After working 34 years in the legal arena with highly skilled, highly skeptical attorneys, I have learned that keeping ourselves in a positive “can do” frame of mind helps keep your sanity. Executing the feeling is another story. Each day is brand new even though it might bring challenges or “change.” Change is inevitable; however, attorneys will try to avoid change at all costs. How do you stay positive? How do you focus on the positive outcome when you are working in an urgent environment like a law firm?
Smile! This may sound simplistic. A smile is very powerful. It sets a tone that you are in control; it says “I am confident” and your confidence will inspire those around you. Wellness comes from smiling. Your day will run smoother and, even in adverse situations, a smile will allow you to respond differently and with a positive attitude throughout the day. Best of all, a smile makes you approachable, allowing those around you to feel comfortable and want to perform at their very best in order to please you and get the job done. After all, “you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”
Buddha said “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” Positive energy arises from what you project outwardly to others. If your thoughts are clear and concise, you will stimulate this energy. As Buddha said in this quote, the mind is everything. Attorneys are very intelligent people. Controlling your mind to find only the positive in each person, each task, and each day will allow you to achieve much more. Positive thinking and positive energy are like a magnet attracting all those who cross your path. All people—even introverts—want to be around positive people because positive energy has a way of breathing life into the lifeless. Your positive energy will change lives. Most of all, it will change your life.
Some say you are born positive. Not true. Being positive is a choice. I believe it is the only choice. There is no alternative, especially if you want to be happy and succeed in life.
It is easy to keep your positive energy level if you set goals. Goal setting is a very old theory. Dr. Edwin Locke is a pioneer in research in the area of goal setting. In his 1968 article “Toward a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentives,” he stated that employees were motivated by clear goals and appropriate feedback. Locke said that working toward a goal provided a major source of motivation to actually reach the goal—which, in turn, improved performance.
When it comes to setting and reaching your goals, today’s technology is superb. Outlook task, Outlook calendar, or a good management/timeline legal software program such as TimeMatters™ or PracticeManager™ will keep you and your staff on task. The most important element is recording the goal, making it realistic, reflecting the time needed to accomplish it, and checking the goal off when completed. Once that goal is achieved, and before moving on to the next goal, recognize with positive reinforcement and praise yourself and those who helped you reach your goal. By doing this, everyone will celebrate the achievement and move on to the next goal with great energy and a sense of ownership.
Another aspect that will set the tone for positive energy and goal setting is being organized. Organizational skills can be learned despite what you are feeling as you read this article. Let’s go back to your mind. When working on a case or a transaction, how do you organize your mind? How do you motivate yourself to get organized and get started (set your goal)? And how do you achieve the highest level of success for your client and, ultimately, the firm?
When I have the opportunity to work with an attorney—whether they have just graduated, passed the bar, or are a seasoned lawyer—I try to lead by example with regard to positive energy, goal setting, and organizational skills. Understanding how to evaluate the task you are undertaking, (new matter, client resolution, an appeal, even turning in or entering daily time sheets, etc.) is essential to successfully accomplishing your goals. You should ask yourself these questions:
Do you have clarity as to the assignment, case, or transaction? If not, ask questions and review whatever is necessary to get you to a point of clarity before you get started or decide to undertake this client’s case, etc. This will save time, money, and energy which might otherwise be spent to no avail.
How complex is the assignment, case, or transaction? What resources, tools, and manpower will be needed in order to achieve the best results for your client, corporation, and the firm?
What challenges need to be met? In the case of time sheets, if the time entries are not turned in daily, time, money, and efficiencies are immediately affected. Firm income and revenue are based on this one factor and if you cannot meet the challenge, stay organized, and set your goal to accomplish this task daily, it will escalate into a multitude of days or even weeks missed and there is no true way to replicate this task. The results will be costly.
What kind of commitment will this client, matter, or task require? You need to understand from the start what the commitment will be to the firm and to you. What are the required resources (upfront outlay of cost(s), time to achieve result, etc.)? What are the client’s expectations? What will it take to achieve a successful result within the required time frame? When answering these questions, you must also consider the other matters the firm is currently handling and if this matter will get the attention it needs.
Who will be responsible for gathering and reporting feedback? It is necessary to have feedback as each goal is attained. This will allow the attorney and the team working on the matter, transaction, etc., to remain positive and create energy moving forward to completion. Feedback will help decide if adjustments need to be made to the matter/project and allows the attorney to reevaluate, regroup, and reorganize the game plan in order to achieve the most positive outcome for the client and the most profitable outcome for the firm.
If you want to change the energy level of your practice, following the few ideas and directions I have laid out for you in this article will make a positive change in your practice and in your life. What do you have to lose?
Bianca Moreiras has been a leader, mentor, motivator, and presenter in the legal profession for over 34 years. Her role as administrator, executive director, marketing director, coach, and consultant brings a wealth of knowledge and practical application to any firm, group, or individual. Her philosophy is to pull up, push up, and lead women and men to their fullest potential one person at a time. Her company Bianca Moreiras & Associates is ready and willing to “Take Your Business to the NEXT LEVEL.”
Bianca has spoken on topics enriching professionals in the areas of self-improvement, time management, professional etiquette, communication, collaboration, leadership, networking, customer service, resume writing, etc. In addition to professional speaking, she conducts webinars and has had several articles published. She has successfully coached professionals to achieve status in the business world once thought unattainable.
If you are looking to start or grow your business, Bianca will take your business to the NEXT LEVEL. For more information email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her anytime at 305-986-0905.