• I don’t ask for help because I don’t need it.
  • I can figure it out by myself.
  • I have the internet and I can look up anything I need to know.
  • I don’t want my colleagues to know that I am weak and need help.
  • I can’t afford to spend any money on getting help.
  • No one can really help me.
  • How can I trust anyone but myself to care about my success?
  • I have to stand on my own two feet.
  • and on and on…..


Does it give you goose bumps?  Would it feel really good to have people just waiting to help you?

We know that much of the resistance to get help throughout life comes from the early training of either getting too little or too much help.

Nowadays there are books out about “Helicopter Parents” who get involved in every aspect of their kids’ growth.  They do their homework,they call or text the child constantly,  they write their cover letters for college applications, they yell at teachers and coaches for not doing enough for their child.  Obviously these kids are not going to ask for realistic, reliable help because they have been saddled with feelings they can’t do anything without Mom or Dad’s inclusion.  Or, they revolt and don’t want anyone to “interfere” in their life.

There are the reverse childhood experiences in which children receive no parental help and through neglect end up with no inner strength to succeed in lots of things.  They have had to muddle through without guidance and many times end up on the wrong paths.

How are these two experiences alike?  Both do not have any idea how to “help” other people in a healthy way.

Working backwards from this, could part of the answer be to learn how to help other people in a healthy and realistic way? This would be a huge step forward in learning how to overcome the resistance for help from all kinds of sources as we go through live.  Might this be the way to learn that people can trust you to be there for them when they need help?  To not be intrusive in their lives but to offer support, guidance and kindness when the need is obvious. More importantly, to learn how to not overdo help but have set boundaries so that the help offered is realistic and healthy.

Once you have experienced what it is to help a person in this way, confidence and knowledge that you can ask and receive help yourself will blossom.

I will be gone for the next several weeks, playing in Italy, so let me give you some homework to keep you busy.

  1. Take a look at the excuses for not getting help listed in the beginning of this blog and see if any apply to you.
  2. Write down any “help” that you have given to anyone except your children in the past 6 months.
  3. Identify at least one person who you have noticed lately that could use some help.
  4. Do one small kindness this week (could be holding the door open for someone, carrying a heavy package for someone or just giving a smile to a stranger)

I help attorneys day in and day out.  I see the resistance to help from all kinds of attorneys.  I believe that if there was  understanding of this phenomenon on an individual basis, life would be so much easier to all of us.


Last week we talked about work/life balance and the draw that lawyering has on your time. This week let’s talk about expectations of other folks that may also put that work/life balance out of wack.

How many people go to law school because Mom or Dad thinks its a good idea?  Quite a few.  Mom and Dad would be proud to have a lawyer in their family to brag about, even if it is not the ideal job for the son or daughter.  Many times its the line of least resistance to just accept the support they would get from your family in going to law school instead of insisting on their own choices of career.

Think about how work/life balance can really get upset when the work part is something that you hate to do. Yet, we all know many attorneys who really don’t like their work life.  In my coaching, I find that sometimes it is not actually the lawyering part they hate but the area of the law that they are practicing.  This is fairly easy to fix.  The real problem comes when one day the attorney wakes up and says, I want to be an artist, plumber, surgeon or anything but an attorney.

Usually by this time, the attorney has a student loan to pay off, maybe a mortgage and children to raise.  To make a dynamic shift in career is really taking a chance and involves great risk. This is the time that we as coaches suggest that the attorney explore his or her support system and find out what kind of back up there might be for drastic changes.  Many people have been surprised when the spouse has said “I would love to go back to work.  You can take care of the kids and save day care costs. Then you can go to school at night or explore the alternative careers you might like to pursue.”  Or they may find that there really is no support for this change other than their close friends.

Then this is the time to seek out attorneys who have made drastic changes in their professional life and find out how they did it.  These are the people that are going to give them support and ideas about how to go about a change.  They may even find groups of people who have done this and have really good advice for them.

This is also the time for brainstorming.  We, in America, have so many different opportunities that sometimes just uncovering what might be available (even from crazy advice) is a clue to how to solve our problems.  Keeping an open mind and a resolution that they deserve a happy work life is tantamount to truly having work/life balance.

So, we can all celebrate with Ma, I Did It!  I gave myself permission to make myself happy by doing whatever it takes to follow my own path!   


Many times while coaching attorneys I forget to ask if they are feeling lonely. BAD COACH!  This is really a vital question to be asking yourself on a regular basis.  Loneliness leads to doing strange things like getting mixed up with toxic people or drinking or taking drugs. Something to fill the emptiness is a big incentive to grab at the first thing that might make you feel better.

