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.

No Comments

Don’t play the hypothetical game

You need to focus on the present and concrete realities of a situation or event rather than getting lost in speculative scenarios. Constantly dwelling on hypothetical situations can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety. People often waste precious mental energy worrying about “what if” scenarios that likely will never come to pass. By not playing the hypothetical game, you free yourself from these burdens and can concentrate on addressing actual challenges and opportunities.

Similarly, businesses thrive on informed decisions based on real data and situations. Engaging in hypothetical discussions in your mind or in a group setting without a solid foundation can lead to confusion, wasted resources, and poor outcomes. Leaders and teams should prioritize objective analysis and practical solutions over endless conjecture.

For years I used to playout how important conversations or a hearing in front of a court could play out. In not one of those experiences did the reality match any of the hours I wasted creating and playing out scenarios in my mind. It took me a long time to stop playing the hypothetical game, but in the years since I stopped it has saved me countless hours and unnecessary stress. Instead, I plan well, outline, and use other tools and ideas to be prepared for whatever happens.

Avoiding the hypothetical game also encourages accountability. When individuals take responsibility for their actions in the present rather than deflecting blame onto hypothetical circumstances, it fosters a culture of ownership and problem-solving. This mindset is crucial for personal growth and success in both personal and professional spheres.

When you make the conscious choice to not play the hypothetical game you stay grounded in reality and make decisions based on facts and actual situations. This promotes mental clarity, reduces stress, enhances decision-making, and fosters a culture of accountability. Embracing this principle will lead you to a more effective, efficient, and fulfilling life, both personally and professionally.

No Comments

Gratitude unexpressed is gratitude unperceived

The phrase “gratitude unexpressed is gratitude unperceived” holds profound significance. It underscores the importance of not only feeling grateful but also actively communicating that gratitude to colleagues, employees, clients, and partners. Failure to express gratitude can lead to a host of issues in the workplace.

Many times I think about who I want to express gratitude to and even what I want to say but then I don’t make the time to do so. Missing these opportunities may cause long-term harm to existing relationships so make the time to follow through on these thoughts. Even people who don’t like being the center of attention want to know their hard work and good results are noticed and remember how you express gratitude doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.

At my firm I generally have an idea about how different people like to receive gratitude or praise. It’s different person to person and, of course, is easier to know the better you know someone. This relates to the importance of spending time getting to know people around you, which helps you learn how they are at accepting gratitude or other types of feedback. Learning this in regard to co-workers, let alone clients or business partners, is an important for my firm as well as your business.

Unexpressed gratitude can create a sense of unacknowledged effort among employees. When hard work goes unnoticed or unappreciated, it can demotivate and lower morale. Employees who feel their contributions are not valued may become disengaged, leading to decreased productivity and a higher turnover rate.

It also can strain relationships with clients and partners. In a competitive business environment, showing appreciation for your client’s business and loyalty can go a long way in maintaining strong, long-lasting partnerships. When clients or partners don’t feel appreciated, they may be more inclined to explore other options, potentially harming your business’s bottom line.

On the other hand, when gratitude is openly expressed, it fosters a positive work environment. Employees feel valued, motivated, and more committed to their work. Clients and partners appreciate the recognition and are more likely to remain loyal. The act of expressing gratitude not only improves relationships but also contributes to a thriving and successful business, which is why it is essential to remember that gratitude must be articulated to be truly effective.

No Comments

Overcoming difficult mental challenges boosts your confidence

Overcoming hard mental challenges is a profound journey that can significantly enhance your confidence. When you push yourself to conquer difficult mental hurdles, you develop a deeper understanding of your own capabilities, which, in turn, fosters a sense of self-assuredness and resilience.

Facing and conquering challenging mental obstacles requires you to tap into your inner strengths and problem-solving abilities. This process forces you to confront your fears, uncertainties, and doubts, ultimately leading to self-discovery. As you navigate these difficulties, you begin to recognize that you possess the inner resources needed to surmount even the most daunting challenges. This self-awareness forms the foundation of confidence, as you come to trust in your own abilities to handle adversity.

I recently heard an interview with actor and comedian Kevin Hart on a podcast. He was asked whether he ever had a particularly hard night doing standup comedy. Hart relayed that early in his career he performed at the bottom or middle of a bill in Atlantic City during which an audience member threw a chicken wing at him, hitting him in the face, while telling him to shut up. This was combined with an audience that was not laughing at his jokes and booed him.

He could have decided he didn’t have what it takes or not shown up on the same bill the next week, as he was contracted to do. Instead Hart came back the next week with all new material and while the audience didn’t laugh, it didn’t boo him. He viewed this as a victory.

Hart could have folded up his tent or begged off of the bill the next week. Instead he jumped a huge mental hurdle by getting back up in front of essentially the same or a similar audience focused on a having a different outcome than the prior show. Hart said the confidence he gained from doing so has stuck with him 20 years later and inspired him to overcome other big mental hurdles since then.

