Laziness is contagious. Here’s why that’s good news

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In their never-ending quest to master the subject, French researchers recently determined that laziness is contagious.

If your co-workers tend to take things slow and easy, you’re likely to pick up on their body language, pace, and other cues, and slow down.

It’s like yawning. When someone else does it, you’re likely to do it, too. Humans are apparently wired to mirror the behavior of those around us.

Anyway, why is this good news? It’s good news because if laziness is contagious, the inverse must also be true. Hang around people who work hard and get things done and you’ll be more likely to do the same.

I used to work with a guy who filled his days with non-stop meetings and phone calls. I spent a day with him once and his pace was exhausting. Just when I thought it was time to wind down our day, off he went making more calls.

I’d never be able to keep up with his pace but if we worked together every day, I’m sure I would get more done than I usually do. Just as laziness is contagious, so is industriousness.

In the study, the researchers asked participants to perform certain tasks in front of other participants. They also tested for traits like risk-taking and patience. They found that most of the participants adjusted their behavior to coincide with what they saw other participants do.

Clearly, our environment plays a significant role in our performance.

This is consistent with the “Law of Association,” which says we become like the people with whom we associate most. We adopt many of their habits, opinions, and behaviors. Our achievements and income tend to parallel theirs.

Think about the five people you associate with most and you’ll probably see that this is so.

The lesson is that if you want to achieve more, you should spend more time with high achievers. If you want to increase your income, insinuate yourself into the lives of people who earn more.

Spend more time with people who have what you want and less time with people who don’t.

Learn how to get more referrals from someone who knows how to get more referrals

 

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For things to change, you have to change

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We all see the world through a lens of our experiences, beliefs, and habits. We see what we want to see and (mostly) do what we want to do. Our lives follow a familiar pattern and unless we do something different, we continue to get the same results.

No change, no growth.

Jim Rohn said, “For things to change, you have to change. For things to get better, you have to get better. For things to improve, you have to improve. When you grow, everything in your life grows with you.”

Change starts by acquiring new information and different experiences.

Look at the books on your shelf or in your Kindle. Are you reading the same types of books you usually read? How about exposing yourself to some new ideas?

Look at your weekend calendar. Are you going to the same places and doing the same things? How about trying something different?

Look at the people in your life. The odds are you share many of the same opinions and beliefs. How about making some new friends?

Change can be difficult. Painful, even. But you don’t have to take a giant leap and hope for the best, you can ease into it by first changing your perspective. As Dr. Wayne Dyer put it, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

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It’s not just the money

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You’re looking at two possible new clients. Client A doesn’t have a lot of work for you but you like him and the work. You think his business will grow and that this will lead to more work for you down the road.

Client B has lots of work for you right now. The work is dry and unfulfilling. Plus, the client is an asshat and you’re convinced he’ll be a thorn in your side.

You want the money offered by Client B but if you take him, you won’t have time for Client A. How do you decide what to do?

You consider all of the factors, weigh the pros and cons, and seek advice from people you respect. Then, you get very still and listen to what your gut tells you.

Because your gut is nearly always right.

There I go again, advising big-brained, logic-oriented professionals to get all woo-woo with their feelings. But in the end, that’s what we all must do when we’re faced with a dilemma or we have a big decision to make.

When logic told me not to lease a much bigger office because I didn’t have the income to justify it, I went with my heart, not my head, and in a few months, I was earning enough to not only handle the rent but to hire more staff to fill the new office.

The same thing happened when I switched from a general practice to a specialty practice and turned away business that didn’t fit. I was scared to death, but within a few months, I had plenty of business.

Even when I made mistakes and had to change direction, things eventually worked out, often better than the original plan would have provided.

I once closed my office to pursue a business venture but the business failed. Two years later, I re-opened my law practice and started over from scratch. It was incredibly difficult but it eventually led me to start two new businesses which helped me earn more than I ever did in my practice.

I can point to other situations where logic said “no” but my gut said “go for it” and everything worked out. If you think about your past, I’m sure you can do the same.

I’m not suggesting you ignore reality or dispense with logic. Consider your current situation, your responsibilities, your strengths, and all of the possible outcomes. Consider them, but don’t depend on them. Ask your gut what it has to say. You might be very glad you did.

How to make sure your clients know how to refer

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What are you willing to do to be successful?

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You want to build a successful law practice. You want to make money, help people, and do things that matter. The question is, how bad do you want it?

Are you going through the motions in your work, waiting to see how things turn out? That’s not much, is it?

Are you working as hard as you can, doing your absolute best to achieve the success you desire? That’s good, but what if your “best” isn’t good enough?

