Feeling overwhelmed, like you’ve lost control of your life and your practice, like your job runs you instead of the other way around? You’re not alone and there are ways to overcome anxiety, doubt, and feeling overwhelmed. You can put you back in charge of you.
Guest Monica Levi is a lawyer and former corporate HR executive who channels what she learned into leadership coaching for attorneys. This episode of the Un-Billable Hour is about you. Learn to listen to yourself, understand your worth, and go after what you want in life, whether that’s managing your own law practice, working within a corporate setting, or doing something entirely different.
Lawyers especially feel the pressures of time management, productivity, and reacting and responding to everyone else’s needs. No wonder so many attorneys are struggling to find satisfaction. It’s hard to set boundaries and gain control of your time and goals. But you can do it.
And if you’ve got questions and want to be part of the discussion, join us at The Community Table, a live round table Q&A with host Christopher Anderson and guests here!
Special thanks to our
sponsors , , , and .
Intro: Managing your law practice can be challenging marketing, time management, attracting clients and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that aren’t billable. Welcome to this edition of the Un-Billable Hour, the law practice advisory podcast. This is where you’ll get the information you need from expert guests and host Christopher Anderson, here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher Anderson: Welcome to the Un-Billable Hour, I am your host, Christopher Anderson. And today’s episode is about you. And this could not be better timed. I, for one, and I mentioned you are too or some sensing a lot of stress out there among my colleagues or among my clients. And we’ve gone from the uncertainty of a pandemic for more than a year, to what now is feeling like mounting uncertainty about the economy, about peace, about crime, about other things and other aspects of life in our country. And our clients are feeling it too. So, you know, amongst all that, like it can lead to a lot of anxiety and a lot of stress. But nevertheless, we need to continue making decisions about our businesses.
So, to keep you in that right headspace, we’re going to talk about you. If you’ll remember and the main triangle of what it is that a law firm business must do, which is acquiring new clients, which we call acquisition, producing the results that you promised which we call production, and achieving the business and professional results for the owners. Talking about you really is talking about all of this. But in order to achieve the business and professional results, in order to acquire clients, in order to produce results, you’ve got to be making the decisions. You’ve got to be leading your business. And I’m using that word intentionally because our guest is a leadership coach. Today’s episode, we’re going to touch on some key aspects of maintaining that solid mindset around your business. There’s so much to explore, and so we’re going to get right into it.
My guest today is Monica Levi, and she is a leadership coach for lawyers. And we’re going to call today’s episode of the Un-Billable Hour Steering the Course. My guest Monica Levi, as I said, she’s a leadership coach for lawyers. She has been an executive leadership coach working with lawyers, but she started her career herself as a corporate attorney. She’s worked in HR leadership with more than 20 years of experience working for larger international organizations like Skadden, Arps, like Clifford Chance, like Google, somebody’s heard of Google. I don’t know, it sounds like a funny name for a company, but whatever. Then Monica holds a JD from Northwestern University and an MBA from Oxford. But now she’s working with lawyers, helping them to keep their wits about them. Monica, welcome to the show.
Monica Levi: Thank you, Christopher. So happy to be here.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, I’m happy to have you. So first of all, it’s an unusual bio. Yeah. We talked about going from being a lawyer in big law, to working at this funny name company called Google. Next thing, they’ll start naming companies after Fruit. And now you’ve started your own business, what’s the theme of that story? What’s that through line that people can understand is how you’ve made that journey?
Monica Levi: Yeah, I love that question and I wish I had a pretty clearly delineated and intentional path. But it wasn’t that. The underlying theme, I guess, is listening to my gut and trusting that when I knew I wasn’t happy in a given industry or career, I knew that I owed it to myself to pursue something else. And so, none of the pivots I have had were certain or clear, or I knew what I didn’t want and what I didn’t like. I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know the how or the next step. So, some of it was naivete when I was younger and some of it was just desire to be fulfilled and going after that without the certainty that we’re so trained to seek as lawyers. So taking that those risks have paid off. But I guess to answer your question, it was that trusting my instinct that I needed more out of a career and going after it without knowing the how.
