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The Person To See™ Blog

Tim in Action

JLL RBC 2017 195

Piercing through all of the noise

The Secret to Success: Simple Good. Complex Bad.

Oh, how this advice has served me well over the years.

I remember when I was a struggling associate at a law firm 28 years ago and it seemed like I just couldn’t get anything right. The harder I tried the more mistakes I seemed to make. Even though I graduated from a top ten law school, Georgetown University, I began to question if I had what it took to succeed in the legal profession.

Thankfully, one day I ran into my next-door neighbor, Dick Mercer, who sensed I was struggling. He asked me a couple of questions and after listening for awhile he said, very directly as if he were giving me an order, “Tim, stop making things complicated. Simple Good. Complex bad. Stop trying to hit homeruns. Just field the ground ball and throw it over to first base.”

I never forgot Mr. Mercer’s advice.

As I reflected on our conversation, I realized that I was trying to re-establish my reputation at the firm with one at bat. As a result, I could never establish any rhythm or momentum.

Once I slowed things down and focused on executing the simple things repeatedly as flawlessly as possible without worrying about the outcome, things began to change. The hard part to this strategy was patience. Change wasn’t swift. But over time momentum began to build.

Though I didn’t realize it at first, that was my first lesson in how to build a great personal brand.

Great personal brands are not built in a day, week, month or year. The arc of a great personal brand is built over a lifetime. Sounds cliché, but it is true. And more often that not, a great personal brand is a product of doing the simple things extraordinarily well.

When building your brand, focus on the simple things that have lasting impact.

Here are 15 ideas that don’t cost you anything:

  • Remember others’ names
  • Show up early and stay late
  • Do your job well
  • Have a good attitude
  • Send handwritten “Thank You” notes
  • Praise others
  • Admit when you are wrong
  • Say “Sorry”
  • Forgive
  • Be honest
  • Accept responsibility
  • Do what you say
  • Compromise
  • Give family members the last word
  • Allow others to save face

What the heck, here are five more:

  • Be charitable with your time and money
  • Do a lot of mitzvahs for others (Yiddish for good deeds)
  • Be responsive to others’ requests, even if it is to tell them “no”
  • Don’t be disagreeable when disagreeing
  • Pay your bills on time (Do you like being owed money?)

Hire Tim for your next keynote!

To find out more about Tim and the impact he can have on you and your next conference, meeting or event.


The 10X Networking Group (10XNG) is a select program for Rainmakers earning more than $500,000 per year.

Participants must have strong personal brand credibility AND be willing to leverage that credibility to make introductions for other members of the network.


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