I CAN DO IT!

WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT SELF-EFFICACY.  NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT BELIEF IN  ABILITY.

One of the key factors in gaining or having self-efficacy is the expectation that the goal can be accomplished. If there is no hope or little belief that the goal is attainable, forget even starting the challenge.

We discussed seeing a task as a challenge or a threat.  From that we can deduce that a threat would easily turn into I Can’t Do It with all kinds of reasons behind that decision. By identifying the task as a threat and questioning the validity of the threat, can produce some reduction in the view as a threat.  Then, as we also discussed, taking “baby steps”to shift the view of a threat to a challenge, success is in sight.

Now I am proposing even a broader approach to gaining self-efficacy through taking a more holistic approach by confronting the belief in the ability to do a task or meet a goal.  If there is self doubt that the person cannot achieve the goal at all, all kinds of minor threats will appear.  If, on the other hand, the person believes that he/she has the ability to achieve it, a whole new outlook will underline each step towards making the goal a reality.

Looking at a concrete example:  “The lawyer has worked for a firm for the past six or seven  years and is unhappy.  He/She knows that establishing a solo firm is possible because the funds are available and all those years of experience has produced competency in one or two areas of the law. Day dreaming has produced a sense of greater freedom in shaping his/her work life and that sounds like a great solution. ”

Now comes the overall pervasive feeling that he/she can’t do it. The belief is that the ABILITY is simply not there and thus the wish will fail.  This will, of course, stop any further planning, and creates a death to the idea. Sometimes, this realization takes a little while to appear and that can even more damaging because all hope will be abandoned even if the set back is minor.

The truth is that we, as human beings, are capable of all kinds of achievements we don’t even know about!

I remembered when I started painting.  I had no idea that I could actually paint something that might go on someone’s wall.  I took a class at the local junior college entitled: Art for Non-Artists.  I was amazed that I could do the assignments and come out with something that people seem to like (not just being nice). 15 years later, I have gotten better but still always have doubts that somehow things won’t work out because I don’t have the ability to paint.

We all must fight that notion growing up that we weren’t “big enough” to do activities we wanted to do.  This is obviously where some of this self doubt starts.  The truth is that we really don’t know what abilities we have. Not until we acknowledge that our capacities are greater than we acknowledge can we truly move forward.   So, I will never be a ballerina or an opera singer or a lot of other careers because I simply no longer have the  physical capacities. But we are only really  some what limited by very few restrictions.  Dare to know this. Dare to exceed your expectations!  

WHAT THE HECK IS SELF-EFFICACY AND WHY DO YOU HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT IT?

THE BIG GUY ON THIS ONE IS STANFORD’S ALBERT BANDURA.

Taking studies from scientists  trying to find out what is the most effective way to promote change in people, Dr. Bandura hit upon a massive element that goes into defining success and failure:  SELF-EFFICACY!

He defines it as as “people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives.”  A simpler version goes: “People’s belief about their capabilities to produce effects.”

After coaching for almost 10 years, I have come to believe that this is the key to allowing attorneys to commit to their goals plans and actually produce results.  Looking at a goal as a mastery and a challenge and not a threat is vitally important to success. Attorneys starting to be coached come with different degrees of self-efficacy.  If they have not succeeded in prior goal plans, then their belief in their abilities will be lower than those who have achieved results however they decided to go about change.

That’s the problem simply put, so what is the solution?

Bandura suggests that mastering a prior experience is a helpful beginning.  Unfortunately this experience must come before a giant failure which undermines that occurrence. This requires some tenacity which we have discussed in previous blogs.   Also, to build on the good events the failures must be in a similar category.