Christopher Anderson: Okay, well, that makes sense. So most of my listeners, the whole point of this show is to help them run their law firm business better. But once in a while, we all have moments where we wonder, maybe I should do something different. So for those who might be thinking about leaving the practice of law and doing something different with their law degree, are there any things that you said this wasn’t always intentional for you, so are there things you wish you would have known before you made the jump?
Monica Levi: I guess I wish I would have known that it’s all going to work out, that I don’t need to have all the steps. As lawyers, we are trained to have the right answer, to find the solution. And that works well in the practice of law, but it’s a little bit limiting —
— in some of the other areas, and one is making those decisions where uncertainty is inevitable. So knowing that one of the things that I remember was critical for me is, my value comes from my brain and my education, and that stays with me no matter where I go. So the job is not what I needed to be happy. I knew that I could create value and find a path. And so, trusting in my own confidence to create value and be profitable no matter what I do allowed me to pursue things that were very unclear at the time. I didn’t know what the next job would be. If I would have, it was very much an identity crisis, would I be able to have the reputation of something that’s well respected? Would I have be able to sustain myself? I didn’t have those answers, but I knew that that came from my brain and my education, so it helped to rely on that.
Obviously, everyone’s in a different situation. So, if you’re thinking, okay, what else might be there for me? Examine your own set of circumstances, how much money do you need to sustain yourself? Are there other people relying on you? Could you start with exploring what else might be interesting to you doing informational interviews or even working with a career coach, if that is truly something you’re seeking to explore, but don’t let the overwhelming uncertainty be the reason why you don’t even allow yourself to explore. If this keeps coming up for you year after year and you keep sort of quieting that voice, it’s not going to go away. Examine it, you may decide in the examination that you do like what you do, but don’t just shove that voice to the side.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. So I mean, I think I’ve heard several colleagues who are in larger law firms, or sometimes some of them in the corporate world speak about the concept of golden handcuffs, where — but what what I’m hearing from you is really the handcuff — like the when people say the word golden handcuffs, what they mean when they say it is, like well the money’s too good, the benefits are too good. It would take me so long or I’m so uncertain about being able to get those that same money and same benefits somewhere else or from myself.
But what I’m hearing you say is like, that’s a very limiting belief, right? So like what you’re saying from your experiences, you’ve got to believe that the value you’re providing to that company, because they’re not paying you out of the goodness of their heart, right? They’re paying you a fraction of the value that you’re providing to them. That’s comes from in your head, that comes from your brain, that comes from your mind, that goes with you. You carry that value with you. And as long as you can supply it to people who need it, the money the benefits will follow. Am I getting the gist right?
Monica Levi: Yeah, I do think that the golden handcuffs is something a lot of lawyers sell themselves, especially their season and way into their career. And there is some validity to the fact that law is a very established profession, you make a lot of money. But it is 100% of limiting belief to think that that’s the only way you can make money because you are very educated, very experienced, even though you might decide to take that experience in a different industry. So, allow yourself to explore maybe 20 years ago, that was the case. Law was if you were a lawyer, there’s probably a limited set of things you could do nowadays, that’s 100%, not the case.
So look out for other examples of people who have left the industry later on and what they have done. There is truly with the online business opportunity right now, an unlimited opportunity for how you can create value and make money and oftentimes, way more money that you would as a lawyer in a law firm, or even having your own business is in a law firm. That’s not to say that it’s for you. And that’s not to say that everyone should consider leaving the law. But if that is something you want to explore, don’t let an assumption determine your reality. Start exploring and educating yourself and looking out for people who have done that before and to take an angle that piques your interest and go deeper and like what could that look like for me? And maybe if you were making really good money as a lawyer, starting out in something new where you won’t be able to match that salary right away, but you can easily very quickly get up to speed. So manage your expectations, decide what matters more to you. And assuming that if you are even may having these considerations, money is not the only thing that drives you.
So just have an honest, oftentimes, you’re so overwhelmed by what might be out there that we don’t even want to look, take a look, see what matters to you, what the options are. You may still decide, “I’m good. I like what I do and there’s enough things that want to keep me here,” then you close that loop instead of having an open decision that keeps coming up for you and causes that discomfort because you’ve never truly explored and you’re always wondering what if.
