Tiny habits — for the win

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I haven’t read BJ Fogg’s best selling book, Tiny Habits, but was intrigued by a quote from it:

“Celebrating a win–no matter how tiny–will quickly lead to more wins”.

Reading the sales page and some reviews told me the premise–that we can effect great change in our lives by making small changes to what we (repeatedly) do–our habits–and when we celebrate our “wins,” it leads to more of the same.

Ostensibly, that’s because it triggers the release of dopamine, causing us to crave more of the same.

We feel good so we repeat the behavior.

Which is, of course, what happens each time we check a task on our list as “done”.

What areas of your life would you like to improve? What are some tiny habits that will help you do that?

If you’re trying to improve your health, tiny habits might include drinking more water, walking 3 days a week, and eating smaller portions of food.

If you’re working on building your practice, your habits might be to write a blog post or newsletter article once a week, check in with 1 professional contact each week, and to smile more when you’re speaking to someone (on camera, etc.)

Okay. You’ve identified some habits you want to develop. How do you celebrate your wins?

A few ideas:

  • Chart them. Every time you do them successfully, note this on your calendar or in an app.
  • Congratulate yourself. Just say, “Well done” or “I did it again”.
  • Write about it in your journal.
  • Share your progress with your spouse or workout partner.

It might help to gamify it. “If I walk around the block 3 times per week for 90 days, I’ll treat myself to a new [toy of your choice].

What tiny habits do you want to develop? And how will you celebrate your wins?

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Is it a good idea?

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You want to try some new marketing ideas. How do you know if you’ve got a good one?

A bad idea tends to feel bad almost right from the start. You’re forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do, and feel like you’re wasting time and/or spending money you shouldn’t spend.

A good marketing idea, on the other hand, tends to have these characteristics:

  • Offers services with strong market demand, giving people what they want, not necessarily what they need.
  • Has the potential to provide significant growth or profit. If successful, it could triple your revenue over the next year or two, for example.
  • Generates its own momentum. In the beginning, you’re supplying all the energy to get the idea off the ground. Eventually, you see things starting to happen seemingly on their own. People contact you, for example.
  • Is a good fit for you–your skills, experience, niche, network, and your style. It feels right, especially compared to other things you’ve tried.

The trick is to give the idea enough time and space to prove or disprove itself. You don’t want to hang on to a bad idea too long, but you don’t want to give up on a good idea too soon.

Knowing which is which is the hard part if all you do is look at the numbers. You have to learn to trust you gut.

Good ideas often reveal themselves when you’re in the middle of doing other things. So, make sure you try lots of things, and give them enough time to show you what they’ve got.

When you’re ready to take a quantum leap in your marketing, go here

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How to choose your priorities

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Someone once said, “You can be, do, or have anything, just not everything, because there isn’t enough time.”

So, what will it be?

What’s most important to you? What are your highest values? Your biggest goals?

Yes, we’re talking about your priorities.

With so many options available, how do you choose?

The best way to do that is to look at all of your options and compare them to each other.

We don’t make decisions in a vacuum. We look at everything in the context of everything else.

At one point in your life, you could have chosen medical school or law school or some other career path. In making your choice, no doubt you looked at your other options and compared them.

You may have fallen into your practice area or areas, but at some point, you examined your other options and compared them to what you were already doing.

You have followed a similar process with other aspects of your work and personal life.

You didn’t choose your spouse randomly, did you? When you met them, you compared them to other people you had met or dated. You may have loved other people, but the odds are you loved the one you chose even more.

Prioritizing is about making choices. This instead of that, these things more than those things.

Sometimes, your priority is clear. Sometimes, you like a lot of things and have difficulty choosing.

This article suggests a way to make choosing easier. It describes an exercise for groups or teams but there’s no reason you can’t do it yourself.

The basic idea is to examine each option and compare it to another option. You may like both options but decide you prefer one “even over” the other.

For example, you might like getting clients via referrals and via search, but decide you like referred clients “even over” clients who find you via search.

Knowing your priority will inform your marketing decisions–what you do, what you don’t do, how you allocate your time and resources.

Sure, you can use both marketing methods, and others. But knowing your priorities gives your clarity and allows you to focus on doing things that matter most.

Ready to take a quantum leap in your marketing?

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Hate your law practice? Here are 7 ways to fix that

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Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to love what you do to be successful. You just can’t hate it.

If you hate what you do, every day is a burden. Not only does your work suffer, so does every other aspect of your life because our work is a big part of who we are.

If you’ve got the law practice blues, you don’t have to sit and suffer. You do have options:

(1) Increase your income

Yesterday’s post was about this very subject. No, money isn’t everything, but when you have enough of it, things tend to look a lot brighter.

