It’s that time of year when everyone’s thinking of goal-setting for the coming year. Goals give you structure and help you strategize. Winging it is not an option! You don’t have to wait until the new year– you can start a new chapter and a better start right now!
In this series of blog posts, we’ll talk about finishing the year strong, with insights and techniques from Heather Hubbard, creator of Life and Law PlannerTM.
Heather’s blueprint for planning has seven core foundations:
Those first three are interconnected. Without clarity or awareness of our mindset and where we currently stand, we can be our own worst enemy!
Fix your mindset
The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. – Albert Einstein
For us lawyers, we think logically. Everything is black and white. Everything is all or nothing and we really can be our own worst enemy. For example, many of you might come into this article thinking, “I’m terrible at planning,” “I’ve just got so much on my plate, there’s no way that I can add one more thing!” or “You don’t understand my practice!”
That’s normal. And the key here is to have an open mind, to try to look for what can work for you.
Every single one of the 7 above goes back to mindset. For example, taking responsibility for the changes you need to do means harnessing your mindset to work past the fears, insecurities and excuses you have, like not having enough money, or not having enough work, and so on.
Get clarity on what you want
If you set goals just for the sake of setting goals, without knowing what it is you really want or how that goal helps you achieve your long-term vision, it’s just more busy work and you’re already busy so you don’t need to add more stuff to your plate.
Get really clear on what it is you want out of your life and out of your law firm.
1. Spend a little bit of time asking yourself what you want.
Don’t just write down what you think you want. Spend time. Be intentional. If you can get away for a day or a weekend by yourself, that’s awesome. If not, take an hour.
Everybody has an hour. No distractions, no distractions, just an hour to be intentional to say, what is it do I really want?
2. Think longer term. Don’t limit yourself to the rest of the year or the coming year.
What is it that is missing in your life? What is it that’s missing in your career?
What are you really craving?
What would really, really excite you if you could make this a reality in your life, even if you don’t think it’s possible or don’t know how you can accomplish it?
3. Be specific.
The more detailed you can be, the better. This is why I’m a huge fan of vision boards. Go for super detailed, written or visualized plans of the things you want!
As lawyers, you have ideal clients, and you write down specifics about them. This is the same concept! Except instead of ideal clients, it’s your ideal life. So be super specific about what you want your life to look like!
A lot of us say: I want to work less and I want to make more money.
That is the opposite of specific. Without a number on it, you won’t get real clarity because you have no way to track how you can achieve it.
This brings us to taking inventory of where you are right now.
Take inventory of where you are now
The hardest thing to do is to be honest with yourself. Many people have goals but are not being honest about where they are. Without this honesty, it will be difficult for you to achieve your goals.
A lot of lawyers usually wish that they worked less. Well, that requires taking an inventory of how many hours you work right now.
This is another important aspect of getting clarity. Perhaps you already work less and you can add more clients to earn more money? Or perhaps you really do work a lot of hours and you can look at your processes to see where you can maximize and streamline your time.
If you say you want to earn more– well, how much are you earning now?
Everyone wants to earn more. Are you earning $50,000 and want to earn a hundred? Or do you want to earn a million?
Only with specific inventory of your vision can create concrete plans.
- Start on the surface and drill down: Where are you right now? Your earnings, your hours. Your client types. Bad habits, mindset, and ways of handling business that are dragging you down.
- Where is the gap? What is the difference between what you want and how things currently stand? If you want more travel, more time at home with the kids, how are you doing on that right now?
Maybe you’re in the office all the time. And even when you take a vacation, you still work the whole time!
That’s where you can really drill down. If you take inventory and see how much time this or that is stealing from you, you can take concrete steps in solving that time thief. And you’d be on your way to your long-term goal of being able to travel more and spend more time at home.
So get clarity on how you think (your mindset) and how you are right now. Take inventory so you can get really specific on your goals.