Now that the gift-giving is over, we set to work planning for 2017. For a little perspective to start your new year, we asked a cadre of law practice management experts, “What’s the single resolution you recommend for practicing lawyers in 2017?” And all this week, we’re sharing their answers. Today, rainmaking trainer Mike O’Horo, practice management advisor Sheila Blackford, attorney Vedia Jones-Richardson, and Shawn Healy, counseling psychologist to lawyers, focus on ideas to fuel your growth and success.
RESOLVED: Shift to relevance
Without it, there’s no reason to engage with you — or even remember you. You’ll never have the right audience for your article, speech or networking because you have no selection criteria. If you don’t have the right audience, you have the wrong one, which guarantees that nobody will respond. Whether you intend it or not, your communication is probably mostly about you: your experience, your expertise, your firm. It’s not that people don’t believe your claims. It’s that they can’t afford to care because you haven’t made yourself relevant. Lack of relevance is the source of your business development frustrations. Until your experience, expertise, accomplishments and firm are relevant to your prospects’ world, those assets don’t exist. This new year, get relevant.
RESOLVED: Set aside networking time every week
Let me help. First, repeat after me: “I have decided that I will devote two hours to networking every week, on Friday.” Why Friday? Because most courts are closed and most professionals are burned out. When Friday? Breakfast! You may not get onto the lunch calendar of busy professionals for weeks but I guarantee you won’t have that problem with a breakfast meeting at their favorite place, right? On your contact cards, go ahead and make notes about nice breakfast places that are convenient to where they work and are open at 7:00 or 7:30 a.m. If your networking budget is lean, relax, no one orders dinner for breakfast or likely even eggs Benedict. The big question while your order is being cooked? “What kind of business clients can I send your way?” You know what their question back to you will be. Let networking fuel your financial health in 2017.
Sheila M. Blackford
Practice Management Advisor
Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund
RESOLVED: Be more deliberate
Rather than glibly agreeing to everything that comes your way or aimlessly following every so-called opportunity, consider things more deeply, even if only for a moment, before heading pell-mell down every path. That is not to say you should resist saying yes — or automatically say no. That would miss the point of being deliberate. The point is to be more engaged in what’s going on, instead of letting the rush of life talk you out of claiming the right to live your life. That also is not to say you can avoid the need to do anything you don’t want to do. However, you will better understand why you are doing what you are doing. Then, even if it is uncomfortable, you can lean into the discomfort and get the job done with a sense of meaning. Too idealistic? Maybe, but that’s the point — trying to live just a bit more ideally.
Principal and Attorney
Olive & Olive, PA
RESOLVED: Get better sleep
One of the most common (and preventable) problems that lawyers have is poor or inadequate sleep. Getting regular, quality sleep helps your memory, your energy levels, your physical health, your emotional health and your problem-solving skills (just to name a few benefits). Don’t sacrifice sleep to “do more” or waste that time worrying about things outside of your control. A well-rested lawyer is an effective and healthy lawyer. Make it your resolution to practice good sleep hygiene and have a well-rested 2017!
Shawn Healy, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
Make the New Year YOUR Year
Tomorrow we’re sharing more resolutions from Jay Harrington, Natalie Kelly, Sally Schmidt and Teddy Snyder.
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Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com; Be It Resolved courtesy of Greenfield Belser.