The truth is that lawyers have to go out of their way to build a support group early in their career.  Immediately out of law school, the focus is on getting a job which frequently entails long lonely hours of work.  Recreation and friends are frequently put aside. This is a recipe for disaster.  Friends and even family begin to come second.  This is one of the reason  why there are so many divorces in law school and soon after.

Or there is the scenario where the lawyer is finally established and looks around and sees that he or she is essentially just plain lonely.  There may be colleagues at work but they mostly talk business.  Nothing really personal happens with them.  Humans need personal human contact on a regular basis, not just when they are babies.

If a lawyer wants to create a family or have a life partner, he or she can’t keep putting that aside and hope that the exact right time will come along. We all know, that it rarely happens that way.

So what are some proactive things you can do to keep loneliness at bay:

  • Check in frequently to see if you are feeling lonely.
  • Look at your time and see how you are spending it.
  • See if you can determine why you are lonely. Poor work/life balance, laziness, a little OCD with your job, or whatever else may be producing this feeling.
  • Stop being a lawyer for some part of each day.  If all you can talk about is your job, then you are really limiting your ability to connect with all the other humans who are not lawyers.
  • Make a bucket list of all the things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”. Start planning how to accomplish these wishes.
  • Begin to smile more.  Smile at strangers.  Make connections.
  • Locate old friends on Facebook.  Have a coffee date and see what happens.
  • Join at least one group where they talk to each other. This may be a book club, a discussion group, a men’s or women’s group, a church function or wherever you can find people to connect with.
  • Take a class that is not about law.  Colleges have all kinds of interesting classes for the community to take. I learned to paint by taking some of these classes at a junior college and met a lot of nice people.
  • Reconnect with your family( at least the members you like).

Try some of these things.  See what might work for you.  If you are an introvert, push yourself a little to start doing things that make you happy.  That is your assignment for this week.


As Steve Jobs said: “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been NO for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something”.

This actually sounds like a great idea.  That question should give you a good idea if you are at least contented with your work.  If not, then just answering NO, even if it is only to the mirror, is not a solution.

There are several steps you need to take:

  • Determine exactly what is it about the work that you dislike. This is easier said than done.  Is it the clients? Is it the actual work? Is it your co workers or boss?  Is it the stress? Not enough income?  exactly what is it?
  • Next, determine what you do like about your work.  This is usually easier.
  • Take one of the items you have determined you don’t like about your work.  For instance, maybe it is the long hours and the stress that produces.  Ask yourself if this item could change would I want to go to work?
  • If the answer is still NO, go onto the other items you have identified and ask yourself that same question.
  • What you are trying to do with this exercise is see if small changes could make you happier or if you have to chuck the whole thing and start over again with a complete change.
  • If changing individual items could produce a better environment, then begin to work on those. If you don’t like the long hours and stress, can you re-frame that by making less income? Can you delegate more?  Do you have someone in your organization you can talk this over with?
  • If you come up against a lot of push back or negative feedback with a small item, it may develop into a large item that needs significant change but you won’t know unless you begin.

By doing this exercise you should be able to determine if enough change can be realized to allow you to stay in your present situation.  If not, then you need to start looking for another job.  Face this fact.  Don’t make excuses.

Take the time to plan exactly what will make you want to get up and go to work each morning.  Work with a coach or create a step by step plan to find a way to grow in what you want your life to be.

Most importantly, don’t let yourself get into another job where you will be doing this exercise again in a year!

Keeping up with our June review, next week we’ll look at feeling lonely and how to make a fuller life for yourself.


After last week’s analysis, you have found you need more money. This is not just money to take a trip to Paris but a real need to up your income so you can lead a reasonable and comfortable life. It’s OK to want money to go to Paris but that’s not what we are talking about here.  This is a necessity task because you are not covering your basic needs.

1. First question:   HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?

You can answer this quickly by looking at the accounts that you did last week.  How much more a month are you running short? Say it is $1,000.  That means that you have to generate $250 a week more. If it is a much larger amount then you need to allow yourself to know that. No whining here.  This is an important life situation.


Again, you will be doing this from the accounts that you got together last week.  Can you cut out lattes? Can you decrease your spending on food? Can you bring your lunch to work? Can you change child care arrangements? Only you can know what you might be able to do without.  It is very possible that you can get that $1,000 down at least 25% just by decreasing your spending.


I know this seem so simple but most people are so stressed by this situation that they fail to see the easy way to determine what steps to take.  Could you raise your fee?  If you presently charge $200 an hour and if you are billing 30 hours a week, raising your fee to $215 an hour will increase your income by $450 a week!

If you are an employee on a fixed salary, you can ask for a raise.  Even a 5% raise can sometimes make the difference.  If you haven’t been getting an annual cost of living increase, now is the time to bring that up.  Hit your boss with figures from reliable sources and give information on any increased work you are performing.

