Learn the norm and then push the boundaries

Some time ago I mentioned if we all were the same, the world would be a boring place. This remains a favorite saying of mine. In relation to work, there always are “in” jobs and professions, or the new better way to do your job. In reality, there are many ways to do the same job. Certain tasks may have specific steps, but otherwise, creativity and differences reign.

No matter your business or where you work, it is your individuality that makes you stand out to others. It also is your creativity and the ability to think outside of the box. Do you do that, or is the same old same old? It’s hard to come up with or do something new or different. Ideas that seem so obvious weren’t to most of us. If you are an entrepreneur, whether in a startup or any other type of business, what makes you and your business stand out?

Colleges should teach creativity along with entrepreneurship, business, etc. Tapping into other parts of the brain is important and can be life altering. It is good to think outside of the box and differently than others in your space. Of course, in all businesses and professions, you need to learn the ropes and rules before trying to push any boundaries.

Doing what others have done is safe and where learning begins. We need people to do many jobs that are decidedly not hip or “in”. In fact, being safe or working as others have or in an unhip job may make you a success. Once you have learned the basics, being creative, unique and different has the possibility to make you a trailblazer or visionary in your field.

It’s up to you to determine whether you are okay with the status quo or not. It sure seems more interesting to blaze your own trail within whatever path you choose.

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We all are works in progress

We all are works in progress, constantly evolving and developing as individuals throughout our lives. Just as a painting or a sculpture takes time to reach its final form, so does every person. Each experience you encounter, every challenge you face, and every lesson you learn contributes to your growth and transformation.

As a work in progress, you are never truly a finished product. There is always room for improvement and growth. Your strengths can be further honed, and, with work on yourself, your weaknesses can be addressed and overcome. Intuitively you know you have the capacity to learn new skills, expand your knowledge, and develop new perspectives. Embracing the idea that you are a work in progress allows you to approach life with a sense of curiosity and openness, constantly seeking opportunities for self-improvement.

Recognizing yourself as a work in progress helps cultivate self-compassion and acceptance. It is natural to make mistakes and experience setbacks along the way. However, understanding that growth and progress take time allows you to be kind to yourself (and others) and view failures as stepping stones towards success. Embrace your imperfections and see them as opportunities for learning and personal development, rather than sources of shame or self-judgment.

Further, the concept of all people being works in progress encourages a growth mindset. Instead of viewing your abilities and qualities as fixed, understand that with effort, perseverance, and a positive attitude, you can continue to learn and evolve. This mindset empowers you to take on challenges, embrace new experiences, and step outside of your comfort zones. All of us can become more resilient and adaptable, constantly pushing to reach our full potential.

Acknowledging that we are all works in progress allows us to continuously evolve and grow throughout our lives. Embracing this notion allows each of us to approach life with a sense of curiosity, self-compassion, and a growth mindset. It reminds you that people are not defined by their past or our current state, but rather by their potential and our capacity for change. So, embrace the journey of self-discovery and personal growth, knowing that all of us, and specifically you, are constantly evolving and that the best version of you is yet to come.

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Passion for what you do is priceless

Passion is an intangible and invaluable element when it comes to one’s work. It is the driving force that fuels creativity, determination, and commitment, ultimately leading to personal fulfillment and success. Passion creates a deep connection between you and your work, transcending the boundaries of mere obligation or duty. When you are truly passionate about your work, it becomes more than just a job; it becomes a meaningful and purposeful endeavor.

First and foremost, passion ignites enthusiasm and intrinsic motivation. When you have a genuine passion for what you do, it becomes easier to overcome challenges and setbacks. Passion drives you to push through obstacles and go the extra mile to achieve your goals. It generates a sense of energy and excitement, infusing your work with dedication and determination. This enthusiasm is contagious and can inspire those around you, fostering a positive and productive work environment.

For me, passion for what I do on behalf of clients keeps me going at times when the day becomes long and there is still work to do to finish a project or task. I know my clients count on me for advice, but also to complete the actual work my team or I do for them. And they expect it will be done well. That may mean finishing review and revision of a hundred page agreement or drafting a document important to their matter. The more involved and time intensive a project or representation, the more passion for what I do provides the energy to complete the work well.