Christopher Anderson: Right, that’s great. Satisfy the curiosity. It may not lead you away. And I think that’s a great thought. If you’re going by exploring it, you’re not committing to doing it. But if you’re committing to understanding your options, I love that. All right. Everybody listening to the show has now decided that they are going to continue running their law firm business because they are — not because they love the business so much, but because they want to keep listening to the show. And they know that if you give up the law, you got to stop listening to the Un-Billable Hour.
So now that they’ve continued to be lawyers and owning their own business, here’s one of the questions I get a lot, I’d love to get your take on it. People are the lawyers, the business owners, thought that being a business owner meant that you would be able to get some control back over your time. I want to ask this question like in a couple of ways today. The first one is this notion of work-life balance that a lot of folks are looking for and seems to be elusive for them. What’s your take on that concept?
Monica Levi: I get this question all the time and I work with this with a lot of my clients. I believe that we use this concept against ourselves and we feel badly. We never defined what that means like for us. All of us want to be really good as a lawyer and really good is a spouse and really good as a parent and a child and we don’t define what that looks like. So we use it against ourselves because inevitably at one point, one of those areas we need to take priority and the other ones will suffer. So I highly recommend this is not about balance. This is about a judgment that we have for ourselves when we fail or fall short in one of these areas.
So I recommend deciding what does it look like for you to be a good parent. Does it mean that you have to cook dinner every night or you have to be there at every child’s recital or is it okay to know a good parent is someone that shows up two nights a week I make dinner and the rest of it take out as you get. If you define for you what a good parent is, what a good lawyer is, what a good friend is and you made those non-negotiable things there every week or every month and you allow for there to be seasons.
So where one of those areas will take more priority and you’re intentionally choosing that so you’re now judging yourself when you miss your child’s recital because you might be going out for partner and the whole year preceding that means that you spend more time on your work priorities. And in the next season, if your child is going through a difficult time or suffering from depression, you prioritize that area of your life but you are intentional about it. So you don’t always feel like you’re dropping something. Your intention about, this is not about balance this is about how I intend to decide to spend my time during the season on this thing that matters and the rest of it, what it means to be good enough at that other area.
So it truly is about defining success for yourself, defining when good enough means because perfection is not a standard that I recommend for anyone to call themselves against and allowing for you to be okay. To just be good enough at some of these areas during the season where something else to express events.
Christopher Anderson: That makes total sense. Yeah, perfection is an unbeatable standard except for the Legal Talk Network when they produce this show which they do to perfection. And to that point, we actually need to hear a word from the folks that make it possible. So we’re going to take a break here. When we come back Monica, what I’d like to do is like I’ve been asking you some questions based on stuff that’s been on my mind, but I like to do when we come back is hear from you about some of the biggest challenges that your lawyer-clients come to you with because that’s probably what’s happening to the listeners of this show. We’ll do that in just a minute.
Male: Think of tasks you never catch up on, email, meetings, accounting. What if delegating those could save you an average of 15 hours each week. BELAY has helped busy attorneys save time for a decade. BELAY is giving Un-Billable Hour to their book, ‘Delegate to Elevate.’ Harness the power of delegation to elevate your business. Text law, that’s L-A-W, to 55123 for your free copy. Get out of administrative weeds and back to growing your firm with BELAY.
Lawclerk is where attorneys go to hire freelance lawyers. Whether you need a research memo or a complicated appellate brief, our network of freelance lawyers have every level of experience and expertise. Sign up is free and there are no monthly fees. Only pay the flat e-price you set. Use rebate code “Unbillable” to get a $100 Amazon gift card when you complete your next project. Learn more at lawclerk.legal.
Christopher Anderson: And we are back with Monica Levi and we’ve been talking so far about some questions that I had about what it was like to leave the practice of law and how that journey went for Monica. And then we talked a little bit about work-life balance which is an issue that a lot of folks talk about a lot. I love that you said don’t look for perfection in each of those priority areas but I think like even the meta of that is don’t look for perfection in the balance like that’s not a thing. And people just think that there’s some nirvana out there where they will hit this balance and everything will work out and they hold their arms out and the birds will land and they’ll sing a Disney song and it just that moment never arrives.
