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Running with it: Combining your passion with relationship development

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As I was scrolling through Instagram recently, I came across a post from a lawyer I know (shoutout to Craig Levey) who announced that he’ll be running the Boston Marathon in 20 weeks. What’s more, he’s using those 20 weeks as an opportunity to spend a training session each week with “a local executive, entrepreneur, or Boston personality,” and sharing that on social media.

This is something I just love, and it’s also something you can emulate, without having to run the Boston Marathon (though, if that’s your goal, more power to you!).

Let’s talk about why this works, and how you can do what Craig is doing.

Identify your passion: It may be running, cycling, painting, photography, cooking, reading, fill in the blank—name the thing that you love doing outside of work. Why do you have to pick something you’re passionate about? Because it means that you’re more likely to stick with it throughout the duration of the project.

Look for ways to make it shareable: Will you work out during your training cycle with others? Will you organize book clubs? Will you organize cooking competitions for charity? Paint nights, with an auction for the best artwork? How can you use your passion to connect with others? Bonus points for being able to connect with multiple people over a period of time, as Craig is doing with his weekly workouts. The goal here is twofold—first, you’re expanding your pool of relationships, either with new people that share your passion that you haven’t met before, but could be important business connections for you, or existing connections that also share your passion. There’s something about a shared passion (or suffering, in the case of workouts) that bonds you with your connections in a way that coffee or a conversation often won’t.

Bonus: if you can connect it with a charity or competition, all the better. Not only because it helps draw attention to what you’re doing, but because it helps put an end date to it, and because it’s the right thing to do. Also, it’s an opportunity to combine your passions—if you’re equally engaged with raising money to end children’s cancer and cycling, finding a way to combine the two will light you on fire in a way you’ll be truly excited about.

Share on social: There’s no shame in using social media to share what you’re doing – use your instagram to document your workouts and introduce your followers to your new connections. Get them invested in helping you to succeed in reaching your charitable goals, as well as your project goals. Showing them the types of connections that you’re making will also let them know who else you may want to be introduced to and allow them to reach out to make additional connections.

This may feel contrived for some of you, but essentially, what you’re doing it taking something that you would be doing anyway—your passion—and leveraging it to connect with businesspeople with whom you share that same passion. It shows you as a more well-rounded person than just the legal work that you do or want to be doing, and it’s when you’re at your best because when you’re doing something that you love, all of your best qualities come out, whether that is perseverance, grit, determination, joy, creativity, and more. Those are all qualities that you may want to be communicating to the firms that you want to hire you, and potential future clients. And if you can also combine it with some social good, engage your social networks to involve them in the process, why not use all of the tools at your disposal to supercharge your good works and put that passion to good use?

How are you using your passion to better develop your business relationships today? And don’t forget to follow Craig and cheer him on in his journey to the Boston Marathon!

Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s director of global relationship management. In this capacity, she works with the network’s executive director to identify and implement marketing opportunities both internally and externally and develop new approaches to business development needs. She regularly blogs at Zen & the Art of Legal Networking.