For instance:  An attorney decides to start a solo practice. He/she does a lot of pre-planning and sets up a practice based on knowing the important element of starting a practice. The 3 elements are INFRASTRUCTURE, COMPETENCY AND MARKETING.  Careful research and reasonable expectations have been met and for the first year, growth is small but constant as expected. Then whamO , the beginning of the second year finds a drop in the economy and the practice starts to slide downward.  If the attorney can feed off the skills that he/she learned from the first year’s success, there is a much higher likelihood of coming back strong. Simply going back over the 3 elements of a solo practice can even be the best answer.  As you can tell even from the little information you have, Marketing is probably the area that needs to undergo change.  To see this, however, will also boost the attorney’s ability to revise and reinvigorate  the resolve to face this as a challenge and not a threat.  After all, the attorney had very few or no clients when the practice was started. So this is the very same obstacle that was overcome earlier. Sometimes the attorney needs this pointed out to him/her. That’s one of the coach’s jobs!Time after time, however, I see experienced attorneys who want to change because they are no longer satisfied with their practices.  The excuses they use for not being able to change are enormous.

  •  they are too old,
  • they don’t have the time to become competent in another area,
  • they don’t have the financial ability to change,
  • they don’t want people to think they haven’t been successful
  • and on and on.

This is,of course, all “Malarkey” as my mother would say. I have had 2 major and 1 minor career change before I went to law school at 38 years old. Since practicing the past 33 years I have “morphed” 3 times, ending up with my favorite job as a legal coach.I will probably wind up with my head on my desk when the grim reaper comes but I had fun…most of the time.

My mother was an RN and my father only got to complete the 6th grade but they both had self-efficacy. Good examples of this concept are important as well as being told you can do it by someone you respect.

There’s more to this subject. Join me next week and we’ll go on this journey even further. 

TEACH THEM HOW TO FISH

 I know it says somewhere in the Bible something like: “Don’t give a hungry man a fish, teach him how to fish”. 

THAT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE!

We have hundreds of Vets coming out of service that have great benefits afforded them in future training.  I understand that some have as much as  five years of expenses paid for if they enroll in college or other training.  Yet, we have many veterans unable to find work and becoming homeless.    Obviously, they need counselors and coaches to help them plan a program that they can stick with and end up with a paying job.

For those that don’t need or want extensive training, short term study programs that have certificates are available.  These include online as well as college based short courses.  I was amazed that in Dr. Larry Richard and Tanya Hanson’s book THE NEW WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A LAW DEGREE, they list 800 not only possible job categories for lawyers who want to change but many of which could apply to veterans who have some work background but need a solid job pursuit now that they are out of the service.

Also in that book, at Appendix B is a long list of certificate and credential building programs that service related benefits would probably pay for. As many of these are for attorneys with degrees, there are still some which would apply for Vets with limited academic backgrounds. Also there are many of these lists available for short term education leading to good jobs.  Guidance counselors have these type of resources.

SO WITH ALL THESE POSSIBILITIES AVAILABLE WHY DO WE STILL HAVE VETS ON THE STREET?

THEY HAVE NO PLACE TO GET THIS KIND OF SPECIFIC COUNSELING.

I know this for a fact because I called our local veteran affairs office several times, offering my services as a job coach. Never once did I receive a return call. I then turned to the internet only finding a site which offers mentoring and support for Vets across the country, mostly by offering online suggestions to specific questions asked by the Vet. I did join and have communicated with several vets who are now in JAG or want to go to law school. ACP Advisers is the site if you want to join.

These are not Vets on the street. They need a specific place that they can come and get on going counseling on a one to one basis to support them in developing a plan to not only survive but carefully planning their future. They need consistent long term support and encouragement that will allow them to retrain themselves and become more sale-able. This process also provides a great deal of hope because it is future based, which helps with PTSD as well as just general depression.

I will be exploring this concept/idea more and will keep you posted.  Please let me know if you have any input into this very critical problem.  We can’t depend on the Trump Government to give us any help!

KEEP BUGGING! THIS TIME WITH POSTCARDS

I came across Diane Feinstein’s request that we all send Postcards to the White House on March 15, 2017. SO LET’S DO IT!

The site with the instructions is http://www.oneequalworld.com/2017/02/08/theidesoftrump-postcards/ That explains the idea behind this campaign.  If the link doesn’t work, cut and paste it.  If that doesn’t work, go into http://www.oneequalworld.com. If that doesn’t work just send a postcard with a message on the back on March 15 to:

 President (for now)Trump, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20500.

