The day I met Doris Day

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Doris Day died today. She was 97 and left the world a better place.

If you remember her movies, TV show and singing career, you know. If you’re not familiar with her career, do yourself a favor and explore some of her work.

In the latter half of her life, she was active in animal rights causes. I remember her speaking about that on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

I thought about that the day I met her, walking three of her dogs.

I was in high school and my family lived in Beverly Hills. It was early on a Sunday morning, quiet and foggy, and as we drove through “the flats,” there she was.

My father pulled up beside her and spoke to her. He didn’t acknowledge that he knew who she was, he talked to her about her dogs. I think the rest of us just stared.

When you live in Beverly Hills you see a lot of celebrities. Many of them do their best to ignore you. Miss Day wasn’t like that. She was about as nice as a person could be.

This morning, when I heard the news about her passing, I remembered that story. I thought about how she’d had a full life and will be remembered fondly.

It made me think about the word legacy and what mine might be. What will I leave the world? How will I be remembered?

Something we all need to think about from time to time.

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What if I could?

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A while back I saw this post on Flakebook: “If you had to reach your five-year goals in 6 months, what would you need to do now?”

What a great question. 

We assume that five-year goals will take five years to achieve and so we plan and operate accordingly. This question forces us to think outside that damn box.

Let’s give this some context:

If you knew you only had six months to live and you wanted to earn $500,000 in (additional) cash to leave your family, what would you do?

Hold on while I put on my philosopher’s hat.

If you don’t believe you could earn an extra $500k in five years, how could you possibly believe you could earn that in six months? You need a different goal, right?

“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve,” Napoleon Hill said, the key word being “believe”. We need a goal we believe is possible.

Really?

Does this mean we can never have big goals? Do we have to settle for what we believe is possible?

That’s no fun.

Maybe the point of this exercise is to ask “impossible” questions, to see where it takes you.

Questions that force us to dig deep into the creative recesses of our minds to find ideas we never knew we had.

Questions that force us to become better observers and researchers, to discover what other people are doing that we never thought was possible for us.

Questions that force us to ask, What if I could?

What if you could double your referrals this year?

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I don’t wanna

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I don’t want to do it. I’m tired. Not feeling it. I’ve got other things to do.

Yeah, me too.

We tell ourselves we’d rather be at the movies or get a few more zzzzz’s or we pine for the good old days, but since we’re adults, we suck it up and do what we have to do.

We’ve got bills to pay and people to please. So we do it. Whether we feel like it or not.

Snap, crackle, pop, the day is over and we’re glad we didn’t give up and let our pouting inner child have their way.

What happened?

I saw this quote today that suggests an answer:

“Motivation follows action. Get started, and you’ll find your motivation follows…”

Sounds good but I don’t think it’s true.

We get started because we have bills to pay and people to please. That’s our motivation.

It’s not about the pleasure of a good day’s work. It’s all about pain.

The pain of not paying the bills and the consequences thereof outweighs the pain of doing things we don’t feel like doing.

When our inner child is having a tantrum and doesn’t want to do their homework, promising them an extra hour of TV if they finish might work, but in my experience, what works better is the threat of NO TV if they don’t.

Here’s how to get more lawyer-to-lawyer referrals

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Spinning your wheels

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Did you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere? You’re putting in time and effort but not making progress towards your goals?

Of course. We’ve all been there at some point in our life. Probably more than once.

What happened? What did you do to move forward?

Did you improve your knowledge or skills? Get some advice or help from someone with more experience? Work harder or invest more capital?

Maybe you did. Or maybe you just gave it more time and eventually figured things out.

Some would say that continuing to do the same things over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

I don’t buy it.

For one thing, the more you work–let’s say at your legal career–the more opportunities you have to “get lucky”.

To meet the one client or business connection that becomes a turning point for you. Or to win that one case that provides you with enough capital and confidence to take you to a higher level.

These things happen. Hang around long enough and they can happen for you.

But there’s something else going on.

As you continue to work, whether you see it happening or not, you continue to learn and improve your skills. Every time you do what you do you get feedback that allows you to make small changes.

Those changes might be as minuscule as using a few different words when meeting someone or changing the order in which you deliver a presentation or a closing argument.

Tiny things that don’t seem to matter. Tiny things you don’t know you’re doing.

Those tiny things combine with other tiny things, compound, and eventually change you. As you change, so do your results.

So, take some classes or get some help if you want to. Or, keep riding the painted pony and let those spinn‘ wheels spin.

Either way, you can get where you want to go.

How to get more referrals

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I hear my mother’s voice and smile

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I found this quotation today:

“My mother is a big believer in being responsible for your own happiness. She always talked about finding joy in small moments and insisted that we stop and take in the beauty of an ordinary day. When I stop the car to make my kids really see a sunset, I hear my mother’s voice and smile.”

Jennifer Garner said that. Thank you, Jennifer. It’s a good reminder to stop and smell the roses. And that’s just what I’m going to do.

It’s rained a lot here lately and there are flowers blooming everywhere. I’ve been indoors for too long. Time for an outing. Time to (literally) smell the roses. Time to spend some time with my wife and appreciate our blessings. 

