Last blog I promised you that I would add the second key this week and next week will give you the third key.  Are you on the edge of your seat?

Second key is to TAKE ACTION.  What are your action choices you ask?

  • Therapy/counseling
  • coaching
  • find mentor
  • talk to your CPA
  • talk to your friends
  • talk to your family
  • google
  • find publications to help

These are a only few of the obviously choices to look for help.  Again, if you have specifically identified the correct challenge, then the action becomes simpler. For instance, if you believe that you are not making your monthly nut, and you have paperwork to show that, your best next step may be to sit down with your CPA and find out what part of your financial picture is suffering.  You may assume that it is lack of income but the real problem may be too much unneeded expense or something you never thought of.   A good CPA who is on your side and aware of your business can be a big help here.

After you have gathered as much information as you can from your CPA, then you  plan the next step.  You may need now to involve your family to see how to cut expenses or talk with your office staff.   If you are lost as how to proceed then it is time to get a coach involved to pinpoint your next action steps.

Do you see how it is so vitally important to properly identify not only the correct challenge but to whittle that challenge down to be able to see what action can be taken to overcome it? Insight is the first step to any challenge.

When you are sure you have gotten the challenge not only properly identified but also narrowed the needed action down, then you need to start developing action tasks to get to your goal of overcoming your challenge.  Again, a coach is very useful for this step because they are aware of how to focus you on the important goals as well as take into account your entire situation.  A good coach will make your goals due able so that you can have the greatest chance of success.

Stay tuned for next blog to find out the Third and Final Key to Overcoming Any Challenge!


Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know how to meet any challenge you might have in your career? Will keep tuned and in to two or three more blogs, I’m going to give you a system to approach how you deal with obstacles which come up in your work.  So print out this blog or save it and refer back to it when you are feeling stuck.

First, You will need to identify the KIND of challenge you are facing. Some of the more obvious ones are:

  • Financial/ not enough income
  • Enjoyment
  • Not enough personal time
  • Not happy with area of law practing
  • Don’t know how to market
  • Feeling lonely
  • Anxiety/stress
  • Depression
  • Too much work or too little work
  • Time Management

These are only a few challenges but this is where you start. The better you can define the actual challenge , the more success you will have overcoming it.

Asking yourself: Why is it a challenge for me is the next step to answer. The more information that you can find out about the fears or blocks that you are experiencing around the challenge will help you to really get down to the  nut of the challenge.  Doing this step may even show up as that your challenge is something else.  Say for instance, you are having trouble with your assistant.  He/She is showing up late to work, spends time on personal errands and generally doesn’t support your work.  On the other hand, he/she is very intelligent, a distant relative and his/her salary demand is very low.  So at this point you see the challenge as being stuck trying to make a decision about what to do next.

But what if the real challenge is that you are unwilling to be a real business person and look at your bottom line? The fear of having to face the fact that this person is not supporting your business and that it would take a tremendous amount of mentoring, teaching and supervision to change this is the real problem.

You can see how getting to the correct, specific challenge you are facing is the FIRST STEP.

We’ll get to what to do with this information with next week’s blog…..SO STAY TUNED! 



Review your income and expenses in 2015 NOW.  Yes, I know you don’t have to do taxes for a few more months but this is really important.  Also label expenses or categorize them so you can see where your money went.  Be brutal and don’t let anything get by.  Can you tell how much you spent on designer coffee?  How much for gym or classes? What was your overhead total? How much was spent on marketing?

Now go through and mark each expense as N. Necessary or NN. Not Necessary. Look at the N’s and see if all or part of that expense was not really necessary and mark it.  N is things like rent, reasonable food, gas, phone, gas, car expense, etc.

Look at the bottom line.  Did you make enough money to cover your expenses this year?  Did you incur any debt? If so how much?


First, take another look at the NN expenses.  How many can you cut out altogether or decrease?  How many of the N expenses might be reduced, if even slightly?

When you have done this as Step 1, you will be able to see if you can set your 2016 goals to recover at least as much income as your 2015 revenue.  If not, then onto Step 2.

This is about finding out how much more income you need to make in 2016.  Look at your overall short fall for 2015.  How much was that?  Do you want to add any expenses to 2016?  At this point, you need to figure out a good estimate as to what  income you need to generate in 2016.

Some insightful authors have determined that to be at our happiest as attorneys we need to make $70,000 a year.  Does this seem reasonable to you?  This figure is, of course, balanced with having less income but more happiness and work/life balance.  If you are willing to take this information at face value, it may be a place to start your next year’s budget.  It means you won’t have so many goodies but more time to enjoy the ones you already have.

So, all of this is your decision.  UGH

I have found that this is a really simple way to look at your financial situation.  We’re not talking about saving for retirement or anything else at this point. Just how did you do money-wise last year.  Debt reduction and proper savings come later.  This exercise should be done at least once a year.  Now is a great time.


