Nancy Cogar, Be a Better Lawyer Podcast, Dina Cataldo

BONUS: Working Less, Making More, and Loving Life with Nancy Cogar

Meet Nancy Cogar: an elder and estate planning attorney as well as my client.

In this special episode we talk:

  • learning to build her own practice without overwhelm
  • the turning point when she started making more money
  • what's more important to her than making money
  • our least-favorite TV show and how it showed up in a coaching session
  • her former life as a journalist and the major event that changed everything
  • the biggest shocker for her in her business progress

Stay 'til the end because she shares two powerful business nuggets.

Listen in and be inspired to live life on your terms.



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Thanks for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.

Be a Better Lawyer, Apple Podcasts, Dina Cataldo
spotify, be a better lawyer podcast, Dina Cataldo

Dina (00:01):
Hello. Hello. I hope you're doing really well. I am here with my very dear friend and client, Nancy Cogar.

Dina (00:12):
Hey. Hi, everybody. <Laugh>.

Dina (00:14):
We're here at Clio Conference. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and I am in Nashville for the Clio Conference. And Nancy actually drove out to Nashville to see me.

Dina (00:24):
Across the hills and the Dales to come see you <laugh>.

Dina (00:30):
And I just thought it would be really fun if we did an episode. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And that we just chat. I was just I was just talking to Nancy and I said, I don't really know where to start, but I just thought we'd start with just like, who are you? What do you do?

Nancy (00:42):
Yeah. Well, who I am, I've become a lot more aware of that since I've known you, really. And that's, that's no fluff folks. I really mean it. <Laugh>. Well, I am, I'm a practicing attorney in Chattanooga, as you mentioned. I'm a wife, I'm a grandmother, I'm a stepmom. I'm a god mom. I'm, I'm me. And I just, I just enjoy life and helping people and making a difference and just using my talents and my skills to make a difference in people's lives. Yeah.

Dina (01:22):
I know this cuz we work together, but like, tell, tell everybody who you really enjoy helping.

Nancy (01:28):
Well, my peeps, as I say, are, are older people and more particularly children taking care of their aging parents. I've been there, I've done that. I know how hard it is. And it's not the kind of thing you think about or prepare for until it's upon you. And there are so many things you can do legally to make it better for your parents and easier on you as a caregiver. So I really enjoy that. I'm, I, I like cleaning up messes, <laugh>, so I get a lot of messy situations and, and you know the, the biggest compliment for me is, and I hear it often, is when people leave, they say, I feel so much better. Yeah. I can breathe. And Wow, what, what a compliment.

Dina (02:23):
Yeah. How long have you been doing those kind of work?

Nancy (02:28):
Really primarily over the last five years I've been concentrating on, you know, estate planning, elder law, and then of course probate trust administration. Previous to that, I, I did some other kinds of law Yes. Because my boss was telling me what to do Of course. And I wanted to get paid, so I did what I was supposed to do, but I have my own business now, so things changed and you know, I want my business to be a reflection of who I am.

Dina (03:04):

Nancy (03:05):
And, and you've helped me a great deal with that because, you know, as lawyers we often think, what are they doing over there? Why are they, why are they log in so much time? Why are they look so busy? You know, they're driving a nice car. How am I gonna do that? Oh my gosh, I don't have enough billable hours. You know, I just, I've heard it in my mind round and round and round of course. But the truth is, I don't want their clients, I don't want their business. I don't wanna do what they do because that's not me. You know, I want to do what I'm gifted to do.

Dina (03:39):
Yeah. And I think it's so fascinating that when you honed in on that, you started making more money

Nancy (03:44):
<Laugh>. Yeah,

Dina (03:44):
I know. I think a lot of attorneys think that they need to work really, really hard and that they need to be busy or they're not gonna make money. But you actually made more money when you slowed things down.

Nancy (03:54):
I did. And I was miserable the other way too.

Dina (03:59):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I had the same experience. Like I was the busy lawyer, you know, that's why I have the Busy Lawyer's Guide. All that's so great. But it's like, yeah, I was super busy all the time. Busy was the badge of honor. You wanted everybody to know you were busy. And I was that person. And then when I, I, I was taking what I learned in my law practice and I was bringing it into my coaching business when I first started. And so I thought I needed to do all the things in order to build my business.

Dina (04:27):
It wasn't until I hired a coach for myself and I like slowed everything way down that I started making money in my business. Like, until I could clean my brain up and I could start understanding why I was not taking the most impactful actions versus just action, action, action. Then I couldn't see what I was doing and I couldn't build my business. So. Yeah.