The process of overcoming hard mental challenges often involves setbacks and failures as happened to Hart. However, as he noted in the interview I heard, it’s through these setbacks that true confidence is forged. Each time an you face adversity and persevere, you build resilience and learn valuable lessons. You come to understand that failure is not a reflection of your inadequacy but rather an opportunity for growth. This mindset shift fosters a resilient confidence through which you can weather future challenges.

Additionally, as you successfully conquer difficult mental challenges, you accumulate a track record of achievements. This track record serves as concrete evidence of your competence, further bolstering your self-confidence. When you look back on your accomplishments during moments of self-doubt, you can remind yourself that you’ve conquered formidable mental obstacles before and have the capacity to do so again.

For these reasons it’s important to remember that overcoming hard mental challenges is a transformative process that fortifies confidence. Through self-discovery, resilience-building, and the accumulation of achievements, it’s possible to develop a deep and enduring belief in your abilities to confront and conquer adversity. This confidence becomes a powerful asset that not only helps you navigate future challenges but also empowers you to pursue your goals and aspirations with unwavering determination.

No Comments

Hope is not a strategy

I was in a conversation recently when someone said “Hope is not a strategy.” Though I had heard the phrase before it struck me as a reminder that success and progress is not solely reliant on mere optimism or wishful thinking. Hope can provide the emotional drive to persevere through challenges, but it must be accompanied by thoughtful planning, concrete actions, and strategic decision-making to turn aspirations into reality.

In the realm of business, this phrase underscores the importance of proactive planning and execution. Entrepreneurs and leaders can’t simply hope for their ventures to thrive; they must develop solid business plans, set achievable goals, allocate resources effectively, and adapt to changing market dynamics. Relying solely on hope without a strategic foundation can lead to missed opportunities and unexpected setbacks.

In the legal world I inhabit, hope as a strategy would doom me and my clients to failure. I can’t just hope things turn out well. If I don’t put in the time to learn and understand all of the specifics of my client’s situation and issues, I put myself and my client’s interests in a disadvantageous position. Doing so would lead to worse results whether in a negotiation or a formal legal proceeding such as a lawsuit. Preparation doesn’t guaranty a more successful outcome but it does provide the opportunity to achieve the best outcome possible.

In personal development, the idea of “Hope is not a strategy” emphasizes the need to take deliberate steps towards achieving one’s goals. For instance, someone aspiring to a successful career can’t simply rely on the hope of landing their dream job; they must acquire relevant skills, network, and actively seek out opportunities. Success is often a result of consistent effort, continuous learning, and calculated risks, rather than passive optimism.

In essence, “Hope is not a strategy” is a reminder that while hope can provide inspiration, it should be complemented by strategic thinking and deliberate actions. By combining optimism with well-considered plans, individuals and organizations can increase their chances of achieving their desired outcomes and making a meaningful impact in their respective fields.

No Comments

Today is the youngest you’ll ever be, so live like it

“Today is the youngest you’ll ever be, so live like it” encapsulates a powerful reminder to embrace the present moment and make the most of your life. In a world that often encourages you to plan for the future or dwell on the past, this statement encourages a shift in perspective towards living in the now. Each passing day brings you closer to the future, and as time moves forward, your opportunities and experiences continue to evolve. This notion urges you to seize the day, take chances, and cultivate a mindset of enthusiasm and vigor.

Living in the present doesn’t imply disregarding the lessons of the past or neglecting to plan for the future. Instead, it encourages you to focus on what’s in front of you, whether it be a big project at work or taking care of a personal task. This will help you to find a balance between learning from your past experiences and preparing for what lies ahead while fully embracing the unique circumstances of today.

And this can be a big picture item as opposed to a mundane task. Whether it’s pursuing a long-held dream, mending relationships, exploring new horizons, or simply appreciating the small joys in daily life, the phrase underscores the importance of living authentically and intentionally. The point is to push aside the thoughts we all have about things outside of our control or which we can’t change. Doing so will allow you to finish that project or focus on the person telling you about their day across a dinner table.

This saying emphasizes the fleeting nature of time and the inevitability of change. Your experiences and circumstances will evolve with each passing moment, making it imperative to make the most of the current chapter of your life. This mindset encourages you to savor the present, to live in the moment.

In essence, it serves as a gentle but impactful wake-up call to break free from the constraints of procrastination, fear, or hesitation, let alone focusing on the past or future. By internalizing the sentiment that today is the youngest we’ll ever be, you can embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth that ultimately leads to a life well-lived.

No Comments

Thoughts and observations on dropping a daughter off at college

This has been a hard and happy week. I dropped my third child off at college. All three drop-offs were happy and sad occasions – happy for your child’s next step on their adventure and sad knowing they are gone from our house. This one was the hardest one yet (I still have one more to go in a few years).