When I started practicing, every month was a struggle to pay rent. I was in survival mode and really didn’t like what I was doing.

Everything changed when I finally started earning a good income and could focus on growth instead of survival.

(2) Reduce your work hours

Once I had money coming in regularly, I started looking for ways to work smarter, not harder. Eventually, I went from working 6 days a week to 3 days a week (about 5 hours per day).

I had a lot more time and energy to focus on marketing and growing my practice, and time for family and fun.

One thing I did was to document every aspect of my work process and create forms and checklists for everything. This allowed me to work more quickly and efficiently.

I also hired more help and delegated as much of the work as possible.

Other options: taking a partner, outsourcing, or associating with a firm.

(3) Change your practice areas

I started with a general practice but couldn’t keep up with everything. The day I decided to specialize and eliminate everything that wasn’t in my wheelhouse, was the day I was liberated.

I enjoyed the work I was doing and referred out everything else. Specializing attracted more clients and allowed me to get “good” in my field.

(4) Change your clients

You may like the work itself but if you don’t like your clients, “fire” them and replace them.

Choose a different target market. Re-define your ideal client. And get some people you enjoy working with. It can make a world of difference.

(5) Change your business model

Practicing law and running a law practice can be overwhelming. If you can’t keep up with everything, consider remodeling your practice.

Join a firm or merge with another firm. Hire more people or hire fewer. Go out on your own or go in-house.

There are other ways to use that sheepskin.

(6) Do something on the side

Start a side business. Invest. Write, paint, play music.

Do something you love and let your practice finance it.

When you find fulfillment after hours, you might see your practice in a more favorable light.

(7) Get out

If you’re still not happy, change your career. Start a business. Get a sales job. Write, consult, teach.

I know, you invested years building your legal career. Being a lawyer is part of your identity.

It may be hard to give that up, but if hate practicing, do yourself a favor and move on.

If you’d like to talk to someone who has done most of the above, hit me up and let’s talk.

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You’ve got to know when to fold ’em

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If you believe that success depends on working harder than everyone else, pushing through every problem, and never giving up, you’ve got a rough road ahead of you.

And I’m not sure that road has the destination you’re looking for.

The existential “do or die” attitude may work for some people some of the time, but as a way of life, “die” is probably the more likely outcome than “do”.

Because the stress can kill you. So can the overhead.

Sure, everyone likes a good fight now and then. We thrive on winning and love the thrill of going “all in”.

But not all day, every day.

When you have a losing case, you need to admit it and cut your losses.

If you’re working “eight to faint,” you need to give yourself a break, to let your body and mind recharge.

If you dread going to work every day, you need to reassess your career options and consider doing something else.

You’re not at war. The fate of nations isn’t at stake. It’s okay to surrender.

Because the game of life is a lot like poker. If you want to win long-term, you’ve got to know when to fold a bad hand.

Are you ready to take a quantum leap in the growth of your practice?

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Focusing is easier when you do this

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Focus is the operative word. Stick with what you know and are good at, and keep doing it. That’s the key to success, isn’t it?

P.T. Barnum thought so:

“Do not scatter your powers. Engage in one kind of business only, and stick to it faithfully until you succeed, or until your experience shows that you should abandon it. A constant hammering on one nail will generally drive it home at last, so that it can be clinched. When a man’s undivided attention is centered on one object, his mind will constantly be suggesting improvements of value, which would escape him if his brain was occupied by a dozen different subjects at once.”

And yet, I encourage you to try lots of marketing ideas. I often talk about other things I’ve done, when I was practicing, and today.

You can do other things, just make sure you don’t do them all at once.

Do one thing at a time and do it as completely as possible before you start something else. Do it until you know it’s a go or a no, then move onto the next idea.

That doesn’t mean you can’t start doing something new while you’re also doing other things.

You can expand your network while you’re creating more content. You can build an email list while you’re working on a new presentation. You can build a side business, write books, or start other business projects while you’re growing your practice.

But don’t start something new until what you’re doing is on solid ground.

How do you’re there? When what you’re doing doesn’t depend completely on you.

You’ve got people working for you. You’ve got systems in place that allow you to get things done quickly and efficiently. You’ve got free time in your day to explore other ideas.

I’ve heard the word focus defined as, “Follow One Course Until Successful”. When what you’re doing is successful, then you can move on to something else.

How to build your practice with email

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How to be successful when you’re not that good

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Look around you. Everywhere you look you see people earning a living, raising a family, and enjoying life. They have a job or own a business or practice, they buy cars and homes, they eat well, they travel, they have fun, and generally speaking, they’re happy.

