Growing Up and Through Our Experiences

This article was originally posted on the Business Vision Network Blog by Esquire Coach and founder of Coaching InDeed Donna Spina, ACC, CPC, ELI-MP, and is reprinted with permission.

Early in my coach training, the founder of the school made a profound statement:

“Are Your Painful Experiences Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones?” -Bruce D. Schneider

It caused me great pause and reflection. Since no two lives are ever the same, the impact of each event and experience continues to make us progressively more unique. The question is, how do we allow the journey to determine WHO we become? Do we shrink to adversity or approach it with unbridled curiosity and open mindedness?

Can you embrace challenges as lessons to help you grow? If so, then the best of you can find its way to the surface.  Otherwise, the self-doubt, hurts, and fears will stack themselves into a messy pile, creating a barrier or a wall so thick, it holds you back from your hopes and meaningful dreams, should you even dare to dream them.

Life is an evolving process along a path that usually takes multiple detours. We are the sum of our experiences, actions, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, and viewpoints. Based on our choices, they interplay to shape how we show up at that moment and define what we can become.

Every day you are confronted to make many choices. Do you follow the consistent path of least resistance by being a people pleaser or a door mat? Can you garner the strength to find your voice, speak up, and set your own boundaries?

On the other side, when old wounds are triggered, do you overreact to the situation at hand? Life is not a movie.  We do not have the ability to “edit” out certain conversations or occurrences.  The only things on the editing room floor will be pieces of regret.

Whenever you push out the sides of your self-made box, even slightly, the ability to expand your horizons gets easier. The results progressively lead to overall more satisfaction, enjoyment, fulfillment, and ultimately tapping into your life’s true purpose.

So, how can we release what is holding us back from living an optimal Life? Many people are able to start the process by self-coaching, being a student of Life, viewing it as something that is happening for you, not to you.  Forgive yourself of what you think you should have done or not done, said or not said. Bless the road well-traveled regardless of its knots, twists, and turns. Be flexible to alternative routes. Learn to treat yourself with respect, kindness, and value. Know gratitude and safeguard your positive outlook and joy. Most importantly, learn to love yourself…again.

When the blocks get stacked too high and the barrier is too strong to overcome, it is time to turn to a professional Coach.  You will experience tremendous freedom to be YOU with a coach. Coaches are non-judgmental, intuitive listeners, a sounding board, a strategic partner, your personal cheerleader, and empowering confidant.

Together, you and your trusted coach will chisel the blocks apart, dispel the mortar in between, and toss them over the ridge so you can climb unimpeded to your Summit of Success!

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No Time to Get it All Done? Delegate!

by Joncara Marshall, Esquire Coaching

The one thing we hear lawyers say all the time is, “I wish I had more time.”  There’s always SO much to do and you’re juggling many things at once.  How can you get everything done that needs to be done both at work and at home?  One solution is to learn to delegate.

As lawyers, we are responsible for dotting all the “I’s” and crossing all the “T’s”, so the thought of delegating responsibility can be a hard pill to swallow.  Yet without learning how to properly delegate, you risk not being able to get it all done (or at least get it all done on time and with a modicum of sleep!).

With years of experience, Emily Morgan, founder of Delegate Solutions, offers insight and tips into delegation in the radio broadcast, “How to Delegate the Right Way.”  Here are some of the key points from her interview on Esquire Coaching Radio:

  • Delegation is a mindset: you must believe that it will work, have systems in place, and know what can be delegated.

  • To delegate, you have to take a “comprehensive look” at how you spend your time. Look for tasks that repeat themselves, do not need your direct attention, and can be replicated.  Also look for tasks that you don’t enjoy doing (e.g., cleaning the house, typing billable hours); these are items that should be delegated because they can lead to procrastination.

  • In addition to an Executive Assistant, paralegals, or a junior associate, lawyers may want to invest in hiring a Virtual Assistant.  They help identify what can be delegated and provide services to execute those tasks. You can find a virtual assistant through the International Virtual Assistant Association (IVAA) or ask within your network. Emily Morgan’s company, Delegate Solution can also help. It is a virtual national company that offers instant and high quality work for an affordable cost

If you feel uncomfortable delegating, try thinking about the results. Do not expect the person to whom you have delegated to do the work exactly as you would have done it, but expect it to be done correctly.  Always leave time for you to review the work completed and make adjustments as necessary.

Post in the comments below what you plan to delegate to free up your time and energy.

Do You Have a Book in You?

CEO and publishing consultant Stephanie Gunning

CEO and publishing consultant Stephanie Gunning

Do you think of yourself as a “writer”? An “author”? Or an “entrepreneur”? Chances are that you’ve never referred to yourself as the latter. But perhaps now is the time to start acting like one.

In this episode, CEO and publishing consultant Stephanie Gunning will address issues about how to become a successful author in an age where books are no longer just described as hardbound or paperback. She will also discuss ways on how attorneys and business people can benefit from writing books.

Aside from being a highly regarded publishing consultant  and editor, Stephanie Gunning is a 28-year veteran of the publishing industry. She is also the CEO of her own book packaging company, Lincoln Square Books. Stephanie began her career working for HarperCollins Publishers and Bantam Dell. She then switched “teams” and became a ghostwriter and book proposal coach. She is co-writer behind the scenes of 30 or so books published by major publishing firms. Her clients have included New York Times bestselling authors, literary agents, publishing companies, and numerous independently publishing writers.

Stephanie is ahead of the curve when it comes to succeeding in the new digital publishing environment. But most importantly, she loves working with entrepreneurs and experts on writing their books and on making them marketable!

Join us LIVE tonight at 5:30 pm EST/2:30 pm PST by clicking here!

The Perils of Procrastination

Be honest – are you one of those people who puts things off? It’s ok – we all do it. It’s human nature. “Why do something today when you can do it tomorrow,” or so the saying goes. But procrastination (to give it it’s “proper” name) can cost us more than we can imagine.

Why do we procrastinate? In general, we procrastinate because the task we are putting off is unpleasant in some way. Either we don’t like doing it (like logging billable hours), or there is some physical discomfort (like going to the dentist). The task may even be boring and monotonous, or just plain difficult.

But the effects of procrastination can run deeper than just not doing the task. Other problems it may cause are:

Being branded as lazy: When people notice that you haven’t completed particular tasks, you can be branded as lazy. Have you been delaying working on that memo, brief, or corporate filing? Able to get all the work done at work, but have no energy to get things done at home? Not only can this affect your job or personal life (promotions and the like), but it may mean the tasks you really want to do are offered to someone else who is considered more reliable!

Creates clutter: Many unfinished tasks can leave a lot of clutter around – books, papers or other items that are needed to perform the job.

Bad for morale: There is nothing worse than knowing you have a job you need to do, and knowing at the end of the day that the job wasn’t done. It can make you feel down, and even preoccupy your mind while you’re trying to concentrate on other things.

You have no leeway: When you put something off, jobs accumulate. This means if an urgent task suddenly comes in, you have no leeway to drop everything and work on it – there are too many other outstanding things that need doing.

It becomes more unpleasant: The job itself may not change by putting it off, but the feeling in our mind of how unpleasant we think the job will be grows. We think about how we have to explain not doing the job to other people, and the whole situation feeds on itself and becomes ugly.

Now to be fair, sometimes procrastinating isn’t a conscious action. Particular jobs just never seem to get done, even though you never consciously decided NOT to do them. But at other times, you consciously choose not to do the job at the moment, and just put it off.

But you can save yourself a lot of mental clutter, and perhaps even more discomfort later on, if you just adopt a “do it now” attitude. Decide that you’re just going to get the job out of the way when it comes it, no matter how uncomfortable or annoying it may be. By doing the job right away, often you will realize that the discomfort you associated with the task was simply your mind psyching itself out as you were putting the task off. And the sense of relief you get from finishing the task is well worth it.

So, now you know about procrastination you have to ask yourself the question – “What am I going to do about it?” Hopefully you will decide to banish procrastination from your life, and reap the rewards of that decision!

We want to hear from you! They say a public declaration adds a new level of accountability.  So declare to us what you will take action on in the comments below.  If you get stuck, email us about how we can help hold you accountable.

Now, GO DO IT!

Improving Your Energy Levels

by Joncara Marshall, Esquire Coaching

As a lawyer, there is a lot of pressure to be on top of your game.  We have to meet deadlines, deal with client demands, and above all provide excellent legal representation.  Keeping up with the pressure and stress can impact our energy level.  Naturally, when you have lower energy, you don’t think as clearly, may lack motivation, and lack creativity.

In a recent Esquire Coaching Radio broadcast, Nilda M. Carraquillo, an Esquire Coach who uses scientific applications of energy and consciousness, offers her advice on how to achieve success by shifting your energy. Energy is connected to your positive and negative emotions. To navigate from negative energies that are caused by emotions, you need a sense of Consciousness, or a self-awareness of what you are feeling and how to change them. By doing so, you can find a balance in your professional and personal life. Here are some key points from the broadcast:

·      There are 7 levels of energy:

1.     Victim

2.     Conflict

3.     Responsibility

4.     Concern

5.     Reconciliation

6.     Synthesis, and

7.     Nonjudgment.

The first two levels are described as negative energies and can hold you back from doing what you really want to do. As you go higher in the level of energies, you start moving forward with your life.  You are more productive, less reactionary, and have greater clarity.

·      Gremlins, Assumptions, Interpretations, and Limiting beliefs, or G.A.I.L.s, are blocks that keep you from success.

o   Gremlins are self-sabotaging thoughts that have a consistent stronghold on you (e.g., “I am not good enough,” “I am not intelligent enough,” etc.).”

o   Assumptions are statements or beliefs that we take for granted as the truth without challenging it.

o   Interpretations are a judgment based on your perspective.

o   Limiting belief is a belief that is outside (cultural, religious) of yourself that  you believe as true

Avoid the G.A.I.L.s at all cost.  The first step is to become aware when they are present, then question or find a way to refute them.

·      When you are feeling sad because of failure, try to think of a time of success and remember how you felt at that moment.  Reliving a powerful positive experience can quickly boost your energy.

Nilda also has additional tips for increasing your energy:

·      Get excited.

·      De-clutter your physical environment and your heart.

·      Don’t be judgmental about yourself.

·      Relish in your success.

·      Be in the present.

To hear the radio broadcast, as well as past broadcasts, click here. You can also listen to live broadcasts on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m-6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

We want to hear from you.  What drains your energy?  Is it meeting billable hours?  Is it the demands of your home life?  Share your challenges by emailing us at info@EsquireCoaching.com and we will write a post with specific tips for increasing your energy and productivity.

6 Ways to Avoid Burnout

Do you persistently feel hopeless, exhausted, cynical, and unsuccessful at work? If so,  you might be experiencing burnout.

Burnout is physical or emotional exhaustion, especially because of long-term stress. It can happen when your body and mind get so stressed from working too hard, feeling unappreciated and concerned about job security, getting confused about expectation and priorities, etc.  Frankly, most lawyers are no strangers to burnout.  The constant demands and stressors of the profession leads many lawyers to have repeated periods of burnout.

During a period of burnout, you may lack interest and motivation in working; you may feel more melancholy or even angry. Experiencing burnout over a period of time can lead to unhappiness and depression, and in the end, it possibly threatens your health, your job, and may jeopardize your relationship with colleagues and family.

If you are experiencing burnout, what can you do to cope with it? Here are some tips to stop burnout:

1. Take care of your body – Eat right, sleep well, exercise and see a doctor if you feel burnout. Taking care of your physical health reduces burnout.  This might feel exceptionally challenging when you lack motivation, but this is one of those times when the faster you take these self-care actions, the sooner you’ll experience relief.

2. Do your favorite things – Make a schedule for doing things you enjoy in a day, week or month. Reading favorite books, catching up with friends, or engaging in hobbies is like recharging your batteries after going through a burnout period.  It helps to make a list of activities that vary in length of time so that you can squeeze in something enjoyable even when you are pressed for time.  For example, if you love hot chocolate, take a few minutes to really savor it before you dive back to work.

3. Talk with others – Communicate with others who will listen and understand you, but not judge you, such as close friends, therapist or a coach.  Talking with others will ease your emotion and offer some relief.  Be sure to let your emotion out in healthy and productive ways — perseverating on things that aren’t working will only prolong the burnout.

4. Make realistic goals – Setting goals for your life will give you a real sense of purpose. Make personal goals and divide them into short and long term milestones and set up a plan to achieve them. To learn and reach new goals will ease your burnout.  Plus, these personal goals serve as a good motivator to keep you going when you feel burnout.

5. Enhance your relationships – Getting closer to your partner, children, friends and other people you can count on will help restore your energy. Healthy, mutual relationships can help you feel more joy, less stress, and reduce the feeling of isolation that often accompanies burnout.

6. Understand your strengths and weaknesses – Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you learn better ways to deal with day-to-day stress. Find ways to play up your strengths and either delegate items in areas where you are weak or, when the job depends on it, get support to improve upon your weaknesses.

Do you have additional tips for recovering from burnout or avoiding it altogether? We may include your tips in a future article.  Email your ideas to Ann@EsquireCoaching.com.  We are always interested in learning new ideas to help lawyers move past burnout.

Practical Tips for Lawyers Using LinkedIn

Of all the social media platforms available, LinkedIn is by far the most popular among lawyers.  When used correctly, LinkedIn is a very effective tool for lawyers to establish a brand and increase market credibility. LinkedIn offers a way to gather social proof and develop business. It creates an opportunity to advance your professional status through the tools that are available such as the profile, recommendations, and groups. Below are a few practical tips you should bear in mind when using LinkedIn.

Be Honest — Your profile on LinkedIn should honestly depict you and your career achievements. Under Model Rule 7.1, lawyers are not permitted to make false or misleading claims about their legal services.  Overexaggerating your legal expertise may fall within the purview of what is considered unethical.  To this end, it is important to note the recent debate about whether endorsements may violate a lawyer’s ethical obligations.  Specifically, in LinkedIn, your connections may endorse you for a specific area of law.  If you have no expertise in that area, or you’ve never provided legal services to the endorser, then the most cautious option is to hide the endorsement.

Make Connections That Matter — Your connections are very important on LinkedIn.  Unlike Twitter, where people tend to follow everyone who follows them, on LinkedIn, it’s important to understand why you would like to connect with someone.  LinkedIn tends to have a more professional presence. Recognize that, although it is in a virtual form, LinkedIn provides an opportunity to cultivate relationships.  Consider it as a virtual networking event.  Keep an eye toward building and nurturing the relationships with your connections through regular contact.  Connect with the people you work with, and the people you have worked with first. Build those relationships before adding connections of people you don’t know unless you’re introduced by one of your connections.

Ask For Specific Recommendations — If you are looking to build your credibility, ask for specific recommendations of people that have worked with you. Unlike an endorsement, which is a one-click way for your connections to endorse your skills and expertise, a recommendation is a written statement of recommendation from a connection. You may request recommendations from your connections, but note the same ethical risks apply.  When asking for a recommendation, don’t be generic in your request. Instead, ask each person for recommendations about specific tasks that you performed. Sometimes, it may help to refresh their recollection of what you have done for them.  To mitigate any risk of an ethical violation, ask to review the recommendation before it is posted to ensure its accuracy.

Grab Your Name URL — LinkedIn allows you to choose a unique URL with which to invite people to view your profile. It’s important to try to get a URL consisting of your name (or if you’re a solo, your law firm name) if possible. This simple step offers a more polished and professional presence.  Plus, it can be an additional SEO measure since these are indexed in search results. To learn how to customize your URL, click here.

Fill Your Profile Out Completely — Don’t leave your profile unfinished. It can take a couple of hours to finish it properly, but if you know what you need for it in advance of sitting down to do it, you’ll be able to complete it in one sitting. Having your resume nearby will help, as will having electronic versions of work samples. You can continually perfect your profile, but finish it as soon as possible.

If you want to be taken seriously as a legal professional, create a honest and complete profile on LinkedIn. Then, start asking for recommendations, join and create groups, and become an active part of the LinkedIn community by providing valuable content. You only get out of anything what you put into it. Plan to put a lot into LinkedIn because you have the potential to get a lot out of it in return.

Do you know a lawyer who would like to build their book of business or find another job? If so, share this article with them so they can use some of these tips to help them reach their goal, or have them email us at Ann@EsquireCoaching.com for more custom solutions.