Maybe it’s because it was my only daughter. Maybe it’s because she didn’t make her senior year as tough on my wife and I as her older brothers. I kept thinking about my last post on every adventure requiring a first step. This didn’t make it any easier even though I am so happy for her to take on her new adventure.

I have gone through a mix of emotions—pride, nostalgia, excitement, and a touch of bittersweet sentiment. As a parent, it feels like a culmination of years spent nurturing, guiding, and watching your child grow into a young adult. While this is not an end to my parenting journey with her, it’s a significant turning point in both of our lives.

My daughter is stepping onto the threshold of independence. It feels good to know she is ready to embark on her new chapter. Her decisions and experiences moving forward will shape her identity and future. It reminded me that my role as her father is evolving. It’s transitioning from a constant presence to (hopefully) a guiding force, providing support from a distance as she navigates the challenges and opportunities of college and young adulthood.

Despite what feels like a whirlwind of emotions, it reminded me of the dynamic nature of time. In the past few weeks I felt like I was watching a montage of memories as the date to drop her off approached, from her first steps to her high school graduation, all converging into this significant moment. The process of dropping her off at college underscores the passage of time, the fleeting nature of childhood, and the importance of treasuring each phase of life. The experience prompted reflection on the unique bond I have with her, one that is evolving as she starts her next chapter.

Of course, watching her transition to college also brings me a sense of anticipation and hope. The campus holds so many possibilities including new friendships, and a world of knowledge waiting to be explored. I feel I have shifted to supporting her as she takes her first steps into a world of self-discovery and growth. For now the separation feels challenging, but following her on her journey towards independence I know she is prepared for the adventures that lie ahead.

My experience dropping my daughter off at college was a profound experience blending love, nostalgia, and the beauty of watching a young person take flight. As she immerses herself in the world of academia and expands her horizons, I’m trying to adapt to this large change in our home. The experience reminded me, as Ferris Buller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in while, you could miss it.” Remember how important being present is in the short time you have with people.

No Comments

Every adventure requires a first step

In the context of work and your career, the phrase “every adventure requires a first step” takes on profound significance. Just as in any grand expedition or personal endeavor, professional growth and success requires an initial leap into the unknown. This notion emphasizes the importance of taking proactive steps to advance your career, even if those steps seem uncertain or challenging at first.

Starting a new job, pursuing a different career path, or aiming for a promotion all demand that initial act of courage because growth and discovery lie beyond the boundaries of comfort. The first step often involves you leaving the comfort of a familiar role or routine, and embracing new challenges. The first step also represents the power of intention and commitment. It’s the moment when your ideas and thoughts crystallize into a concrete plan, setting the wheels of progress in motion. Without that first step, dreams remain dormant, opportunities go untapped, and potential remains unfulfilled.

This transition can be both exciting and intimidating, as it demands that you adapt to a fresh environment, acquire new skills, and build new relationships. However, it’s crucial to recognize that the most rewarding career advancements often emerge from these pivotal moments when you step out of your comfort zone. Your first step doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to be taken. With each step that follows you build upon your previous step, creating a momentum that will propel you forward.

The concept of the first step underscores the idea that progress is incremental. Every achievement, no matter how significant, begins with a single action. This could be as simple as you updating a resume, networking with professionals in your desired field, or enrolling in a skill-enhancing course. These seemingly small steps set the foundation for larger accomplishments down the line. Embracing the idea that progress is a series of manageable steps can make daunting career transitions more approachable.

Taking that first step in the realm of work and career is not only about advancing professionally but also about personal growth. It’s a reminder that embracing challenges and opportunities is how you expand your skill sets, increase your knowledge, and ultimately, strive to achieve your full potential. Each new job, project, or role is an adventure waiting to unfold, and that adventure begins with that all-important first step.

No Comments

Do what you love, not for money

The age-old advice, “Do what you love, not for money,” encapsulates a profound wisdom that urges each of us to prioritize passion and purpose over material gain. While financial stability is undeniably important, dedicating one’s life solely to chasing a paycheck can lead to a hollow existence devoid of genuine fulfillment. Pursuing one’s passions in work, on the other hand, often leads to a more satisfying and meaningful life journey.

Engaging in work that aligns with your passions and interests can foster a deep sense of intrinsic motivation. When you are genuinely passionate about what you do, you are more likely to invest time, effort, and energy willingly, resulting in improved performance and quality. This dedication can lead to personal growth, skill development, and a sense of accomplishment that goes beyond monetary rewards.