Moreover, passion breeds creativity and innovation. When you are passionate about your work, you are more likely to think outside the box, explore new ideas, and take risks. Passionate individuals are not content with mediocrity; they constantly seek to improve and make a meaningful impact. This willingness to challenge the status quo and pursue innovative and creative solutions can lead to breakthroughs and advancements in your field. Passionate professionals are often at the forefront of change and progress, as they are driven by a deep desire to make a difference.

Passion sustains long-term commitment and resilience. Inevitably, there will be ups and downs in any career. However, passion acts as an anchor during difficult times, providing the motivation to persevere and bounce back from setbacks. When faced with adversity, passion reminds you of the bigger picture and the underlying purpose behind your work. It fuels your determination to overcome obstacles and keeps you focused on the long-term vision, rather than getting caught up in short-term frustrations.

Ultimately, passion brings personal fulfillment and a sense of purpose to your work. When you are passionate about what you do, you experience a deep sense of satisfaction and joy. Your work becomes more than just a means to an end; it becomes an integral part of who you are and what you believe in. This fulfillment goes beyond financial rewards or external validation—it stems from the internal satisfaction of pursuing something that aligns with your values and interests.

All of this makes having passion for what you do priceless in relation to your work because it provides the fuel to drive your creativity, motivation, and resilience. It brings enthusiasm, innovation, and a sense of purpose to your professional endeavors. When you are passionate about your work, it transcends the boundaries of mere employment and becomes a deeply fulfilling and meaningful pursuit. So, embrace your passion, nurture it, and let it guide you on a journey of personal and professional growth.

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Perspective matters

I firmly believe that perspective matters significantly in the world of business. Perspective is the lens through which we view and interpret issues, in my case, legal issues. This can greatly influence the outcomes and strategies employed in business and professional practice. When dealing with complex matters, understanding and considering different perspectives is crucial.

Perspective allows us to grasp the diverse interests and concerns of all parties. This is important because in any legal dispute or transaction in which I am involved, there are usually multiple stakeholders with varying viewpoints. When I am dealing with complex legal matters, understanding and considering different perspectives is crucial. By comprehending these perspectives, I can better evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s arguments or position and negotiate more effectively. A nuanced understanding of different perspectives helps find common ground and facilitate fair and just outcomes for the parties.

Moreover, perspective shapes strategies and approaches. By considering the broader context of a situation, you can anticipate potential risks and devise appropriate risk management strategies. For instance, a business operating in a highly regulated industry will require a different strategy compared to a startup in a more lenient regulatory environment. By acknowledging these perspectives, one can consider choices and make decisions to suit their specific needs and goals.

Additionally, perspective is essential for ensuring I am advising clients in an ethical and responsible manner. I have to consider not only the immediate legal implications of my advice but also the broader impact on my clients and their businesses. By doing so, I can guide clients towards long-term sustainability for their businesses.

Perspective matters greatly in the world of business and law. It enables the understanding of diverse interests and development of effective strategies. By embracing multiple perspectives, all of us can navigate complex issues and situations more adeptly. Make it a goal to constantly strive to broaden your perspective and remain open to new ideas and viewpoints to excel in your business, as well as in life.

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Be a Change Agent: Igniting Positive Transformation

In a world that is constantly evolving, being a change agent is not only an admirable quality but also a necessity. Change agents are individuals who challenge the status quo, question existing norms, and actively work towards making a positive difference in their communities. By embracing the role of a change agent, you can collectively shape a better future. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of being a change agent and discuss a few practical steps you can take to become one.