Dina (04:52):
Yeah. I mean that, it's a creative process, so if your head's filled with garbage, you're not gonna be able to create anything fruitful. Yeah. You know? Yeah.

Dina (05:01):
I think,

Nancy (05:02):
Go ahead. No, I mean, you, you have taught me that and sometimes I'll just unload, you know, I have weeks where I just unload. Everybody needs somebody they can unload on. Yeah.

Dina (05:14):
But I mean, it's not like, it's so funny cause like you, the way you're interpreting it as unloading is so fascinating because for me, I don't hear it as unloading. I hear it as, Okay, this is what her brain is going through right now mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, like how, like my brain is just like, okay, so what is like the, first of all, what's the low hanging fruit here to kind of help you turn things the way you wanna turn them. Where can I like, ask a pointed question where, what's happening in, in her situation that's a little like, we could kind of poke our around at, right? So it's interesting that you interpret it as that. Cause I'm like, “No, this is great. Tell me everything.”

Nancy (05:53):
Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. Well, and you know, it's funny, I could sit there, you know, know if people think about reasons not to hire you or some other kind of coaching assistant, I would totally tell 'em to hire you. Of course. So <laugh>. But we've been working together a little over two years. And if I look at where I was versus where I am now, I am, I am making more money. I do have a productive business, but I'm a much happier and healthier person. Mm. And that's, that's really what's important. You know, it's a Monday and I'm here in Nashville and my office is operating without me.

Dina (06:30):
That's freaking fabulous.

Nancy (06:32):
Right. You know, I'm, I told myself when I went to law school, I didn't wanna be chained to a desk, but so many lawyers including me are chained to a desk, you know, thinking, “Oh crap, I gotta work until 7:30 tonight in order to get this done. Yeah. You know, that's no way to live.

Dina (06:51):
It's so interesting. Like, the things that we think are going to make the big difference in our practice. Like we, you and I, and I think you're okay if I share this, let me know, otherwise I'll delete it. But like, when we started working together, one of the things you really wanna to accomplish was create a workout routine. (Mm-hmm. <Affirmative>.) And I get that from so many lawyers.

Dina (07:11):
They want a workout routine, but what they do is they routinely skip their workout routine so that they work more because they think that's gonna make the difference between them feeling behind and not feeling behind between them making more money and not making more money.

Dina (07:24):
Between them being happy in the future and then not being happy in the future. And when we started working on your thoughts around the workout routine and your work, you started your workout routine and you practiced it. Like there, it wouldn't be consistent at first, but that's normal. Like, you just keep trying and you keep practicing and you tweak and you like, then you make it routine. And then you were happier <laugh>.

Nancy (07:50):
It's kinda funny cause we say the law is a practice, right? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, it says, Oh, it's a practice. Well, when you're practicing something, you don't have it perfect. You're just practicing it, you know. And that's the same thing with the workout. When I was hemming and hawing about that, I don't have time for it, or I'd put time on my calendar, but it was kind of soft time.

Nancy (08:10):
I really hadn't committed to it. I was already thinking about my results and defeating myself in my workout results. And I didn't even get to the gym. So, you know, if I just show up, you know it's be that, that's when it changed. I said, Hey, I showed up and I've made a really good friend and another personal trainer coach who, who is helping me and celebrating me getting stronger and I'm enjoying my time with my grandkids because I'm stronger and I feel better. And I guess what, I still have a lot of work and I'm still getting the work done, and I'm taking time to exercise and take care of myself. You know, I, I can't be anything to anybody if I don't take care of myself. Right.

Dina (09:01):
Yeah. And I also think like, you know, you were saying you have a lot of work to do. I mean, if, if I look at it that way on me too, <laugh>.

Dina (09:09):
Yeah. But like, we don't have to do everything perfect. We could just show up and just like do what we can. Right. Do what we're capable of. And I love this Maya Angelou quote. Like, You do it, I'm gonna screw up the quote, but it's something like, you know, you do what you can now and then when you know better, you do better. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.

Dina (09:27):
And I just, I think that that's so relevant for us recovering perfectionists and, and you know, if you are recognizing that you're not doing something because you think it needs to look a certain way, just, just, you know, tell yourself like, it doesn't have to look a certain way. It just needs to look the way that it does now. And then you can make improvements upon it. You just tweak it.

Nancy (09:48):
Well, you know, And so many things that I've worried about have never happened. <Laugh>, you know, like spend so much time worrying about something that just never happens that scenario over and over in my head. But the cool thing is when I started, it turned into something totally different. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> totally different.