They’re successful. And yet, most of these people aren’t doing anything spectacular. They’re average people doing average things.

How do average people become successful?

The answer is simple. They put one foot in front of the other and kept moving forward.

Consistency beats talent, luck, charisma, and hard work.

Most successful people became successful because they put in enough time.

They chose a career they liked and stuck with it. Their small, “average” efforts compounded over time.

How about you? You may not be exceptionally talented or hard working, but you can still build a successful practice and the life that goes with it.

Do the work. Stay the course. Eventually, people will notice. They’ll seek you out and tell others about you.

Now, if you ALSO have talent, or you’re willing to work hard (or smart), your odds are even better. You might get rich. You might be one of those overnight successes everyone talks about.

Keep moving. Your success is inevitable. Even if you’re not particularly good.

Marketing helps you get bigger, faster

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2 questions to help you prioritize your work

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You have legal work and admin work. You have urgent tasks and important projects. How do you figure out what to do, and what to do first?

Prioritizing your work doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need a complex formula or checklist. All you need to do is ask yourself 2 questions:

(1) “If I could only work 2 hours today, what would I do?”

Pretend you have a medical condition that only allows you to be at your desk for 2 hours a day. You have to choose what you must do and what can wait until tomorrow.

What’s urgent? What’s essential? What’s at the top of your list in terms of importance?

That’s what you should work on today.

But not before you ask yourself question no. 2. . .

(2) “If I could only work 2 hours this week, what would I do?”

This helps you to identify the tasks and projects that are likely to provide you with the most value and advance you towards your biggest goals.

This is where the majority of your time and energy should be invested this week, and also today.

Yes, you’ll have to do some juggling. You can’t fill your day with urgent tasks without taking time away from your most important work, but you can’t ignore things that have to get done today to work on your big projects.

You have to balance them. Get clear on what’s really important.

Which is what these questions help you to do.

The Quantum Leap Marketing System for Attorneys. Details here

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The first rule of productivity

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Productivity isn’t about how much you do, or how fast your do it. It’s about the quality of your work.

But it’s difficult to deliver the kind of quality your clients want and expect when your plate is overflowing.

The first rule of productivity is to eliminate most of what you could do, to free up resources to do your most valuable work.

High achievers say “no” to almost everything. You must, too. You might call this the ‘prime directive’ in the achievement universe.

Cut out most of the tasks and projects on your lists. Say no to most of the requests from others. Do less than you think you could do, so you’ll have time and energy to excel at the few things that matter most.

When you do less, you can do more of what you do best. You’ll have more time to improve your most valuable skills, develop key relationships, and work on your most promising projects.

Eliminate practice areas that don’t excite you. Let go of marginal clients and cases. Stop marketing to “everyone”.

When you do less, your days are less crowded. You may not crank out as much work or close as many cases, but you’ll earn more because the quality of your work will attract better clients and bigger cases.

Years ago, when I decided to do less, it was hard to let go. I thought I could do it gradually, but that didn’t work. What worked was doing it all at once.

I eliminated practice areas and stopped taking certain clients. For awhile, I had much less work to do.

It was frightening, but liberating. I was free to build the kind of practice I wanted. And I did, faster than I thought was possible.

My income multiplied, I had more time for other areas of my life, and I was happier.

If you want to be more productive and more successful, do less.

This will help you focus

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Ready to reinvent yourself?

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According to a 2013 Harvard study, 80% of businesses are using a business model that is at least partially obsolete. They continue to use it because that’s what they’re used to.

How about you?

Have you followed the same methods and models for building and running your practice since day one? More importantly, will you continue to do so as we come out of our caves and get back to a regular schedule?

Will it be business as usual or will you make any changes?

To some extent, change is inevitable. We live in a different world today than we did a few months ago. Clients have different expectations and priorities. We have to at least be willing to meet them halfway.

But this is more than putting hand sanitizer in your waiting room. Maybe a lot more.

It might be about letting go of some practice areas, or taking on new ones. You might target new markets, change how you go about marketing, or dramatically reduce your overhead.

You might create strategic alliances with other lawyers or firms, take on new partners, or split up and going your own way.

And you might change your fee structure and billing practices.

That doesn’t mean “going small” necessarily. It might mean “going big”. You might raise your fees and let go of small cases and low-end clients.

I don’t know what’s right for you and your practice. I just know you have to consider all of your options.

And be prepared to get out of your comfort zone.

On the other hand, you may decide not to make any significant changes. You may reinvent yourself into the same person you always were.

Which is okay, too.

Just remember that while you may look the same and offer the same services from the same office, in some respects you will be a different person.

As will we all.

Whatever you do, take your clients and their referrals with you

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