If you are in real trouble, you can find a second job to bring in income.  This may be on the weekend or as an UBER driver but you will need to do whatever is necessary to get back in the black.

Can your partner earn some income? Many stay at home mothers can find ways to increase revenue.  Some who have bachelors degrees  can take the test to become substitute teachers so that their hours are the same as their children. Or how about working at a store on weekends while the partner is home with the kids.

Once you first find out how much more money you need each month, there are infinite ways to make that happen.



Just imagine a nice person standing on one side of a gate and letting in all kinds of referrals to your business each time the gate is opened.  You could even have each referral be a real qualified lead and if you have trained your gatekeeper correctly, it will be.

OK, we all feel this would be great for our business. But how do we know what our own gatekeepers looks like? Going back to the basics, what is your target market?  Hopefully after all my blogs you have come up with at least one target (best client) profile.

To help you understand, let’s use my example from the time when I practiced personal injury and workers’ comp law.  My best client was someone injured in an accident which, for PI, was not their fault and for WC it didn’t matter as long as it happened at work.

After identifying the target client, I needed  to figure out what person or profession finds out about the problem of that injured party.  In my case, I decided for a lot of injuries it was chiropractors.  Additionally, they might see the injury first but then refer the patient onto other medical professionals if the injury is outside their scope of practice.  This then brings them into contact with other professionals who also treat injured people and might eventually become referral sources for me.

So I chose my Gatekeepers as chiropractors who lived in my community. Now the question is: what do I do next to meet these gatekeepers and get them on board.  Working from the Zig Ziggler premise of doing something for other people as your best marketing tool, I wrote a book in collaboration with a Chiropractor titled: The Medical-Legal Survival Guide, A Handbook for the California Chiropractor.  We published it ourselves and marketed it to all Chiropractors in California.  More importantly, I had my best business card available when I met a chiropractor. I could give them something of value.

Additionally, I gave seminars in my office about how to do depositions, ethics and writing reports.  I taught at some seminars and the book was used by two chiropractic colleges in California as a text book.  Well worth the hard work and expense!

This partnership went onto produce many cross referrals over the 21 years I had my solo practice.  I could refer accident victims to a doctor I knew could write a good report and also give outstanding service to my client.  The chiropractor knew, in turn, that I was ethical, experienced and trustworthy. They could also reach out to me for advice if necessary.  I was available!

So that’s my story about gatekeepers.  Who are your gatekeepers?  Again, start with your target market.  If you are a business attorney, it might be small and mid-sized start ups.  Who knows of their problems?  CPA, Financial Planners, other attorneys, bankers, etc. Next question is how do you reach those people? Get creative.



Last week we discussed Autonomy . This week it is Mastery. That’s the second trait you need to fully succeed.  I’ll keep you guessing what the third and final trait you need until next week.  So what is Mastery?  Again, let’s go to Websters: Mastery is “expert skill or knowledge”.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell us which skill or knowledge we have to Master.  So what could that be? Let’s look at some areas that I can think of that would be helpful to have mastered:

  • Creating life/work balance.
  • Creating a fulfilling personal partnership
  • Having a meaningful career
  • Having a healthy body
  • Raising healthy and happy children
  • Giving back to your community.

And many more…….Add your own……

Of course, the next question is how do you obtain the expert skill or knowledge to “master” these goals? 

If you have read my book and or followed my blog, you will guess that the first step is to pick one area goal that you would like to achieve or at least work on improving.  I know some of you will even question at this stage if you know whether or not you have already mastered one or more of these areas. If you can not say you are 100% happy with that area, then work needs to be done.

So, go ahead, pick one of these or create one of your own.  Then ask yourself : “How can I gain more skill or knowledge about the elements that make mastery of this area more successful”.  WRITE DOWN YOUR ANSWER.

Your answer may be to:

  • Take a class
  • Read about what others think mastery of that area entails.
  • Talk to people who have mastered that area
  • Break the area down into smaller parts that can be worked on

Visualize the area as though it is “Mastered” and see what that looks like for you.

This stuff is difficult, so do just a little work on it each day or week.  No rush, the problem or challenge will still be there next week, month, year.

Good luck with this.  Next week we will look a the last trait and then do a round up of all of them to see how they fit into a successful life.  Even if we don’t fully succeed, think of how much better each of us would be to get closer……


So this week we’re talking about really wanting to set a goal and why we don’t do them.  Isn’t that right? Because my bet is that anyone reading last week’s blog said to themselves “Hey, that’s a great idea.  I should do that”  but then didn’t follow through.  Maybe some people even wrote it down in their goal list.  But still didn’t follow through. My congratulations to those who did something about that great suggestion for increasing revenue!  Let’s hear from you.