Dina (10:07):
Yeah. I remember that. Because we started, you were like, Oh, I wanna go for walks mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and then it, now it's like swimming. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. It's like you just like, you just figured out what you liked.

Nancy (10:16):
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And the thing about swimming is you can't bring your iPhone with you. You can't <laugh> look at your email, you're in the water and you're moving. And so it's a great way to just unplug and, you know Yeah. Be, be moving. Yeah. You know? Yeah.

Dina (10:38):
You know what I wanna talk about. I love <laugh>. So let's talk about what you did before you were a lawyer. Cause it was like your second life. And I think it's so fascinating what you did before. Can you tell everybody?

Nancy (10:50):
I was one of those people that stood out at the beach and said, Don't come out here. Waves and sand and seaweed and all kinds of stuff flashing at me. I was a television reporter.

Dina (11:03):
Yeah. Television reporter. I think that's so awesome. <Laugh>, what do you, what do you, why did you switch over to the law?

Nancy (11:10):
I decided that I wanted to torture myself more. So <laugh>? No. That's my joke. <Laugh>. No, the re well, partly because I'm type A personality, so I love a challenge. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, so the news got to a a point where it wasn't, honestly, wasn't very challenging. And a lot had changed. I was with President Bush at that Florida Elementary School on September 11th, and that was a real shift for me. Because I'm from the New York area. My family was in New York. I know people who work on Wall Street and, and I've been around politicians so much in my life just to see all that shift and see secret service agents who never flinch shaken. And, and, you know, I, it just, it shifted me uhoh. And I'm okay. Someone making a shake in the background,

Dina (12:25):
There's something going on, but I don't think the microphones picking it up. We'll try it.

Nancy (12:30):
Um so, so where was I going with that? So, but I, I really, you know, my whole world kind of got rocked in a manner of speaking. And as a reporter, I always wanted to help people. I was just kind of really solution oriented, wanting to find solutions, tell stories for people that, you know, didn't have a voice otherwise. And and that's a lot of what lawyering is, I think.

Nancy (13:01):
And it just so happened I had the opportunity to, to go to law school after that and actually drove back and forth in Nashville from Chattanooga for five years. Oh my gosh. Night school. Yeah. So but I'm glad I did it and, and it didn't look like what I thought it would look like, but it's so much better. Oh, that's awesome. Much better. I'm glad I did it, you know?

Dina (13:31):
So right before we met, what was happening for you?

Nancy (13:35):
Well, I was a solo practitioner at that point. And I was listening to your podcast and I was like,

Dina (13:42):
How did you find my podcast, by the way?

Nancy (13:45):
Oh, I think I was searching for help for lawyers or something. I was desperate need of help. And then I, I found your podcast. I started listening to it. I was like, Boy, she really gets it. And she, you know, a lot of the things she talks about are exactly things I am thinking about. And she makes so much sense out of, you know, the big mess that I'm in every day is the way it felt.

Nancy (14:12):
You know, you were kind of helping me to see a path and, and, you know, that eventually led to me, I think reaching out to you. And then we started coaching and, you know, the things that we were coaching on then are so different than the things we're coaching on now. I went from being a solo practitioner to going back to a firm where I'm a partner now. I didn't see that in my, my forecast.

Dina (14:42):
Like, you, you, and, you know, I see you as a solo practitioner. Like even though you're a partner in firm, you're still a solo. Cause it's not as if you're sharing really anything except some expenses. Mm-Hmm.

Nancy (14:55):
<Affirmative>. Right. Well, the way my firm's set up, it definitely Yeah. Is helpful if you have that entrepreneur kind of mentality. Yeah. So of course I call myself CEO Nancy. That's right. So what would CEO Nancy do? She wouldn't sit around here and, you know, complain. I was gonna say something.

Nancy (15:14):
Right? That's really what the, there might be some people that, you know might complain instead of doing the work to build their business. They shall remain nameless. Yeah. I think about how much time do I spend complaining or looking at Facebook or looking at, or thinking about what other people are doing that I'm not getting to do.

Dina (15:40):

Nancy (15:41):
Probably not as much anymore, but, you know, but Oh, yeah. It's such a waste of time.

Dina (15:48):
I mean, we all do it to some extent, right? Like there's, I mean, and we've talked about this on the podcast before. It's like, these apps that we have are specifically designed to suck our attention away and spend our time on the applications so that they can get advertising dollars. So it's not anyone's fault if they are addicted to social media or they find themselves like addicted or, or I don't even wanna use the word addicted, but just they repeatedly go to social media when something gets hard or they don't wanna do something

Nancy (16:20):
Serotonin going.