If you can decide this upfront, you can get whatever you want or need.  It’s as simple as that. 

The catch is that you have to come up with a wished for result that is reasonable and available.  I can’t ask that the result I want is to become a star ballerina within a year’s time (or a life time) because that is not reasonable nor achievable for me.  I could ask, however, that I become a good salsa dancer in a year’s time and that is achievable if I am willing to plan carefully and be committed to my goal.

You ask, how is this different from setting a goal?  Good question. Answer is that you have an “end” to work back from and are clear about what you want.  This makes goal setting much easier and more rewarding because you know exactly what you want the goal to materialize into.

Try this out with your New Years Resolutions.  Exercise is usually one of the biggies in this area.  End result might be that you want to be able to enter a half marathon in a year.  That result will then put you on a goal track to achieve the endurance to do it.  Can you see why you might get a bigger commitment to exercise if you see yourself running a marathon at the end rather than just forcing yourself to go to the gym?

THINK BIG.  I am finding more and more in my coaching practice that clients aren’t thinking on a big enough scale. It’s just as easy to plan for a 50% increase in revenue as it is to set up goals for a 10% increase.  It might be less scary to go for a lower figure but you are more likely to succeed by shooting higher. There is still success in reaching a 30% goal and adding a 20% goal the next time.

RIGHT NOW take pen and paper or iPad and decide one result you want in the next three months.  Write that result down and look at it at least once a day.  Tell it to one person.  Send it to me. I’d like to see it.  I guarantee that just doing this step will excite a few of those pesky neurons to act.


***One of your New Years Resolution is to set up a 15 minute conversation to see if we might be a good fit to collaborate on your future as a better lawyer.

See my website for directions on how to do this. My Website


Dear Readers: I first posted this titled: IS THERE AN ELEPHANT IN YOUR LAW OFFICE? Unfortunately,  today the thoughts are the same, just a new title.

You’ve probably heard about the dysfunctional family with the Elephant in the living room, and nobody talking about it or even recognizes that it is there. Well, the same thing can and does happen frequently in Law Offices, from the small to the large.

So what are the characteristics of these Law Office Elephants?
• Elephants are born from denial and fed by denial
• Elephants are big, heavy and move very slowly. They are very happy to stay in the office all the time and never go outside.
• Elephants start out as 1,000 lb babies and get bigger …and bigger.
• Elephants take up a lot of room and are constantly getting in the way.
• Elephants eat and poop and you have to fed them and clean up after them.
• Elephants can’t fit through your doors once they are full grown, so you usually have to take the door off the hinges or cut a huge hole in the wall to get them out.

How are Elephants created?
• Elephants are created by time wasters.
• Elephants are created by living in denial about issues in the office which cause resentment, foster chaos, and divert the focus of good lawyering.
• Elephants are created by lack of leadership.
• Elephants are created by lethargy.
• Elephants are sometimes created by drug or alcohol use.
• Elephants are created by lack of planning.

Time Wasters can come as spending inordinate amount of time on unimportant phone calls or projects which will not produce revenue. More subtle time wasters are being so hesitate to make a decision that one never gets made or when it does, it is useless.
How about the “doggie” cases in the office that do not produce anything but pain and frustration? Definitely a huge Time Waster.
Then there is the law office where one of the staff comes in late every morning and every one grumbles about it behind his/her back but no one ever speaks up. Or the drama queen or king of the office who has an emergency every twenty minutes. Or the Bank that totally screws up the accounts over and over again, but never gets dumped. Or the client who, although his case is worth big bucks, is such a hassle that it takes 24 hours of therapy to recover from a session with him.
Elephants don’t like someone to take a leadership role in the office and to begin to solve the problems and thus deny the elephant more food so it can get bigger. Elephants would prefer their handlers to snooze or zone out for most of the day.
When Elephants smell that someone in the law office is using drugs or alcohol, they raise their trunks up and thank the elephant Gods for providing a substantial increase in food. Especially, if there are timid people around who cannot bring themselves to recognize that something is very, very wrong in the work environment. In these cases a special Elephant Intervention might have to take place using professional help. More tragically, if lethargy and lack of leadership is already in place, the Elephant can get so big that it obliterates the office and everyone in it.
Elephants thrive best in an environment where there is no planning. When there are not clear goals and focus,    Elephants are happy.

Once a plan is in place to stop time wasters and to challenge problems and not ignore them, Elephants start to shrink to a size that will fit through the office doors and with a kick to the behind, wander back out to the jungle where they belong.
There are other times, however, when people in the office have to cut a huge hole in the wall and shove the Elephant out. Unfortunately, the Elephant may be accompanied by several staff members or clients. The results can be painful, but remember the hole in the wall can be easily rebuilt and after sweeping up the last of the Elephant pooh, the office will be large enough to accommodate all kinds of new work and profits.