  1. Embrace Your Passion: To be a change agent, you need to identify your passion and align it with a cause that resonates with you. Find a cause that ignites your enthusiasm and fuels your determination. Once you discover your passion, educate yourself, connect with like-minded individuals, and engage in meaningful discussions to gain a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. This could be in relation to the work you do or a cause you care deeply about. There are no limits.
  2. Start with Small Actions: Being a change agent doesn’t necessarily require grand gestures or revolutionary ideas. Small actions can have a significant impact. Begin by creating change within your immediate circle of influence. In my world it could be forming a group of attorneys working in the same practice area to exchange ideas, strategies, or for learning sessions. It also could mean volunteering at a local animal shelter, organizing a community clean-up event, or mentoring someone in need. These small acts can create a ripple effect and inspire others to follow suit. By helping others you’re helping yourself, thereby being a change agent.
  3. Collaborate and Amplify: Creating meaningful change often requires collaboration. Identify individuals or organizations that share your vision and values. By joining forces, you can pool resources, expertise, and networks to amplify your impact. Engage in dialogue, build relationships, and foster a sense of community. Together, you can create a stronger voice for change and tackle complex issues more effectively. It will allow you and others to grow and lead to new collaborations and relationships.
  4. Be Resilient and Persistent: Creating lasting change can be challenging, and setbacks are inevitable. However, change agents persevere through adversity. Stay committed to your cause, even when faced with obstacles or resistance. Seek support from fellow change agents, learn from failures, and adapt your strategies. Remember, real change takes time, and your determination can inspire others to join you on the road to wherever you are trying to go.

Being a change agent is not reserved for a select few but is a path open to everyone. By embracing your passion, taking small actions, collaborating with others, and staying resilient, you can make a difference. Be the catalyst for positive transformation in your professional life and your community. Doing so will shape a brighter future for all.

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Fear is a liar

“Fear is a liar” is a powerful statement that emphasizes how fear can deceive and manipulate our perceptions and decision-making. Fear often distorts our perception of reality, leading us to believe in worst-case scenarios and preventing us from taking necessary risks or pursuing our goals. It feeds on our insecurities and doubts, creating barriers that limit our potential.

It convinces us that we are not capable or deserving of success. It whispers negative thoughts and self-doubt, making us question our abilities and potential. It can prevent us from seizing opportunities or stepping out of our comfort zones. However, it is important to remember that fear is merely a product of our imagination, and its power lies in the meaning we assign to it. By challenging our fears and reframing our perspective, we can overcome the limitations fear imposes on us

I think fear plays a big role in my professional world, the legal profession. In that context, fear often plays a significant role in shaping the actions and choices of attorneys and their clients.

One example is when clients are afraid to pursue legal action due to intimidation from the opposing party or the complexity of the legal process. Fear can lead clients to believe that they have no chance of winning their case, many times because the other party has greater financial resources, or that the consequences of pursuing legal action will outweigh any potential benefits. However, with proper guidance from their attorneys, clients can gain a realistic understanding of their rights, the legal strategies available, and the potential outcomes. By dispelling fear-driven misconceptions, lawyers can empower their clients to make informed decisions.

Similarly, fear can affect attorneys themselves. They may face fear of failure, fear of public speaking, or fear of making mistakes that could harm their clients’ interests. However, it is essential for people to recognize that fear is often an illusion that limits their potential. By confronting and challenging their fears, people can grow both personally and professionally. For attorneys, it allows them to provide better representation to their clients.

Fear can also be a liar in negotiations. Attorneys sometimes let fear cloud their judgment during negotiations, leading them to make recommendations to clients or decisions out of a fear of losing. However, skilled attorneys understand that negotiation is a strategic process and that fear-based decisions often result in suboptimal outcomes. By remaining calm, rational, and focused on the client’s best interests, attorneys can overcome fear and negotiate effectively on their clients’ behalf, though sometimes client’s fears shape the negotiated outcome anyway.

Recognizing the role fear plays and actively addressing it can help all of us, including attorneys and their clients, make sound decisions and be in a position to achieve favorable outcomes. For all of us, it is essential to recognize the deceptive nature of fear and to confront it with courage and determination. By challenging our fears, we can break free from their grip and uncover our true potential. Remember, fear may be loud, but it does not have to define our actions or dictate our lives.

