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.



How many times have you heard that?  Bottom line is that you need income to live.  The manner of living is different for everyone but bottom line, it still takes money to fiance eating, housing, clothing, and other basic needs.

Let’s first find out if you presently are making enough money to fund a reasonable lifestyle.  Again, we get into questions as to what is a reasonable life style?  Studies have shown us that $75,000 a year presently can provide a suitable life style in today’s world that will provide security and less worry.  I’m not sure if that is for only one person or covers a family.  Kids in college and having a  retirement plan doesn’t seem likely to be available  with only $6,250 before taxes a month to spend. Do you buy the $75,000 idea? It doesn’t really matter for our analysis as we are going to be looking at you as an individual with certain needs.

So let’s go about this a old fashioned way.  Get out your friendly bank statements (personal and business) and take a look at your expenditures.  Look to the basics first.  How much is the mortgage? How much for food? Day care? etc.  Be brutal and honest about how much you spent on those items and more in the last 6 months.  Now add how much debt you have and what the monthly payments are. Are you saving any money each month? Then using this information come up with a monthly budget of what you need to sustain your present lifestyle.


If the answer is yes, then go on to next hurdle and find out exactly how much income you are getting each month.  And then the major question:  ARE YOU MAKING ENOUGH INCOME TO COVER YOUR MONTHLY EXPENSES?  If your debt ratio to income is more than 15% then something is wrong(unless big items like cars and houses are involved).

By this time, you should be seeing some interesting developments.

  • If you are not satisfied  because you want your lifestyle to be different, then in what ways would you change it?
  • If you are not satisfied because you don’t have enough income, then the only way to change it is to earn more money.

Seems like a no brainer?  You can’t imagine how many people get hung up here!  Even Attorneys!

NOW YOUR TASK THIS WEEK IS TO TAKE A HARD LOOK AT THESE QUESTIONS AND ANALYZE EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING ON WITH YOUR “MONEY LIFE”.  If you need some help, call me.  Next week we will get into increasing your earning and what might be holding you back if that is what you need to do.


HEY, it’s June, that’s Mid-Year. For all of you it is 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/savings 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 let’s get started right now on making those changes that will get you to the next level in your career. 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.

Now look at your calendar for this week and put a simple task that you are going to do to change that negative to a positive. Put aside at least 30 minutes to do it. Because these areas are so important to be a happier lawyer, I will be blogging about each one starting next week with #1. SO STAY TUNED!


Onward we go with our discussion of PROCRASTINATION. Now you have all listed 5 areas of your life and at least one task you are procrastinating doing in that area. If you recall, that was your homework from the last article that I wrote and you read. If you haven’t done it because…….Oh yeah, you were procrastinating, do it now.

Next review the 7 possible reasons for procrastination. They are 1. we’re scared of doing it 2. we don’t like the task, 3. we feel overwhelmed 4. we like waiting until the last minute to feel the “rush” 5. unrealistic view of the time involved, 6. having psychological or physical problems which make the task difficult and last,7. striving for perfection,

Most of us can knock out number 6. That would be a really bad excuse unless it is true. Anyway, put the number or numbers of the reason for your procrastination beside each task. Now take a look. Are a lot of the numbers the same? Is it always feeling overwhelmed or do you not like any of the tasks? This will give you a road map for where we are going.

Next, prioritize the 5 tasks you have chosen to work on in order of most repulsive to least repulsive. Now take the most repulsive task and ask yourself. How important is this? Will my health be affected if it doesn’t get done? Will my income be affected? Will my happiness be affected? Will someone else’s happiness be affected? If you can’t answer yes to any of these questions, consider whether you should do the task at all or if you should delegate it to another to do.

