New Year’s resolutions are a ‘no go’ zone for me


A long time ago, I wrote New Year’s resolutions.

Not anymore.

Because they focus on the negative.

Things we need to fix. Defects in our character, poor habits, problems with what we do (or don’t do).

If we resolve to exercise more, for example, we tend to focus on overweight, out of shape, lacking in energy, and so on.

Resolutions call attention to our negative aspects and when we dwell on them, we attract more of the same.

Because we get what we think about.

So, instead of resolving to fix something or do better at something or stop doing something that doesn’t serve me, instead of focusing on what’s wrong, I focus on what’s right.

I write a list of positive aspects, things I appreciate about my life.

You might want to do the same.

Write down what you like about being an attorney. About your practice, your partners, your employees, your colleagues, and your clients.

Write down what’s working well for you in marketing your practice. Write down what you did well with a particular case or for a particular client.

Write down what you like about your personal life–your family, friends, community, hobbies, interests and your spiritual life.

Write about books or movies you enjoyed, apps you love, your favorite restaurants, investments that have done well, projects you’re looking forward to starting or completing.

Write about things that make you happy. Things that make you smile or laugh out loud. Things that make you proud.

When you focus on the things you appreciate, the positive aspects of your life, you get more of the same.

No resolutions necessary.

On my list of things to appreciate: you.

Thank you for your patronage, your support, your ideas, your comments and kind words–they mean a lot to me.

I look forward to an exciting, prosperous, and productive new year.

Join me?


Lawyers are big babies


Lawyers are cautious creatures, as they should be, but their cautious nature often prevents them from reaching their potential.

We see it all the time.

We see lawyers emulate their competition because it seems like the smart and safe approach, but you can’t stand out from the crowd when you are a part of it.

We see lawyers majoring in minor things, making incremental improvements in what they already do instead of trying big ideas that might help them achieve next-level growth.

We see lawyers settle for low hanging fruit, targeting average clients and charging average fees, instead of reaching for the sweetest fruit that’s a little bit out of reach.

We see lawyers stifling their productivity by riding the wave of perfectionism, not realizing that done is better than perfect.

We see lawyers working hard and staying busy, because that’s what’s expected of them, instead of looking for ways to achieve exceptional results with less effort.

It’s fear. Fear of failure, fear of being different, even fear of success.

Are you guilty of any of this?

You can’t change overnight but you can change. You can adopt a new mindset, one that values being different and the lessons taught by failure.

A mindset that says success doesn’t depend on the elimination of all risk but on the intelligent management of it.

A mindset that focuses on what you want instead of what you think you’re supposed to do.

Fear can be tamed. Optimism can be learned. Success is available to all.

Even lawyers.

If you’re ready to get to the next level, this is how you get there


Life is tough and then you die?


All our lives we’ve been taught to work hard, face our fears and fight for what we want. We’ve been told that nothing good comes easily.

Frederick Douglass said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Napoleon Hill said, “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle”. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Every step. . .requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle”.

In a recent piece, even Leo Babauta at Zen Habits advocates that we “move towards what we resist”.

“Find the thing in your business or personal life that you know would be powerful for you, but that you’re resisting doing. Move toward that,” he said.

I’m confused. I thought Zen was about letting go of struggle and resistance.

I’m also confused about the notion that we should ignore what our gut is telling us. It’s there for a reason, isn’t it?

Short term, we can “feel the fear and do it anyway”. We can make the call, review the document, or work on the project for an hour, even when we really don’t want to.

But long term and big picture–your career, life decisions, relationships–shouldn’t we listen to that little voice in our head? It might be telling us we’re headed in the wrong direction.

How about a compromise?

Instead of ignoring our gut and pushing forward in the face of fear, or listening to our gut and doing nothing we fear, how about looking for a way around what we fear, a way to get where we want to go and “enjoy the journey”.

I vote for that.

Because the idea that our entire existence here is meant to be hardship and struggle doesn’t work for me.

And if we can find a way to make things easy, or at least easier, why wouldn’t we?


Marketing is like riding the bus


Marketing is very forgiving. If you miss something or mess up something, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make it right.

If you miss your bus, another one will be along soon.

You wrote an article or post that didn’t bring good results? Write another.

You went to a networking event and didn’t connect with anyone? Go again or try a different event.

Your ad didn’t pull? Your presentation didn’t score any appointments? You met with a prospective client and they didn’t sign up?

Don’t worry. Keep going. And don’t dwell on things that go wrong.

When I was starting my practice I tried something and lost a bunch of money I couldn’t afford to lose. A friend reminded me that I was doing well overall, losses are part of business and I shouldn’t focus on them.

He was right.

Think about the long term and the big picture, not the bumps in the road.

Keep publishing, keep mailing, keep trying new ideas, and you’ll get where you want to go. Because there’s always another bus coming.

Want a simple marketing plan? This will help


Had enough?


Maybe you feel like you can’t do any more than you’re already doing.

You’ve given it everything you’ve got and you have no more to give.

The odds are you can do more. A lot more.

The Navy SEALs have something they call ‘the 40% rule’. It says that when you’ve hit the wall and are physically or mentally exhausted and are ready to quit, you’ve really only reached 40% of your true capacity.

They teach recruits that when they feel the urge to quit, to see it as a signal that they’ve got a lot more in them and they just need to push past that point.

If they do, they’ll find they have a lot more gas in their tank.

There’s been some research to validate the science behind this. But I have to wonder how much of this is our minds.

In the film, “Facing the Giants,” a football coach has his players perform something called ‘The Death Crawl’, to teach them they can do a lot more than they think.

Take 5 minutes to watch this inspiring scene.

The next time you think you don’t have any more to give, think again. Your gas tank may look empty but there’s always more in reserve.

Are you ready for your practice to take a Quantum Leap?


The day I met Doris Day


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.


What if I could?


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.


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?


I don’t wanna


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


Spinning your wheels


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


I hear my mother’s voice and smile


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.