The foundation for all abundance


Eckhart Tolle said, “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

Tolle is probably right. It might be The Law of Attraction. I can’t give you a cite, but I’m sure it’s a law somewhere.

It might be religious. Giving thanks to God is a good thing.

It might be a subconscious mind thing, where when we think about good things we instruct our mind to help us get more.

So let’s do it. Let’s acknowledge the good.

Get to a place where you won’t be disturbed, get quiet and think. Think about your life, right now, and note all of the good things. Write things down if you want. Consider the 7 areas of life:

  1. Mental/personal development
  2. Career/business
  3. Financial
  4. Family
  5. Social
  6. Physical
  7. Spiritual

Give it ten minutes. Think about the good in your life: what you have, what you’re working towards, where you’ve been, and where you are going. Note whatever comes into your mind. You don’t have to touch on all 7 areas.

If you notice a negative thought, replace it with something that’s true and feels better. So if you think, “I’m not making the kind of money I want,” replace that with: “I’m earning more than I did before,” or “I’m learning about marketing and on my way to earning more this year.”

Whatever your beliefs about the efficacy of appreciating the good in your life, you can’t deny that thinking about the good feels good. And that is it’s own reward.

I appreciate you. Namaste.


Goal setting for lawyers and other smart people


After yesterday’s post about goal setting and the value of having both “result” goals and “activity” goals, an attorney emailed me and said that when he sets results-based goals and doesn’t meet them, it is discouraging. “By establishing activity based goals, I largely control whether I meet them or not. Therefore I am much more motivated to achieve them.”


Results-based goals are inspiring, but if you continually miss them, you get to where you don’t want to set them anymore.

Before you give up on them, there are a couple of things you can do.

The first thing you can do is to break the rules about “when”. In other words, instead of saying you want to earn $20,000 this month, let go of “this month”. Focus on what you want, not when.

It’s a “law of attraction” thing. The ticking clock is a constant reminder that you don’t have what you want, and when you think about that, all you get is more of what you don’t want. You attract the “not having”.

So, set (results) goals that feel good when you think about them. What and why, but not how or when.

The second thing you can do is to change your thinking about what a goal is. Normally, a goal is a fixed target that you either hit or you don’t. Since we usually set goals that are somewhat out of reach, we get conditioned to missing them, and that quickly gets old.

The answer isn’t to set goals that are so low we always hit them. It is to set three version of the goal:

  1. The minimum (what you absolutely know you can do without much in the way of extra effort);
  2. The target (a realistic goal that will take reasonably significant effort but is not out of reach);
  3. The dream (you probably won’t reach it but it’s not impossible).

If $20,000 is your dream goal, $12,000 might be your target, and $8500 might be your minimum.

Another way to do it is to keep the goal at $20,000 but change the month for hitting it: Six months from now is your target, one year from today is your minimum, and next month is your dream version of the goal.

This way, you almost always hit your goal and are almost never discouraged.

Goals are meant to serve you, not the other way around. If setting goals isn’t working for you, change how you do it, or let it go completely. Leo Baubata, having been a strong proponent of goal setting, relinquished it completely and found that he is just as productive, if not more so.


You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone


I don’t know if Joni Mitchell’s The Big Yellow Taxi was the first song to use the lyric, but it’s the one I remember: “Don’t it always seem to go/That you don’t know what you’ve got/Till it’s gone”.

And it’s true. We don’t know how good we have it until we have it no more.

Our health is probably the best example. Most people take it for granted. You don’t realize how well off you are because you’re never sick or injured. One day, something happens. That’s when you appreciate what you had. It’s the same when a loved one dies or a relationship breaks up. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

It also works the other way. We don’t always know what we’re missing until we get it.

My new laptop arrived yesterday. The old one was slow and noisy and I figured it was on it’s way out. But I never realized how bad it was until I started using the new one. It’s almost silent. It’s quick. The screen is much brighter. What have I been doing to my eyesight? I never realized how bad the old unit was. I didn’t know what I was missing.