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In person work v. hybrid work – there is no right answer

In-person work has several benefits for both employees and employers, but hybrid work – a mix of in-person and remote work – also has its advantages. One of the primary benefits of in-person work is the opportunity for face-to-face collaboration and communication, which can lead to increased creativity, problem-solving, and productivity. Being able to meet in person can also help build stronger relationships among team members, leading to a more cohesive and effective team overall.

In-person work also allows for better mentorship and training opportunities, as employees can learn directly from their colleagues and superiors. This can be especially valuable for new employees or those transitioning to new roles. In-person work also allows for more immediate feedback and recognition, as managers can observe and praise employees’ work in person.

In addition to the benefits for employees, in-person work can also have positive impacts on company culture and morale. When employees work in the same physical space, they can develop a shared sense of purpose and identity. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and a stronger commitment to the company’s mission and values. In-person work can also create opportunities for socializing and team building activities, which can improve employee happiness and retention.

At the same time, one of the main benefits of hybrid work is increased flexibility, which many employees crave. Employees have the option to work from home or from the office, depending on their personal preferences, work responsibilities, and scheduling needs. This can lead to a better work-life balance and increased job satisfaction.

Hybrid work can also reduce commuting time and expenses, as employees may only need to commute to the office a few days a week. Because of this, hybrid work can also help attract and retain top talent, as it allows companies to offer flexibility and accommodate diverse work styles and preferences.

Another benefit of hybrid work is increased productivity. Remote work can lead to increased productivity due to fewer distractions and less time spent commuting. However, in-person work can also lead to increased productivity due to the benefits of face-to-face collaboration and communication. Hybrid work allows employees to balance these two approaches and find a work style that works best for them.

Overall, both in-person work and hybrid work have their unique advantages. In-person work can foster collaboration, mentorship, and company culture, while hybrid work can offer flexibility, reduced commuting, and increased productivity. It is up to companies and employees to determine which approach works best for their needs and goals. This is a balancing act for many businesses. There no right answer for your company because your employees each have their own wants and needs. Balancing all of this is the biggest management challenge of the current time for businesses.

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Try something new

Innovation and creativity are crucial for the growth and success of any business. Trying something new can help you and your businesses to stay relevant and competitive in the market. There are various ways to try something new in business, such as introducing a new product or service, exploring new markets, implementing new technology, changing the business model, or trying a new idea to develop business.

Introducing a new product or service can help businesses to expand their offerings and attract new customers. This can involve conducting market research to identify customer needs and preferences and developing a product or service that meets those needs. For example, a restaurant may try something new by introducing a new menu item that appeals to a different demographic or taste preference or my law firm could hire an attorney who practices in an area of the law we don’t currently cover.

Exploring new markets can also help businesses to grow and expand. This may involve expanding into new geographic regions or targeting a different customer segment. For instance, my firm could try something new by opening an office in a different city or state or aligning with attorneys who target a different practice area or demographic.

Implementing new technology can also be a great way to try something new in business. This may involve using new software or tools to streamline operations, improve customer experience, or increase efficiency. For example, a manufacturing company may try something new by implementing robotic automation to increase production and reduce costs. Whatever your business, there is new technology that may be beneficial to implement.

Finally, changing the business model can also help businesses to try something new and stay competitive. This may involve pivoting to a new business model, such as a subscription-based model, or offering a new service or product that complements the existing business model. For instance, a fitness center may try something new by adding virtual fitness classes to its offering to cater to customers who prefer working out at home.

The point is that being stagnant is just that and trying something new can be a great way to grow and stay competitive. By introducing new products or services, exploring new markets, implementing new technology, or changing your business model, businesses and professionals can adapt to changing market conditions and meet the evolving needs of their customers and clients.

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Not my monkey, not my circus

I recently heard my wife say “not my monkey, not my circus” and it struck me about how important a concept it is in all aspects of life. It’s a colloquial phrase that conveys the idea that one is not responsible for the problems or issues of others. It is often used to express a lack of ownership or accountability for situations that do not directly concern or involve oneself.