Or, are you “all in,” willing to do “whatever it takes” (legally, ethically) to reach the summit? That’s what some lawyers are willing to do. Are you?

Your knowledge, experience, talent, and effort are important. So is a burning desire. But, as Vince Lombardi said, “Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of commitment.”

Are you committed? Are willing to do whatever it takes? If not, why not, and is there another career path that might be better for you?

A successful practice requires successful marketing plan

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How to make your work less boring

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When we were kids, every day was an adventure. We had fun doing things we saw on TV, read about in books, or could conjure up in our imaginations. One thing we never imagined, however, was doing the same thing for the rest of our lives.

And then we went to law school.

We settled into a career that demands focus. We do the same things every day, getting better at our jobs, but for many lawyers, that job eventually becomes boring.

If you find yourself bored with your work, here are three things you can do:

Delegate the boring parts

Some parts of the job are more interesting than others. By getting others to do most of the routine, boring work, you’ll free yourself up to do the more stimulating and challenging work.

Work less/do other things

Delegating and outsourcing will free up time. You can free up even more time by using strategies and tools that streamline your workflow and make more efficient.

You can use some of the time you free up to pursue outside interests: hobbies, a side business, charitable work, or anything else that excites you.

Your work may still be boring but you’ll have enough other things going on in your life to keep you stimulated and fulfilled.

Find fulfillment in the work itself

Ultimately, the best way to avoid boredom is to find fulfillment in the work itself. One of the best ways to do that is to continually take your practice into new markets where you will learn new things and meet new people.

In addition, challenge yourself to continually acquire new skills and improve your existing ones.

Finally, make sure you continually set new goals that force you to stretch and grow.

Not only are these strategies good for business, you will never be bored because every day will be a new adventure.

One of the best ways to earn more and work less is to get more referrals

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Is too much positive thinking bad for you?

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The Law of Attraction posits that “like attracts like” and that we attract what we think about. Think about the outcomes you desire, they say, because that’s what you will attract or create.

Research confirms that our subconscious mind does in fact cause us to act in a way that is consistent with our thoughts, whether those thoughts are about what we observe (our current reality) or what we imagine (our desired outcome).

But some psychologists warn that too much positive thinking can make you complacent. According to one researcher, “Positive thinking fools our minds into perceiving that we’ve already attained our goal, slackening our readiness to pursue it.”

Is that true? If we imagine things the way we want them to be are we are less likely to take action towards their achievement?

I’m going to go with “no”.

I know that when I think about what I want, I feel good. Research confirms that positive thinking can relax you and lower your blood pressure and that’s a good thing.

I also know that I’m not a fool. I know the difference between imagining a positive outcome and believing that it has already been achieved, even if my subconscious mind does not. Thinking about what I want makes me more likely to take action, not less, and to do so with clarity, deliberation, and positive expectation.

As I imagine things the way I want them to be, I spend more time thinking about them. I’m more likely to notice things around me that I can use to pursue my objective. My positive thoughts invoke my instincts which lead me to make better decisions and take the right actions.

I also know that when I think about what I don’t want, whether that’s based on my observation of “what is” or my imagining what might happen, all I want to do is change the subject. If a thought feels bad, why continue to think it?

If your current reality is negative, don’t dwell on it. Staring at the problem is unlikely you to lead you to the solution.

But don’t ignore a negative reality. Peak at it, because knowing what you don’t want can help you to know what you do want.

Once you know what you want, think about it a lot, imagine it in all its glory, enjoy the feeling, and then do what your inner self guides you to do.

That’s what I do. How about you?

I built my practice with referrals. You can, too

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What are you afraid of?

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In a recent post, Seth Godin wrote about why we tend to do what’s urgent instead of what’s important:

The reason we go for urgent is that it makes us feel competent. We’re good at it. We didn’t used to be, but we are now.

Important, on the other hand, is fraught with fear, with uncertainty and with the risk of failure.

He’s right, of course. We spend our time putting our fires, running errands, and dealing with deadlines, all necessary but not at the expense of our most cherished plans and projects.

We’ve gotten good at dealing with urgent matters. It’s how we live most of our days. And because we’re good at it, or used to it, we seem to go out of our way to find them, even going so far as to create them by conveniently forgetting something or waiting until the last minute to start.

Because we fear doing what’s important (and failing at it), we make sure we don’t have enough time to do them. Our dreams are thus banished to the land of “one day”. Years later, we realize that we’ve run out of time.

Instead of hiding from our fears, however, we should embrace them. They’re telling us what’s important. We need to heed their message. We need to do the very things we fear.

Mark Twain said, “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.” He might have added that it is also how we give birth to our biggest dreams.