Dina (16:21):
Right. And then I talked about this on like the nervous system regulation podcast episode and like some other episodes where it's like our brain wants that, that dopamine hit mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And so of course we're gonna go do the easy thing versus, Okay, well I wanna build my book of business, I wanna get some client work done. Like your brain is like, I wanna do that. Let's go check Instagram.

Nancy (16:42):
Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. And what does that really mean? You know, you did a podcast, I think on networking, and if you think about networking, you know, I always think about getting up way too early and drinking bad coffee and talking to a bunch of people that I have no plan or desire really to do business with. Right. That's probably a terrible thing to say, but it's the truth.

Dina (17:04):
I get it.

Nancy (17:06):
That's not networking. Networking is standing in the grocery line and you see someone with their mother and having trouble, you know, offloading groceries and, and saying, Mom, you really need to get your glasses checked. This is, this is getting harder and harder all the time. Well, I'm right there present in that moment, so I can say, Hey, you guys need any help, What's going on? And this is a friendly part of the country, as you said, you know, so there's more opportunity in that probably than in other places. But, you know, I'm just looking for people that need what I can offer to them. Yeah.

Dina (17:46):
And it, like, you're selling anything in that moment, you're just looking like, Hey, can I help you?

Nancy (17:52):
Right. Like, what do you need? Yeah.

Nancy (17:54):
And then they'll say, Well, what do you do? And I'll say, Actually, you know what, I help people as they're aging and I help people that are helping aging parents. So it's as simple as that. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, Well, I need your help. They say, Yeah, well, here's my card and you call and talk to my assistant and, and we'll get you in and we'll, we'll talk about what's going on in your circumstance, and there's some things we can do to help you. Yeah. There's lots of things. And nobody knows about these things until they're faced with it. Oh yeah. So it's, you know, I'm probably oversimplifying it, but, you know, if you ask me to write an appellate brief or something like that and go into super shock <laugh>. No. My gosh.

Dina (18:43):
Okay. So, so what do you think has been like the biggest impact for you the last couple years? Like, what was kind of the, the biggest shocker for you? If there was a shocker?

Dina (18:58):
How much Just showing up matters

Dina (19:01):
And what do you mean?

Dina (19:03):
Well, I've stalled and I still have areas where I'm stalling and ruminating and thinking about things before I move forward. But it's okay moving forward when it's not perfect. Yeah. Just showing up and moving forward and, and doing some, carving out a little bit of time that's important. And just solely focusing on that, do it over and over and over and over again. And guess what? Before you know it, you're, you're way down the road and you've created something that has some shape and has some character and, and people are interested in it. And it's, it's got some stories attached to it, you know?

Dina (19:48):
Yeah. And what came to mind when you said that was so, so many of us, I, I'm including myself in this. Like, we, we wait to make offers. We wait to start posting on social media, doing a podcast, whatever it is, and we're waiting because we think that there's a right way to do it, and that it needs to be perfect in our minds to execute. But the way that you improve is by iteration. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.

Dina (20:13):
So if you don't get a first iteration out there, you're not going to be able to see what needs to be improved. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, like for me, copy evaluation, right? So I post on social media, and so one of my main marketing avenues is are those posts. And I had to just post, and then I had to go back and evaluate the post, be like, Oh, I didn't put an offer at the end of that one. Or I could have articulated that better. The, I could have articulated the problem better or the solution better, you know, and under and helped, you know, create connection better.

Dina (20:46):
But I wouldn't be able to do that if I didn't write really bad copy first <laugh>. Yeah. And put it out into the world. And like, if you've been listening to this podcast for, I don't know, did you listen to this podcast when it used to be called Soul Roadmap?

Nancy (20:58):

Dina (20:59):
Oh my God. It was like, so if you go way back to episode one, I don't recommend you do it. I don't think they were awful or anything. They're just not, you know, directed solely to lawyers. I did interview podcasts cause I didn't know what to talk about mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. Right. I just knew I needed to start a podcast. And so I started and it was, I don't think it was bad necessarily, but it definitely, I don't think it has the same quality as it does now. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Like, I definitely know that I've grown as a person and I've definitely grown as a, I don't even think I was a coach back then. Yeah. Like, it was just, I just started my podcast and now, like, if I, if you're listening to this now <laugh>, you can go back to like episode 89 as I think around where I started doing Be Better Lawyer Podcast. And this is like episode 230 or something now.

Nancy (21:47):
I know. It's amazing.

Dina (21:48):
It just, but I had to keep going even when I made one that maybe I, I was like, Oh, that one sucked. Or <laugh>. Yeah. I just kept going.

