After reading last week’s blog, what did you learn about your personal resiliency? Are you able to pop back quickly when struck down with a mistake, error or bad event? I had a thought about talking about the difference between reasonable resiliency and the requirement of taking time to heal.
I’m guessing that the way to classify this is to sort the “events” into categories. Something simple, like misstating a fact and being called on it, is a mistake or error and obviously the faster you can rebound from that the better. If you agonize over it for 2 or 3 days you need to take a look at what’s going on. Are you building it up much bigger than it is?
Look at how much different it is to miss a statute and cause serious harm to the client. That’s a mistake too, but a much bigger one. Not only do you have to do everything to mitigate that mistake, but your work life will be disrupted for some time because of it. There is a time when fear sets in because you don’t know what will happen…..all this takes time and the important thing is not to let it totally disjoint you from looking after your practice as well as your family. This will resolve at some point.
The next highest category would involve a death, a divorce, an illness or some other significant loss or struggle you might be facing. This will obviously take considerable time to heal from. Where does your resiliency come in for this kind of event? We read about people who have lost their limbs or their sight and in a year are back to almost normal life. We can learn from these people. They have intestinal fortitude and energy to fight their way back.
Healing from a death or divorce is sometimes a different deal. If not enough time is given to the “healing process”, the event can hover in the corner of the person’s life forever. On the other hand, sometimes the lawyer can lose everything while this is happening. How many firms have been ruined by a divorce? How much tension can the children endure when a death happens in the family? The initial “loss” sometimes triggers untold other “losses” that could be avoided.
So what does this all tell about the steps we can be taking:
- CATEGORIZE YOUR “EVENT”
- THINK ABOUT YOUR ABILITY TO RESOLVE YOUR EMOTION OVER THE EVENT.
- DETERMINE IF YOUR EMOTION TRULY FITS THE EVENT.
- SEARCH FOR WAYS TO DECREASE THE NEGATIVITY OF THE EVENT
- GET APPROPRIATE SUPPORT IF YOU FEEL THE EMOTION IS BECOMING IRRATIONAL OR GOING ON TOO LONG.
- JOIN CHAT ROOMS OR SUPPORT GROUPS IF IT IS REALLY SERIOUS.
- TALK TO YOUR MENTOR OR COACH.
- TAKE SOME TIME TO THINK ABOUT ALL OF THIS BEFORE IT HAPPENS (AND IT WILL).
Hope this hasn’t been too much of a downer for a Monday, but I think it is worth your time and energy to take a look at your own resiliency.
I was looking through a bunch of attorney business cards that I have collected at various events and I was shocked. By and far the majority were plain white with only the name, sometimes the address, phone number and email on them. What a waste!
So here are the Southers’ Business Card Rules:
- Always have color on your card. It’s best to coordinate your color with your website or other marketing materials.
- Always, Always put the area of law you practice on your card. A person meeting you at an event will forget immediately what you do, but the card will remind them.
- Use the back of the card to enlarge your description of services or focus on your target market. Could be something like “Helping people with their wealth building through careful planning” for a Wills and Trust Attorney.
- Put the important parts of your card in bold: Name, phone number and email address are the most important.
- Project the image you want. Add your picture so people can really remember who you are.
- Make your card standard sized. Many people are annoyed with over sized card
What do you do with the business cards you get?
ASAP put them in your contacts list. Categorized them as A, B or C contacts. A are those who you know will refer. B are those who you have meet and might someday refer and C are your hairdresser, cleaners, plumber, distant relatives. Most cards you pick up at meetings, etc. will be Bs.
- Pick out at least one to write an email to following up your conversation.
- Maybe make a date to meet if that seems appropriate.
Additional hints about business cards:
- Hand a small wrapped piece of chocolate with the card to the person.
- Use cheap printing like Vista Prints to do your cards, etc. Change them until you finally get someone to say “What a nice card!” when you hand it to them.
- If you have several areas of law that you practice, think about having a different card for each area. Marketing one area at a time is easier and makes a lot of sense. This is especially true if you do research for attorneys as well as other areas of the law. Having a card that just markets that area is essential when you are talking to attorneys. You can always bring in the other areas that you do after you have establish the relationship of offering services to attorneys for appeals and research. People get confused. Even Attorneys!
Yes, I am leaving Friday, June 20th and not coming back until July 8th. So I am leaving you with three “Action Tasks” that you can complete while I’m gone. These will work for all lawyers, in whatever career space you are in……so let’s get started:
1. ORGANIZE YOUR OFFICE.
- Everyone has an office. It may be at home on the kitchen table, but it is where you do your work. So the first step is to go through all the papers on your desk and file them into A. trash can B. do now C. do later piles. D. File
- Now look in your drawers. Are they messy? clean each one out.