It’s always the balance is in deciding this is a priority for now. That’ll be a priority later. And I love the idea that you put forward that it’s about making a decision and allowing yourself to be imperfect in it. What I wanted to talk about in this segment was, you work with lawyers. You’re a leadership coach for lawyers as we mentioned earlier. So you’re hearing a lot of challenges that your clients are coming to you with and stuff that probably our listeners want to hear about. So tell me what are some of the greatest challenges you’re hearing about lately?
Monica Levi: I wish I could give you a quick answer but what I think makes sense is I’ll list the last things that I’ve heard in the past two weeks and there’s a whole gamut of things that people bring up and perhaps you can ask me to speak about some of the things that are most interesting to your audience but it’s things from time management and productivity to scaling your business and deciding what business development efforts you want to focus on and how to imposter syndrome, to navigating some organizational challenges, to dealing with a difficult boss or colleague or client, to presentation skills and executive presence. It’s a pretty wide list but I think there is a common pattern that I see and I think some of it is, again, depending on the economy with everything else that’s happening, how do you navigate it and make decisions in uncertainty if you have your own business, et cetera. I can go on and on but let me know what might be a most interest.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, absolutely. So I love listening. It’s going to be like, all right, Monica is now going to be our guests for the next seven episodes because he’s like all those things are interesting. But one of them that you mentioned kind of jumps out. So let’s talk about time management. It kind of dovetails with what we were just talking about. It is the bane of a lot of law firm owners, a lot of law firm leaders’ existence. And that there’s not — I mean we won’t change this, right? The whole to me, the whole concept of time management, the words beg the question. But people are worried with what’s time management. How do I get enough time to do everything I want to do? How can I manage my time better? So I’d love for you to offer a perspective. How do you work with your clients on time management?
Monica Levi: Always cautious like how do I create the most value in the limited amount of time I have to respond to this because this is a big part of my work and it’s hard to summarize but two things are critical. We always feel especially as lawyers that we are at the reactiveness of everyone else’s needs, our clients, our other partners, and we feel that we are so reactive with our time that we always feel that we have zero control which is a disempowering feeling.
I teach my clients do one and some their first thing on Monday plan out the whole week. Decide intentionally what matters to them, how they want to spend their time. They first put in all the meetings that have to happen, they are pre-scheduled, then they put in allowing time for batching things like responding to email, responding to client calls, the things that require the same sort of concentration. Do that in a concentrated vast amount of time. Then put in your full time, things that require concentration and uninterrupted time like a new business development project or a new memo that you need to concentrate around.
Then the piece, that’s really challenging what I work with them on is how do you honor that plan? How do you resist the temptation to — it’s 2:00 on Monday and you look on your calendar, it’s work on business development x, y, and z. How do you resist the temptation because your brain inevitably will give you something else that needs to be done to honor the thing that you decided you needed to do? So I call time management pain management. Because when we have to do something that either feels overwhelming, we don’t know how to do, we feel that we may not do a good job, we resist this comfort of that feeling and we go for any destruction that may come up. We might go to answer client emails because that feels productive and we know how to do. Even though that is productive, that is a distraction because it’s deviates from your plan.
So time management, truly is embracing the discomfort that when you plan something new and overwhelming, you will not want to do it following through with what you decided to do. That’s how you get to the next stage of your career. That’s how you make these going after these actions that really move the needle. And for most of us, we’re not used to doing that. We think that busy equates productive but we look at the end of our day or week, we feel disappointed with ourselves because we never got get to do what we decide to do. So it’s deciding ahead of time and then honoring that plan unless there’s an emergency, unless there’s blood and someone needs your attention badly, nothing else, a client calling is not an emergency.
Christopher Anderson: Let’s dig it that a little bit because that’s how — I mean, first of all, I think that’s super important, right?
Yes, and it’s like it’s the simplest thing that people just don’t do. Friday night, Sunday even Monday morning, take 15 minutes and say, “these are the — if next week, I get these 10 things done, 5 things done and that each day I won’t do anything else until I get them done”, like that’s huge, but then, the rubber meets the road, right? So, you get in to the office or these days to you keep your jam, jam bottoms on, but you put on a shirt, whatever it might be and you start your day and there’s the client emails and there are the phone messages and there’s the phone ringing and before you know, it’s 7:00 and you’ve never even touched thing one that’s like, that’s the maelstrom, so all the planning is great. I think it’s great advice, but what about like, what does it look like to keep that commitment? I guess is my question because I think a lot of lawyers will be like, “yeah I can do the planning, but I walk in and I get hit by the shit storm.” We can say that. I think we were on cable. Now were on the internet, we can say that. But what’s your advice on that? Because that the conundrum they’re facing.
