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!


Didn’t have time for a blog today, so I am reprinting an article that I did earlier to explain the difference between therapy and coaching.  Hope you like it!

Towards A Greater Understanding.

As an attorney, part of my career has been focused on Professional Coaching in the legal field. I have always been interested in Mentoring and helping my colleagues succeed. After 20 years of running a highly successful solo practice, I felt my experience and insight would be helpful to a wider audience. Having two coaches who influenced my professional life and supported me through many challenges and changes, I was aware how valuable coaching can be.
I also had three very fine therapists in my life who were bright spots in my development and added greatly to my success. Looking back on both of those experiences, it is easy to see the differences and the similarities and I thought it might be valuable to share my insights. My belief is that a more detailed understanding of the principles of professional coaching by Psychologists and Lawyers will also benefit the support and interplay which could exist between the two communities.


Unlike Psychologists who train, have supervised experience and obtain a license, coaches usually don’t have any formal training in coaching. There are national and state organizations to which coaches can belong, but as of now, there is no formal College or graduate training available, of which I am aware.
Some people do go through training set up by facilities that give them certification or other credentials, but there is no licensing or other public scrutiny involved in these courses. Some times these people are called “Life Coaches” or “Business Coaches” and come from an array of backgrounds.
Professional Coaches, on the other hand, must have an intimate knowledge of the field in which they are coaching. It doesn’t work to have a mechanic coaching a CEO since there will be no trust or credibility. Professional coaches must also have been successful in their careers. This doesn’t mean that they haven’t had failures and setbacks but you don’t want to be coached by someone who hasn’t yet figured out the business end of their field for themselves .
Last, professional coaches have superior people skills, just like psychologists. They must be flexible and able to work with difficult situations without letting go of their objectivity, just like psychologists. Listening is an important aspect of both professions.


The first goal of a coach is to help the client ferret out the difficulties that the client is having in being successful in whatever endeavor he or she is attempting. Once the problem surfaces, the coach and client can work on specific goals to achieve success. Take for instance the problem of revenue which is usually right up there on the “increase” list. It is not important to have a deep understanding of all the psychological factors involved in why the client isn’t earning the desired amount but it is important to the coach to 1. make sure the desire amount is reasonable 2. make sure the client has the motivation to do what is necessary to achieve that goal and 3. make sure the client is aware of the time it will take to achieve a significant goal.

Coaches then work with the client to set up specific goals. These will be written down and broken down into “baby steps” . Just like an athletic coach, the professional coach prods the client to keep on track. Support, through realistic praise and highlighting the positive is always beneficial but will be directed towards achievement, not understanding.


While formulating goals, it is important that person being coached have time limits set on their achievements. Of course, these can always be adjusted if they prove undoable, but good coaches know the value of a time certain to gain focus and momentum to continually work towards success.


It is important to have a written agreement setting out the duties and responsibilities of both the Coach and the Client.
At the first meeting, the client should walk out with tentative long-term goals as well as specific goals to work on right now. The method to achieve those goals should be evident to both the client and the coach.


Perhaps one of the most significant similarities between psychotherapy and coaching is that both professionals have the betterment of the client/patient’s life as their sole purpose in working with them.
Mentors have their own businesses, personal lives and time constraints. Family can be supportive but they also have their own worries and concerns. Colleagues and friends who give advice may not fully understand the needs of the client.
Psychotherapists and Professional Coaches have none of these restraints. Their work is defined by the individual’s needs, thus making them unique in any person’s life.

Hopefully this brief overview has been helpful in more clearly defining exactly what Professional Coaching is all about and will aid  lawyers in understanding the role it can play in their life.


Again, I had a great revelation while watching television!  The scene was a Swedish detective mystery which I am addicted to.  The detective had pulled his car up to a house where he was going to interrogate a mean gal who might be the murderer.  He parked his car and went inside. She wasn’t home. Then gal came home and parked her truck directly in back of the detective’s car.

That’s when I started to worry.  What if he can’t get his car out? Why didn’t he think of this before he parked? Sure enough the mean gal started to curse and yell that someone was in her parking space.  Well, it all worked out and we found out that she wasn’t the murderer but I also found out that I was a little crazy.  This is a show, right? Then I remembered that I had recently read an article on brain science that said our brain believes that everything we see on TV and Movies, is real.  Of course, my brain should have worried about that stupid parking error…..and made my blood pressure go up.

I then realized that I often get caught up in worrying way too much about situations I see on TV. The fictional ones you understand, not the real live news.  Yes, I feel compassion for real people in trouble but I don’t feel like I can help  them or warn them like I do with fictional characters!