Nancy (21:57):
Well, and you're preaching to me because of course one of the things that I'm still ruminating on and have done is, and former broadcaster, Okay. I have not done a podcast, which I really want to because there's so many things I learn along the road with aging people and taking care of them that I wanna share. And that would be helpful. And that's the whole, see that's what you taught me. It's about service. You know, it's about what can I share with somebody else? And then it just kind of goes on to the next person. Yeah. You know? Cause that's so true about you.

Nancy (22:35):
The reason I reached out to you is because I thought she gets it. She's a lawyer and she's talking about things that nobody wants to talk about. Right. You know, and I thought, she's really courageous and I want to know her. And I mean, just, just the things that you've been able to help me work through, I, it's been one of the best investments I've ever made.

Dina (23:01):
Hmm. Thank you. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, it means a lot to me that you keep resigning with me. <Laugh>. Like that means you really trust me. I'm like, <laugh>. I'm like, I, I think like 99% of my clients resign with me.

Nancy (23:12):
That says a lot.

Dina (23:14):
I'm just like, Oh, this is, this is fabulous. Yeah. Cause it means that I'm delivering. Mm-Hmm.

Dina (23:23):
What do you want to say to people who are listening right now?

Dina (23:30):
What do I want to say? So I'm assuming that they're mostly lawyers. Correct.

Dina (23:36):
Most of the people who listen are lawyers, but I do have non-lawyers who reach out to me who say they listen to podcast.

Nancy (23:40):
They're secretly wanna be lawyers.

Dina (23:42):
They're like, No, but like the, the stuff that I talk about on the podcast, it's in so many professions. It just so happens I have the word lawyer in my podcast. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. But like, there are a lot of non-lawyers who are listening and shout out to you for wanting to, you know, get awareness around these things, these topics and, you know, improve your life. You don't need to be a lawyer to get a benefit from this podcast, but yeah. There's, there's non-lawyers listening.

Nancy (24:08):
Well, when you said that, I was I was thinking back to some of the lawyers that I've worked with in my life that are, I use this term loosely retired.

Dina (24:20):

Nancy (24:21):
Yeah. Uhhuh <affirmative>. I would just say that, you know, if you're on the fence and thinking about is it worth it to make an investment in a coach, or you know, you got that three year plan and you're thinking, once I get the three year plan done, then I can start working on myself. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> don't do it.

Nancy (24:45):
Cuz you don't know if you have the three years, you really don't. I mean, the last two years have taught us that life is very temporary, you know, and the last thing in the world I want is just a worked the point where I have no life left. I missed out on so many things. So, so my, what I really want to share with somebody out there that's listening is I've seen people that I've worked for that were very good lawyers and they stopped lawyering, but they didn't really start living.

Nancy (25:20):
So that that model of working yourself down to the ground, it doesn't have an end point. Right. So you have to be able to stop and say, I want more and I deserve more. You know, and, and really choose to have a life. You know, you can't help anybody if you don't help yourself and care for yourself, that just, you're gonna burn out. And, and that's, you helped me kind of find that in the weeds when, you know, I've talked about a lot of different things, but, but I feel like I'm there in so many ways now that I have put a stake in the ground and said, No, Uhuh, this, these are my non-negotiables.

Nancy (26:06):
These are, I'll show up, I'll help you. I'll keep a heavy caseload. I'll, I'll, I'll do things other lawyers won't because they're too complex, you know? But these are my non-negotiables. I work out these days at these times. I don't work Fridays.

Dina (26:24):
Isn't that crazy? Like you started doing that, What, how many months ago?

Nancy (26:28):
<Laugh> It's been like eight months. Yeah, I know. And I mean, Saturday is my day with my husband. You know, we have time together and Saturday nights I go to church with my, my family and just spend time with them when I'm grandma. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> Sunday. Sometimes I just watch stupid television and sit and have my dogs.

Dina (26:52):
We've had conversations about this. Can I mention the type TV show? Would that be okay? So there's this TV show. I also hate this TV show and so if you love it, I'm sorry you're wrong. Sorry. Okay. What's the name of it?

Nancy (27:09):
I always wanna say Third Rock From the Sun, but that's

Dina (27:11):
I liked that one actually.

Dina (27:12):
Okay. No, it's Sheldon. Oh.

Dina (27:15):
What is the name of that show? Oh, and I, Okay. And here's the reason I, it was so funny, <laugh>. So I'm just gonna let you in on this little secret. It's not a secret really. It's conversation that we had had in coaching one time. So Nancy's husband watches the show, the one with Sheldon <laugh>. And,

Nancy (27:34):
And I Can't

Dina (27:36):
Big Bang Theory.