I would also suggest getting a bunch of postcards at the post office to be able to send one or more at a moment’s notice.  You might say that this won’t make any changes  but if we can keep it up on a consistent basis and also keep bugging our own representatives, it couldn’t hurt!

Resisting will get to be tiring and this is where grit come in.  We will march, we will write, we will call and we will never give up.

I was just involved with the ABA GP Solo Magazine for May/June 2018 issue entitled : Civil Disobedience.  Not sure exactly how that is going to fit into this revolt but am willing to be open to it.  Just have to be careful not to do anything unethical.  I understand their are ways to do that.  Will keep you posted as I find out more.

THIS IS FOR OUR CHILDREN, OUR ENVIRONMENT AND OUR AMERICA. 

OMG, I’M OLD ENOUGH TO BE GEORGE CLOONEY’S MOTHER!

WHEN YOU GET TO THIS TIME IN LIFE, YOU HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO TAKE ACTION.

As promised, almost every week at least for awhile, I will be posting an action you can take to assert your resistance to Donald Trump.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/nine-ways-to-oppose-donald-trump

This week check out John Cassidy’s New Yorker’s blog above.  If you marched you can check off as one of the nine ways to oppose.  If you went to the airport to protest the immigration ban on Muslims, you can check another off.

Now pick one or two suggestions that Cassidy gives you and JUST DO IT.  

Perhaps you can pick one option which will take money or time.  Also pick a real easy option.  This might be buying a resist T Shirt and wearing it openly.  One of the hardest options might be to pick out a neighbor, friend or even family that voted for Trump and send them a T Shirt that just says something about how great America is now!

There has been a lot of pussy footing (sorry about that) around while not trying to insult a friend, family or colleague. But there are ways of making sure of exactly where you stand without insulting them. Sending them literature on only one subject with facts substantiated by experts (like climate control) and add that people who voted for Trump don’t need to accept all of his ideas! Materials by McCain or other republicans about resisting Torture is another area that you could perhaps make inroads into their listening to you.

If you don’t care about insulting them then one of the greatest ideas I heard of was to donate to the ACLU in their name. They will receive a thank you card from the ACLU. Realize this will probably terminate any relationship you have with them and you will have to take that responsibility.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.  REMEMBER:

THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL IS FOR GOOD PEOPLE TO DO NOTHING!”

OK, I’M BACK AND BRACED FOR A LONG FIGHT

 Were you there?

This is only the beginning of four years of doing everything we can to uphold the Constitution and our civil rights and more important, save our children’s future!

I have, for the past few years, made this blog about giving attorneys things to think about during each week and hints about actions they can take to make their practices better.  I have the overwhelming need now to change direction, at least for awhile, to keep my audience aware of what they can do each week to resist the destruction of our beautiful nation.

This week Paul Ryan’s office is conducting a phone poll and wants to hear overwhelming opposition to the Affordable Care Act.  So here’s what to do:   call (202)225-0600 and press 2.  You will then hear instructions to press 1 if you continue to support  ACA or press 2 if you don’t support continuation.  There are a lot of other people calling in, so be patient and keep trying.  This doesn’t mean that you might feel the ACA needs tweaking but the basics need to stay in place. Please press “1” and send a message. Thanks to my friend Elena Nini Cohen for this information.

Many people are telling you to contact your senator and congressperson.  Living in California and in Santa Cruz, my representatives are aware of what the majority of their constituents  are wanting them to do.  This is why I think it is important that each individual takes the responsibility of acting each week to keep the values of the Women’s March alive and well.

You might also want to follow THINK PROGRESS on the internet and facebook.  The publication has hired 2 investigators to give us blow by blow accounts of Trump’s actions which are destructive for all humanity.  They are looking to hire 2 more investigators and are about $40,000 short of being able to do that.

I hope you will continue with me in this journey of resistance!

“I’ll BE BACK” !

 I’m going away, but I’ll be back….

So all you nice people who read my blog can be assured that after I spend time with my children and grandchildren and old friends, I’ll return with an outstanding blog for Monday, January 2, 2017.  How did it get to be 2017 without my knowing it?