Another Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone. We dutifully gave thanks for the good things in our lives. We shared our appreciation with people we love and care about. And then we were done. Okay, check that off the list. Back to work. See ya next holiday.

We need to give thanks every day. For the big things and the small things. For our health and our relationships, for indoor plumbing, for our baby’s smile, and for new laptops.

And we need to stop complaining about what we don’t have.

The new computer keyboard is different. The delete key is in a different place from what I’m used to. The down arrow is smaller than I like. Some people will see these as problems and focus on them. I see them as differences and I will adjust. Some people say Windows 8 is bad. I say it’s just different and I will get used to it.

Think about what you have and be grateful. You’ll get more of it. Because we get what we think about.

Thank you for being a part of my life. We may have never spoken, but I know you are there and I appreciate you.


How to get more referrals


Every attorney wants to know how to get more referrals. We love ’em, don’t we? They are good for our egos as well as our bank accounts. No matter how many referrals we get we always want more.

So, how do you get more referrals? Mostly, by focusing on three fundamental concepts:

1. Give first

You can get referrals simply because you are good at what you do. Someone needs your help, someone else knows what you do, and the next thing you know, a new client is referred to you. It happens every day.

If you want to get even more referrals, however, you should develop the habit of giving clients more value than they expect or have paid for. Truly serve them. Smother them with attention. Thrill and delight them.

When you do, you invoke the law of reciprocity. Your clients will feel psychologically compelled to reciprocate. That means that not only will they be willing to refer clients, they will often go out of their way to look for them. They owe you. They NEED to reciprocate. And they will.

The same goes for your professional contacts. If you want their referrals, give them referrals first. And look for other ways you can help them. Provide information. Make introductions. Help them solve their problems and achieve their objectives. They too will reciprocate.

But here’s the thing. You cannot give with the expectation of return. You have to give because it is a part of who you are, not the first step in a quid pro quo exchange.

Yes, there will be clients and professional contacts who don’t reciprocate. That’s okay. The more you give, the more you will get, just not necessarily from the people to whom you give.

Call it Karma or The Law of Attraction. When you give, freely and generously, because it makes you feel good to do so, you will attract more referrals. But you will be doubly blessed because you will also experience the joy of giving.

2. Tell people what you want

Make sure your clients and professional contacts know who would be a good referral for you. Educate them about your “ideal client”.

Post articles that describe your ideal client on your website. Link to them in your emails. Print copies and put them in your “new client kit” and in your waiting room.

Be specific about the legal issues and other characteristics of your ideal clients. Describe them by occupation, industry, or background. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for your clients and contacts to recognize a good referral.

Share stories about your ideal clients. Let clients see, in their mind’s eye, what your best clients look like. Every time you share a client success story or case study, not only will people be reminded about the kinds of problems you solve, they will also be reminded to be on the lookout for people like the clients in your stories.

3. Ask for help

Many studies have shown that professionals who ask for referrals, get more referrals.

You can ask directly or indirectly.

Asking directly means speaking to a client or contact and asking, “Who do you know who. . .?” followed by a description of your ideal client. Or, describing your ideal client first and asking people to keep you in mind if they meet someone who fits that description.

Asking indirectly means having someone in your office asking those questions, or, posting that information on your website, in your emails, and in other marketing collateral.

But you don’t have to ask specifically for referrals in order to get referrals. You can ask for other kinds of help.

Ask your clients to refer people to your website, where they can get lots of information about their legal issues and available solutions. Ask them to Like or mention your page, effectively referring that page to their friends and followers. Ask them to forward your report to people they know. Or ask them to invite people to your webinar or seminar.

Ask people to help you, and they will. Especially if you have helped them first.

The Attorney Marketing Formula will help you create a profile of your ideal client. Get the details here.


Who is your favorite client?


In a previous post, I talked about how to get more clients like your best clients. I was referring to the class of clients who provide you with the most work, the most referrals, and the least amount of trouble.

Today, I want you to think about your favorite client.

Not your biggest or best client, necessarily, or the one who sends you the most referrals. I’m talking about the client you most like being around.