- Clean your cookies and other junk off your computer.
- Next, look at each of your files. Is there something that needs to be done? If so, put on your “to do” list. Is there some files you need to get rid of? Put them in a special place.
This should take you at least a day or several days doing it piecemeal.
2. DO SOMETHING JUST FOR YOURSELF
- Schedule some time in your calendar to do something you have been wanting to do. Maybe have a non business lunch. Maybe have a massage. Maybe go to the gym or a hike. Read a book. Give yourself at least 2 hours to do an activity that is just for you.
- Meditate on how that feels. Practice your mindfulness technique to zero in on how it feels to just listen to your needs.
3. GO TO ONE NETWORKING EVENT YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN TO BEFORE.
- Pick out a networking event that you have never attended.
- Put the date in your calendar
- Plan what you want to accomplish at the event. How many biz cards do you want to get? What time will you arrive? depart?
- Practice your elevator speech.
- Ask at least one person who their target audience is. Write that on their biz card. Let them see you do that.
- Give out at least 5 pieces of paper wrapped chocolates with your biz card.
- When you get to your office put the biz cards you got into your contacts list.
So now you have three very different “Action Tasks”. Let’s get started. I challenge you to do all three while I’m gone. I promise they will make you a better lawyer! and human being!
That sounds pretty presumptuous but I know it is true. I firmly believe that if you take the tests in Part One of the book, you will find the areas of discontent in your life. Identifying them is the first step. Then you can go onto making the changes that will bring you greater satisfaction with your career and life.
That’s a lot to predict. But being a coach, I have been able to see this happen time and time again. Once we have identified the areas in a career that are troubled, we can find a path to heal those and move forward. It is something like AA, where you first have to acknowledge that something is wrong before you can change it.
The next part of the book sets out how to go about changing the areas identified. Take for instance Public Speaking. You know that being a good public speaker would enhance your career. You could give seminars, workshops or just shorts talks to colleagues. How about Court. Shouldn’t you be a great Public Speaker before a jury? But great fear holds you back from even trying.
This is a perfect example of an area of a career (all lawyers) that could be developed for projecting greater influence in the profession. My book will give you exact steps to take so that you can overcome this fear.
The Part Two of the book will tell you exactly how to approach and get started on reaching your goals. I wrote the book for each one of you. I want to see you succeed and have greater satisfaction with your chosen profession. I guarantee that this book will help you do that.
I would give you a money back guarantee but the ABA won’t let me do that!!!!
I started thinking about clients that have a particular problem with change. They are in a work situation which is OK. They are making a living but not happy with what they are doing. Or they are just scraping by and living at a lower standard than is comfortable. So, we start with identifying the change that needs to happen to get to the next step in resolving their situations. This includes the goals(steps) that we both agreed would increase their chances of getting to where they want to be.
There is usually a bit of excitement when the person sees that something positive can be done and may start to plan how to make the changes that will produce results. Then the period of slowdown comes. The client loses momentum and slips back into the “safe but uncomfortable” place they were before we started. Action Tasks don’t happen. Appointments with me are missed. In essence, the person is sabotaging their growth.
All for a very good reason. They have something to go back to which is less uncomfortable than what they are pursuing. Human beings will frequently accept a lot of discomfort because it is a known discomfort. Unknown discomfort is scary. I see this frequently in clients who have jobs that are low paying, not satisfying or downright abusive. But,they are making their bills. They feel like they are on a hamster wheel but can’t seem to get off. We do good solid planning which has a high degree of success attached, but they can’t follow through. The dissatisfaction is enough to consult a coach with the intention to change but they turn their back on that resource. So what is holding them back?
My job is to encourage clients to keep moving on the path that they have agreed will help them meet their goals. This is a collaboration. But coaches need to have the trust of the client that this will be hard but have great results. Coaches are like guides in the forest. We try to keep the client out of the line of landmines while pushing constantly forward. The reasons behind the resistance can be many and individualized for each client. We can try to uncover the reason but sometimes just encouragement to keep on the planned path is the most worthwhile effort. Seeing results (which unfortunately might be some time in coming) is the best incentive to keep up the work.
Sometimes success is scary. If I make more money than my friends will they be jealous? Do I have to force myself to get a new job in which the outcome is unknown? Will I be supported in what changes I need to make? Will I just fail? All of these are very good questions but hold lawyers back from being their highest selves.
Does any of this ring a bill with you? Let me know what you think. Are you stuck right now? You have a big crowd of similarly stuck people you can surround yourself with or you can start to rub shoulders with those lawyers who have moved forward. Your choice!