Would you like some paper to go with that pen?


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.


Monomaniac on a mission


I have a friend, a successful businessperson, who describes himself as a ‘monomaniac on a mission’. He’s focused and passionate and lets nothing distract him from his goals.

Many people say something similar, but he actually does it.

He does it by eliminating most things that aren’t ‘it’.

Other businesses, people who drain his energy or distract him, things that require too much time.

As I say, he’s focused.

But he isn’t a workaholic.

He doesn’t get up early, put in impossibly long hours, and have no free time. He does his work, makes lots of time for his family, takes vacations, watches sports, exercises, and reads.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think he was well-rounded. But he’s not. He’s a monomaniac on a mission.

He’s focused on growing his business.

And yet he works fewer hours than most people. He’s more successful than most people because he gets more out of the hours he works.

How? He knows what he wants and how to get it and he just does the work.

Over and over.

He doesn’t get creative. He keeps turning the wheel. Many people would find what he does boring, but he’s long past that. He knows what works and he keeps his eye on the prize.

He doesn’t get bogged down with decisions or trying out new ideas. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and have to spend time fixing them.

He has a huge sense of urgency and doesn’t let anything (or anyone) get in his way.

Which means he works faster than others, and make more progress in an hour than some people make in a week.

Is this what it takes to make it big in business? In the beginning, when you’re trying to learn your business, meet people, and generate momentum, I’d say it is for many people. That’s what I did when I started practicing.

But when I got to a certain level of success, I took my foot off the accelerator a bit and did some other things.

Because I was not a monomaniac on a mission.

My friend has made many millions of dollars and reached the pinnacle of success in his industry. And while he’s branched out, too, he’s still very much focused on growing his business.

Just something to think about as you plan your week. And career.


What would have to be true for that to happen?


I’ve heard versions of this question from different sources. I like it because it makes you think, not just about what you want but the prerequisites for making it so.

“What would have to be true for me to double my referrals this year,“ for example.

What conditions would have to be in place? What additional skills, knowledge, or contacts would you have to acquire? What would you have to do?

A question like this can lead you to new insights, ideas to research, and projects to get to work on.

It will also make you think about things you know but haven’t thought about or done.

You can take it deeper. If you said you would need to have more referral sources to double your referrals, you might then ask, “What would have to be true in order to get more clients and professional contacts to send me more business?“

You might get even better answers by making the question more specific: “What would have to be true in order to get 50% of my clients to send me 1 additional referral this year?”

You can use this approach for any goal. “If I wanted to work a 4-day week and continue to earn what I now earn, what would have to be true?“ for example.

You can also ask follow-up questions: “If [that] was true, what else would need to be true?“

The key to these types of questions is that they are assumptive. When you ask this way, you direct your subconscious mind to look for the answer you’ve told it is there. It will keep looking until it finds it.

Choose a subject. Phrase the question any way you like, as long as it assumes a favorable response. Write down the ideas that come to mind.

Any of these ideas might be the precise idea you need to make your goal come true.

How to get your clients to send you more referrals


What you do is more important than how you do it


I’m good at a few things. Most things I’m just average. Better than some, not as good as others. Some things, I’m bad at but do them because they have to be done (by me) and don’t take a lot of time.

How about you? Pretty much the same story?

The thing is, somewhere we got it into our heads that we should work at getting better at everything we do. But that’s not true.

Excellence in a few things is much more important. Besides those few, our core competencies, everything else takes a back seat.

But. . . having them in our back seat matters.

Let’s take our old friend marketing for example.

It may not be your thing. You may not be good at it, you have to force yourself to do it, spend too much and accomplish too little. But at least you’re doing it.

Which means you’re getting better results than the lawyer who does no marketing.

Because what you do is more important than how you do it.

How you do things speaks to your efficiency. What you do is far more important because doing it at all contributes to your effectiveness.

Want to write a book but not sure you can? “Write two crappy pages a day,“ Tim Ferriss recommends. Want to grow your practice but don’t have enough time or skills? “15 minutes a day (doing anything marketing related)” says I.

Over time, you can accomplish a lot by writing two crappy pages a day or doing anything marketing related 15 minutes daily.

Much more than you would if you didn’t.