Identify them by name. Picture them. Think about them.

Why are they your favorite?

Is it their personality? Are they easy going? Do they make you laugh?

Knowing why someone is your favorite client will help you more easily spot people like them, if not actually attract them.

Do you remember where you met them? Networking? Who introduced you? Through an ad? In what publication? A referral? From whom?

If you were introduced to your favorite client through another client, for example, maybe you should be paying more attention to that mutual client. If you met them at a Rotary event, maybe you should spend more time at Rotary events.

But this exercise isn’t just about finding more clients like your favorite clients. It’s not just about marketing. It’s about appreciation. Counting your blessings. Feeling good about yourself.

You see, you would not have a favorite client if you didn’t attract them into your life. And you wouldn’t attract them if you didn’t have some of the same qualities that you admire in them.

Like attracts like. The things you appreciate about other people are things you appreciate about yourself.

So, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to call your favorite client and say, “I just want you to know that you are my favorite client.” Tell them what you like and appreciate about them. Go put a smile on the face of your favorite client.

And then give yourself a pat on your back for being so damn attractive.

Marketing is everything we do to get and keep good clients. Here’s where to start.


Goal setting and the law of attraction


He never said, “The Law of Attraction,” but when Earl Nightingale recorded “The Strangest Secret,” that’s what he was talking about. Throughout history, the phenomenon has been described in many ways, but they all mean the same thing: “We become (attract) what we think about.”

So if you think about money all the time, you should attract plenty of it, right? In theory. But in practice, when we think about money, we’re usually thinking about the fact that we don’t have enough, why we need it, and why it has eluded us. We’re not thinking about “more money” we’re thinking about the absence of more money and that’s exactly what we attract.

We attract what we think about. Think about wellness and you attract wellness. Think about illness (or, more properly, the absence of wellness), and you attract illness.

if this concept seems like “new age” folly to you, think about it in terms of what we know about the human brain.

Our subconscious mind cannot distinguish between reality and imagination. If you walk up to a closed door and hear the sound of a roaring lion on the other side of it, you will have a physiological response to that sound (fear, rapid heart rate, sweating, etc.) and you will hesitate to open that door. If you believe the lion is clawing his way through the door, your subconscious will inject adrenalin into your bloodstream and give you the urge to flee. It will direct more blood to your leg muscles to make that easier.

You will have the same response to the sound of the lion whether it is made by a real lion or a recording.

Your subconscious mind works to protect you and your perception of reality. Our nervous systems plays a role. In a previous post about “Why goal setting works,” I said that the Reticular Activating System (RAS) filters the stimuli around us, making us more aware of threats and opportunities.

If you think about getting more money, your subconscious, in conjunction with the RAS, helps you spot opportunities, wake up earlier, and remember to smile when you meet the right people. On the other hand, if think about your lack of money, your subconscious mind will guide you towards behavior that is consistent with that reality. You will find yourself missing opportunities, or sabotaging them.

What does this have to do with setting goals? Well, we are told that, “A goal without a deadline is just a dream,” so when we set goals, we are told to set a date for their accomplishment. The deadline starts the clock ticking and whenever we think about the goal, that ticking clock reminds us to get to work.

That sounds like the right idea, but in the context of the Law of Attraction (or it’s physiological equivalent), the impending deadline may actually cause us to attract the opposite of what we want.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say your goal is to earn an additional $50,000 in the next 12 months. If you believe that this is possible and you have the resources and plan to accomplish this, fine. But too often we set goals that are out of our reach and instead of rising to the occasion, we fail to accomplish them.

You start thinking about why your goal is difficult to achieve. You think about all of the things that could go wrong. You might think, “I don’t have enough time,” “I don’t really know what I’m doing,” or “I’m not going to be able to do this by myself.” You’re not thinking about reaching your goal, you’re thinking about not reaching your goal, and “not reaching it” is what you attract.