Nancy (27:36):
Big Bang Theory

Dina (27:37):
And so I was doing my best to keep a straight pace cuz you know, I'm coaching her. And so we coached through the issue, which was, you know, Gary watches this show and she doesn't like it, but we, so she had a lot of frustration around it, but turned out it was her thoughts. Just a hint. It was, it doesn't change the quality of the show.

Dina (28:02):
I, I said, What? It's that show, right? That big bang theory. I hate that show too. And my friend, he constantly texts me little video snippets of it because he knows I can't stand it. And I am personally offended by it because I love comic books and I love all things. Oh yeah. You know, Star Trek and Star Wars. I'm a total nerd when it comes to that stuff. And so I'm a little offended because they are, it's a very condescending show in my opinion.

Dina (28:29):
And so <laugh>, I just drives me nuts. Like it's all my thoughts. You can hear me talking and ranting. It's all my thoughts, but there are certain shows that I am going to decide and wanna keep my thoughts about. And that's one of them.

Nancy (28:44):
Yeah. And just if you're listening, I used to get so irritated because I came home, was tired after working all day and my husband's retired. Okay. And he is wonderful. But he wasn't paying attention to me when I came home. He was watching Sheldon. And when he is watching that, he's not paying attention to anything except Sheldon.

Nancy (29:10):
I was so irritated by that. But you know what, if I asked him and, and d would say the same thing, he would watch whatever he'd say, What do you wanna watch, Honey? Truth is, I didn't wanna watch anything, but I should have just communicated that I'm like, Hey, let's go over a walk. Let's go do this. I wanna talk to you, but instead, you know, instead I'm brooding over Sheldon <laugh>

Dina (29:33):
Like, Sheldon, I hate him. Versus Hey you wanna like go for a walk?

Nancy (29:46):
Mm-Hmm. I know. And he watches my TV shows. Crazy British documentaries.

Dina (29:52):
This all came out in a coaching session. Everybody's listening. Like Nancy didn't point the first, she was just upset. And then she started pointing out all these things like, well, I mean he does change the channel when I wanna watch things. I'm like, What? And he will turn it off and go for a walk. What?

Nancy (30:06):
Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. Yeah, I know. Cause the thought was, he's not paying attention to me. I have a problem in my marriage.

Dina (30:13):
<Laugh>. Yeah. I mean it was a problem, right? You were like literally thought this was a problem in my marriage. Isn't that fascinating? Mm-Hmm <affirmative> like, this is what could happen in your brand guys. Like if you're listening to this, like sometimes we just have these thoughts and we don't recognize that there are all these this evidence that is in opposition to our thoughts, but we can't see it because we're too close.

Dina (30:33):
That's why I need a coach too. You know? I need a coach to be like, No, what you're thinking here, there's this whole other side of the story you're not even looking at. And if you focus your attention on that part of the story is the first part of the story you just told me even true?

Nancy (30:50):
<Laugh>, I know you've called me out on some things, but I needed it.

Dina (30:55):
We all need it. I mean it's like, it's not,

Nancy (30:59):
Just, we do, we get too close to what's going on in our life and we just can't see the options. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and then we feel trapped, Right? Like we have this, that's the all or nothing thinking that black and white thinking. It's like, well either I have a problem in my marriage, <laugh>, I need to divorce him, or he needs to stop watching Sheldon.

Dina (31:18):
Yeah. You're like, those are the two options.

Nancy (31:20):
Imagine that in a petition. <Laugh>, Why would you like a divorce, Ma'am? He's watching Sheldon. Stupid show. <laugh>.

Dina (31:31):
Okay. So I love that you love working with me, but like, is there something else you wanna share with them about like what is something that made the biggest difference from you outside of, you know, like, like what was something that made the biggest impact for you in terms of like something you implemented in your practice?

Nancy (32:00):
I used to think that I had to answer my phone every time it rang. Hmm. I really, I thought I was being a bad lawyer if I didn't answer my phone. Well I could answer my phone all day and get nothing else done. Right. So that was a huge thing when I realized there's something called voicemail and I can leave a message saying,

Dina (32:22):
Well wait a minute Nancy, don't you have to pick up the phone every single time? Cuz if it goes to voicemail, they won't hire you.

Nancy (32:30):
Well I thought that might be true, but it's not <laugh>. They actually leave messages and say they've seen me in my website and they like what I had to say there and they want to talk to me about their circumstance and please call them mm-hmm. <Affirmative> And they, and they leave their telephone number. Nice.