Monica Levi: Yeah, it’s about — again, most of the time, you’re going to know that you’re going to get client phone calls, you’re going to get people needing your attention, it’s setting boundaries. Like if you set a flow time where you turn off all distractions from 10:00 until 11:30 and you concentrate and you allow yourself to deliver on a project. If someone called you there during that time, you get back to them, when you’ve decided on your calendar to allow for communication time. Imagine that you’re at a client meeting, if someone calls you during that time, you will not be responding. So, it’s the same with your own time that you decide is full time or uninterrupted time. It’s humanly impossible to be always available and responsive, but we value that so highly that were willing to sacrifice everything else to get that check mark that we are able to pick up the phone right away. There be very few people that you must always be responsive to. For the most part, I allow in that planning an hour of, I call it overflow. Everything that I didn’t get done because there was an emergency goes into that over flow time, so that I know that there are things that will happen that are unplanned, but for the most part, I have with my higher calmer intentional brain on Sunday decided how I want my week to look. And if I can’t trust myself to not pick up the phone for an hour and they get back to the client or to the partner two hours later, then I will never have control of my time. So, some of it is again the discomfort of, I see the call coming in or I don’t even see it because I’ve blocked off notifications and knowing that that’s how I want to run my business and that’s okay and the value that I’m here to provide is not in being at their backend calls and providing valuable service within the frame of 24 hours. I think that’s totally doable, so allowing an hour each day for catch up for things that do get out of schedule, but knowing that your decision to be responsive is massively inefficient and it sacrifices ultimately how much you can accomplish.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. Makes a lot of sense and I like the idea because you said about, turning it off or are being away from ringing the bells, the email tones, the whatever it might be. Because once we see it, it’s like you’ve got mail happened 30 years ago, right? We are now Pavlovian. We hear the email bell. We hear the phone bell or the Zoom tone or whatever you’re using now and we’re just, we can’t. It’s just as so such a psychological reaction, so I think that your suggestion just giving yourself the gift, giving your clients the gift of turning it off, so you can focus.
Monica Levi: There’s two other things I want to add scientific. These lawyers we want to know the sounds behind it. Two things. One is the phone call coming in or the email notification or the ping from your Slack. That’s a dopamine hit and it feels really good in the moment and so some of why we’re so responsive because it feels good to feel needed and to respond in the moment. But if you can tame that urge, you’re going to crush it. The other piece is really important is scientifically, it takes 23 minutes to return to what you’re doing if you’re responding to a distraction. So, your responsiveness is actually costly in 23 minutes per time. If you’re doing one type of thing and you pause to open an email notification, you’ve set yourself back by 23 minutes. For someone who bills at six-minute increments, and it’s a costly distraction.
And so, if you think about it this way, you can then justify having uninterrupted time whether it be 30 minutes or an hour or two hours you decide for your business what makes sense by being responsive in the moment is very, very costly. It doesn’t add that much value assuming most people will be answered to within 24 hours and it’s more but dopamine hit that boost your ego then serving the client.
Christopher Anderson: That makes total sense and that is a good moment to hear it another word from our sponsors. What we’re going to do is when we come back, I want to talk a little bit about like outward facing. Two questions I have for you is about, one of the big challenges these days is retaining talents. We are going to talk a little bit about that or motivating and retaining talent and actually acquiring talent and we’re going to talk about a little bit about the environment of uncertainty that we’re facing and what advice you have in that and will see how far that gets us. But first, will hear a word from our sponsors.
Male: 76% of lawyers say they are overworked and part of the problem is tedious tasks, like manually retyping information when drafting. Lawyaw is document automation enables law firms to fill sets of word based documents and court forms cutting legal drafting time by 80%. Use intuitive features like conditional logic and e-sign to simplify drafting and improve client experience. Learn more at lawyaw.com. That’s L-A-W-Y-A-W.com.
