

—Louis L’Amour, writer, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom


Dr. Maxwell Maltz noticed an interesting pattern among his surgery patients

in the 1950s. What he found was that when he performed an operation, it took

about 21 days for the patient to get used to the changes. When a patient had a leg

amputated, for example, Dr. Maltz found that the person would sense a phantom

limb for about three weeks before adjusting to life without it. According to

Dr. Maltz, “These phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of 21 days

for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to form.”


And that’s how the “it takes 21 days to form a new habit” myth began. You see

this in the self-help advice from gurus like Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins. But new

research suggests that it takes much longer.


In 2009, Dr. Phillippa Lally and her team at University College London set

out to determine just how long it takes to form a new habit. In a study of 96 people

over 12 weeks, Lally’s team had each individual practice a new habit and report

daily on whether they performed the new behavior and if it felt automatic.


Some people chose simple habits like “drinking a bottle of water with lunch”;

others chose more difficult tasks like “running 15 minutes before dinner each

evening.” Here’s what the researchers found: on average, it takes more than two

months before a new behavior becomes automatic – 66 days to be exact.


Learning from the latest research, it will likely take us longer than 21 days as

once believed to form the new rainmaker habits. If we commit to a three-month

period – figuring the average month has roughly 22 working days – we’ll build into

our lives the daily habits demonstrated by successful rainmakers.


Practice Everyday Success Habits

Unless you’re an avid runner, you’ve probably never heard of Jim Ryun. He’s not

famous – at least outside of Kansas or the running community – but he demonstrates

the kind of persistence necessary for achieving success. ESPN named him

the best high school athlete of all time, beating out stars like Serena Williams and

LeBron James.


Jim became the first high school athlete to run a mile in less than four

minutes – a feat many doctors and coaches did not think was humanly possible in

the mid-twentieth century. At his peak, Jim was considered the world’s top

middle distance runner – the track events longer than a sprint but shorter than a 10K. Jim

is the last American to hold the world record in the mile.


Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1947, Jim didn’t demonstrate any early talent in

sports. When asked how he found running, he said, “I couldn’t do anything else.

I was cut from the church baseball team, the junior high basketball team, and I

couldn’t make the junior high track and field team. I found myself trying out for the

cross-country team and running two miles even though I’d never run that distance

before. To my surprise, I made the team…and, that’s how it all began.”


What were the keys to Jim Ryun’s running success? He had natural talent,

for sure. Maybe undiscovered at first, but it’s hard to run a four-minute mile or

win an Olympic medal without natural abilities. Yet Jim’s coaches consider his

persistent, daily approach to practice as one of the keys to his many running



When asked about his disciplined approach to running, this is what Jim had

to say:


Motivation is what gets you started; habit is what keeps you going.


Habits are powerful things. When we build them into our daily routines, we

can achieve things that seem incredible. All of us have natural talents for our craft

or we wouldn’t have made it this far in our careers. If you don’t have a mind for

numbers and attention to detail, you won’t make it through accounting school

and pass the CPA exam. If you don’t have some natural design abilities, you won’t

make it through a master’s program in architecture. The same goes for engineers,

attorneys, and the other professions as well.


But like Jim Ryun, our natural talents will only take us so far. We have to

build daily habits into our lives to achieve success. Habits can be constructive or

destructive. Good habits can help us reach our aspirations and bad habits can prevent us from

achieving our potential.


And this wisdom is not new. Ovid was a Roman poet during the reign of

Augustus in the first century BCE. He wrote, “Nothing is stronger than habit.” And

before Ovid, the Greek philosopher Aristotle, in the fourth century BCE: “We are

what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” And before

ancient Rome and Greece, the power of habit found its way into early Asian philosophy. In the

words of Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher:

Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become

your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits,

they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.


The habit of starting each day with an hour of quiet planning time has proven

to be a key in the lives of many successful individuals before us. And new behaviors

take 66 days on average to become habit. Great things can happen when we

establish habits that keep us going, long after the initial motivation has worn off.


Get started today in building the rainmaker skills. Begin with one hour each

morning. Practice these every day for three months and you’ll begin to form strong

habits. And these habits will assist you in building a successful career doing what

you love with those you wish to serve.


Click here to order your copy of my new book, How To Win Client Business, today!