Then I came across this WORRYNOMORE  warranty which guarantees if the manufacturer or store can’t fix defects, the warranty will cover it. I envisioned a WORRYNOMORE LIFE WARRANTY I could get for all things that happen in my life. Unfortunately, I should have stopped there because I went onto read about Macy’s WORRYNOMORE warranty which you can get for an additional fee when you buy mattresses and furniture.  Oh my! Macy’s got only one star and at least ten of the most incredible stories about nightmares of absolutely run around and no customer service let alone compensation for major defects. And these were in 2015….

If you could buy a WORRYNOMORE LIFE WARRANTY for all of your life’s worries, how much would you pay for it? What worries would you like it to cover?  What would the elements of the warranty need to be in order for you to be covered(ie., money compensation, psychological counseling, a worry counseling sent to your home immediately?)

You are a lawyer, what would the language of the warranty look like?

If you did this exercise, you might find out something more about your worries….but I won’t give you a warranty on that!


I was forced into watching the Dr. Oz show this morning because his program is on right after the Today Show. Not switching channels was my first lazy move of the day.  However, he had a guest psychologist on who spoke about constant worry and the stress from it which can have disastrous affects on the body and mind.

She spoke with three women who had different patterns of worry but each found the worry was taking a toll on their live.  One of the suggestions was to interfere when the thoughts start by thinking of something silly(like a man in a bunny suit singing nonsense tunes).  Or to think of something pleasant that has happened in your life.  The trouble I found with this one was that I didn’t know what to think about after I had “interfered”.  I discovered that part of my thought process is to always  start planning activities or work on solving problems which sometimes produces more stress.

This indicates that I need to come up with different subjects to think about.  That’s really hard.

The other dynamic suggestion was, of course, meditation and breath control.  Taking a deep inhale for five counts, then hold for five counts then exhale for five counts.  I guess it would help to think of a mountain stream or a country side filled with flowers after doing this.

I then realized that I am handicapped in stress control because I don’t listen to music.  Maybe that comes from having been married to a composer and having to attend drum concerts! Also constantly being told that I had no musical ability….. Boy, now I can blame my lack of ability to handle worry on my ex!

So, what do you do with all this new found knowledge.  Well, its probably worth a try.  We all know we waste a lot of time worrying about things that never happen. One more solution that was given was to say that you will have a specific time to worry and will set up a “worry box” where you will put your worries until the appointed time.  I think that one might work for me. At least I could get some sleep! unless I start worrying that I might forget what’s in my worry box and overlook some important worry…..

Stay well and have some fun this week…..And Get Some Sleep!


Purpose, Autonomy and Mastery spells  PAM.  We could make a logo of that and carry it around to remind us each day that if those three elements can be attained , then we will be doing much better in our lives.

I’m thinking that this is the right order. That we need to find the Purpose first.  Is the purpose a biggie like: “What is my purpose on earth?” or something small like:”What is the purpose of my work?” or even smaller as: “What is the purpose of my being in school?”.  Some answers will come quickly, other not so quickly.  Probably the ones that take longer to come up with are more important?

After that we need to look at Autonomy.…learning to do things ourselves. If we define the purpose of our work is to “advocate for people who are in trouble” then we have to find out what that means in each of our daily lives.  Yours is probably very different from mine, even though we say we have the same Purpose.

Having strength to know what YOU alone can do is the key.  That doesn’t mean you don’t need others to help but you are the leader and define the path.

Last, we come to Mastery.  Here once you know your Purpose and have decided how you alone will fulfill that purpose, then you have to venture out in the world and teach yourself how to do it.  As we discussed in previous posts, you will find others who have already Mastered your purpose and can learn from them.  You will explore exactly what Mastery means for you .  Mastery involves learning but at a deeper level than most of us have experienced.  To become a “Master” one must fail and learn from each failure.  Think of how many times you screwed up learning something like how to play Chess, but mastering it became fun, especially when you could beat your parent!

Now I’m going to let you onto a little secret.  If you are having trouble figuring out what purpose goals you have or where to start, begin by writing out your Mission Statements.  One is for your personal life and one for your professional life.  Here you will find out where your values are and how to expand them into your everyday life.

And you will have PAM.


I had to look this one up.  Autonomy, per Webster is “having self-government” or “existing or functioning independently”.  Then I looked at the word just ahead of it in the dictionary which was AUTONOMIC  and noticed they both have the same root.  Autonomic means”of or controlled by that part of the nervous system that regulates the motor functions of the heart. lungs, etc.”

Isn’t it interesting to think that functioning independently could become automatic?  But don’t we really strive to do this as we grow and learn exactly what it takes to become independent from our parents, school, etc.?  The word “rely” seems to pop up when talking about autonomy as the opposite.  If we rely on something or someone we lose some of our autonomy.

