Being the Best—What it Takes to Be a Rainmaker
We are headed into the holiday season and it is time for friends and fun and food and revelry. But, it’s also a time for reflection. Maybe to think about what went right, what went wrong, what could go better. What do we want to accomplish in 2016? I’m a serious go-getter. I think I have three settings.
I like to believe I am the person who gets things done, but I wasn’t always this person. When I started out writing, I think I was more in love with the “idea” of being a successful author than the actual work involved. I wrote when I felt like it. I needed outside approval and validation. I wasted all kinds of brain power wondering if I was a “real writer.”
Yeah *hides head in shame*.
Anyway, I hit a major turning point years later and that is a story for another time. Truth was? The answers had been there all along. I’d just forgotten the truth or didn’t really want to hear it. The answer was actually from my sales days.
I needed to return to being a rainmaker.
Rainmaker? Yes, rainmaker.
Rainmaker is a term that we used when I was in sales.
WHAT is a Rainmaker?
The rainmaker is the person who gets $#!@ done no matter what. Call him a 1%er, call her a cleaner a cooler a closer. Call this person whatever you will, but I dig rainmaker.
This is the person many of us want to be because the rainmaker is the stuff of legends.
Rainmakers come in all forms. It is the teacher who refuses to believe that a kid cannot learn, who adjusts her teaching style relentlessly until she can break through. It is the waiter who remembers all his customers names and what they order. It’s the athlete, the C.E.O., the small business owner, the S.E.A.L. , the entrepreneur, parent, the author, the artist.
But regardless of profession, all rainmakers share some common traits.
Those of you who read this blog regularly will probably see yourself in the following list because this blog attracts a certain type of reader. Rainmakers and Those Who Are Unusually Attractive. So, if you are NOT a rainmaker, then you will have to coast on your looks.
Today I am going to list some of the character traits of the rainmaker. Some you may possess naturally. Others you might have to work on. I do. We are always a work in progress.
The holidays are coming…but so is 2016. Rainmakers make it rain and we need to make some preparations for 2016. Winter is coming.
Sorry. Been watching Game of Thrones. Couldn’t resist 😀 .
Anyway, what makes a rainmaker? What are some areas we have to watch? Work on? How can we improve?
Rainmakers Have a Dark Side
My opinion? To be a good writer, we must have a dark side. For fiction, we need this dark side to be able to see into the blacker natures of humanity and make them real. If we don’t possess our own dark side to peer into and reference, we’re left with a cheap imitation. All characters are, in essence, a slice of who we are…which is probably why it freaks normal people out to be around us.
Normal people (I am told) do not sit at a Thanksgiving dinner with family and wonder how many ways one could hide a body.
Even those authors who don’t deal in body counts, one must be able to draw from the corrupted aspects of the soul—avarice, jealousy, hate, lust, pride—or?
The blacker our black, the brighter our white.
The dark side is not inherently “bad” and it doesn’t have to be “immoral.” We are not going to become the best at what we do by waiting for permission and playing by the rules. Think about it. We are taught from the time we are small to stand in line and be polite and wait our turn and ask for permission and sit down and accept when the answer is no.
But let’s explore that…
J.K. Rowling became a billionaire and revolutionized YA after being told that young boys wouldn’t read. Anne Rice almost single-handedly invented the vampire genre after being repeatedly told no one cared about stories from a monster’s POV. The Martian just opened at $50.1 MILLION in China and crossed $500 MILLION globally . That movie was based off Andy Wier’s self-published book The Martian.
Thing is, our dark side understands there is no “right” path so it doesn’t bother taking a survey and could care less about approval or consensus.
Rainmakers understand they have a dark side and listen to its council. They do not, however, let it in the driver’s seat.
If you are a rainmaker others probably refer to you as being “obsessed” as if that is a bad thing. Likely that is a character trait you possess all the time. Rainmakers have a hard time resting. In fact, give us a spa day to relax and it better come with a Xanax or five. We have no OFF button. And before you argue, tell me you go to that beach vacation…with NO book. No pen for jotting ideas.
No *GASP* laptop.
Rainmakers of the writing world are always on. Literally. I wake up at 4:15. I check social media while I get caffeine (for my writing platform). I then put in an audio book on the way to the gym. While I work out I listen to music while I think of all things writing. If I am watching T.V. I am busting apart the dialogue, the plot, the setting. If I am listening to music, I am conjuring a scene. I cannot go stand in line at a freaking STARBUCKS without eavesdropping and hoping to mine some killer dialogue and don’t you judge me because you do it too.
