Average Is An Addiction by Deborah Dubree
Where are you average? Make no mistake: every area of life, even among top performers, separates into top, middle, and bottom tier. Author Deborah Dubree notes that:
very few people have the guts, determination, discipline and commitment to break out of average and become the greatest at what they do. Some people…have settle into being moderately satisfied with their current level of success. Still others didn’t even realize they had options.
But those who are willing to be bold and push the limits of performance have the opportunity to bust through mediocrity and to move to the top in every area of their professional and personal lives.
We’re down to 41 days left in 2013… Just 25 days, excluding weekends, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Not much time to make a big shift… Or is it?
The stereotypical lawyer’s answer: it depends on what you do with that time. And that’s why I’m inviting you to accept the 2013 Finish Strong Challenge.
Here’s how you play:
- Choose one focus for the remainder of the year. You could select networking, getting back in touch with former clients or other contacts, getting that article written or that blog set up and populated… The focus depends on your own business development plan, but the key here is to choose only one focus for the challenge.
Of course, you can choose to take on other business development activity during this time, but having a single focus point will make the challenge crystal clear. Continue Reading
I once talked with a client who was upset at the prospect of paying nearly $1,000 for equipment required for making a presentation to a group of her ideal clients. She confirmed my expectations that she’d be able to use the equipment again for similar presentations, and I suggested that she view the financial outlay as an investment rather than a cost.
“What’s the difference,” she sighed, “call it cost or investment, that money is just plain gone.” You spend cash for both costs and investments, true, but the distinction is critical in making smart decisions about rainmaking expenses.
A cost is defined as “the amount or equivalent paid or charged for something;” an investment is “the outlay of money, usually for income or profit.” The difference? No matter how beneficial, a cost is money paid or time spent that doesn’t produce further profit or income. An investment, however, is intended to be recouped and, if the investment is well chosen, to bring in more money than you originally paid Big difference!
How to Manage Your Time
to Build a Profitable Practice
and a Rich Personal Life
Have you ever…
- Attended a meeting and planned to follow up with one or more new contacts… Then let the time slip by without getting in touch with any of them?
- Spent several hours at the end of the month completing your time sheets, promising yourself that you’d stay on top of them this month?
- Wanted to write an article that would help to develop your reputation for being highly skilled in your field of practice, but never got past the brainstorming phase?
- Found yourself working late into the night to meet a deadline that you’d watched creeping up, planning to start working on the project “tomorrow” until you hit the deadline?
- Missed (or almost missed) a deadline?
- Skipped a personal commitment because you were too busy, even though if you were honest about it, you know you had time to complete the work and just didn’t get it done?
- Kept an email you wanted to read or respond to in your in-box so you wouldn’t forget about it… And then lost that important email among the hundreds (or even thousands) or of other emails cluttering up your in-box?
Procrastination can have dire consequences for you and even for your clients. Deep down, you realize that procrastination is keeping you from realizing your goals and adding to your stress even if you aren’t experiencing significant consequences. And yet, almost everyone procrastinates sometimes.
Join me on Thursday, November 7 at 3 PM ET (Noon PT/8 PM London/Friday 7 AM Sydney) for a complimentary 45-minute webinar that will show you how to conquer procrastination, once and for all. I’ll share proven strategies to help you do the right things at the right time, so you minimize your stress and avoid risky procrastination.
To register, just click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to enter your first name and primary email address. (Can’t attend live? Register anyway, and I’ll let you know how to view the webinar on a replay.)
Despite the best of intentions, it’s easy to let a relationship slide. You get busy, you lose track of your contact schedule, you run out of ideas for keeping in touch… And next thing you k now, your relationship has atrophied.
But, like a muscle, an atrophied relationship can be rebuilt. By focusing time and attention on your relationship and maintaining consistent effort, you’ll often be able to revive a good relationship more easily than you built it in the first place.