So, here’s wishes you all the best Holiday you deserve in this terrible time of trouble in our beautiful country.  Rest assure, we will not let those idiots ruin the climate change agenda and we will continue to fight for the rights of all humans. That’s my pledge for the New Year and I hope it is yours.

LOVE, PEACE, TOLERANCE AND JOY TO ALL WHO DESERVE IT

SHOULD MY WORK CLOTHES BE PAJAMAS OR A SUIT?

What the heck am I talking about? You guessed it:  A HOME OFFICE OR NOT?

Best to give this one a lot of thought before you go forward with hanging your shingle on your front porch.  First of all, it is more than likely that clients will know your home address at some time, even if you meet them at a Starbucks.  Certainly most of the time this is OK until you get that client from (you know where).  Then you are not protected from all kinds of tactics including stalking and harassing you.  Remember this is why attorneys rip off the address labels on magazines that they bring them from home to their offices.

You can certainly have a mail box address which can appear as a real street address and this may help.  Also inexpensive “group” offices which allow you to use their address and facilities on a monthly basis can give you some protection.

More importantly, you need to think about how this all looks to your clients.  Fortunately if you are practicing wills, trusts and probate, you could offer to go to their homes, especially if they are elderly.  However, if you have a substantial client that you are doing long term estate planning and business trusts, etc. you  really can’t meet in a coffee shop.  If your goal is to attract these kinds of clients and your marketing is focused there, maybe biting the bullet and getting a shared office at least would be more feasible. Again, it goes back to carefully identifying your target market (check out my blogs on that).

If you do decide to have your practice in your home, be careful how to describe where you are located on your Website.  Many people choose their attorney by where they live.  If you have a rent by hour group office, you can put that address there and meet there, but how do you describe where you are if you are meeting them in a coffee shop?  Some attorneys put “ by appointment” but that is also confusing.  You can offer to come to their home but , as said above, that may turn off your larger clients.

Home offices are really best suited to practices which don’t involve much client contact such as Appeals and International Business which can be done mostly by internet.

Certainly, some attorneys are able to work out of their homes as they keep their practices small and don’t need much help, but you can see it is not an easy task.  Lastly, look around your home and decide exactly where you are going to have your office.  Do you have a separate room or are you doing this in your living room?  Is it quiet? Do you have enough space to have a copier, computer and filing cabinets?  Do you work well  in this environment or are you easily distracted? Or do you favor straightening your sock drawer over working on that horrid writ?

All of these can be obstacles to a productive practice.  You are going to have to be rigid in your scheduling of time.  Is working in the evenings going to be a no no?  Solos have to put in anywhere from 45-55 hours a week setting up, marketing , networking and then doing legal work for at least 2 years to successfully launch  a business, whether its in their home or office.  Be truthful and answer if you can do that and you will save yourself a lot of stress and heartache.Good time management is a necessity when you opt to work at home.

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide.

OH,OH, IT’S ALMOST RESOLUTION TIME AGAIN!


Dear Readers,

As the year comes to an end, you know I like to give advice about how to handle the new year.  Well, this year is no different. Both you and your clients have had some real difficult times and some very unique challenges this past year.  Between the stock market behavior , job problems and the election debacle, doom and gloom has run rampant.  Many lawyers have suffered significant disruption of their businesses as clients and employers try to keep their heads above water.

Now, some of the experts tell us that the recession has turned around.  Other experts tell us that there is more disruption to come as the government goes crazy.Whatever happens, guess what?  WE STILL ALL HAVE THAT PIECE OF PAPER THAT SAYS WE ARE LAWYERS! Most people in the world don’t have that piece of paper. We have infinite possibilities to use that piece of paper to not only provide us with a living but to give us job satisfaction as well.