The forecast is for clear skies. I’m looking forward to the sunset. 

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What’s the hardest part of getting more clients?

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I saw this question posted on a Q & A forum: “What’s the hardest part of getting fit?”

A trainer responded: “The hardest part of getting fit is doing it right now“.

He said that you build any habit by starting and the best time to do that is immediately.

Gotta say, I agree.

Waiting for the right time to start, telling yourself you need to get some other things done first, these are just excuses. Ways to procrastinate and avoid doing what you know you have to do.

If you want to get more clients, or better clients, or earn more income, or otherwise improve your bottom line, get on with it. Now.

Unless that’s not what you really want.

Maybe what you really want is to tell yourself (or someone else) that you’re “working on it”. A lot of people say they want to write a book when what they really want is to have written a book. Or they want to be able to say that they’re working on one.

Just keeping it real.

What’s on your “Later” or “Someday” lists that you should be working on right now? What do you keep moving from “Next” to “Soon”?

The hardest part of getting more clients is starting to get more clients. If that’s what you really want, I suggest you do it today.

This will help

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What’s in it for me?

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Two new studies appear to confirm something most of us have been taught from an early age (but may have doubted), that it is better to give than receive.

“Joy from giving lasts much longer than joy from getting,” the studies show.

I have a thought.

If we get more pleasure from giving than receiving, then it appears that we are hard-wired to give because we are hard-wired to seek pleasure.

The more we give to or help others, the better we feel. The better we feel, the more the recipients of our giving benefit from our giving.

The best way to help others and make the world a better place, then, is for each of us to put ourselves first.

It’s a kind of spiritual capitalism.

Merry Christmas.

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Start before you’re ready

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Endless research. Planning. Preparation. Waiting for inspiration, the killer idea, the right timing.

Enough. It’s time to do something. It’s the quickest way to find out if your idea is any good, the best way to gain feedback so you can improve it.

John Goreman said, “Success isn’t about knowing more, it’s about acting on imperfect information.”

I know, you’re afraid of failure. Wasting time, losing money, embarrassing yourself. You want to do this right, or not at all.

Hey, I go through this with just about every project. My left brain keeps reminding me of all the things that can go wrong.

I put the doubts and fears in a lockbox and get on with it.

If you don’t do that, you never find out how far you could go.

So enough with the planning. Do something. And give yourself permission to create dreck.

One thing I’ve learned: dreck can be fixed.

You can take something that’s terrible and improve it. You can even make it great. But you can’t fix something you never start.

Another thing I’ve learned is that things have a way of turning out okay. They’re usually not as bad as you feared, in fact, they’re often damn good.

Look at all of things you’ve done in your life, all the completed projects, milestones, and accomplishments.

You’ve got some, right?

You can get more.

My advice: Look at your list of ideas. Take the one that scares you most, the one that looks too big, too risky, or too expensive, and put it at the top of your list.

It’s probably the one you should start next.

Notice I said “start,” I didn’t say “do” or “complete” or “launch”.

I said start.

Take the first step and see where it takes you. If you like what you see, take another step.

One foot in front of the other until you get where you want to go.

If you get lost, you can do more research. And start again.

If getting more clients is on your list, here’s where to start

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Think (less) and grow rich

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You know that project you’ve been thinking about for the last six months? The book you said you were going to write–three years ago? That thing you keep talking about but never start?

Take some advice from someone who has been there and (not) done that: stop thinking and start doing.

Bruce Lee said, “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

Truth.

You’re smart. A good thinker. Too good for your own good. It’s time to up your game and get some stuff done.

C’mon, you know you want to.

Don’t tell me you’re not ready. That’s irrelevant. Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.

You’ve taken enough notes. Done enough research. Pondered enough possibilities. It’s time to put pen to paper, shovel to dirt, hands on the helm, and get the ship moving.

It will be exciting. A new adventure. Scary, maybe, because you don’t know where you’ll wind up.

I’ll tell you where you’ll wind up. Same place as all of us. The big sleep, that’s where. “Don’t die with your music still in you,” Wayne Dyer said.

“What if it doesn’t work?” you ask. The question is, “What if it does?”

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I feel good. I knew that I would, now

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Albert Schweitzer said: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

Actually, science says he’s right. By mapping the brain to identify dopamine production they found that pleasure results in greater productivity.

When you feel good about what you’re doing, you give it more energy. You work harder and get better results.

Are there exceptions? Sure. In the short term, you can make a lot of money doing something you detest. But it catches up with you in terms of poor health, failed relationships, and other negative consequences. So you wind up with money but you’re still not happy.

Why not start with happy and have both?

Stop looking at happiness as the end result or an added bonus and start seeing it as the pathway to success.

Most lawyers who aren’t happy suck it up and continue working until they have enough money, contacts, and ideas to retire or go with plan B.

Some make it. Some don’t.

How about this: If you don’t love what you’re doing, change something–your practice area, partner, job, or methods. Find different clients. Adopt different marketing strategies. Compartmentalize your work so can focus on the parts of your practice you enjoy and delegate or automate the rest.

Because success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.

Get more referrals so you can hire more help and let them do the things you don’t like

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