Dina (32:58):
But I always hear that people just never call back and they just go to the next person in the phone book.

Nancy (33:04):
Well you know what I've noticed, if that's the case, they're just shopping around. They're not really committed anyway. People that are looking for me, that would be a good fit with me as far as a client lawyer relationship. Most of them already know me or have talked to one of my previous clients before even calling me mm-hmm. So on my message I say, “Hi, I'm glad you called, I you're important to me because they are important to me. I'm doing other things right now,” which is not a lie. I'm doing other things <laugh>, “but I will call you back. Typically I call people at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day and that works.”

Dina (33:49):
Yeah. See, so listen to Nancy. She knows what she's doing. There is one other thing that I love that, thank you so much for sharing that. There's one other thing that came to mind while you were saying that which is consults. Cuz when you and I started working together, you were not charging for consults.

Nancy (34:05):

Dina (34:06):
Why not?

Nancy (34:07):
At six a week

Dina (34:11):
And you were filling them.

Nancy (34:11):
I know. So I was wondering why my billable hours were down. Wow.

Dina (34:15):
So tell me, why weren't you billing for consults?

Nancy (34:23):
Honestly, I thought they wouldn't do it if I charged them.

Dina (34:26):
Yeah. Why not?

Nancy (34:29):
Because I showed up thinking I had to prove myself versus knowing and being confident about what I have to offer someone mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and knowing more about what they were looking for and what would be done in that time period. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. So when I made the shift and you know, said, here's what I charge and here's why mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, it's not a problem.

Dina (34:56):
Yeah. I mean, and they know what they're gonna get when they come to you. They know they want legal services. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I think when, like, I don't charge for consults, but I think when people come to me, they're not entirely sure what coaching is. Yeah. <Laugh>. That's why I don't charge. But like they know they want legal services mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and they wanna hire you mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And so Yeah, it makes sense. It's like, okay, they come to you and they know what they want

Nancy (35:19):
And I also, if I can't help them, I will call 'em back and say, I can't help you. Hmm. I know. Shocking. and I'll say, you need to call so and so or you know, they'll be able to help you more than I can. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> or if I'm too busy, I'll say my partner in the office, you know, does some of this work, would you like to talk with them? Because otherwise I'm gonna leave you waiting because I got a heavy caseload right now. And if this is more urgent, this person can help you right now.

Dina (35:51):

Nancy (35:52):
And guess what? <Laugh>, they say thank you

Dina (35:57):
And then they tell their friends. Yeah. okay. So why did you start charging?

Nancy (36:04):
Because I didn't have any time left.

Dina (36:05):
Yeah. Okay. Tell me more.

Nancy (36:10):
Well, I mean, it's part of the same thing about how much do you charge for an hour, you know, and go agonizing like through that and thinking about, well I can't charge that. It doesn't, you really needs to, you, you need to figure out what works for you. There's no magic to that either. But the problem is if you're not charging an amount that covers your time, it's not good business.

Dina (36:36):
Okay. But, but let, Okay, I'm gonna back us up a little bit. Yeah. Because I had a different view of your brain. Oh. So when you weren't charging, you had exactly the thoughts that you just mentioned, but when you started valuing your time and charging, like it took some work. Like we didn't do this just in one session. It wasn't like a magic bullet. It was like we had to kind of unwind some of the thoughts that you had and then you implemented.

Dina (37:02):
But the only reason that we even got there is because I would hear you come on calls and you'd be like, I am so busy mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And I'd be like, Okay, tell me more. Right. And so then we'd get get to the bottom of that and it was like, Oh, you're not charging for consult, tell me why. And then we started being able to unwind some things mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And then you were like, Okay, I char I charged it. Yeah. And then they started just like, tell me, tell me what happened after that.

Nancy (37:26):
Actually they were more prepared. They came wanting to make a decision about what their, what they needed. And I mean, I have this unfortunate problem that when people meet with me, they hire me

Dina (37:44):
<Laugh>. It's a horrible problem. It's like, I'm so nice, I'm so competent hire.

Nancy (37:58):
Go into the interested and curious and then that is more kind of a strategy session in my mind rather than a consult mm-hmm. <Affirmative> because I'm not, I'm not talking about me very much at all. Yeah. I'm talking about them and what they need and I'll set out three or four options for them. So they have an action plan Right, Right there. Yeah. And nine times outta 10 they'll, they'll wanna do it and they'll pay me what I need. I've figured out how much things cost ahead of time and I put the money in my trust account and I tell them, explain what that is. I don't say my IOLTA account, no one knows what that is. Say that's my client's money, you know, that's my client, that's your money. So I don't get paid until I do the work for you. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So, but that's a deposit there that gives you a security on my time.