The converse is also true. You may be a brilliant writer or consummate marketer, but if you do no writing or marketing, you can’t expect much to happen.

Because what you do, and don’t do, is more important than how you do it (or could).


The big ‘mo’


When you study the lives of massively successful people, you often notice that there was a defining moment or incident in their life that accelerated their growth.

Something happened and they got big, fast.

Not always. Many take years to come into their own. But more than a few don’t and the reason is because something allowed them to achieve momentum.

Sometimes momentum occurs because of a strategy. Sometimes a new person comes into their life—a key client, an employee, an advisor, or a source of referrals. Sometimes it’s an opportunity that opens new doors, or an influx of cash which they put to good use.

You can’t predict what it will be, when it will happen, or to what extent. In fact, these kinds of things often sneak up on you.

But momentum isn’t always a lucky occurrence. There is something you can do to create it. You can create momentum by compressing time.

Compressing time means doing more in less time. It means moving quicker than you usually do. You take less time off. Work longer. Try more things and more often.

Instead of making one or two calls, you make ten. Instead of writing one article, you write three. Instead of waiting for someone to follow up with you, you follow up with them and more than once.

You don’t wait for things to happen, you make them happen. You compress time and create momentum by hustling.

Because you’re moving faster, you might make more mistakes. You don’t always know how to do what you’re doing because you’re learning as you go. But by moving faster, even if mistakes occur, more things happen, some of which might lead to big results.

But establishing momentum is just the first step. Once you create momentum, you must sustain it by continuing to hustle. If you don’t, if you slack off, you lose momentum. You need to keep going long enough that even if things do slow down, you won’t fall too far back.

And then, once you have created and sustained momentum, if you want to make it to the big leagues, you have to advance momentum. This is where you bring in other people, more capital, better systems, and expand into other markets.

That’s how you build an empire.

You can create momentum, sustain it, and advance it, and you can start by hustling.

How to create momentum in your practice


By the inch, it’s not a cinch; by the mile, it still might take a while


Taking massive action on a project is a great way to get it started. If you’re launching a new business, for example, you’ll be able to see if your idea has legs and is worth pursuing. You might see things you hadn’t expected and be able to correct course. And if you make a lot of progress, it can give you the confidence to continue.

If you don’t, you can move on to something else.

But we don’t always have the time to take massive action, which is why some people advocate doing a little at a time.

Do something every day, they say. Eventually, you’ll reach your goal.

The problem with this is that things usually take longer than we imagine, and if we don’t see much happening, we can get discouraged or distracted by other things.

So, what’s the best approach?

Sometimes, you should run, sometimes you should walk, and sometimes, you should do both. Run like crazy to get things going and then pace yourself.

And if you’re not sure, tiptoe and see if you want to continue.

How do you decide? Consider how much you know about the subject, what resources you have available, and how much else you have on your plate.

But that’s only part of it.

The biggest factor is how you feel about the project.

Is it something you’re excited about? Can’t stop thinking about? Is it keeping you up at night or is it something that sounds good but you’re still not sure?

Trust your gut, my friend. It got you this far and it can take you the rest of the way.


Forget about it


Contrary to popular advice, you don’t need to write down all of your ideas. In fact, it might be better if you don’t.

David Allen says, “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” He says we should record our ideas in a “trusted system” so we don’t use conscious energy thinking about them, but we won’t “forget” them.

And we all do that, don’t we?

But there’s an argument that says we’re wasting our time.

The theory is, if you can’t remember an idea, it’s not the right idea for you. So instead of writing down your idea, forget about it. Turn it over to God or the universe or your subconscious mind.

If you never recall the idea, it probably wasn’t worth the grey matter it was written on.

The best ideas either stick with you or come back to you. In fact, when an idea is right, and the timing is right, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it.

As Victor Hugo put it, “Nothing else in the world… not all the armies… is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

Besides, when was the last time you checked your repository of ideas and actually used one?

It happens. But the best ideas don’t need you to find them, they find you.

You know that idea you can’t stop thinking about? Oh, you might get busy for a while and think about other things, but then suddenly, you remember it—and get excited.

Yeah, that idea. That’s the one you should run with.