In a business context, this phrase can be interpreted to mean that individuals or entities should not feel compelled to take on the burdens or liabilities of others unless they are legally obligated to do so. It reflects the principle of limited liability, which is a fundamental concept in business and legal settings.

It encapsulates the principle of limited liability in business law: you are not automatically responsible for the problems or issues of others, unless you have voluntarily assumed such responsibilities or are legally obligated to do so. However, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of limited liability and the legal obligations that apply to specific business situations to ensure compliance with the law and mitigate potential risks.

In a personal life context, “not my monkey, not my circus” can be interpreted as a reminder that you are not obligated to take on the problems or issues of others that do not directly concern you. It reflects the idea that you should not feel overly responsible or burdened by matters that are not within your realm of control or responsibility.

In personal relationships, this phrase can serve as a reminder to maintain healthy boundaries and avoid getting overly involved in other people’s problems or conflicts. It can be a gentle way of declining involvement in situations that may not directly affect you or may be beyond your capacity to address. It’s important to recognize that everyone has their own challenges and responsibilities, and it’s not always necessary or feasible to take on the burdens of others. “Not my monkey, not my circus” can serve as a reminder to prioritize self-care and personal well-being while respecting the autonomy and responsibilities of others in their own lives.

In the moment it can be hard to remember that you are not automatically responsible for matters that are outside of your scope of control or responsibility. At those times is when you need to remember the phrase “not my monkey, not my circus” and set boundaries while respecting and acknowledging the autonomy and responsibilities of others. Understanding the concept of “not my monkey, not my circus” can help you navigate complex situations, set appropriate boundaries, and manage your obligations effectively. Remembering that we all have enough situations to manage and negotiate when we stay in our own lanes will help you focus on your own monkeys and circuses.

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Happy employees are good for good business

In my role as a partner at a law firm, I have seen the positive impact that employee happiness can have on a company. Happy employees are more productive, engaged, and committed to their work. In turn, this can lead to increased profitability and growth for the business.

Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. However, providing a workplace that promotes employee happiness goes beyond mere compliance with the law. Employers should strive to create a positive work culture that fosters a sense of community, supports employee growth and development, and recognizes the contributions of its workforce.

One way to promote employee happiness is by offering competitive compensation and benefits packages. Treating employees fairly should be the rule and not just lip service. It’s part of taking care of those who are your company.

Employers should also provide opportunities for training and career development to help employees feel valued and invested in the company’s success. Lifetime learning is something we all should strive for. Business owners should provide learning opportunities because it’s good for the employees and the company, and the employees help drive that success.

Employers should also be mindful of the work-life balance of their employees. Implementing flexible work arrangements and providing resources for mental health and wellness can help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. Happy employees are less likely to experience burnout or turnover, which can save companies time and resources in the long run.

Promoting employee happiness should be a priority for all businesses. Employers who invest in the well-being of their employees can reap the benefits of increased productivity, engagement, and commitment. In fact, promoting employee happiness is not only good for business, but it is also the right thing to do.

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It’s not an apology if it comes with an excuse

You read that correctly. When you apologize for some action or inaction there may well be a reason. If you explain that reason as part of the apology you’re making an excuse, not making an honest apology.

An easy example is when you’re late to pick someone up. The reasons could be the drive was longer than you thought, you lost track of time and left late, you were stuck in traffic, or some similar reason. Of course there was a reason or you would have been on time (or even early). Does it matter why? Not when it comes to saying you’re sorry to someone for being late. By explaining yourself instead of just apologizing you cheapen your apology. The person may ask why you were late. If so you can decide whether to explain yourself or just say “it doesn’t matter, again, I’m sorry I was late.”

Many people offer the reason/excuse first and then apologize. This is no better than providing it after apologizing. It may be worse too. Let your apology stand alone. It means something because this is about you making an honest apology, not how it’s received.

The person you apologize to may not acknowledge your apology or accept it. All you can do is put it out there. Once you do that there is no guaranty of anything other than you put it out there with sincerity, intent, and no excuse. The next time there is reason for you to apologize to someone, do it and see how it feels.

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