You are amazing

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You’re having a bad day (or week). You don’t want to listen to one more problem or complaint from a client who doesn’t appreciate all you do for them.

Yeah, it goes with the job, but sometimes. . .

And then, you get an email from a client thanking you and praising you. Or you get a review that tells the world how great you are. Or a client fills out your survey and gives you top marks and smiley faces in all categories.

It makes your day. And reminds you why you do what you do.

We all get these. Letters from clients, from business contacts thanking us for a referral, from meeting holders and bloggers thanking us for our great presentation, interview, or article.

Save these. Put them in a file or add a tag or label so you can quickly find them.

Don’t forget the kind words you receive in person or over the phone. You might get one today. When you do, send yourself an email, recount what they said, and add it to your file.

Call it your “praise” folder or “kudos” file. And when you’re having a bad day, think nobody cares, or start questioning your choice of career, re-read some of these letters and feel better.

You are appreciated. People do recognize your abilities and hard work. You have proof.

And, if you want to, you can use some of that proof in your marketing.

Testimonials and positive reviews aren’t just good for what ails ya. They’re also good for prospective clients who want to know if you’re good at your job.

Good? You’re amazing. And you can prove it.

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Are you sitting on a nail?

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There’s a dog on the porch and he’s sitting on a nail. It’s painful, but he doesn’t move. He likes his spot on the porch and the pain isn’t that bad. It’s more annoying than anything else. And he’s used to it. And thinks it’s too much effort to get up and find another spot.

So he stays put.

Old joke but reality for many people.

Sometimes, there’s something going on in our life that’s painful, but not painful enough to do anything about it.

I’ve been there. I’m sure you have, too. You might be their right now. A problem, a situation, an unfulfilled dream. We might not like our current situation, but we put up with it because it’s not that bad.

And we don’t. Until we’re in enough pain.

One day, we wake up and admit to ourselves that this can’t continue. We’re fed up and finally going to do something.

That day even has a name. It’s called our “day of disgust.”

I had that day a long time ago, early in my practice. I was in pain, unhappy with my situation, and myself, disgusted actually, and that disgust lit a fuse under me and I finally took action.

Don’t fear a day of disgust. Welcome it. It’s a day of clarity and a day of change. The first step towards a better future.

You might wake up and say to yourself, “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”. And you don’t.

Unfortunately, for many people, things have to get worse before they have their day of disgust. A lot worse. They have a nail in their butt, but it’s not that bad.

But nobody has to wait until things get worse. They can decide to change any day of the week.

If things aren’t where you want them right now, why not make today that day?

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Would you like some paper to go with that pen?

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You have something you want but you’re not doing anything to get it.

You’re not ready. You’re busy with other things. You need to do more research.

Maybe someday. . .

Or maybe right now.

If you have a goal or a dream or something you want, don’t wait until everything is just right. Do something. Take the first step.

Even if it’s tiny.

I’ll tell you why.

Yes, clearly you can’t accomplish a goal without taking the first step, but why now? Why take action before you’re ready?

Because when you do, your brain sees that “this” is something you want and goes to work to help you get it.

It gives you ideas and methods and tells you things you need to know.

Your brain sees that you did something, believes you want something, and helps you take the next step to get it.

It works like Amazon does when you buy something. It might only be a pen, but the algorithm sees this and starts sending you ads for paper.

Your subconscious mind does the same thing, but is much more powerful because it knows everything about you, not just what you recently bought (or put in your cart).

What’s your goal? What do you want to do ‘someday’?

Ask your brain to help you get it by taking that first tiny step.

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Tricking your brain for fun and profit

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We’re all heard the expression, ‘Act as if’. Act as though you have what you want and you’ll be more likely to get it. It’s the same concept behind ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’.

Pretend you can and soon you will be able to. Or something like that.

It works because when your brain believes you have something it finds ways to help you get it.

No, it’s usually not that simple. But I’ll tell you something that is.

Not only is it simple, it works instantly.

Yes, instantly.

What is this magic elixir?

It’s a simple way to feel better. Happier. More confident.

Who doesn’t want that?

As a bonus, it makes the people around you feel better, too.

And there’s science to back it up.

According to a recent study, researchers confirmed that smiling positively affects mood.

Even a fake smile.

Smiling ‘tricks’ your brain into thinking you’re happy. And thus increase levels of hormones like dopamine and serotonin, which make you even happier.

What’s that? You know all this? You’ve heard it many times before?

Me too. But are we doing it? I mean right now, are we smiling?

A few minutes ago I wasn’t. But I am now. And you know what? It works.

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I like pain. It feels so good when it stops.

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So, how was your week?

Mine started with back spasms that lasted two days and nights without stopping. That was fun.

I had website problems and spent a very long time writing to and talking to tech support who took forever to get back to me and, sadly, had nothing helpful to tell me.