Ideas come and go. But some ideas hang on. Your job is to listen. And when you can’t let go of an idea, wrap your arms around it and hold it close.

Until then, forget about it.


Thinking is working


Writers say this a lot because they think a lot. They think about what they’re working on and how to improve it and they think about new ideas they might want to use. This is their process.

So when someone accuses them of goofing off, they might take offense. They know they are working—because they’re always working, even if they’re not putting more words on the page.

Hey lawyers, why can’t we do the same? Thinking is part of our process, too.

We don’t have to always do things people recognize as productive. We don’t have to get off our duff and call someone, write something, or review something.

We can stay on our duffs and think.

We can go for a walk or a drive, take a long bath, meditate, listen to music, or go outside and get some sun on our face, and let our brain do its thing.

No guilt. No justifying. No agenda. Just thinking.

Because thinking is working.

One suggestion, though. Make sure you have something with you to record your thoughts. You’ll want to see them again, to see what you thought and note what you thought about what you thought.

Throughout his life, Jim Rohn kept a journal. He said it wasn’t a diary, just “a place to record ideas”.

If you’ve ever had trouble keeping a journal, maybe you were asking too much of it. Maybe it would be easier and more valuable to you if you thought of it as simply a place to record ideas.

Because we both know you have a lot of them.


No time for marketing


Lawyers often ask, “How do I find time to build my practice?“

Sorry, there’s no such thing as ‘finding time’. Time isn’t found or made, it just is. The question is, how will you use the time you have?

And the answer to that depends on what’s important to you.

If building your practice is important, you’ll do it. If it’s not, you won’t.

It comes down to self-respect. Believing you deserve to be successful and that you have what it takes to do that.

But I’m not telling you to do anything you don’t want to do. That’s no way to live. You can’t do things you hate and expect to succeed (or be happy). Not long term, anyway.

If you don’t like marketing and aren’t allocating time to do it (but still want to build your practice), you have two choices:

You can find one marketing strategy you enjoy and do that. Do it enough, and that may be all you need.

Or you can find a marketing strategy you don’t hate and look for ways to make it more enjoyable.

Example? Suppose you are a decent speaker or presenter. You don’t love it or hate it, but you know you don’t want to set up a YouTube channel and record videos because you don’t want to appear on camera.

You can record “voice only” videos and post those. Or do a podcast. Or have your presentations transcribed and post the text on a blog. Or do webinars. Or do in-person seminars. Or speak at business luncheons. Or do CLE.

And. . .

Since time is money, money is also time. Which means there’s another question you might ask: “Where do I find the money for marketing?”

Of course you don’t “find” money any more than you find time. You have money. Decide to invest some of it to build your practice.

If that’s important to you.

Finally, if you can’t find anything you enjoy and don’t want to write checks, you have two more options:

You can get a partner who’s good at marketing. You do what you’re good at; they bring in the clients. (I have a friend who did this and their practice is thriving).

Or you can get a job that doesn’t require any marketing. But then you’d need to market yourself to get it.


When good advice is bad advice


You get a lot of advice from people you know—friends, colleagues, family. And advice from people you don’t know via books and articles, newsletters and blogs.

You might also get advice from people you hire to provide it—consultants, coaches, and therapists.

But is all this advice good advice? Should you follow it?

It depends.

What might be good advice for one person might not be good for you. What might have been good advice at one time in your life might be irrelevant or harmful today.

As a new lawyer, hungry for clients, I was advised to do appearances and seek overflow work from other attorneys. I was told to network and hustle and do whatever I could do to get some business coming in, and to take “anything,“ so” I could get some experience and pay my bills.

“Beggars can’t be choosers,“ I was told.

And that was the right advice for me at that time. As my experience grew and I had more clients, I could afford to be more selective and I said “no” to a lot of things—cases and clients and marketing strategies that were no longer a good fit.

As business coach Ian Stanley, put it, “Becoming successful is about saying ‘yes’. Staying successful is about saying ‘no’.”

When you hear advice about how to build your practice, from me or anyone, you must put that advice in context.

Where are you in your career? What’s right for you, and what isn’t?

The same goes for opportunities—to invest, open another office, take on a partner, or anything else. Even good opportunities can become a distraction.

Take my advice on this subject. But only if it works for you.