However, if you answered yes, then you must do it. The task won’t go away , it will be exactly the same tomorrow or even bigger. Now, can you break it down in smaller parts ( Such as getting materials together to complete the task)? If you can answer yes to this, then take out your calendar and make an appointment with your calendar to do this first step. The trick is to not calendar it for longer than 7 days ahead, preferably no more than 5 days.(caveat: if it is a time sensitive task, then you need to calendar accordingly, as we lawyers say). Be sure to give yourself enough time to do it. Now forget it and get onto the next most repulsive task you have to do and do this procedure until you have completed all five. Aren’t you proud of yourself?

Now review the reason that you didn’t want to do the most repulsive task. Let’s take an example. You didn’t want to do an Opposition to a Summary Judgment Motion because you are afraid you don’t know how. Or are you overwhelmed because it is a really big task and will take several hours? Or are you basically bored with doing research and legal writing? Can you hear the little kid screaming inside you that doesn’t want to do it period and really only wants to play.

What’s the first thing you can do to break it up in parts? Read the S J motion and mark all the fatal errors and areas that you are going to dispute. Next calendar all of your dates of service, etc. You can probably do that in less than two hours, before starting any research, so calendar just that. Next, calendar time to decide what research you have to do by looking at the areas of dispute and noting the issues. This may take a bit more time but you should come out with specific areas to research. Then calendar for that, not too far in the distant future. The actual writing will have to be calendared within sufficient time to do the proper service, so that needs to be done at some point. And then its all done and you can play.

There is one reason that needs to be address more in depth here. That is feeling overwhelmed. If you can step away and decide that you really just have too much going on in your life and can’t get anything done even by prioritizing, maybe you need to give serious thought to getting help. You could hire a law student or another attorney to do the Opposition. You can hire an organizer to clean out your closets. You can hire a housekeeper to clean your house. You can entice your children with some goodie into feeding the dog and cleaning their rooms.

None of this is easy but identifying and writing down a place in your calendar for each task is the best method for starting to overcome your hesitation. Also you can resort to little tricks, like giving yourself a gift when you complete a task on time This may work for you, or you may have to identify all the negatives things that will happen if you don’t do it…..

OK, now it says in my calendar that its time to go to the Gym…..I’m thinking about hitting DELETE …..


I was giving a seminar on GRIT at the Littler law firm in San Jose, CA last week and one of the lawyers mentioned that procrastination was one of her areas that she needed more grit in.  I didn’t have time to go into too much detail, so here’s the definitive blog on that.  Hope it helps a lot of you.

I’ve now found a hot topic that I would like to spend at least two blogs on. It’s that dirty word…..PROCRASTINATION. I am becoming an expert or perhaps I have always been an expert at doing it.

So, here goes. Procrastination is the single most important time waster we have. Guess what is the number one area of procrastination? EXERCISE. Yes, we all know it is the “fountain of youth”, etc. etc. but how easy it is to drive right by the Gym on the way home. Now, there are some people out there that really like to exercise. We see them jogging along in the mornings and know that they are happy, healthy and skinny. We long to be there, happily running along side but can never quite get ourselves worked up enough to “just do it”.

Why, you ask, do humans put off even serious stuff that they know should be done? This even goes to things like not taking medication or going to the doctor for really serious stuff. A study showed that people who are on the edge of glaucoma and need to put drops in their eyes every night to keep it at bay, are only 80% compliant. Without the medication, glaucoma will develop. With the medication, it won’t. How bad is that?

The experts tell us we procrastinate for several reasons. First, we can be scared of what we might get into by doing it. Second, we really don’t like the task at hand. Third, we feel overwhelmed. Fourth, some people get a rush from waiting until the last minute. Fifth, having an unrealistic view of the time it takes to do a task. Sixth, having psychological or physical problems that makes it difficult to get things done. And last, striving for perfectionism which is unrealistic.

As attorneys, we know that procrastination can cause untold misery and regret. How about the attorney who blows statutes or always has to clean up messes that arise because motions or other work doesn’t get done on time. Most of us aren’t that bad, but procrastination does intrude in our lives and most of us could live without it or at least minimize it.