In line with that thinking, for many of you it may well be time to review your work situation and make decisions about how you might want to change your practice in the coming year. Take a minute and do a quite survey about your present career situation by answering the following questions:

  1.  Am I making enough money to cover my business and personal expenses?
  2. Am I making enough money to fund my retirement account each month?
  3. Do I like to go to work each day?
  4. Do I like the people I work with?
  5. Do I like most all of my clients?
  6. Can I get my work done in 40-50 hours a week?
  7. Do I have enough time for my family each day?
  8. Do I exercise enough?
  9. Am I eating a healthy diet?
  10. Am I taking enough classes to keep up to date in my practice areas?
  11. Do I often feel lonely?
  12. Do I have mentors?
  13. Do I play and have fun on a regular basis?

OK, OK, you get the idea.  If you answered NO to a lot of these questions, then you need to start on your New Year’s resolutions early.  Think of change ( which is scary) as MORPHING.  Morph yourself into a more fulfilling career.

How do you do this?  Look at the “nos” above. Now decide one thing you could do today to start changing  that answer to a “yes”. Some people call that shifting your outlook. Yes, it takes work and focus but its certainly better than being whiny ( you know I hate that) and depressed. Call me.  I’d love to discuss 2017 with you.

Wishing you all a glorious and prosperous New Year…..

DON’T BE STUPID, BE INFORMED AND ACT!

business man with his head buried in the sand

I’M FINALLY COMING OUT OF MY POLITICAL FUNK.  HOW ABOUT YOU?  OR ARE YOU STILL WITH YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND AND TRYING TO WAIT TO COME OUT UNTIL THINGS GET BETTER?

One of the things that helped me come back to the world of the living was to decide what actions I could take to fight the obvious screwed up thinking of many American voters.  I started with a subject that I have written about previously which was Why Do People Choose to Do Things that Injure Themselves?  Why would someone not take a life saving drug? Why do people vote for something directly opposed to their self interest?

The drug analogy came from an article that I read and also from my Ophthalmologist who has me on eye drops that slows and maybe even stops Glaucoma if taken every day. Malcom Gladwell wrote about this saying that, as I recall 35% of the people who need this drug, don’t use it every day. It is clear, if you use the drops you won’t get Glaucoma, if you don’t use the drops you will get Glaucoma because it has already been determined that you have the beginning signs of the disease.  Blindness is the result. Isn’t that a heck of an analogy to our present situation!

Now we come to why people vote against what would be best for them.  The basic answer I believe, is that they do not take the time to be informed about the facts of their decision.  I was appalled at the latest news that the internet is  allowing “false” news to be broadcast.  Unfortunately, both CNN and Fox News were guilty of this.  Most people now rely on the internet for their news.  They expect the entity publishing the news to have fact checked it.  If that were true, how did we get a report that Clintons had a child porno ring at their home? At least this was a news story that people might question.  More insidious was the half fact/half truth stories that came out. They sounded real, and lots of Americans bought them.

Also the news media needs to be held accountable for making an obviously unsuitable candidate seem suitable by giving his campaign so much coverage.  He didn’t even have to buy ads, because he was getting so much coverage.  Also none of the media (except a few) did any fact checking before publishing what they found to be “news”.  This was all done in the name of GREED for selling their product.

Bottom line however, as an example, is still why would people vote for closing down immigration and deporting millions and other stupid ideas?  Americans all came here first as immigrants.  Everyone single American, except the indigenous peoples, can trace their ancestry back to another country.  Also, from this kind of legislation comes all sorts of bad laws that will affect our society.  China, Japan and India will not be sending their best people for those high level jobs because of the new laws.  We will all suffer a “brain drain”.  Immigrants who have lived here since they were babies, live in constant fear.  Families who have been here for sometimes 30 years, working, paying taxes and contributing to our society, will be separated and sent back to a country they escaped from and found a better life.  Again, don’t be stupid, these people will find a way to come back to their US families, wall or no wall. If Americans were more informed about our present immigration laws, they would know that it is arduous to obtain a green card and certainly, if a immigrant commits a crime they are sent back to their country already! You can fact check this or take my word as a former immigration attorney….I insist you fact check!

So my job now is to stand up as soon as I see our beautiful Constitution being threatened and to hopefully find a way to harass the internet to be a strong proponent for the truth. I will keep you posted as I find out the most effective ways to do this.

THANKS FOR LETTING ME RANT……I FEEL BETTER ALREADY.