In setting my own goals over the years, I’ve found that “what” and “why” are more important than “how” and “when”. When I think about what I want and why I want it, it feels good. As long as I stay with that feeling, I move forward. When I think about how I’m going to accomplish my goal, or when, those good feelings often dissipate.

So, should we set our goals low enough that we’ll be assured of achieving them? No. It may feel good to accomplish them, but if the bar is too low you won’t be accomplishing much. The answer is to set goals that you really want, but not let yourself get caught up in their achievement. Today I focus more on what I want and less on how I’m going to get it. I don’t get hung up on deadlines. I trust that my subconscious mind will take me where I want to go and that I’ll get there at the right time.

I let my feelings guide me. If what I’m thinking feels good, I keep going. If it doesn’t, I change what I’m doing or I change my thoughts.

Some say this is God’s hand at work. Others stick with the physiological explanation. Some say the Law of Attraction is the answer. I don’t know how it works. I just know that when I listen to my instincts, I’m almost always guided in the right direction.

I still have goals. But I don’t let my goals get in the way of my dreams.

If your goal is to increase your income, get The Attorney Marketing Formula.


Has the “Law of Association” Been Repealed?


W. Clement Stone said, “Be careful the environment you choose, for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose, for you will become like them.”

Our parents, teachers, and spiritual leaders always cautioned us about our associations. If my parents didn’t approve of someone I was hanging around with, they didn’t hesitate to let me know.

Some say we become like the (5) people we associate with most. We are influenced by them. We adopt their habits, behaviors, and opinions.

It’s called “The Law of Association,” but perhaps the word “tendency” would be more accurate than “law”.

If you spend most of your time around people who smoke or drink or have poor eating habits, does that mean you will adopt those habits? You might. But then through your example, you might be the one who influences them to clean up their act.

If your friends are all negative people who complain all the time and see the dark side of everything, it doesn’t mean you will become a negative person. Environment is important but it’s not everything.

But while the people we associate with may not change us, the right ones can expose us to better ideas and better opportunities.

If you associate with successful professionals and business executives, for example, you can gain insights into how they think. You can study what they do. You can model their behavior and their language. By watching them and by seeking their advice, you can learn how to avoid mistakes and improve your outcomes.

Successful people can also open doors for you. They can introduce you to prospective clients and referrals sources, help promote your practice, or point you towards profitable investments.

Who you know, and who you spend time with, does make a difference.

As I mentioned in a previous post, you do have a choice. You can choose to associate with positive people who inspire you and help you grow, and you can disassociate from people who don’t.

But you may have some work to do, first.

People tend to seek out people who are like themselves. We prefer to be around people with similar habits, viewpoints, income levels, and hobbies. Birds of a feather do flock together. And therein lies the challenge.

If you want to associate with successful people who can provide you with better ideas and better opportunities, you have to earn the right to do so.

Why should they associate with YOU? What are you bringing to the table? What better ideas and better opportunities will you be able to share?

There’s another law at work here: The “Law of Attraction”. Like attracts like. Birds of a feather flock together because they are birds of a feather.

If you want to be around successful people, you have to attract them and to do that, you have to become them. You don’t necessarily have to have achieved what they have achieved, but you must have similar philosophies.

That’s why personal development is essential to success. That’s why Jim Rohn said, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your business.”


Why I’m no Longer a Workaholic Attorney (and How I Got Cured)


workaholic attorney lawyerWhen I opened my own practice, I practically lived at my office. I buried myself in what little work I had and spent the rest of the time organizing files, creating forms, and worrying about how I was going to get some business.

Later on, when I had lots of clients and lots of work, very little changed. I put in long hours at the office or in court, I brought home files at night and on weekends, and when I did manage to take a day off, I was on the phone with my office every couple of hours.

Some people called me a workaholic. What I was was scared s***less.

When I had no clients and no money coming in, I was paralyzed with fear. I looked at the calendar and saw the first of the month approaching and knew there was no way I could pay the rent. I tried everything I could think of to bring in business but I spent even more time distracting myself with busy work.

