Slowing down to speed up

Stop running. Yes, I know you have to get to court, crank out a new agreement, and meet with your new client. I know you’re busy and this is how you earn your living. I know that if you don’t do the work you won’t get paid.

Slow down anyway. Better yet, come to a complete stop.

At least for a few hours.

Slowing down allows you to refine what you’re doing so you can do it better, and faster. Just as a race car needs pit stops, so do humans. By taking a break periodically, we can ensure that everything is working properly and that we are on course and on pace. Taking a break allows us to recharge our energy and clarify our focus. It allows us to go faster, assured that we are going in the right direction.

Take some time to evaluate what you are doing and the results you are getting. Are things moving in the direction you want? Is there anything you could do better? What’s working well that could be expanded?

Take some time to look at your calendar. How are you spending your time? What else might you do? Is there something you are doing that you don’t really need to do? Is there something that takes you two hours that could be done in one?

Take some time to rest and reflect on the bigger picture. What big ideas could you start working on that might help you take a quantum leap? Where do you want to be five years from today and what could you start doing today to help you get there?

Take some time to get rid of clutter and distractions. If it doesn’t serve you in some way, eliminate it. Simplify your life so you can focus on what is important and valuable.

Take some time to read things you don’t usually read. Look for ideas and inspiration. Have some fun. Goof off. Go to the movies in the middle of the day. Take your best friend for a long lunch.

And take some time to give thanks for all that you have. When you appreciate the goodness in your life, you attract more of it.

The Big Idea: Taking a Quantum Leap in the Growth of Your Law Practice

Donny Deutsch’s cable program, “The Big Idea,” features interviews with entrepreneurs who scored big (or are trying to) in the world of business. The guests discuss their “big idea,” the one that makes their company or product different from all the rest.

In the crowded, competitive world of business, a big idea can propel a company from the depths of obscurity to the heights of financial success. But the big idea isn’t necessarily a new invention or a revolutionary concept. More often, it is a new spin on an old idea that capitalizes on a current trend (e.g., “fast food” restaurants that serve nothing but breakfast cereal).

Allstate Insurance company is running ads that promise to pay cash rebates for every six months of good driving. That’s nothing more than a new way of offering a good driver discount but in my view, it qualifies as a big idea because instead of a discount, the customer gets paid. Getting a check from your insurance company every six months re-sells you on staying with that company because you don’t want to lose “your” check. (It also reminds you to drive safely.)

Amazon’s latest big idea is low priced tablets. They don’t do everything an iPad does but they will probably appeal to a big segment of the market that will pay $200 (or less) but not $500 (or more).

How could you create a big idea in your practice? It might be as simple as taking something every attorney in your market does (e.g., house calls), and re-positioning it (e.g., “We’ll send a limo to pick you up”). It might be something few attorneys do, like the radio spot I just heard by an estate planning firm that prepares living trusts. Their big idea: “free lifetime updates”.

Take some time to brainstorm ideas with your employees or mastermind group. What do you do that everyone else does that you could promote as “your big idea”? Or, what do you do (or could you do) that nobody else does that could be an even bigger big idea?