Getting unstuck


It happens. You’re spinning your wheels or losing ground. What’s worked for you before no longer seems to. You’re bleeding money or exhausted out of your mind, scared or frustrated or angry, or all of the above.

You’re stuck and don’t know what to do about it.

The answer is to do something. Change something. Try something and keep trying until you get your mojo back.

Because you can. Nothing has to stay the same. Trust me. I’ve been there. And lived to tell about it.

I have some suggestions for you. To get you thinking. Maybe you’ve tried some of these already, or thought about trying them. Maybe you need to hear them again before you’re willing to try them, or try them again.

Quickly read through this list of strategies and note anything that catches your eye. Come back to it, meditate or journal on it, or talk to someone about it.

And then try it.

  • Fix a health issue. You can’t move forward if you’re not feeling well or don’t have enough energy. Maybe you need a new eyeglass prescription. Maybe you need to get off some meds. Maybe you have an addiction you need to free yourself from. Maybe you need to eat better or sleep better.
  • Fix a relationship issue with your spouse, child, law partner, employee, or friend.
  • Change your marketing. Try a new strategy, eliminate something, expand something. Learn more, get help, change your process. Your troubles might all go away when you’re able to get some new clients or better clients.
  • Hire someone: an office manager, a virtual assistant, a business coach, a consultant. Maybe you need a new accountant or financial advisor. Bringing some new ideas and/or personalities into your life might be just what the doctor ordered.
  • Fire someone. Someone who is making things worse, not better.
  • Change your practice area or target market. Something more lucrative or a better fit for you.
  • Delegate more. The source of your “stuckness” might simply be that you’re trying to do too much yourself. My philosophy: Only do those things that only you can do; delegate everything else.
  • Find an accountability partner to keep you on track.
  • Cut overhead. What can you eliminate? What can you reduce? Could you renegotiate your lease or move to another building? Find cheaper alternatives for anything? Every dollar you save allows you to do something else.
  • And/or. . . spend more on things that are working.
  • Farm out unprofitable cases; refer out troublesome clients.
  • Simplify (everything).
  • Make your workspace more pleasant to work in. Change the lighting or the furniture; get rid of the clutter. Buy some plants.
  • Track your time. You might find a lot of waste.
  • Reduce your work hours. Take more breaks. Take a vacation. Get more sleep.

Okay, one more. Try a side-hustle.

No, really. A business project unrelated to your current career or practice. Not as a way to supplement or replace your income, although that might happen, mostly as a way to shake the cobwebs off of you by doing something completely different.

You’ll learn new ideas, meet new people, discover different ways to market your services or build your career.

You might also have some fun, which might be the very thing that’s missing in your life.

Yes, this means diverting time and money away from your core business. But doing something else part time might be just what you need to jumpstart your core business.

If this isn’t in the cards for you right now, at least study other business models. I learned how to market my legal services, in part, by looking at what other professionals and business owners do.

The answer to getting unstuck is to do something different. Find something and run with it.

Quantum Leap Marketing System for Attorneys


What to focus on this year


What are you grateful for right now? Yes, I know it’s been a rough year for a lot of people. But there were some good things, too.

And it is the good things that we should focus on, even if they are small and the bad things aren’t.

Think about something in your life you appreciate. Something good, however small.

Because what we focus on grows.

When you focus on things you appreciate, you get more things to appreciate. Gratitude floods the brain with dopamine. It feels good (and supplants things that aren’t), and we want to feel it again so we do things and find things that create more dopamine.

The more you express gratitude, the better you feel and the more you have to feel good about.

Gratitude is a recipe for better health. More energy, less stress, better self-esteem, better sleep, and fewer negative emotions.

The more gratitude you feel, the happier, healthier, and more successful you become.

Science says it is so.

This year, starting from this very moment, think about things you appreciate. Your big wins, surely, but also the new baby in the house. The look in your dog’s eyes when he greets you. Something kind someone said about you. Finding the last parking space. Last night’s delicious spaghetti dinner.

It could be anything. Anything that feels good when you think about it.

Remind yourself that you have a lot to be thankful for, about yourself, your work, your life, and even the world.

Open your computer or phone and appreciate how much it makes your day more productive. Keep a gratitude journal and write in it every day. Pray or meditate and say thanks every day.

Look in the mirror and think of something you like about yourself. Thank someone for something. Think about your family, your clients, or your staff, and give thanks for having them in your life.

Focus less on what’s wrong with the world and more on what’s right.

Because what you focus on grows.


Want to be more productive? Stop working so hard.


“Successful people work hard.” It says so on the internet so it must be true.

Not so fast.

Recent studies show that pushing yourself to do more work isn’t necessarily the path to success. What is?


Doing work you love, being around people you respect, taking time to relax and have fun—it turns out these are at least as important as cranking out more hours and completing more tasks.

Maybe more so.

Because when we’re happy, we are more creative and productive, without all the wear and tear that comes from putting in more hours.

“The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.” — Dr. Daniel Sgroi

Now, maybe long hours and checking off more tasks each day is precisely what makes you happy. You like being busy. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

That’s fine.

Just make sure you also take some downtime. Put it on your calendar.

Because it might make you even more productive.


Actually, hope is a strategy


We often hear that ‘hope isn’t a strategy’ and that only by taking action can we solve our problems and achieve our goals.

I cry foul.

Hope is indeed a strategy. An essential one. Because without hope, we won’t take action (why bother?) or we’ll do it without energy or enthusiasm. Just going through the motions.