Next up, equipment failure. Specifically, a modem that wasn’t modulating or demodulating properly but was working enough that I didn’t know it.

And, to top it all off, our power went out and stayed out for nearly an entire day, only to go out again for several hours two days later. No power, no air conditioning.

But all is back to normal. I’m a happy camper.

My back is fine, thank you.

A new modem works crazy fast. Believe it or not, the old one was causing the website issue, but now, everything is steady as she goes.

The power is on, but we just ordered a couple of power bricks for our phones, just in case.

A bad week, yes, but not so bad when you compare it to what some folks are going through, and we’re grateful for that.

I finished the week by finding a shiny new task management app to play with and had fun all weekend. I was getting bored with my previous set up and this might be just what the doctor ordered.

So, if you have a bad week or a rough time recently, remind yourself that problems usually get resolved and that bad times make the good times that much better. And they will get better.

If you’re having trouble believing that right now, go find a new app to play with. It might not solve your problems, but it couldn’t hurt.

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Playing hooky

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Fun times. Skipping school, going to the movies, eating junk food, goofing off—with nobody around to tell you what to do.

Remember?

What? You never did that? You should have. Everyone should do it once in a while, even big kids like us.

Hey, how about tomorrow? Take the day off and do something non-billable.

I know, you’re busy. Do it anyway. It’s good for you.

The work will be there when you come back. If it won’t, because you don’t have enough work right now, then you really need to play hooky, but instead of going to the movies, write your own movie—a visionary tale of your future.

What do you want that future to look like?

This is your movie. You are the writer, producer, director, and star. Write the movie of your future the way you want it to be.

Don’t hold back. This is a fantasy, not a drama, and you can be, do, or have anything.

Set your movie 5 years from today. Are you still practicing or have you moved on to something else?

Where do you work? What are your hours? Who do you work with, or for? Do you have people working for you? How many? What do they do?

Do you do client work? Handle cases? What type? How big? How many? Or do you do corporate work? For what kinds of clients?

Speaking of clients, how do you get new ones? What marketing strategies do you use? How much revenue do you produce? How much do you net?

What does a typical day look like? What time do you start work? How many appointments do you have? What do you do all day?

Do you do all the legal work? Some of it? None of it?

Do you spend your day writing? Seeing clients? Negotiating deals? Supervising your team?

In this movie, anything is possible. Anything. No matter what your current situation, level of experience, resources, or lack thereof. Pretend you have a magic wand and when you wave it, your dream comes true.

If you’re a little too linear in your thinking and find it difficult to imagine your ideal, think about someone who has what you want and use their life as a model for your own.

Okay, you have a picture. How does that feel?

If it feels good, you’re doing it right. If you have doubts or fears or any negative feelings at all, something’s not right. Get out your magic wand and make it right.

Okay, yes, there is a point to this exercise. Actually, two points.

The first is to help you decide what you want, something we don’t always allow ourselves to do. We usually let our current reality tell us what’s possible, but that’s what is, not what could be..

If you’re happy with all aspects of your current reality, great. But if you want something different, let your imagination tell you what that is.

Which leads to the second point to doing this exercise—to help you create a plan of action. A list of what you need to learn, acquire, change, or do.

A mighty list, wouldn’t you say? Worth taking the day off to create.

Nicely done. Now, choose something from your list and get to work.

How to grow bigger, faster

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It might get worse, but then it will get better

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No, I’m not talking about the economy or anything political, but that will get better, too. Right now, I’m talking about your practice or business.

If you’re going through a tough time, hang in there. It will get better. It will get better even if you’re not having a tough time.

It will get better because you will get better. You will improve your skills, habits, and workflows, and get more experience. You will meet someone who advises you or inspires you or pick up a couple of new clients or cases that lead to you many more.

You might do something big that changes everything. For me, early in my career, my decision to specialize was one of those things. You might start a new practice area or get rid of one that isn’t right for you. You might cut your overhead and use the savings to do something you’ve never done before. Or you might find a new niche, commit to it, and dominate it.

You might take on a new partner who fills a gap in your practice, or get rid of one who has been holding you back. You might hire more help and free up three hours of your day.

It might be a crisis that does it. Illness, injury, addiction, divorce, or a major financial blow. Something that hits you in the gut and forces you to wake up and smell the coffee.

You might even decide to change your career and take your life in a completely new direction.

I don’t know what it will be for you, but I know it will happen. Things will get better.

How do I know?

I know and believe this because this is what I must believe, and so must you. To believe otherwise, to lose hope, is not why we were put here.

It’s also a major bummer.

So do yourself a favor and start believing in a better future. Because it awaits you, and all of us who believe it does.

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Why do you do what you do?

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You’re building your career. Putting in the hours, doing the work, learning and creating and fighting the good fight.

Why do you do it?

