unusual skills of successful lawyers, how to be a successful lawyer

#184: 6 Unusual Skills of Successful Lawyers

Today we're talking about 6 unusual skills of successful lawyers.

A few words that need definition.

These skills are unusual because they're not taught to us as children or as adults.

We have to seek out these skills.

Once you start using them regularly, you'll wonder why no one ever taught us these from day one.

I sought them out, and now I teach them to my clients.

The second word I want to define is skills.

Skills are learnable concepts that we can make habits.

That means you can learn them too.

The third word I want to define is success.

I define success as going after what I want, liking the reasons I'm going after it, and going after it with ease instead of hustle.

It doesn't matter what you want, you can make it happen without the stress.

I would even say that the more successful we become, the less possible it is to achieve higher levels of success while using the same habits of hustle and grinding. It becomes even more unhealthy for us mentally and physically.

With those definitions in mind, let's go!

When we go after what we want, our brain goes haywire.

It says,

  • You’ve never done it before
  • You don’t know how to do it
  • Successes are flukes
  • You can’t repeat that
  • It doesn’t count
  • You don’t have enough time/money/energy
  • Maybe you don’t really want it after all

In short, our brains are a-holes to us.

When my clients stop believing everything their brain tells them, everything changes.

They start doing 6 things that get them results.


  • make more money in their practice
  • start new businesses
  • pursue practice areas that lights them up
  • do things their brain told them was impossible

Here are 6 out-of-the-ordinary things I teach my clients — and I do too — that get results.

#1: Be nice to yourself.

You won’t want to be. You’ve probably spent a lifetime letting your brain be mean to you.

It’s not your fault.

No one teaches us how to be nice to ourselves.

When your mean brain says you can’t do it, be nice.

You can say, “I know, sweetie. We haven’t done it before, and that’s okay. We’ll figure it out.”

I picture my mean brain as a 3-year-old girl having a tantrum.

She needs something. A beating is going to make her cry. What she needs is a hug, and someone to tell her that she’s loved and everything’s going to be okay.

When you practice this, your mean brain will calm down, and you can take action towards your goal because the toddler brain has settled down for a nap.

#2: Calm your nervous system

Going after dreams — or doing anything new — causes our primal brain to fire off its DANGER synapses. It’s scared you’re going to be eaten/kicked out of the tribe/starve to death.

The good news is our prefrontal cortex shares space with our primal brain and can have a heart-to-heart with it.

When your primal brain tells you that you can’t afford coaching, you can ask it, “Is that really true? Will I be out on the street next month if I pay for coaching or is it just going to feel uncomfortable?”

This is something I used to walk my brain through when I started investing in my business until I showed my brain evidence that it worked.

Or if your brain tells you that being on video is scary, you can talk to the primal brain and let it know you’re safe, and it’ll be okay. Then remind it of any evidence you need to, so it feels safe.

You can tell yourself, “I only need to do one video. People like me. This will help us grow our business. It's going to be okay.” Give yourself what you need to feel safe.

Once your primal brain nervous system is calmed from the initial shock of doing something totally different, your brain will get on board with what you want.

#3: Work less

Over-working is a trauma response. I used to over-work to prove my value as a human until I realized (realized meaning I reminded myself over and over) that I was already 100% valuable.

Working more isn’t going to help you “get ahead.” Your brain is in the habit of believing that work is the solution and that you’ll feel better if you work harder.

How’s that going for you?

If it’s not, this is what I do:

Decide when you work and when you don’t ahead of time.

Yes, you’ll have an unexpected emergency you can’t plan for at some point, and that’s okay.

You can plan for a LOT of things. Then when a true emergency pops up, you’re not as discombobulated because you already have your week planned. Then you can prioritize more easily.

Be nice to your brain, and plan your week. [See #1.]

The first time you plan your week to decide when you’ll work and when you’ll relax your brain will be tempted to be mean to you, and you’ll want to quit.

Expect it.

Treat your schedule like a scientist treats her work: like an experiment.

She collects data, sees what worked and didn’t work, then she reconfigures the experiment and tries again until it works to her satisfaction.

This is how you make a calendar work for you, and how you’ll learn that working less makes you more productive, not less.

#4: Feel your feelings

Most hyper high-achievers work more to avoid feeling crappy feelings like failure, disappointment, unworthiness, grief, etc….cough, cough….me included.

What if you didn’t avoid the crappy feelings?

What if you allowed them into your home like an old friend?

What happens is you stop working so hard to avoid the feelings because you learn that the feelings aren’t going to permanently live there, and that you won’t die.

You’re 100% safe.

You learn that crappy feelings are just one part of the human experience.

They’re not bad or wrong. They’re what make you a beautiful messy complex human. These feelings come to the party when when we go after big dreams, and that’s okay.

#5: Give up knowing the “how”

Our brain wants the 1,2,3 to achieve our goals. There’s no such thing.

We’ll only know the how after the thing is done.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to making money, building a practice you love, or feeling successful.

If there were, everyone would be doing the same thing, and everyone would have gobs of cash, love their life, and be in ecstasy all the time.

It would also be super boring.

That’s not how life works — see #4.

There’s no “right” way to do things. There’s the decisions we make right.

We must experience the journey to get what we want.

When we learn how to feel the feelings and collect data like a scientist on our way to our goals, not knowing the how isn’t a problem.

#6: Celebrate all the wins

Withholding approval of yourself isn’t going to help you accomplish your goals faster, and it’s going to make the journey to your goal filled with even more crappy feelings.

Acknowledge EVERY win along the way to your goal no matter how small.

Celebrating wins gets your body used to getting win after win. We take the best actions when we feel good. Your outlook on your goal and yourself changes, then you can’t help but make better decisions for yourself and for your goal.

A lawyer told me she got a big settlement in a case one year, and that was the only reason she hit her goal.

She gave herself ZERO credit for making it happen, so she couldn’t teach her brain how to repeat it.

She couldn’t see how she built relationships, how building relationships helped her get the lead, how her work on the project helped win the case, etc.

She made her success a fluke because she didn’t celebrate it then break down everything like a scientist.

When my clients make wins, we solidify their success recipe. They know the thoughts, feelings and actions that created it.

Then they have the recipe to do it again and again.

It’s like having grandma’s spaghetti sauce recipe any time you want to make spaghetti.

Do these weird things, and you’ll guarantee your success no matter how you define it.

Want help?

I’m here for you.

Book a call with me.

We’ll do all the out-of-the-ordinary things no one teaches you in law school that help you go after what you want and get it.

Your coach,


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