This is the second part of a series in which I am looking at James Allen's book Eight Pillars of Prosperity to focus on the nuggets it holds for client development and client relations. The book was written back near the turn of the last century; sometimes the style and choice of words reflect the times during which the book was written. Nevertheless I think the writing is charming and demonstrates both Allen's timeless common sense and his astute awareness of human behavior.
The Second Pillar of Prosperity is Economy. (Link to the First Pillar: Energy.) What does Allen mean by Economy? He is talking about balance, a place between the extremes of exhaustion and inertia.
True economy is the middle way in all things, whether material or mental, between waste and undue retention. That which is wasted, whether money or mental energy, is rendered powerless; that which is selfishly retained and hoarded up is equally powerless.
An all-round economy consists in finding the middle way in the following seven things: Money, Food, Clothing, Recreation, Rest, Time, and Energy.
Let's look at each of the seven items on Allen's list.
First on the list is Money. Allen writes:
The smaller the capital, the smaller should be the sphere of operations. Capital and scope are hand and glove and they should fit. Concentrate your capital within the circle of its working power, and, however circumscribed that circle may be, it will continue to widen and extend as the gathering momentum of power presses for expression.
Operating within one's means, always with the confidence that the means will expand, is of course good business advice. When deciding on a marketing budget, realize that money is not the only asset and don't overspend the dollars. Creating the sharpest, fanciest brochures or Web sites can be a substitute for getting out of the office and creating relationships. Spending time and thought creating an approachable and credible online presence may be another instance of wisely allocating assets, instead of throwing dollars at a wish for clients.
Food is next on Allen's list. He says:
The best workers and most successful men are they who are most moderate in eating and drinking. By taking enough nourishment, but not too much, they attain the maximum physical and mental fitness. Being thus well equipped by moderation, they are enabled vigorously and joyfully to fight the battle of life.
Paying attention to what goes in your mouth builds a healthy heart, brain, and body. A lively, vital, vigorous person instills confidence in others and is better able to effectively and energetically practice law. Go on the client development diet -- permanently.
Next Allen discusses Clothing.
A true refinement is in the mind and behavior, and a mind adorned with virtue and intelligence cannot add to its attractiveness (though it may detract from it) by an ostentatious display of the body.
What you wear will reflect to others the state of your mind. What do you want clients to conclude when they look at you? The answer to that question will be very individual. Just make sure you ask it of yourself every so often.
Recreation is fourth on the list. Do you disagree with what Allen says?