One of our members has a law practice focused on representing businesses and handling real estate transactions. Quite frankly, he was a little skeptical when he first entered our program, but he knew he had to do something.
Not “had to” in the sense that his business was doing poorly. His business was doing fine. But he felt there was no way out.
This attorney was up to his ears in his business, constantly doing everything. Didn’t feel like he had any control over his business on a day-to-day basis.
When you operate like this for years, with a lack of control day to day, it makes you lose confidence. You feel like your business isn’t going anywhere. You lose sight of why you went into practice in the first place.
The Slow Death of Grand Ambitions
We all start our law practices with grand ambitions. We’re going to live the life. Have a great business. Provide for our families with everything they need and then some.
Then ... you begin to lose sight of those ambitions.
The grind sets in. You can’t get your head above water. It saps your energy. Kills your momentum. It’s death by a thousand cuts. And this attorney – our hero – had reached that point when he came to us.
Again, he didn’t have a bad business. But he had a business he wasn’t particularly proud of. That didn't serve him. And he didn’t see how it could get any better.
When the Grind Hits Close to Home
There are two warning signs that should tell you that you're experiencing death by a thousand cuts.
First, you keep having the same conversation with your spouse, friends or colleagues ... or yourself ... about how things could be different or should be different.
But nothing ever changes.
Either you continue to use a broken model that isn’t working, or you’ve just given up and stopped trying new things.
When you get the dreaded “What’s new?” question, you kind of squirm and cringe and say everything is great. But you know damn well that’s not the case.
And there’s that conversation again. Same person, same conversation. Things are no better today than they were a year ago.
The other time you know death by a thousand cuts is underway is when there’s no distinction between your work life and personal life. And there’s no distinction between you as a business owner and you as a person working in the business.
You’re constantly checking your phone on your own time. You feel like you should be in the office on the weekend.
As owners of law practices, we wear two hats. Owner and employee. Attorneys who let those two hats bleed together haven’t created a sustainable business.
You can’t unplug. You’re looking at your phone at your kid’s dance recital or soccer game. Checking it compulsively.
When you’re unable or unwilling to be totally present for your family, you know you haven’t set up your business the right way.
That deflating feeling creeps into every aspect of your life.
I know, because it happened to me. I couldn’t take a vacation without taking client calls. I still remember taking one from Hawaii. For no good reason. And it set me on edge the entire trip.
You know it's bad when your three year old notices.
Hopes and dreams never lined up with reality. Until I figured out how to make a practice work. That is, work for me.
How We Helped Our New Role Model Lawyer Solve the Problem
The most common thing people need when they come to us is control. A simple operating system to install in their business that forces them to do the right things.
Because their instincts about what should be done are often wrong.
So what’s an attorney operating system? Just like you have an operating system on your computer to manage the machine’s resources, your law practice needs an operating system.
We started by installing an operating system on this lawyer’s practice to direct the resources of his business machine and maximize its functionality.
At the very outset, we work on the attorney’s relationship with time, communication and their business. How they control their calendar. Making it as efficient and effective as possible so it doesn’t bleed into personal time.
It’s the very first thing we work on because it can take attorneys a while to get used to this new paradigm. Once they do, they feel a tremendous sense of control.
That sense of control is the first step towards realizing how much more is possible.
Where Is He Now?
He’s taking his family on three-day vacations. Unplugged vacations.
He knows things can be different because he made the time to create a better business.
He’s following the principles we talk about. He’s using his new operating system to free up his mental energy and space.
He’s no longer bogged down and held back by the things he hates to do.
Click here to get access to my free Law Practice Growth Guide that shows you how to grow your law firm predictably and create freedom for yourself.
Suppose you were to write down a list of ten things you hate to do. Things that interrupt you. Cause you to lose control. Bleed into your evenings and weekends.
(Seriously, go ahead and write them down now. I'll wait.)
Now imagine if none of these things were an issue. They’re either being handled by someone else, or they’re handled by you in a very clear and defined way.
It allows you to maintain control. Gives you freedom. Control and freedom to think about the big picture. The growth of the practice.
It took our hero about three months to realize this. Instead of focusing on the crisis du jour, he was – and is – able to think bigger. He’s now proactive, not reactive.
After only six months, he’s set up his business in a way that allows him to focus only on those things that make a big difference.
He’s not worried about the tyranny of today. He’s thinking about where his practice should be a year, two years or three years from now, and what he needs to do to get there.
He’s moved from the factory floor to CEO.
How about you?