Now comes the quagmire.  We have to rely on our parents for many years to get us to adulthood.  Then we rely on the person we partner with and with our friends.  Although to some less decree as we become more independent.  No more do we have to call our girlfriends the night before school to find out what they are wearing!

For most of us, the fear of having to do something totally on our own never leaves us.  The truth is also that you cannot accomplish a lot totally on your own.  So why is Autonomy considered right up there with Mastery and Purpose in being successful?  Because before we can truly find success, we must GROW UP.  This means taking responsibility for our actions, disciplining ourselves to avoid bad habits such as drug taking, helping other people and caring for the environment as examples of grown up behavior.

As we begin these actions, we start towards becoming independent and not influenced by destructive outside forces.  This is all important in building success into our lives.

Now the question is, could we be doing this automatically?  Like breathing?  It seems to me that this takes place only after we reach each plateau in our quest for independence.  Once we walk, we never stop.  Once we venture out and find a friend, we do it again.  Once we leave our parents, most of the time, we don’t go back.  We are becoming independent. If we slip back to a more dependent position such as living again with our parents, we have lost a certain amount of independence.  There are circumstances, of course, that you might return home to a parent to help them but you are strongly aware that this hasn’t diminished your independence, only changed it because now you are caring for a more dependent person.  Its important to recognize this difference.

So the secret to autonomy seems to be to Grow Up.  Many people struggle with this.  They cling to toxic people in their life.  They keep doing childish acts that keep them from facing the perils and rewards of growing up.  Many people and yes, lawyers, don’t even know what it is to live a grown up life…….let’s talk about that next time. In the meantime, where are you in the cycle of getting to GROWN UP (that’s a noun)!

How to Make the New Year Yours

HO HO HO,  here we go again with a new year after playing and eating ourselves into oblivion!

So, let’s make 2015 DIFFERENT.  We have been talking about CHANGE.  Why not really make a change in 2015.

You have all the tools. You know how to find the goals you want to work on.

  • You know how to prioritize those goals.
  • You know how to put those goals in your calendar each week.
  • You know how to get a good ANCHOR to keep you on tract.
  • You know how to visualize the goal outcome
  • If you don’t think you know how to do this, read my old blogs!

Now all you have to do is pick one thing you want to change in 2015.  Is it making more money?  Is it spending more time with your family?  Is it finding a hobby?  Is it doing charity work?  Is it making a complete change in your career? Is it losing weight or exercising more?

Whatever it is, decide on it, write it down and look at it every day.  Then make a plan and write that down how you are going to actually make this change happen.  Then all you have to do is to follow your plan and you will achieve a significant change.


Just a note:  I am leaving on vacation on 12/22 and not returning until 1/2 so no blogging for me during that time. I gave you enough to think about until I return…..

  May all your days be Merry and Bright and this Holiday Season the Best Ever!

What is the secret ingredient for success?

Can’t you guess?  We know lots of work, lots of planning and lots of support is supposed to make us successful.  But does it?  Does it guarantee success?

So you start out with your Goals.  You have strategically planned out how you are going to gain more SUCCESS.  You may want to earn more money, you may want more free time, you may want to lose weight or you may want a better relationship with your partner or children.

Your plan is down in stone.  You look at it every morning and you chop it up in smaller pieces to do a little each day.  Maybe you even have a coach or a friend to whom you are accountable.  With that, how can you fail? 

You read somewhere that if you do a different behavior for 20 days, it will become a habit.  So you are on your way to the 20th day, speeding ahead and actually seeing results.  Unless of course if it is a long term goal which you have set up to get completed in months or even years.  Then you expect that you will not see “results” as soon as quick, immediate goals like losing weight or creating a little more time for yourself.

However, at some point you find out that human beings are not machines which can simply be plugged in and produce an outcome in days, weeks or months.  They get sick, they get distracted, they have crises and they just get plain tired.
So come on Eleanor, Tell us the secret ingredient.  Well, folks, wait no more…..It is the ability to have an ANCHOR to your plans and continue to use that anchor every day to keep you on tract.  I always suggest that you go to bed with your anchor and wake up with it each morning.  Even if you are not going to work on your goals that day, the anchor is always with you until all your goals have been reached.

So what will your anchor look like?

  • It will be short like, “I will do one task today to raise my income”,  or “I will stay on my healthy diet today” or “I will find 2 hours this week to be with my family” or “I will calendar my schedule each week”
  • Anchors are doing things, not airy- fairy ideals that might come about or not. “I want to be successful” won’t work.
  • Anchors are directly related to your goals.
  • Anchors may change a little but if they are well conceived, not much.
  • Anchors must be made conscious by saying them in your head or out loud each day at least twice each day.
  • Do not have more than one Anchor at a time

So now all you have to do is decide on a goal.  Write down that goal.  Break it up into smaller tasks. Decide on an Anchor and get started.