Christopher Anderson: We are back with Monica Levi. This is the Un-Billable Hour and we’ve been talking about lots of things about how lawyers can keep their head about them and be continued to make decisions. In this time of uncertainty, we talk about work-life balance, we talked about time management and so now I want to talk Monica about some things that lawyers can do about their environment because the time management is really about them managing themselves.
One of the challenges that’s really been eating at attorneys for the past couple of years has been the pandemic has messed with the availability, with the attention span, with the retention of the folks that we need to work with us in order to produce the results that our clients are expecting, our team, our talent. So, what are some techniques or some advice that you have that you’re giving to your clients today about how to really better motivate, retain, train and even acquire talent. What’s going on out there that you can help lawyers with?
Monica Levi: Yeah, that is definitely on top of mind for a lot of my clients and I think the first thing I’d say is understand what’s not working. What are you currently doing that’s not working because so often we go to solve a problem and I use this analogy. Let’s just say, I want to get to Chicago, I put Chicago in the GPS, but what’s my starting point, right? The path to Chicago would be very different if I’m leaving from Austin, if I’m leaving from New Jersey. And so we rarely take time to look at, “okay, what’s our starting point? What’s our problem? What are we not doing well? Where is the opportunity?” And for the most part, I would say that the advice I give them is not that brilliant or unique, but it’s treat your employees as humans. Get to know them. What one person values is very different from what someone else values. Do you understand what their motivation is? Do you understand what’s lacking? How can you give them what they truly care?
Some people want flexibility. Other people only care about money and if it comes on to money, may never win that game, but truly get to know the person and ask them what is it that you need more. Understand what might be happening for that. Like, I notice you’re struggling, what’s happening? What can I do more? If they have that human conversation, understand what’s behind the performance you’re seeing. The superstars, ask them what they need. How they see themselves in the future. What can you do to provide the resources that they need? So, there isn’t a one solution that’s going to feed everyone, but if you truly care and you show that through gratitude and open communication about what you can offer and have these conversations early on.
Obviously the exit interviews are really backwards way of solving the problem. Like do stay interviews, engage with the employees when they’re first coming in and make sure that you’re meeting their expectations of what the job supposed to provide, but truly understand if you are having a retention problem, what’s not working? What is the issue? Rather than just jumping at throwing solutions without knowing what you’re solving.
Christopher Anderson: That makes a whole lot of sense. What about have you helped some of your clients with the acquisition? Because, you know, I’m hearing a lot out there that like there’s just, it’s really hard to find people right now. I have to believe it’s true since a lot of the folks are saying it. What do you have to say to lawyers and law firms that are having trouble acquiring really good talent?
Monica Levi: I think it’s a similar strategy where what is the value that you offer? How are you different than other employees? Be very clear on your unique proposition, so you can verbalize that in the conversation.
About hey, there’s so many things they are similar amongst the employers. This is how we’re different. This is why this is special and a few of the person I value is x, y and z, we got this for you. So find a way that truly you send out as an employer and make that known and don’t try to compete on the things that everyone else is offering.
Christopher Anderson: But like yeah, we pay.
Monica Levi: Right. We pay and we have benefits. Now what are the things that you truly think makes your practice special.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, that’s a really, really good advice. We’ve been talking about the questions people come to you with and the challenges they face. I think a fun way to wrap up on this last segment would be some common mistakes that you’re seeing how our lawyers getting it wrong that you that you’ve been noticing.
Monica Levi: Well, we don’t like being wrong for one and we’re very —
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, very that’s why I asked.
Monica Levi: Yeah. Some of the patterns that I see are two main and it all comes from the way we’re trained, which is very, very helpful in the practice of law but in the business of law, it’s a little bit limiting. One of the things I see is that we thinking black or white terms. We are either one or the other extreme. We don’t allow for the continuum or the gray in between what we have to accomplish or how we see our business or a progress. If we like to say you’re working on time management and all of a sudden you decide I’m going to plan every Sunday, know what to do and you end up falling short. You only do 30% of what you planned.
All most of us feel like you’re a failure and we give up because we didn’t get to 100%. There is a continuum. You did 30%, that’s great. Next week you may do 30, 25, 40, allow for progress to be not a linear path and for things to exist in the gray lining between it. So, you’re either of a bad parent because you yelled at your kids one time after you’re very tired or you’re a good parent though. There’s so much so many things in between that either good or bad and that’s how we think about a lot of our problems.
