Archives for November 2022

Always be prepared

Preparation is everything. It makes things look easy and natural. In my world it’s being prepared for a trial, closing of a transaction, oral argument, or the first meeting with a new client. People know when you’re unprepared. When you’re prepared they likely think you just know your stuff and don’t think about the time you put in to perform at that high level. In your world there are equivalents where you can win or lose business based on your preparation or lack thereof.

My wife has a huge presentation today. She has been preparing for as long as she has known about it, which never feels like enough. I know her well enough to know she spent the time needed to have it go as well as she can. Like all of us, she always has a lot going on in her professional and personal worlds. Even with that she carved out time because she knows preparation is key. This gives her the best chance for success in achieving her objectives.

The more prepared you are for whatever you are dealing with today provides the opportunity for the best possible outcome. I am not naïve enough to think I’m the only person a potential client is speaking with. Even if they are not speaking to another law firm or attorney, the confidence I instill in them because of my preparation gives me a better opportunity to reach the outcome I’m seeking, which is to be retained to assist them with the legal work needed.

Plus, you never know who will put your name out there providing opportunities in the future. Your preparation and then good performance turns those people into your cheerleaders too, which always helps. Preparation is investing in yourself, and it can help make your future.

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Get moving for your body and your brain

Many of us sit in place all day long working hard. This is bad for you mentally and physically. You know how this works when you’re focused on an important task or project. You’re on a roll and stay in your chair, not even getting up to stretch or walk around. This is something you know isn’t good for you, but are you willing to try new steps to help yourself and lower your stress level?

Many activities help lower and manage stress. What you have time to do depends on the time you can carve out each day to invest in yourself. Of course this is a function of the business you are in, what is going on with your children or family, the demands of your spouse, etc. so the hour and a half hike or bike ride might be out of reach. Despite that you probably have time for a 20 minute walk, to stretch, or do some sort of exercise. You should strive to find something that fits your busy day and which you can create the time to do. Find activities you actually like to do.

For me, fitting things in first thing in the morning makes it much more likely it will happen. I have two main things that I try to fit into my daily and weekly routines that lend themselves to the time I have and which help me to feel better physically and mentally. The first is hiking and the second is meditation.

This morning, before doing anything else, I meditated and exercised. I didn’t have time to hike, but I still stretched and exercised, getting my body and brain moving. I know some of you are thinking meditation is not for you. I used to think that way too. After learning about it more through a program at work a few years ago, I stopped and started with it, but now can’t imagine beginning my day without it.

I have meditated almost every day for a number of years. Two things helped me do this. The first was the resolve to make time and see if I found benefits from the activity. I did. Second was finding an app where I could track statistics and try to keep myself accountable.

Over time I worked my way up from 2 minutes to 5 to 10 and now, for the last few years, 20. I won’t lie and say that it’s been easy to fit in 20 minutes of meditation every day. It’s not. I know it sounds as funny reading that as it is for me to write it. How can it be hard to find 20 minutes in your entire day? We all know in reality it is. But the benefits I think I get from meditation have focused me on continuing to make it a part of my routine and it is something I look forward to doing each morning.

Interestingly, I think the hiking I do is an extension of and related to the meditation in that it puts me in a happy place and allows me space to think. For instance, on many hikes I come up with ideas for blogs. Sometimes I listen to podcasts on subjects I am interested in. Sometimes I listen to the news. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I listen to nothing and think about work, but if I have something such as a trial or deposition that day, odds are I am at home or work preparing and I have changed my routine because of the nature of that day.

These activities together help keep me better centered and less stressed than I would be if I did not do them. It makes me feel better mentally and physically. It’s important to keep moving as we get older so we can do so when we reach ages when many people have trouble doing moving and being active.

I am not suggesting that each of you should take up meditation and hiking, though I do think you should try meditation. Instead, I think you need to figure out what will help to focus on your mental and physical wellbeing. Once you do, try to do so a short time each day and you will see how it improves your life. Once you do, the next thing to do is to make it a routine. It takes almost no time to feel the benefits of taking time to invest in yourself.

Start today. Your body and brain will thank you.

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