Get more clients and increase your income by following this formula

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Inspiration is its own reward

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I’m a “how to” kinda guy. When I read a book or article, watch a video or listen to a training, I’m looking for information I can use to improve my business or personal life.

I want to know what to do and how to do it. The steps, the tips, the details. I take notes and file them (in Evernote) for future reference.

I’m not overly demanding. Even one good takeaway will satisfy me and justify the time spent. But when I’m done, if I haven’t taken any notes, I’m usually disappointed.

But not always.

Last night I listened to an interview with someone who wrote and published 15 books in the last few years, despite the fact that English is not his native language and he is anything but fluent.

In fact, his wife repeatedly tried to steer him away from writing, ostensibly trying to spare him from humiliation, even going so far as to tell him that he was a terrible writer.

He persisted because he was unhappy with his tech job and had always dreamed of being a writer. He was interviewed because his books have been favorably reviewed and sell well, allowing him to turn the page on one chapter in his life and start a new one.

He credits a good editor, and a steady diet of personal development books, which helped him to improve his self-image and develop the confidence to keep going.

When the interview was done, I realized that I hadn’t taken a single note. No tips, no how to’s to file away.

But I didn’t feel cheated. His story put a smile on my face. It was a reminder that we can overcome our limitations and achieve our dreams.

His story was the takeaway.

In our quest to improve our knowledge and skills, we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss pure inspiration. A story that makes you feel good or that reminds you that the struggle is difficult but worth it provides its own value.

And that’s something we can all put in our notes.

I use Evernote for everything

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Still crazy after all these years

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It’s difficult being intelligent and having opinions about important things. You see evil people with terrible ideas and you want to vanquish them. You see stupid people with power and you want to cry.

If you say anything, those people point an ugly finger at you and convict you of the same offenses of which they are guilty.

It’ll drive you crazy if you let it.

Don’t let it.

Don’t pick fights you can’t win. Don’t take on everyone or every issue. In fact, unless your work or the safety of your family demands it, your default response should be to keep quiet and walk away.

Does that mean putting your head in the sand and ignoring most of the noise? Yes. That’s exactly what it means.

Unless you were hired for the job, don’t waste social capital, don’t risk losing business. Let those who were hired to fix the problem do their job. Support them, but don’t make yourself a spokesperson.

You can’t fix stupid. Evil has always existed and always will. Yes, there will be times when good conscious demands that you speak out or take action. To fight with every ounce of your strength.

But those times are rare.

You have to get good at compartmentalizing. Put things in a lock box in your brain and don’t open that box. Train yourself to smile and change the subject.

It’s okay to compare notes with your like-minded spouse or best friend; with everyone else, just don’t go there.

That goes double for social media.

Keep busy with work. Focus on building, not tearing down, on love not hate. And have faith that everything will eventually be okay. Because it surely will.

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Once is not enough

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I read a lot. I know you do, too. I take courses, watch videos, and learn as much as I can about subjects that interest me or that I can use in my work.

Some of the content I consume is excellent. Some is adequate. (If I get one idea from a book or course, I consider it worthwhile since one idea could be worth a small fortune.) Much of what I read, however, is duplicative, derivative or otherwise less than stellar.

When I read something good, especially if it seminal, I do my best to read it again.

I suggest you do the same.

Re-reading or re-watching a high-quality book or course will often be far more valuable to you than reading or watching something new. You have to keep up with what’s new, but not at the expense of something of proven value.

I’ve been known to read high-quality material again and again and I almost always get value out of it. Even if I’ve taken copious notes the first time, there are always points or nuances I’ve missed.

The first time through the material, I might have been thinking about the previous point being made, or taking notes, or been distracted with other things on my mind. This is especially true of a video or live course where the information comes at you quickly. The next time through the material, my mind is in a different place and I routinely see things I didn’t see (or understand) before.

In addition, no matter how much I gleaned on the first read or listen, I confess I often don’t “know” the information until I’ve actually used it.

When you go through one of my courses and learn how to talk to a client about referrals, for example, it’s theoretical. It may make sense to you, you may be able to see yourself doing it, but until you actually do it yourself, it remains abstract and, perhaps, a bit out of focus.

Once you have used an idea you have learned, when you come back to the source material, you understand what you read on a deeper and more personal level. You see it more clearly because of the context of having done it.

Of course, repetition is the mother of all learning, so even if you’ve consumed information several times, consuming it again, especially after the passage of time, will do wonders to reinforce your knowledge and understanding.

When you find a book or course that resonates with you, own it. Digest it, think about it, use it, and come back to it again and again.

How to talk to clients about referrals

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