Without hope, we might not even look for solutions or recognize one when it appears.

Ah, but with hope, all things are possible.

We might doubt, we might expect it to be difficult, we might be discouraged, but we keep going, looking for a solution, because our hope tells us there must be one.

Hope gives us purpose and belief that things can get better. When things don’t work out—our idea was flawed, our action ineffective, outside forces were too strong—we don’t give up. And because we don’t, we discover more options, more things we can try or try again.

Hope isn’t a strategy? Of course it is. It might not be the only strategy, but I wouldn’t want to live without it.


A better way to prioritize your day


If you’re like most people, you plan your day by first looking at your calendar. You note upcoming meetings, appearances, and appointments and see how much time you have between these to do everything else.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? The problems is, when you prioritize your time this way, you might not have enough time or energy to do other things you need to do.

I’m talking about highly leveraged tasks and projects that help you achieve your most important goals. The kinds of things that often require your complete focus but don’t get it because you’re too busy in meetings and taking care of what the day puts in front of you, and too tired afterwards.

So I want to suggest a slight change regarding how you prioritize your time. As you make your schedule, schedule your most valuable tasks first.

This is the philosophy behind “time blocking”. Scheduling blocks of time on your calendar for your most important tasks, to make sure you don’t use that time for anything else.

It’s a philosophy that says, “I’m going to schedule (and do) my most valuable tasks first, and if I have time left, I’ll schedule appointments and meetings.“

But you don’t have to time-block or work off a strict schedule to do this. You can accomplish the same thing by working from a list with your most important tasks at the top or flagged or tagged to show their priority.

Wouldn’t it be nice to show up at meetings knowing you’ve already completed your top priorities for the day?

The first step is to decide what is most important to you. What you want to be, do, or have.

The second step is to figure out what you need to do to be, do, or have that and put that on your calendar or list.

If your top priority is to bring in more clients and more income, work on that first. This will help.


Your life’s purpose


According to Wikipedia, Ikigai (ee-key-guy) is a Japanese word that roughly translates as ‘a reason for being’ or ‘life’s purpose’. It’s similar to the French term “raison d’être” or “reason for being.”

It’s also been described as the secret to a long and happy life.

According to this article, you can find your Ikigai by answering 4 questions and seeing where the answers intersect:

1. What are you good at?

2. What do you love?

3. What does the world need?

4. What can you get paid for?

I thought this was an interesting exercise for someone starting out in life or thinking about a career change, but find it also helpful for those of us who have been around a while and have found our path.

Answer these questions and see what you think.

You might find that you’re right where you need to be, doing work you love and are well paid to do, or realize there’s something else you’re good at and would enjoy even better.

You also might give yourself permission to spend more time on a project or side business that ticks all the boxes, until you can make it the next chapter in your life.


MVTs vs. MITs


You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. Or so we’re told.

We’re also told we should prioritize our day by importance, meaning tasks that contribute to meeting our responsibilities and achieving our goals.

Which is why we’re advised to put our MITs (Most Important Tasks) at the top of our list.

Generally, I agree with this and prioritize that way. But I just heard about a slightly different method.

Prioritize by value instead of importance. Put our MVTs (Most Valuable Tasks) at the top of our list instead of our MITs.

What’s the difference?

Our most important tasks are often determined by urgency—deadlines, due dates, promises we made—and focus on the short-term. They solve an immediate problem or meet an immediate desire.

These are clearly important. And valuable. But they don’t necessarily deliver the most value.

What does?

Spending time with loved ones, taking care of our mind and body, our faith, our friendships, and other things that give us joy.

Building our reputation and career. Building relationships with clients and professional contacts.

Long-term, at least, these are more valuable than the boxes we tick off day to day.

We need to prioritize and make time for them.

Tomorrow, when you prioritize your list for the day, prioritize your MITs, but not at the expense of your MVTs.


Ask this question before you decide


You’re thinking about doing something for your practice. Something that will take time and resources away from something else. You see the benefits of starting a blog or newsletter, for example, but you’re not sure if you want to commit to it.

But it could be anything. Hiring a new clerk, using a new app, moving your office, offering a new service, or reducing your work hours.

Whatever it is, before you decide, ask yourself, What’s the hidden benefit?

You know the primary benefit. If you start a blog or newsletter, you’ll be able to bring in more clients. The hidden benefit is that it will make you a better writer, and a faster writer, which can help you in all aspects of your marketing and legal work.

Maybe you’re thinking about recording a podcast or videos. The benefit is that you will be able to connect with your audience more deeply because they’re not just hearing your words, they’re hearing your voice.

The hidden benefit is that you will improve your oral presentation skills, making you better from the stage, in interviews, and in the courtroom.

Another example.

You’re thinking about rejecting a small case. The benefit is that you won’t have to invest valuable time doing something with a small payoff.

The hidden benefit might be that you will learn about a new industry or market, or meet other professionals in that market, leading to a lot of bigger cases and clients.

Okay, one more.

You’re thinking about sharing my website and newsletter with other lawyers. The benefit is that you’ll strengthen your relationship with them, making them more likely to share marketing ideas with you and possibly willing to send you more referrals.

The hidden benefit is that by helping them learn how to get more clients, they will have more clients they can refer.

Before you decide to do something, or not do it, always ask, “What’s the hidden benefit?”

Because the hidden benefit might turn a no into a yes or a someday into today.

How to use a newsletter to build your practice


You are amazing


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.


Are you sitting on a nail?


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?