If You Build It, They Will Come

On March 14, 2022, I partially shifted my professional focus to providing legal services to female founders and entrepreneurs. There have been days since that I have been overwhelmed, but there has never been a day when I doubted my choice.

The night before the big day, I watched Field of Dreams for the 20th time. I am an idealist, and Ray Kinsella’s self-belief (with a hint of self-doubt mixed in) inspires me almost as much as George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. Back on the night of March 13th, I had no idea how often, over the following months, that I would think about Ray Kinsella.

Fast forward to last week, when a colleague asked how my new endeavor was progressing. I was gushing with positivity because a new client had hired me. Yet, there was no rejoicing from my colleague. Instead, he responded, “Well, that is just a tiny little matter. Is there any real potential for more work there? Seems like a waste of time.”

Ten months ago, this comment would not just have dimmed my light; it would have snuffed out the flame entirely. Not now. Where my colleague saw nothing, I saw nothing but unlimited potential. Why? Because I had nurtured authentic, intentional relationships and knew those relationships would guide my way.

Months before I conceived of providing legal services to female founders and entrepreneurs, I joined Chief and dove headfirst into the community. I started to leave supportive comments on the LinkedIn posts of fellow Chiefs. No ulterior motive other than that, although I tend to be a loner, I was profoundly lonely and wanted human contact.

To my surprise, my simple words of support caught people’s attention. As a now dear friend and mentor jokes with me: “I wanted to meet this strange woman who was so devoted to my content.” This reaction surprised me, but it was the perfect remedy for all that was ailing me. I had not previously appreciated that feeling “seen and heard” is a core human need. Of course, the “how” of being seen and heard varies for different people, but the basic need applies to everybody. None of us wants to be alone all of the time, not even a loner. And supporting others has a way of making us feel supported ourselves.

By the time March 14th rolled around, I was no longer lonely. Instead, I felt confident and powerful, with a tribe that had my back, unconditionally (and the voice of James Earl Jones in my head!). Somehow listening to and understanding others enabled me to validate myself as I had never thought possible.

In trying to build this new practice, the old me would have tried to develop business by trying to get meetings with potential leads to sell myself. But it would have felt forced and uncomfortable. That approach may work for some, but it rarely works for me.

Now, instead, I never focus on “making a sale.” I focus on listening and understanding the needs of others. It takes ongoing effort and dedication. And it creates a powerful sense of trust and understanding for everyone involved. And guess what? My authentic, heart-driven approach has not only attracted clients without a traditional sales pitch, but it has given me the ability to believe 100% in my vision and myself.

So no, I am not bothered by the size of the new matter like my colleague was. Intentional relationships are assets that do not appear on a balance sheet. I build strong human connections. My attitudes and behaviors that make these strong human connections also will build a strong business. I do not need anyone else’s validation of my vision.

I am in this for the long haul. My friend and fellow Chief, Beth Newton, explains it like this: “Taking the long view requires patience. It means nurturing the 95% of your audience following you because they enjoy your content or like your brand. These are the folks that are not in the market to purchase right now but will think of your brand first when they are ready.”

I believe in the power of human connection and the infinite possibilities it brings. Those connections have allowed me to extinguish self-doubt. As a result, my faith in myself has become unshakeable. And just like Ray Kinsella, I trust the voice in my head telling me: “If you build it, they will come.”


For those both familiar and unfamiliar with the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, I have taken creative license for this post. The actual quote from the movie is, “If you build it, he will come.” The “it” is a baseball field in the middle of some Iowa cornfields, and the “he” is a deceased, disgraced baseball player, Shoeless Joe Jackson, who is seeking redemption/to clear his name. Ray Kinsella first hears this phrase uttered by a “voice” inside his head. A similar phrase is used later in the film in Terence Mann’s famous “People Will Come” speech. James Earl Jones portrays Terence Mann.

And one other note. Although I am a baseball enthusiast, anyone who has ever seen Field of Dreams knows it is not just a baseball movie. It is a movie about regret, doubt, hope, fear, lost dreams, opportunity, redemption, empathy, and perseverance. For me, it is so inspiring because it suggests that there is always “another chance” through the power of human connection.