Dina (38:58):
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that you're, we'll call it a strategy, being nice to people and talking to them like a human being. But that's strategy.

Nancy (39:12):
It's my secret sauce. It just works.

Dina (39:14):
And I think that as lawyers, we overcomplicate things and we think that we need to do all of these things and we need to be busy all the time. And nobody's gonna hire you if you charge, you know, for a consult or nobody's gonna hire you if you charge X amount of dollars. And that's something we've also worked on, like as you've increased your rates, you know mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and you have not seen, and you know, my theory is, this is what I think is you don't raise your rates until you have a more than full practice. Right. You're like, you've got a wait list and you do, you have a wait list, you like book consults, like a month out, two months out.

Nancy (39:47):
Yeah. And I, I, when I saw you earlier this morning, I said in November, I'm gonna start booking 2 20, 23. Yeah. And it's, it just is and it's really just a response to being who I am, you know?

Dina (40:09):
Yeah. Like, so if you're listening to this, just be a wonderful human being that I know you are. Just love your people. Serve them. Like when they come to a consult, you just like, you're there to serve them. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> like that's how I approach mine too. It's just like I'm not, you know, there to sell anything. Like you're not there to sell anything. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. It's like what's your, what's going on? What's happening with you? Tell me all the things and then we'll go from there and see what you want. But when you are confident in the service you provide, if you're confident in yourself and your ability to deliver them, I think that speaks volumes. And I think people can read that when they're on a call with you.

Nancy (40:48):
Yeah. They know. Yeah. I mean people have gotten so much bull in this country. They're so full of it. They're really full of it.

Dina (40:58):
Okay. I'll give you the final word. Anything else you wanna say?

Dina (41:01):
I do. I I wanted to give you something. You

Dina (41:04):
Gonna gimme something? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. I thought you were gonna give apples.

Nancy (41:07):
I do. I have apples here. <Laugh>. These apples I got with my family last weekend. They're from lj, they're honey crisp. And Ella j Georgia, which is just south of Chattanooga, is the apple capital of the world.

Dina (41:23):
Wait, these are Georgian apples.

Dina (41:24):
They are. Yeah.

Dina (41:26):
Cool. I've never been to Georgia. I'm excited about these. Thank you so much. Mm-Hmm.

Nancy (41:31):
<Affirmative>. And this is for you too. And I, last time I was in New York, I went to the Frick Museum and I just buy things when I see them. You know, just sometimes I don't know who they're supposed to go to, but this one I know was supposed to be for you. So it's just kind of it's it's just a gift to say thank you for making my life just so much more really. Should vibrant.

Dina (41:55):
This is so sweet.

Nancy (41:56):

Dina (41:58):
Love the packaging

Nancy (41:59):
Here. I should have and I did.

Dina (42:01):
Oh my gosh. These are gorgeous. Okay.

Nancy (42:07):
They reminded me of you.

Dina (42:08):
I I will, I will wear these. So there is no video.but these are like these beautiful, they look handmade. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> beautiful beaded necklaces. You know me so well cuz I love jewelry and like wearing pretty flashy things. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> and they're like coral and gray and rimmed with gold beads. These are stunning.

Nancy (42:30):
They're beautiful Like you.

Dina (42:32):
Thank you <laugh>. This is really sweet.

Nancy (42:39):
<Laugh>. No, I do. I love you. And, and you know, just my final thought in that is, you know, you live in California, right? Yes. I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Dina (42:50):
Please tell everybody what you just did,

Nancy (42:52):
I put my thumbs under my underarms. It's really not bad here, folks.

Dina (43:01):
From a New Yorker. Yeah.

Nancy (43:04):
But I mean, there was an opportunity two years ago or so for you to help somebody you never met before, just from doing what you felt led to do. And I responded and you've helped me help people here in Tennessee.

Nancy (43:20):
And I just thank you for that and thank you for investing in me and let you know that what you do is important. So if you're out there and wondering why you haven't done it yet, just do it and believe in yourself and Dina help you figure out the rest.

Dina (43:38):
Oh my gosh. You're the best. <Laugh>. Okay. Thank you so much for listening to this. This was kind of a love fest, but I hope that you got some really great like, tips from this because you've heard it from somebody who's made changes in her own life and it can be done. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, you can really live better. So I hope to talk to you soon.

Nancy (44:02):
Bye! <Laugh>.