The other thing that I see is again, I alluded to this earlier and I’m guilty of it. I want the answer. I want the one right answer. I want the how. I want the guarantee. I want the certainty which makes us very risk-averse and afraid of mistakes which makes us less likely to be thought leaders and create something new. We are always going to look at what is so-and-so doing. Let’s follow that path that’s already proven instead of trusting that we can be creative enough to come up with new solutions so allow success to be — the path to success are a lot of failures that are very educational, have a lot of feedback on what you can do better. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes because you’re so much benefiting and learning from each mistake. So it’s just a mindset around having to be perfect, having found the right answer that’s a little bit limiting in how we run our businesses. That again it is the economy of we are so trained as lawyers to have a certain mindset that goes against what an entrepreneurial mindset has to be like. And so allowing my clients to relax their mind around that and some of the actions that they need to take is what I spent a lot of my work doing. I’m not quite sure there’s a lot of mistakes people do but I think again it’s the time management piece assuming that if we don’t pick up the phone the moment it rings, it’s a negative rather than seeing the value can provide by being more efficient and focused.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. Well, that’s definitely makes some sense. A sort of some of what you said segues into the last question that I had that I want to because we started the show here. I want to end this show here, which is how should lawyers and law firm owners be approaching running their business in this time that is really presenting some economic and other uncertainty. How do you forge your path forward when the environment isn’t clear?
Monica Levi: I think this will be very specific depending on the context to which someone came to me but generally speaking, when the human brain dislikes uncertainty and we try to fill the gap with information that we assume. It’s just because we feel uncertain not knowing so we try to imagine scenarios and we stress ourselves and run around like crazy trying to prevent them. I’d say focus on what you do know, what you do control. Put all of your efforts in the things that you can control and then know that success is if you put in the effort that’s still successful whether or not the final outcome is what you wanted rather than trying to spend so much energy anticipating and filling in the gaps of what you don’t know. Spend more of your time what you do control. Focus on the process and the effort rather than the external outcome because you have very little control over that and that doesn’t mean that your time spent wasn’t successful even if you don’t end up getting that outcome. So manage the worry. Worry is unnecessary.
Our mind believes that worries and action that helps us minimize uncertainty but it’s just negative energy that’s not productive. Is there anything you can do, go after it? If there isn’t, manage your mind when it goes through like trying to predict what will happen. If there’s nothing you can do in a given moment, if there’s no action to take, manage that tendency and that urge to worry about what may or may not happen. I think so much of being a successful business owner comes down into mindset and managing your mind as opposed to letting it run by default because we do have a negative tendency and it’s just not a helpful way to spend your time.
Christopher Anderson: And that is a great place to leave it. Of course, it does wrap up this edition of the Un-Billable Hour. So thank you to our listeners for being here with us. As our guest today has been Monica Levi. She is a leadership coach for lawyers. And Monica, in case something about what we’ve talked about intrigue people and they want to learn more from you, how can they get in touch with you?
Monica Levi: Yeah, thank you for that. So, three main ways. I’m very active on LinkedIn at Monica Levi. I am active on Instagram at the Lawyers Coach and I have prepared three freebies for your listeners. One is around procrastination. Another one is around productivity and the third one is around decision-making, and they can grab all of those in my bio on my Instagram page. And finally, my website monicalevicoaching.com.
Christopher Anderson: Fantastic but I recommend they do. Of course, my name is Christopher T. Anderson. And before I let you go, if these questions or these answers or these topics make you want to shout at your screen or your earbuds that you’re wearing and ask more questions, you can do that now. And so, I invite everybody to log into the community table. It is a live Q&A with me and guests from time to time where you can ask me anything and you can find out how to get on that show right here on the show notes at the Un-Billable Hour. And again this is Christopher T. Anderson and I do look forward to seeing you next month with another great guest as we learn more about topics that help us build the law firm business that works for you. Remember also that you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes. Thanks for joining us. I’ll be speaking with you again soon.
Male: The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor they endorse by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer. Thanks for listening to the Un-Billable Hour, the law practice advisory podcast. Join us again for the next edition right here with Legal Talk Network.