So the next time you reach for a pen on your desk but instead find a big grey trunk under your hand, it’s time to act……


Everyone knows that the most people rank public speaking right up there with root canals or at least something to be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, attorneys also know that being an effective speaker, whether it be in Court or in a Seminar, is a great benefit to their profession.

Although there is not enough space here to go into details, I wanted to open up a conversation to explore why it is so scary and how attorneys can work towards feeling more comfortable in speaking.

  • Let’s first look at why this topic causes so much fear. Are you afraid you will make a mistake? You have no idea what to speak about? Do you think everyone will walk out when you start speaking? Do you feel it will open you up to criticism? The reasons go on and on. See if you can identify yours.
  • Next thing to do is to refute the idea that you can’t do it. This means you have to change your mind as well as your behavior. If you can identify your reason as really ridiculous (everyone will walk out), then you can start to dig your way out of your negative thoughts. Take a look at what might disprove your thoughts. If you can’t find something to speak about, look at the needs of your target audience. You can even ask them what they would like to find out about. You will make less mistakes if you are thoroughly prepared and have rehearsed.
    If all else fails, think about joining a Toastmaster’s Group where you can get some support and practice.

So, you have made up your mind that if other attorneys can do it, so can you. Where do you start? First, you will need to find an audience. This should be people in your “target market”. That means people who have the ability to become clients or refer to you. Also you will want people or a group where you can get some publicity and help in branding yourself as a competent and knowledgeable attorney.

For instance, if you are a family law attorney, Marriage and Family Therapists(MFCCs) might be part of your target market. They often need to refer clients to family law attorneys. What do these therapists need to know about the law? Is it about adoption? Is it about family support? Is it about bankruptcy? Is it about the rights of parents? The list goes on and on. Here you might want to run any ideas by a family law attorney that you know and find out what is of interest.

Next you will need to find out where these groups meet. Do they have an organization that you can approach for speaking? If so, prepare a few topics and write up a proposal allowing them to pick from it a topic that they want to hear about. If you can’t find a group, it might be possible to form your own little seminar by inviting all of the MFCCs in your area to a free seminar. Sometimes libraries will have free facilities to do this or you may have to use someone’s large conference room or even rent a space.

Next you will have to PREPARE, PREPARE AND PREPARE some more. Research and have a “core” of information that you are going to concentrate on. This will make you less nervous because you have facts, opinions and ideas that you are going to give to your audience. You will also need a beginning and an ending. If you aren’t a good joke teller, forget that. Often times you can start with a scary story about how a MFCC got in trouble for not knowing the law. You need something up front to grab the attention of the audience immediately.

Last, know your venue. Arrive early to set things up. Coordinate with the sponsor (if there is one) so you know the time allotted for your talk. Leave time for questions or tell your audience up front that you welcome comments and questions during your presentation. Be sure you have a microphone available if you need it. Also it is very important to have hand outs so you can put your contact information on it.

So I have skimmed the surface of public speaking. Hopefully, I may have calmed some of your fears about trying it to increase your marketing. Have a lot of your friends in the first audience. That always helps and get their reviews.


  • 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.


Sorry, I missed yesterday.  I know you are all waiting with bated breath (that’s holding your breath in fear. I just looked it up) for my new blog.  So here goes:

I asked myself as I coach more and more attorneys, what holds back attorneys from working their goals.  You have to understand that as a collaboration, the client and I set goals that are derived from what he or she wants to accomplish.  That is the client’s decision in coaching.  So if he or she and I have an agreement that working those goals will make the client richer, happier, more successful, have more leisure time, or whatever else they want, why doesn’t the attorney work them?

What happens time after time, that many clients have some reason that the goals are not even started.  Not to instill guilt because that is not healthy, but I ask myself what the heck is going on?

Now, we do know that some people don’t really like to set goals. The Myers/Briggs Temperament system can spot those people and we can work with them a little differently.  However, still if a person is scattered and not focused , it is extremely difficult to be successful.  For example if a solo is trying to practice in too many areas of the law, this can be not only unsuccessful but very anxiety producing.   Think of all the different target markets to solicit and all the different laws to learn.  It is a disaster waiting to happen.

Good time management needs to be leaned and used.  The discipline to plan a calendar out the week before seems overwhelming to some but is the bedrock of getting a lot done without a great deal of anxiety. Everyone who is a lawyer found a way to get through law school and pass the bar.  This took the same kind of time management. So why are many attorneys so resistant to learning and using time management on a consistent basis?

Probably the answer comes in very personal ways, such as:

  • To be held accountable for accomplishing something in a given time produces anxiety when its not done. Better to never start at all.
  • Better not to start something that they might not finish.
  • Better to keep putting goals off to do when there is a “better time”.
  • Better to fail so that people can’t expect more.

These are just a few of the answers I’ve come up with.  I’m sure there are plenty more.  Do you see yourself in any of this?  If so, let me know.  I can help. 


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.