But you might feel awkward trying to re-energize a stagnant relationship, especially if you aren’t sure that the relationship can be reinvigorated. If you find yourself about to write off a relationship, you need to be sure that the relationship can’t be resurrected. It’s easy to allow discomfort to lead you into turning a neglected but visible relationship into a dead one, and lawyers far too often write off relationships before they’re truly finished. But how do you know? Or, as someone often inquires when I’m presenting a business development workshop, Is it ever too late to rebuild professional relationships that have languished? Continue Reading
I recently started listening to podcasts again after getting out of the habit for some reason. (Isn’t it interesting how even successful and enjoyable habits can erode if we don’t stay on top of them?) My new favorite podcast that’s also available via video: Good Life Project™, by Jonathan Fields. The Good Life Project™ presents a weekly deep-dive interview with an entrepreneur, artist, author, or thought leader. The interviews are educational, informative, and often moving.
As I was pulling into my garage after a 90-minute drive last week, I was listening to Fields’ interview of Simon Sinek. Sinek’s story and insights (covering storytelling, leadership, impact, service, and purpose) were so fascinating that I sat in my garage for another 15 minutes, too spellbound to move. Here’s why…
When you connect what you do with why you do it, you fuel your efforts. Continue Reading
You’ve probably heard the time-proven suggestions about email: set aside the first 90 minutes of your day for productive work, not for checking email; disable “new email” notifications; be careful when you address an email; use descriptive subject lines… On and on and on. If these tips are new to you, you have an opportunity to recover some of the time you’re now spending on email.
But these tips don’t tell you what to do when you’re faced with an overflowing in-box filled with client communications and requests, administrative matters, newsletters of professional and personal interest, and who knows what else. An in-box isn’t designed for storage; important emails can easily get lost. You need to take charge so that your daily activity isn’t subject to other people’s priorities as expressed through their emails.
Here’s how to process an overwhelming in-box easily and effectively, so you can get on to the real work. (Be sure to set aside a block of time — at least an hour — to complete these steps if you have more than 100 emails.) Continue Reading
Client service is one of the foundations of business development. Why? First, client service is the heart of your practice and should be well-executed for that reason alone. And second, excellent client service makes it more likely that you’ll get repeated and expanded client engagements as well as referrals from happy clients.
As lawyers, though, we tend to focus on the substantive aspects of client service and diminish (in our own minds, and possibly in execution) the experiential aspects. Some clients can and will judge a representation primarily on the basis of the substantive work you do. Many, however, will not… And all clients will take note of how you treat them in the course of the representation.
In the words of Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Continue Reading
“You’re working too hard. Why don’t you look for ways to work smarter?” That was a key element of the feedback I received during this quarter’s mastermind meeting. After hearing my colleagues’ suggestions, I put some new practices in place to help me work smarter, and I do believe I can already see a difference..
And you’ve no doubt heard this distinction before. All sorts of management experts talk about how to work more efficiently, more effectively, maximizing the results of time. Some of them even have good ideas. Continue Reading
When I’m working with an individual client, I always listen carefully for signs of overwhelm. Whether overwhelm comes from business development activity or (more commonly) from the press of billable work, the result is catastrophic for business development success.
Business development aside, overwhelm can tank a day faster than just about anything else. On days with overflowing email, an endless task list, and phone calls that just won’t stop, you may find it almost impossible to operate effectively. Even if you manage to limp along, overwhelm-driven distraction may send things falling through the cracks. Over the years, I’ve hones in on a variety of methods to beat overwhelm, and these are the top 10, based on my own experience and client feedback:
- Move. Overwhelm tends to cause mental paralysis, and the fastest fix is a quick burst of physical activity. Walk around the block or your office floor, dance for 30 seconds (close the door!), or do 10 jumping jacks. Get your blood pumping.
- Lift your mood. Overwhelm breeds lethargy. Use music, fresh flowers, aromas, or whatever works for you to get a lift. I keep a bottle of orange essential oil at my desk because I find that a drop or two perks me up almost instantly, and I have a “get going” playlist of peppy songs that gets me going every time. Continue Reading