I guarantee most of you reading this need a 12 Step Program for your book habit. Creatives often go from writing to drawing to painting to sewing to knitting to playing an instrument. We can only relax from ONE obsession by switching to a different obsession.
Uh huh. You…are…busted.
Obsession is what makes us the best at what we do. In 2016 make plans to channel this obsession productively.
Rainmakers are sled dogs. And I know I am mixing metaphors but y’all are smart and can roll with it. If you have ever owned a working dog like a sled dog, what happens if you do not let that dog pull a sled? It will dig a hole to CHINA in your back yard.
Rainmakers are working dogs of the human world. Our sled is the writing. This is why I encourage creative hobbies that all serve the writing. Audiobooks, reading, watching series and busting them apart feeds the obsession…but it also serves the goal. This allows us to be rainmakers because we are not diffusing this superhuman energy.
Rainmakers do not give up. We get up and we go again and again and again. This one is hard, and if we are going to fail this is the one where we can be weakest.
But, true rainmakers appreciate that life can be a beating and that fair is a weather condition (and we get up eventually). When everyone else is whining we are working. We have pit bull tenacity to figure things out. To be a rainmaker at anything, we must be relentless. Being relentless is awesome. But also remember to be wise. If my goal is to drive from Texas to California and I get on I-20 East? GOOD FREAKING LUCK. Turn AROUND, dumb@$$.
As I like to say, persistence is noble, but persistence looks a lot like stupid. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong. Saves time.
What are some ways we can develop those raw killer instincts that make us good at what we do?
Become Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Years ago I was on the swim team and when we trained for speed, the coach made us swim laps wearing a full set of sweats. It felt like I weighed a thousand pounds trying to slog lap after lap in that freezing pool in waterlogged sweats. But when those sweats came off? I was like greased lightning.
One of the reasons I recommend blogging and teach authors how to do it in my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, is blogging trains us to get out of our comfort zone. Not only are we pushing ourselves mentally, psychically, and professionally, but the sheer word count is grueling.
It is incredible training, especially for the new author.
If we look at some of the most awarded and prolific writers of the last two centuries, many of them were journalists (and blogging is actually a modern form of journalism). A journalist can’t wait until the kids are in bed to write about the four-alarm fire. A journalist can’t wait for a visit from the muse to detail the bombing in the train station. A journalist can’t wait until her family offers emotional validation to take time to write the article due on the editor’s desk.
A journalist is there. Present and in the ZONE when sirens are wailing and bombs are dropping. A journalist learns to drown out the world and ramp up instantly.
A journalist eats deadlines for breakfast.
By blogging, we are training those writing muscles. We are learning to ship. We are learning to meet self-imposed deadlines. We are learning how to cultivate an audience and how to handle public criticism. Trust me. Trolls are great training for bad reviews. I once got a bad review because someone bought my book by mistake.
I wish I were kidding.
Again, embrace pain. Push yourself.
If you are comfortable writing 500 words a day. Double it. 1000? Double it again. Never be comfortable.
If social media freaks you out? Good. We can only be as strong as our greatest weakness. Own it. Face it. Look to your team to help you. Yes we have to build a brand and a platform but only foolish people do it alone. Tempus fugit. Social media is social. If we are going it alone we completely missed the point.
Get training. Get a copy of my book and make a plan to rock and roll for 2016.
Do what scares you. Rainmakers know nothing great happens in the comfort zone.
The key to being successful is reframing how we see our world. Some see failure? Rainmakers see lessons.
Pressure bursts pipes, but it also makes diamonds.
The heat can burn us away, but it can also fire out all the impurities, leaving only what it purest and fine.
I challenge all of you as you enjoy the last of your year to reflect and think over this. If you are reading this blog, you are likely of rainmaker stock since slackers gravitate to blogs with titles like How to Be a Millionaire Blogging Once a Year or Who Needs a Finished Novel to be RICH?
Enjoy the holiday season and use it to refuel. I am always honored to serve you and looking forward to 2016 because baby, we are gonna make it RAIN! 😉
What are your thoughts? Are you obsessive? Do you have to be careful about your dark side? Do you see that the very darkness that trips you up is also what makes you really good at what you do? Do you freak out friends and family with the way your mind works? Are you obsessive? Do you find that if you are not focused on your writing that you can get depressed, angry or self-destructive? Are you shy about being a rainmaker? In a world where everyone gets awards for trying or “showing up”, maybe you feel guilty for wanting to be the best at what you do? You are relentlessly competing against yourself?
What are your thoughts? I LOVE hearing from you!
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of DECEMBER, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel.
I will announce NOVEMBER’S WINNER NEXT TIME since I took a holiday and need time to tally.
For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook.