This episode is dedicated to the topic of success. It was originally recorded and published in May 2021, so if you’re new to my podcast, I’m bringing this one back just for you.
Several of us as solo and small law firm attorneys want success, and we all have these grandiose thoughts about what success looks like. But then, we see people that we perceive to be successful who are not living that for themselves. Instead, they are working 80-90 hours a week. They’re exhausted, moody, or may even have health problems. They may have just a negative disposition about life. We begin to think that you can’t experience both success and freedom.
Sometimes we’re pursuing success and sometimes we’re pursuing rest and relaxation, as if those two things run counter to each other. But I want to give you a framework today to actually see success very differently so that you’ll be able to create success easier, faster and with more ease along the path.
In this episode we discuss:
- The power of envisioning success to create what your very own success looks like for you.
- How success looks different for different people.
- Planning for the reality of your successful dream life.
- How ‘Acting As If’ embodies being, doing and having the lifestyle you desire.
- Identifying what you can change in your belief cycle to help focus on desired outcomes.
- Agreeing not to stop the process when you hit your terror barrier.
[00:00:11] Hi everybody, it’s Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor. Law Firm Mentor is a business coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys. We help you grow your revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money.
Allison Williams: [00:00:25] Hi, everybody, it’s Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor, and this episode of The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast is dedicated to the topic of success. So I know a lot of us as solo and small law firm attorneys, we want success. We can visualize the life that we’ll have when we are making enough money, when we’re making more than enough and we have exactly what we desire when we are spending ample amounts of free time, whether it’s on a beach or at our kids school or just relaxing and not having to get up super early or be somewhere at a certain time. And we all have these grandiose thoughts about what success looks like. And then we see people that we perceive to be successful who are not living that for themselves. They are working 80 hours a week or 90 hours a week. They’re exhausted. They may be moody. They may have health problems. They may have just a negative disposition about life. And we feed them and we think, OK, well, I can choose to be a great parent or I can choose to be very successful or we think I can choose to make a lot of money. Or I can choose to enjoy my quality of life and we create these binary choices around the idea that we can only have so much of a good thing. And what we really desire is antithetical to what we truly want for ourselves.
Allison Williams: [00:02:00] So if we want to have more free time, we think, OK, I want to have free time. But we have a thought about success that says, if I have free time, I’m only going to make so much money and I’m not going to be a successful. So we kind of, we become a little bit wishy washy, if you will. We kind of flip back and forth between both of those realities. And sometimes we’re pursuing success and sometimes we’re pursuing rest and relaxation, as if those two things run counter to each other. But I want to give you a framework today to actually see success very differently so that you’ll be able to create success easier, faster and with more ease along the path.
Allison Williams: [00:02:45] So what does it mean to get to that easy way of creating success? Well, this is going to sound really, really, really offensive. So please promise me that you’re going to stick around for a couple of minutes after I say this. Don’t tune me out right away. But the easiest way to create success is simply to create the vision. Now, whenever I tell lawyers that all you have to do is envision what your success will look like, I get a lot of eye rolls, I get a lot of tuning out. I get kind of the blank stare. So I want to tell you what I mean by that, and why it’s so important that that’s where we start.
Allison Williams: [00:03:34] OK, there’s more to it than just creating the vision, but I’m going to give you the rest of the process. But this is really the critical piece because all of the rest of the process that goes into creating success. Many lawyers are doing that every day, but they’re not creating the success that is consistent with the vision that they really have for their life. Which means it may be happy, at times. It may be fulfilling, at times. It may be something that you say is ideal, at times. But if you are in a persistent state of creating something that is not tied to the vision that you have for your life, there will be an inherent dissatisfaction with your life. And that’s what we want to avoid. So when you create the vision, you have to get crystal clear on what it will require and what it will contain. So that means you have to get clear on things like money. And yes, I know for some people, money is not the end goal. I’ll be candid with you. I make a lot of money, but I don’t spend my time and energy focusing on how I can just stockpile money in the corner. My goal is not to have the biggest bank account. My goal is to enjoy my life. And that takes money.
Allison Williams: [00:04:55] So you need to know what is actually required to fund your lifestyle. Now, this is not the funnest work in the world except at the very beginning when you just start allowing yourself to dream out loud. Allowing yourself to think about what kind of house you want to live in. What kind of doorway you’re going to walk through, what kind of staircase you are going to have, what kind of flooring you’re going to have, what kind of lighting fixtures. I want you, I want you to get that granular and that detailed. The reason why it’s so important to see the vision of what you want is because when you are in a process of creating and that’s what we’re doing by creating the vision, we’re creating the vision so that we can bring it into life in our existence. And when you are in a process of creating what you are really doing is you are creating a roadmap for your mind to manifest what you desire. The road to manifestation is not the plan, OK? The road to manifestation is just the vision. OK, there is activity that you have to do, which we’re going to talk about in a moment. But the highest and best use of your time, the most important use of your time is always going to be energizing your vision. And so in order to put energy behind your vision, in order for you to get really excited about it, you have to actually create the vision.
Allison Williams: [00:06:25] So that means you have to know what is this life of mine going to look like? If money was no object, if people’s judgments and thoughts about this lifestyle were no object whatsoever, what would it be for me? Where am I going to live? Am I going to have one house or more than one house? What kind of cars am I going to drive? What kind of clothing am I going to wear? How frequently am I eating out? Do I have a personal chef when I’m home? Or am I going to love to prepare my own meals when I’m eating out? Am I eating out at five star restaurants or am I more of a hot dog stand kind of person? What does life look like? And life does not have to look like pure, unadulterated capitalism. So for those of you that are thinking, wow, having a big house with a staircase and a bunch of cars, that’s not me. That doesn’t have to be you. Now, a lot of people that will have a visceral reaction that says, I don’t want that, when we start talking about money, often have negative mindset issues around money that have to be worked out in order for them to be successful in creating. But even if you’re not necessarily offended by a lavish lifestyle, you just don’t personally want one. That’s OK, too. You can want a conservative five hundred thousand dollar house in an affluent area where you’re the smallest house on the block, but you just love being in the fresh greenery near the beautiful pools, whatever it is.
Allison Williams: [00:07:55] Or you may not concern yourself so much at all with the house that you’re in. I know plenty of people that are true minimalists. They want a place that has a roof that they’re safe, but outside of that, any and all money that they would create would go into charitable efforts, would go into supporting family and friends. Whatever you want to spend your time doing and whatever you want to spend your money on needs to have very clear, defined activity and that activity needs to be written down. So you write this vision, you first dream this vision, and then you write this vision so that you can put energy behind this vision and the more energy you put in the direction of what you do want, the easier it is to have what you do want. The more time and energy you put into things that you don’t want, like you think, wow, a house would be beautiful. I’d love to have a house in this neighborhood, but we can’t afford it. Or wow. I would really love to be able to take off every Thursday and Friday and only work Monday through Wednesday. But the firm would fall apart if I did that. Or my team would look at me sideways if I wasn’t here working alongside them.
Allison Williams: [00:09:13] You start creating all of the excuses, all of the rationalizations as to why you can’t have what you want before you actually seek what you want. So it’s important that you actually seek what you want first and hold firm to that vision and let your energy go behind what you want so that that’s what expands in your life. OK, after you’ve created the vision, the next thing is, the part that’s not so sexy is creating the plan. You have to plan the eventuality that you’re going to have this life. Now, what does that mean? So the plan can involve your basics of a business plan here at Law Firm Mentor. We actually start off every engagement with our clients, with creating a business plan with them, and we create a 12 month goal and then we reverse engineer that goal so that we know how many clients are needed for that goal and how much money each client has to pay the firm in order to meet the financial need. And once we know how many clients we need, how many sales calls do we have to have to get to that number of sales? And how many scheduled appointments do we need to make in order to result in a sales conversation? So we hope to reverse engineer that. But that’s not really what I’m talking about right now. Planning for the eventuality means looking at what your life is going to look like when you are the person you want to be.
Allison Williams: [00:10:44] Doing the work you want to do and possessing the property you want to possess, whether that’s real property, physical property or both. So when you’re thinking about who you’re going to have to be, do and have in order to create that life, that dream life that you’re envisioning, things are going to have to change. And when you plan for the eventuality of that change, the arrival of that change is a lot less dramatic. So let me give you an example. If you know that you want to live in a big, beautiful house and you know that your parents were very minimalist with money, they were very frugal. And their mindset was, if we don’t absolutely need it, we don’t buy it because there are other people in the world that have a lot less than we do. And the way that we live in the state of gratitude is to hold on to everything that we have in savings rather than live and rather than spend it on our lifestyle. If that’s their belief system, you know, they’re going to be triggered by how big a house you’re going to have. You know that there’s going to be some ripple effect when all of a sudden you drive up in that Maserati and take them from their home over to your home, where there might be a butler who answers the door to greet you.
Allison Williams: [00:12:06] If that’s the lifestyle that you want, you have to plan for that eventuality, because if you don’t start working up to where that lifestyle is going to lead you as a person, then all of the things in your life that support you today are going to be suddenly ripped apart. For instance, in the example that you have that we just gave you, if you all of a sudden take your parents over to the big, beautiful house without ever giving a heads up that this is the direction in which you’re moving, and they have a very strong, visceral reaction against that, that can be very painful. So you want to be thinking about who’s going to be in your life and how they’re going to be in your life when you have this eventuality. Now, a lot of times planning for the eventuality means who is getting plucked off the list of friends and family. I don’t want you to think about it in that term, in those terms. You can actually have people added to your life. And of course, planning for the eventuality will necessitate that for most people. For most people, there will be additional team members, whether they are personal assistants or additional administrative support in your business, in order for you to be able to live the life that you require, not just earn the money that can fund the life that you require. So you want to be thinking about who these people are, what their role will be, how you will compensate them.
Allison Williams: [00:13:33] And you want to also be thinking about what sorts of changes in your lifestyle are going to be necessary when you arrive at that new destination. Are you suddenly going to have to hire a nanny? Are you going to have to have your cleaning picked up at your home and taken for service rather than you dropping it off? Are you going to have someone preparing your meals for you? What are you going to do when it comes time for personal care? Are you going to have regular salon visits to have massages? Are you going to have your own personal area of the gym so that you can work out? What is going to be the lifestyle that you’re going to have and when you think about that lifestyle, I want you to think about who is going to need to join your life and who may need to exit your life in order for that to happen.
Allison Williams: [00:14:31] OK, after we’ve created the vision and plan for the eventuality of that vision, the next thing we have to do is act as if, now this often gets distorted and a lot of people will hear this and think, OK, you’re telling me to go out and spend all my money as if I’m a multimillionaire today and I only make fifty thousand dollars a year. And that’s not exactly what we’re talking about. OK, acting as if, embodies being, doing and having what a person who has the lifestyle you desire is being, doing and having. So for being, this is about how you show up. How you make decisions, how you interact with people, how you hold standards for yourself, how you create boundaries for yourself, how you surround yourself with people, places and things that bring you joy. Because when you have the lifestyle that you desire, presumably you are happy in it. Presumably, if you are in a relationship, your partner is happy in it. Presumably when you are at that place where you have the lifestyle that you desire, you’re going to have more than you have today. And that’s not because money is the most important thing, but that is because, if nothing else changed, the cost of living is going to be different 10, 15, 20, 30, 50 years from now, however far into the future your eventuality is going to be. And by the way, your eventuality can be a lot closer, a lot sooner when you practice this exercise. But however far out your eventuality is, presumably the cost of living will go up between now and then.
Allison Williams: [00:16:19] But when you are being someone else, you’re embodying a different person, you’re embodying a person who has the health, the emotional health, the physical health, the sexual health, you’re embodying a person who has the emotional well-being, who has the personality, who has the attitude toward others, who has the relationship, who engages with people at a certain level that you desire, because when you are in a certain place in life, you show up differently than when you were previously not there. When you are a happier person because you have the life that you actually desire, you will naturally exude more happiness. But happiness is not something instinctual. Happiness can come and go. Contentedness is also something that can come and go, but you can be content without being happy. So I want you to think about what it takes to not get to contentment where you can tolerate what’s around you and be OK, but to get to happy.
Allison Williams: [00:17:26] OK, next after act as if, is create evidence that you can believe in. So what I mean by this is one of the things that I love to talk about with my coaching clients is why they have developed certain beliefs and how those beliefs are serving them or not serving them. And when they give me a version of life that is unpleasant in some way, it’s causing relational issues, it’s causing financial issues, it’s causing emotional unrest. And they recognize that something needs to change. And we talk about what evidence they have before them that supports whatever negative belief pattern has gotten them to a place where they’re not happy with their lives. The thing that we have to do to change that is actually give them things to think about very intentionally that will shift their energy, their narrative and their directives over to the contrarian belief.
Allison Williams: [00:18:31] So if they’re in a state of saying. I’m not happy with my law firm because my law firm has really, really poor employees. Let’s say I’m just not happy with the team I have. Some of them have bad attitudes. Some of them are nonproductive altogether. I haven’t replaced them yet because I can’t find the right person on the market or I’m not really looking for the right person because I don’t believe anyone’s going to be better. I feel like I just have to suck it up and deal with these people. When that belief cycle and those beliefs are typically rehearsed, so they’re well worn into the grooves in our mind, that actually will implant memories. So we have it in our mind. This is what it is. There is no changing it because we’ve said it so many times before. We now have to give ourselves the antidote or something else to think about that is going to run counter to that.
Allison Williams: [00:19:29] And so how do we do that? Well, we can do that in a number of different ways. Right. So I’ve talked on the podcast before about the One Hundred Ways exercise where I actually have my clients write out one hundred ways that the contrarian view will serve them. So in this instance, if the person is unhappy with their team and they feel disempowered to change it because of the marketplace or because of who they believe is ultimately going to be available to them, if they were to make a change, then we have to start thinking about it from the other perspective. So this would be what are the things about your team that are supportive of your environment and from there, one step further, if you had the ideal team, the ideal team, what are the attributes that you would be requiring? OK, it gives you an opportunity to see the value in what you have and to extrapolate and dream out loud to really expand what it is that you want. Just that alone allows you to start focusing your energy in the direction of desire, which brings forth to you the things that are necessary in order for you to create the desired outcome.
Allison Williams: [00:20:49] OK, so we have covered under our easiest way to create success framework, we’ve covered creating division, giving crystal clear on what it is that we want, planning for the eventuality of having that vision, acting as if today we have that vision and creating the evidence that you can believe in. So the last and final strategy that goes into our framework for creating the easiest way to success is, agree now, not to stop. Now, this one is super challenging, if you don’t know how you stop. That is something that we can help you with here at Law Firm Mentor, but it requires a deeper level conversation.
Allison Williams: [00:21:34] But agreeing not to stop means you have to be aware of some of those triggers that come up that would justify you saying, even though I want to grow, even though I have this beautiful vision, I can’t create that vision because something got in the way that I am going to believe in. So something getting in the way could be your best associate quits or your your office building had a fire and now you’re going to be very much delayed for a major trial that you have going on. Or you could say that one of the things that could stop you could be something completely ancillary to your business. Like a family member, your spouse starts to complain as you are growing the business that you’re not around enough and you immediately are threatened and feel insecure. Oh, my God, I’m risking my relationship. I couldn’t possibly do that. Let me stop growing now. So if it doesn’t have to be something that’s inclusive of your business, it can be external to your business, like your part, your life partner or your finances. It could be any number of things. But what typically happens is when you start making changes, your subconscious mind goes nuts and it starts making up a whole host of reasons to try to get you to agree that it’s time to stop growing because to your subconscious mind, growing means dying. Growing means change.
Allison Williams: [00:23:03] Change is not secure. Lack of security leads to death. So your subconscious mind is going to try to stop you from change, especially big, major, scary, hairy, audacious goal type changes. When you start making changes that can really evolve you into that vision that you have for your life, that beautiful panacea that has the right people in the right places and the right buildings in the right structure with the right amount of money and the right lifestyle, and you are stepping toward that, your vision is expanding. And that is a completely different human who has that vision than the person you are today. Which means your subconscious mind knows, that in order for you to remain the same, i.e. for you to stop growing, you have to agree with whatever is put before you. That’s the reason why everyone’s terror barrier, everyone’s reason to stop is not the same. It is not at all uncommon that something that might stop your colleague might not be something that would stop you. Right. You may have a relationship with your parents that says, hey, if mom and dad are mad at me because I did X, Y, Z. Huh. So I’m not that concerned. On the flip side, you might have a very tenuous relationship with your parents. And then as soon as you decide to make a change, all of a sudden that possibility of restricted relationship between them or having an outright rejection of you because of that would be something that you would say, oh, my God, I wouldn’t ever want to lose the love and relationship I have with my parents.
Allison Williams: [00:24:45] So I’m just going to stop now. And much more often than not, we don’t decide to stop in a way that gives value to the thing that is actually causing the terror inside. We tend to justify based on things that others would rightfully justify. So we think things like if I say my my marriage was at risk, no one would suggest that we keep growing a business if your marriage is at risk. Right. Everyone that I know appreciates marriage. So they would actually want to save my marriage rather than save something like a business. A business is only money. But I can’t I can’t recreate the X number of years I’ve been with my partner. But the reality is there’s a way for you to have both that you haven’t figured out yet and the stress that comes with doing something new and different, that is driving you earnestly toward that next big breakthrough. That is what is now in the forefront of your subconscious mind that’s now causing it to place things in front of you, to make you doubt whether or not you can keep going. And much more often than not, as problems start to snowball, one subconscious mind hack happens and then another and then another. And then another. And you get to a point where you say, screw it, I can’t do this.
Allison Williams: [00:26:10] This is causing risk to my relationship. Maybe it’s causing stress with my kids. Maybe it’s causing issues with my parents. It’s just it’s problematic all around. And instead of saying I’ll make the most of myself by prioritizing the growth of my business so that I can have that vision life that my spouse, my kids and my parents and I will all enjoy together. What you do is say this is making people unhappy with me. I have to stop for a whole host of reasons. So if you go in knowing that when you want to create success, that you are going to reach this point where your subconscious mind is going to put barriers in front of you to stop you. If you decide in advance that you’re going to not stop and you agree that whatever is going on, you will find a way and figure it out so that you’re not left alone and without your success. So these are the things that are necessary in order to get you to success, to create the vision, to plan for the eventuality of it, to act as if to create evidence, to support your vision that you can believe in and to agree now not to stop. It’s really important that you recognize that you have options, but that you have to commit to a process in order to get to the easiest way of creating success. You can create success in a whole host of ways.
Allison Williams: [00:27:42] But if you are swimming upstream against your own interest and having difficulty, you will always encounter problems. You will always have difficulty. And most likely at some point that difficulty is going to urge you to stop unless you have followed this format and made sure that you’ve agreed with yourself in advance not to stop. All right, everyone, I’m Allison Williams. We’re coming to the end of another episode of The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. Our Law Firm Mentor Movement Facebook group. We’re going to be talking about this topic in the group. So I welcome you to actually join us in the group if you’re not there already. And I’ll see you on the next podcast.
Allison Williams: [00:28:42] Thank you for tuning in to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. To learn more about today’s guests and take advantage of the resources mentioned, check out our show notes. And if you own a solo or small law firm and are looking for guidance, advice or simply support on your journey to create a law firm that runs without you, join us in the Law Firm Mentor Movement free Facebook group. There, you can access our free trainings on improving collections in law firms, meeting billable hours, and join the movement of thousands of law firm owners across the country who want to crush chaos in their law firm and make more money. I’m Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Have a great day.
Allison C. Williams, Esq., is Founder and Owner of the Williams Law Group, LLC, with offices in Short Hills and Freehold, New Jersey. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney and is the first attorney in New Jersey to become Board-Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in the field of Family Law.
Ms. Williams is an accomplished businesswoman. In 2017, the Williams Law Group won the LawFirm500 award, ranking 14th of the fastest growing law firms in the nation, as Ms. Williams grew the firm 581% in three years. Ms. Williams won the Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017. In 2018, Ms. Williams was voted as NJBIZ’s Top 50 Women in Business and was designated one of the Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners. In 2019, Ms. Williams won the Seminole 100 Award for founding one of the fastest growing companies among graduates of Florida State University.
In 2018, Ms. Williams created Law Firm Mentor, a business coaching service for lawyers. She helps solo and small law firm attorneys grow their business revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money. Through multi-day intensive business retreats, group and one-to-one coaching, and strategic planning sessions, Ms. Williams advises lawyers on all aspects of creating, sustaining and scaling a law firm business – and specifically, she teaches them the core foundational principles of marketing, sales, personnel management, communications and money management in law firms.
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00:02:45 (49 Seconds)
So what does it mean to get to that easy way of creating success? Well, this is going to sound really, really, really offensive. So please promise me that you’re going to stick around for a couple of minutes after I say this. Don’t tune me out right away. But the easiest way to create success is simply to create the vision. Now, whenever I tell lawyers that all you have to do is envision what your success will look like, I get a lot of eye rolls, I get a lot of tuning out. I get kind of the blank stare. So I want to tell you what I mean by that, and why it’s so important that that’s where we start.
00:09:13 (36 Seconds)
You start creating all of the excuses, all of the rationalizations as to why you can’t have what you want before you actually seek what you want. So it’s important that you actually seek what you want first and hold firm to that vision and let your energy go behind what you want so that that’s what expands in your life. OK, after you’ve created the vision, the next thing is, the part that’s not so sexy is creating the plan. You have to plan the eventuality that you’re going to have this life.