When I finally had clients and real work to do, I was afraid it wouldn’t last so I buried myself in my work and made as much money as I could, as fast as I could. There was no way I was ever going back to my “lean and hungry” days.

I’m no shrink, but I think workaholic-ism is driven by fear. We may tell ourselves that we love what we do and this might be true to some extent, but it also might be a story we’ve told ourselves for so long that we actually believe it.

Nobody has the right to tell you how to conduct your business and if non-stop work makes you happy, I’m happy for you. Just be honest about it. Don’t kid yourself into thinking this is what you want or this is the way it has to be.

If you’d like to work a bit less and enjoy some of life’s other offerings, you can. I know because I did it.

How did I break free of the fear of losing what I had finally achieved? How did I stop working so many hours and eventually get down to working just three days a week?

I changed my focus.

I no longer focused on things that made me fearful.

Instead of thinking about what I did not want (e.g., being broke) and using that to drive me, I thought about what I did want.

I wanted the feeling of security and strength and power that money brings. I wanted to help people solve problems. I wanted to spend time with my family and to travel. I wanted to be able to read fiction, go to the movies, eat in nice restaurants and wear fine clothes.

There were plenty of things I wanted and when I began to focus on them, instead of what I didn’t want, things began to change.

It was a process. I started with little things. Whenever I found myself thinking about the possible consequences of working fewer hours, for example, I would stop myself and think about going to a book store and browsing for an hour. A pleasant thought for a book lover like me. I relaxed. I stopped thinking about what I didn’t want. It felt good.

Eventually, I didn’t just think about going to a bookstore, I actually went. My world didn’t come crashing down on me. The clients didn’t leave. The work was still there, and so was the money.

Little by little, I trained myself to think about what I wanted and to let go of my fear of losing what I already had.

If you are a workaholic and you don’t want to be, there are many things you can do to let go of the compulsion to work. Try them if they inspire you.

But you don’t really need anything more than to let go of the fear-inducing thoughts that hold you back. Replace them with thoughts of a better future and let those pull you forward.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, keep coming back to your vision of an ideal life, a life of happiness and success, of work that that gives you joy but does not overwhelm. Keep doing this and you will create that life. This is the law of attraction.

Think about what you want, not what you don’t want.


The principle of accelerating acceleration


In “The Slight Edge,” Jeff Olson talks about the power of doing “the little things” over and over again, consistently, over time, until the compounded effect of those small efforts produces dramatic change. Brian Tracy, in “Create Your Own Future: How to Master the 12 Critical Factors of Unlimited Success,” calls this same phenomenon, “the principle of accelerating acceleration.”

Tracy, who sees the principle as a corollary of “law of attraction, says, [page 48], “Whatever you are moving toward [i.e., a goal] begins moving toward you as well.” His characterization of how the principle operates should be given to every attorney who is about to start their own practice:

“When you first set a new, big goal and begin moving toward it, your progress will often be quite slow. You may be frustrated and think of giving up. The bigger your goal, the further away it will seem. You may have to work on it for a long time before you see any progress at all. But this is all part of the process of goal attainment.”

“The 20/80 rule helps to explain the principle. . . . For the first 80 percent of the time that you are working toward your goal, you will only cover about 20 percent of the distance. However, if you persist and refuse to give up, you will accomplish the final 80 percent of your goal in the last 20 percent of the time that you spend working on it.

“Many people work for weeks, months, and even years toward a big goal and see little progress. They often lose heart and give up. But what they didn’t realize is that they had laid all of the groundwork necessary and were almost at the take-off point. They were just about to start accelerating toward their goal, and their goal was about to start moving at a great speed toward them.

“This principle of accelerating acceleration seems to apply to almost every big goal that you set for yourself. You must therefore decide in advance that you will never give up.

So, as you contemplate how you might create your own future in the new year, start with your long-term, visionary goals. Decide now that they are worth the effort you are about to make. Get used to the idea that you probably won’t see most of the results you seek for a long time. And then, and only then, when you tell yourself (and anyone else who will listen) that you won’t give up until you get what you want, you might actually believe it.