For me, being an attorney allows me to help and counsel clients. Sometimes this means trying to help a client out of a bad situation with no “good” options related to whatever will be the ultimate result. Other times it is helping a client close a deal important to them such as the purchase or sale of a business or commercial property. The result matters, but so does the road to get there. If I just phone it in along the way and don’t actually care about the client or the result it will show. In addition, it will negatively impact me and my reputation in the long run.

Being passionate about what I do also allows me to work with others at my firm on accountability and as a mentor, both of which are fulfilling to me. This can be with attorneys or staff. By doing so I am helping others and getting the satisfaction of doing so in return. The fact that it may help drive more work and revenue is a happy byproduct of doing so as opposed to being the sole goal or driving force.

Further, choosing a path driven by passion can enhance mental and emotional well-being. The joy and enthusiasm derived from engaging in activities you love can reduce stress, boost self-esteem, and promote a positive outlook on life. Conversely, pursuing a career solely for financial gain, despite lacking interest, can lead to burnout, resentment, and a perpetual feeling of emptiness.

While monetary considerations are a practical necessity in life, the pursuit of passion can also lead to unexpected financial success. When individuals are truly passionate about their work, they often invest time in mastering their craft, seeking innovative solutions, and establishing a strong reputation. These efforts can result in unique opportunities, collaborations, and recognition that ultimately contribute to financial rewards.

In essence, the advice to “do what you love, not for money” serves as a reminder that a life guided by passion and purpose can yield not only personal satisfaction but also unexpected financial prosperity. Balancing financial stability with a pursuit of one’s passions can lead to a life filled with meaningful experiences and relationships, personal growth, and a genuine sense of fulfillment that transcends monetary considerations.

No Comments

Everything you want is on the other side of hard

I heard the basketball player Chris Paul say this during an interview on a podcast. The phrase struck me and stuck with me. It encapsulates the idea that success and achievement often require effort, perseverance, and overcoming challenges. In life, we all have dreams, aspirations, and goals that we desire to achieve, whether they be personal, professional, or emotional. However, these desires are not handed to us on a silver platter; they demand dedication and hard work.

The path to success is rarely smooth. Instead, it is usually filled with obstacles, setbacks, and difficulties. It is on the other side of these hardships that you will find the rewards you seek. The challenges you face test your resolve and determination, pushing you to develop new skills, gain experience, and grow as an individual. Without these hurdles, you would never fully appreciate the value of your accomplishments.

One of the crucial lessons this phrase teaches is that you must be willing to step out of your comfort zone and embrace discomfort. By confronting difficulties head-on, you cultivate resilience and adaptability, making you better equipped to handle future challenges. The journey itself becomes a source of growth and learning, allowing you to discover your strengths and weaknesses and encouraging self-improvement.

Ultimately, when you persist and stay committed to your goals despite the hardships, you increase the likelihood of achieving them. The satisfaction and fulfillment that come from reaching the other side of hard are unparalleled. It reminds all of us that success is not merely a destination but a transformative journey that shapes us into the best versions of ourselves. So, embrace the difficulties, stay dedicated, and press forward because, indeed, everything you want lies on the other side of hard.

No Comments

Happiness comes from giving of yourself

Happiness is a deeply fulfilling and enriching emotion that can be attained through various means, but one of the most profound sources of happiness is found in giving of yourself. When you extend your kindness, generosity, and support to others, you experience a sense of purpose, connection, and joy that is unparalleled.

Giving of yourself fosters meaningful connections and builds stronger relationships. When you selflessly give your time, attention, and resources to others, you establish bonds based on trust, empathy, and mutual support. These connections bring a sense of belonging and fulfillment, as you witness the positive impact you can have on the lives of others. Engaging in acts of kindness and generosity not only benefits those on the receiving end but also enhances your own well-being and sense of interconnectedness.

Giving of yourself also allows you to tap into your inherent capacity for compassion and empathy. It enables you to step outside of your own needs and concerns, and genuinely understand and care for the well-being of others. When you practice empathy and actively seek to alleviate the suffering of others, you experience a profound sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Giving of yourself helps cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning in your life, as you recognize your ability to make a positive difference in the world around you.

Furthermore, giving of yourself can lead to personal growth and self-discovery. Through acts of service and giving, you challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and expand your perspective. You develop new skills, gain insights into different lifestyles and cultures, and acquire a deeper understanding of the human experience. By stretching your boundaries and reaching out to others, you discover hidden strengths, uncover new passions, and learn valuable lessons about yourself and the world.

Last, it just feels good to help others. Lifting up others and helping them does as much for you as it does for those you help. It provides purpose and lifts your soul.

Happiness comes from giving of yourself. By extending kindness, compassion, and support to others, you not only enhance their lives but also nourish your own well-being. The act of selfless giving builds meaningful connections, cultivates empathy, and fosters personal growth. So, embrace the joy and fulfillment that comes from sharing your time, talents, and resources with others, because in doing so, you truly discover the essence of happiness.

No Comments

Share This