As a coach, this is what I face time and time again.  The attorney and I will plan out the next two or three weeks with real important, well thought out goals that will advance the attorney in the direction he or she wants to go.  Three weeks later, the attorney comes back to me and many times, few or none of the goals have been worked on.

Then we go back to the old trick, that goals have to not only be written down, they need to be put into the attorney’s calendar so they get worked on.  If that is done and the goal is still not moved forward, then it’s time to find out why?  Is it fear of failure? Is it coming out of the attorney’s comfort space?  Is it just because so many more “important” tasks need to be done? Is the goal too big?

I believe that one of the landmines here is that many attorneys have never done consistent goal planning in their careers.  Yes, they passed the Bar and get work done in their practices but there is very little growth or change because of poor strategic planning.  So with  little or no forward growth, lawyers get discouraged and depressed. Of course they find little validity in the idea that good planning can produce the success they want because they have simply never experienced it before. They simply don’t believe in it.

So if you are one of those attorneys who have trouble with planning, goal setting and follow through, what do you do?  You need to prove to yourself that it works! That means you will make a tiny little goal that you can accomplish.  Then you will next make a more difficult goal and keep on until you prove to yourself that this works.  A coach can help in all of this and also with the follow up.  You can commit to email your coach every day, what goal you worked on and how much got done.   Or you can figure out a way that you can do this with your own knowledge of your habits.

So, next week I want to see one small goal that you wrote down and actually did.  Email me the result to my blog! 


So, you ask me, how do you get a free lunch?

Want to know how get a free lunch and do some remarkable networking at the same time?   It starts with you looking at your list of contacts (Yes, remember you have A,B and C contacts sorted with A being the ones who are most active and you know they will refer to you).

Look at the business they have.  Pick one who has been able to refer to you.  If you are a personal injury attorney, that may have been a  chiropractor.  Now look at the rest of the names on your list and see if you can find another person who might be able to do cross referrals with the chiropractor.  This might be an acupuncturist or a massage therapist or an open minded medical doctor.

You are the center of these two other people as far as referring ability.  You have a personal injury case and you can send that client to the chiropractor if it is soft tissue injury and he/she might send that same client to the massage therapist,doctor or acupuncturist if it is appropriate.

More importantly, these other two can also cross refer patients without having you in the middle.  You have created a lunch with value for all concerned.

So, you ask me, how do you get a free lunch?  Well, you don’t have to take each person to a separate lunch and so you only pay for one lunch instead of two!!! Voila, a free lunch for you and a great introduction for your two guests.

Instead of just sitting back, go look at that list of contacts and pick up your phone or open your email.  Think how much time and money and how much more value planning gives you.  Get creative.  If you still can’t figure how this is a free lunch……call me….I’ll eplain


Movies are made about it, people tell each other about it and even school children have them.  Bucket Lists:  all the things you want to do before you die.  So what does yours look like?

Is it filled with big plans like “learn a language”, “learn how to play piano” or “write a novel”?  or small things like “spring clean”, “take a yoga class” or “join my PTA”?

Probably your list should be filled with big things and little things.  Some to do tomorrow and some to do next year…..however, since none of us know how much longer we have to get these things accomplished, most should be something that we can get on right away.

The fun thing about Bucket Lists is that they are yours only.  They don’t involve anyone else normally because you only have control over yourself, not others.  So you can’t have “get my son to do his homework”.  That’s not a proper list member.

It is possible to have others included if you don’t have to count on them doing something.  A good one many people have is something like “Visit my Grandmother in Germany”.  All your Grandmother has to do is show up and so that is a valid Bucket List member.

Could you ever guess a Bucket List has so many rules?  Actually, you can even make up more rules for your very own bucket list.  Could be that everything has to get done by a certain date or you put the items in priority, so you do first things first.  Or you can just doodle out any old thing that comes to mind.

The importance of a Bucket List is that you now own a list of your dreams in concrete form.  When you get bored or tired or depressed, you can take out your Bucket List and enjoy thinking how you are going to get an item checked off.  It’s also best to do this while you are still capable of actually getting it done.  That’s why I’m traveling to exotic foreign countries now while I can still propel myself under my own power.  Not asking to be pushed across the Himalayas in a wheel chair.  So, see you have to be reasonable with your list.

So where did this all come from?  Most obvious is from Kicking the Bucket, as in dying.  The term is first seen in a 1993 Labor Relations Board report stating that since they didn’t get their whole agenda taken care of the remaining items would be put in a Bucket List.  Of course the 2007 movie with Jack Nicholson made the term even more popular.  It has now shown up numerous times in TV and movies since then.

So get on with it…..Start your very own Bucket List of all the things to want to do or have before you “kick the bucket”.  Don’t worry, no one is even going to see it unless you want them to.  It’s fun besides to dream…….

  • __________________
  • __________________
  • __________________
  • __________________  and more!