How about people in your life that drive you crazy because they procrastinate? How do you handle them? Also, some people only procrastinate in certain areas. Their home may be immaculate and the bills paid on time, but they can’t commit ( or decide not to commit) to anything really important, like marriage, having children, buying a new car, starting a practice, or changing a job.

Now comes the homework. Before my next week article which is going to contain some ways to start overcoming procrastination, write down the areas of your life. This will be things like

  • Health,
  • Home,
  • Career Planning,
  • Personal,
  • Family,
  • School,
  • Social,
  • Work
  • and anything else you can think of
  • Then write one thing in each of those areas that you are now procrastinating on doing. For instance, my very first one is “going to the gym three times a week, every week not just when I feel like it (which might be never)”. Then look at the seven things that might be holding you back from doing the task. Mine is number two . I don’t like to exercise. I have never felt any endorphins rushing and I get sweaty.

Try to find at least 5 of these specific procrastinations that you would like to tackle. Next blog we’ll get down to the nitty gritty and offer some solutions. The first one, of course, is something you’ve already done. You have recognized and identified TASKS that need doing and have written that down. Congratulations, you are on the road to procrastination free bliss……stay tune next week!


Purpose is the final trait that brings Autonomy and Mastery together for greater success!  So, exactly what is Purpose? You would think we would all know. And how does it fit into our Success Trio?

Being the glue that binds Autonomy and Mastery, Purpose is a goal that is defined.  It takes determination and is the object for which somethings exists or is done.  The word, Intentionally, is very important.  Meaning that it is a goal that is intended and not something that is thrust upon us out of necessity.

People are often asked, What is the Purpose of Life?  Such a basic question can be answered all kinds of ways.  Did you ever hear the one about the man who spent all his life trying to find the meaning of life until one day he met a peasant who said that the swami who lived up this gigantic mountain knew the meaning of life.  The man climbed the mountain at great peril to himself for 10 days until he reached the top where the swami had a hut. In front of the hut sat the swami.  The man approached him and said “I understand you know the meaning of life,I have searched the world to find out, please tell me”.  The swami eyed him for a awhile and then said in a voice filled with knowledge: “Life is a Fountain”.  Shocked the man replied: “Life is a Fountain?”.  The swami got up from his cross legged position and walked up to the man and said: “Life is not a Fountain?”.

We might say that the man wasted his life looking for someone to define his purpose.  How many other people are doing that in real life? Are you?

To purposefully do a task, it must be planned.  First, however, there has to be a need.  Once that need is  uncovered, then the purpose becomes clear about what the outcome should be.  For instance, if your refrigerator is smelling, then you know something has to be done.  Your purpose is to have a refrigerator which doesn’t smell.  It is not for you to clean out the refrigerator. That only one way of handling it. It’s important to recognize the difference.  One is jumping to one possible solution while the real purpose is overlooked.  Also this kind of thinking can stifle creative thought.

How many other ways can you see to getting the refrigerator not to smell anymore? An obvious, but absurd one, is to buy a new refrigerator….however, absurd thoughts for other situations might prove fruitful… Don’t limit yourself!

Next week we will put all three Success Traits together and see what we get.  DON’T MISS IT!


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

What happened with your bucket list?

Last week we talked about your Bucket List.  All those things you want to do before you “Kick the Bucket”.  What did you put down on your list?  Is there anything that you did immediately?  Anything that you set a date to do?

We were talking about the fact that no one really know the exact date that they will “Kick the Bucket” but that it is a good idea to plan for it while you still have the strength to get everything done that you want to.

So, this is preaching to the choir.  Everyone knows that time should be spent in getting the fun or full filling tasks done.  So here we are back with the fact that change or just doing something that is not immediate work or family related is difficult for most people.  So the one thing you can do is take 30 minutes to compose your list.  Send me your list or send it to a friend.  That is taking the next step in getting to it.

I thought that at least a second Blog would be worthwhile to encourage this.  What do you think?  If you could just do one thing this week which would make you happier, what would that be?  That’s number 1 on your list.  Now go for number 2,3 and 4.