Please don’t say “money”. Sure, money is important but only insofar as it allows you to do something you couldn’t do, or do as well, without it.

You want to earn a certain amount so that. . . (fill in the blank with something important).

For some, money means independence. No longer having to answer to someone who doesn’t appreciate what they do. For others, money means being able to move to a safer neighborhood to raise their kids. Some want to take care of aging or ill parents. Some want to help their church. Some want to change the world.

The money is a means to an end, and it’s important to know that end because that’s what drives you.

We all tend to focus on “how” but “why” is much more important.

You can learn everything there is to learn about how to be a good lawyer, how to bring in more clients, or how to increase your income. But if your “why” isn’t strong enough. . . you might not use what you learn.

It’s all about your “why”.

When your kid needs life-saving surgery and your insurance doesn’t cover it, you get up early, work late, get out of your comfort zone, and never make excuses. You’ll do whatever it takes to pay for that surgery.

You probably won’t if you just want a nicer car or a bigger house.

Be honest. Where are you right now, career-wise? Are you hitting your goals? Are you doing the activities you said you would do when you created those goals?

If you’re not, it’s probably not because you don’t know “how”. It’s because you don’t have a strong enough “why”.

So I’ll ask you again, why do you do what you do?

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Burned out and loving it

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You’ve got way too much to do and you’re overwhelmed. You’re stressed out, perpetually tired, making mistakes, and alienating clients or staff, or you’re bored out of your mind and wondering why you’re still doing this.

It’s called a sign. A signal that something’s not right and you need to do something about it.

The good news is that when you do, there’s a very good chance you will come out the other end much better off. Productive, happy, centered, and far more successful.

So, when you get that signal, what should you do?

I don’t know. But you do. Or rather, your body and mind do and they will guide you. But whatever it is they want you to do, don’t do immediately, reflexively, impulsively.

Don’t be rash.

Write it down and see what you think and how you feel about it. Talk to people who care about you, or a pastor or therapist. Tell them what’s going on with you and let them help you work through it.

And then explore your options.

At various times of my career, most of the following have helped me get unstuck and go on to bigger and better things, and I’ll bet they can help you do the same:

  1. Exercise, get more sleep, eat better, take some time off; you will feel better and be able to think more clearly and that might be all you need to reset.
  2. Delegate more. If you’re like most lawyers, you do too much yourself. Give more work to others so you can focus on what you do best and enjoy.
  3. Get help. Hire a business coach to help you sort things out, focus on what’s important, let go of what isn’t, and hold you accountable. Or team up with another professional to share ideas, progress, encouragement, and accountability.
  4. Get a hobby. Or a girlfriend. Or a side business. Something else you can focus on that makes you happy and gives you something to look forward to.
  5. Follow the plan. After you get some rest, sort out your goals and your process, developed some new habits or jettisoned some bad ones, get back to work. Action is almost always the cure for what ails you.

But if nothing you do seems to work despite your best efforts, start looking for the next chapter in your life. I did that, too, and I’m very glad I did.

If you need someone to talk to, let me know

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How to avoid feeling unprofessional

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Does marketing ever make you feel less than professional? Do you ever tone down your message or convey it less often because you don’t want to appear pushy or needy?

Why don’t you stop?

Stop writing articles and doing presentations. Stop blogging, networking, and advertising. Stop sending your clients anything other than what’s related to their case.

Stop marketing. And see where that gets you.

Or. . .

Continue doing what you’re doing, but change your approach.

And by approach, I mean your attitude. How you feel about what you’re doing.

Because if you feel better about it, you’ll do it more easily and more often and reap the benefits thereof.

How do you do this?

You reframe your marketing to see it for what it really is: another way to help people.

Do you truly believe you can help people? Not just with your services, but with what you show them and tell them even before they hire you?

Do you believe that providing them with information about their situation and the solutions and options that are available to them can comfort them and give them direction? Help them make better decisions, minimize their damages and pain, avoid additional problems, and otherwise make their life better?

Good. Now think about what prospective clients are going through just before they contact you and hire you.

Have you ever had a problem and gone online to see what you can do to fix it, or to find someone who can help you?

When you found the information or the person, did you feel better about your problem?

Ah, so you do understand how your prospective clients feel. You know what they’ve been going through.

Okay, then. Instead of framing marketing as self-promotion and distasteful to the extreme, think about it from the prospective client’s point of view.

Think:

People want to hear from me about this; they’re hurting and looking for answers. They don’t know what to do or where to turn and I’m doing them a lot of good by sharing some of my knowledge and wisdom and helping to guide them from where they are to where they want (and need) to be.

And I feel good about that.

You’re not a burden, you’re a welcome guest in their inbox. Instead of holding back on what you might give them, give them more.

That’s reframing. That’s how you see your marketing as a way to help people.

Is it okay if that leads to more business for you?

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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