Transcript: 6 Bad Habits Hurting Your Legal Practice
You're listening to soul roadmap podcast with Dana Cataldo, episode 82 hi, how are you doing today? So you probably have noticed over the last few episodes that I have not had an intro and that is all going to change because I'm slowly transitioning this podcast into a new and improved version for 2020 and I can't wait to share it with you, but I just want you to keep a lookout. So if you see different artwork, it's going to look a little different. It's going to have a different title and I'm going to share that with you very, very soon. I'm really excited to tell you about it. And so if you're listening to this, this episode when it's aired in December, then you're probably busy doing all of the things. So I appreciate you taking time out to listen in today. I'm going to link to some resources for you in the show notes related to everything we talk about [email protected] forward slash 82 that's Dina cataldo.com forward slash 82 and if you are ready to start taking your time back, I mean actually creating some time in your week rather than always finding things to spend it on.
Then I want to invite you to download a free guide I created for you called the busy lawyers quick start guide to getting back five hours every week. You can take this guide and implement just one of the tips that I share with you inside of it and you can begin getting your time back and this time of year, there's lots to be done. So why not get started now and start getting your time back. So I'm going to link to it in the show [email protected] forward slash 82 but I really encourage you to download this because it speaks specifically to those things that we do all the time and don't even notice them. And speaking of things we don't even notice. I want to talk to you about bad habits. The thing about bad habits is that we don't notice when we do them, they're embedded in our brain and we do them on autopilot.
And I wanted to create this episode to shine some light in these areas and hopefully give you some insight into why you may not be creating the results you want in your life. Each of these habits is one that I've struggled with at some point in my life. So I speak from experience here, and each of these habits impacts how your legal practice will continue to take shape. So if you're interested in growing your practice, which I assume you are, if you're listening to this, then I invite you to ask yourself how each of these habits may apply in your life. Then take steps to make the change you need to get intentional. All right, so the very first one I want to talk to you about is jumping in rather than planning how you want your day to take shape. And it's so interesting to me, the number of lawyers I talk to who do exactly this, we tend to think that if we jump into our work and work as hard as possible that we will eventually arrive at a place where we will be calm and collected and everything's going to be just great.
We won't have all this work on our desk. We're going to feel really good about it. And when I first started practicing as a criminal prosecutor, it was really like drinking out of a fire hose. You had 40 trial cases and you're constantly putting out fires and there really wasn't any training on how to manage your calendar and I was drowning. A big part of it was that I wasn't taking care of myself to give myself the space to take a step back and take a look at the priorities I needed to make. Everything seemed like a priority and I just figured I wasn't working hard enough to get to a place where I'd feel like I had things handled. The mistake I made was thinking that there was a place that I would arrive where I would feel better. I needed to actually create distance between me and the work.
To see that jumping in wasn't getting me where I needed to go. I needed to take a step back and plan my week and then plan each day and where I was going to focus. That's something that's sorely lacking in a lot of people's calendaring, which is just recognizing that you need to take a step back and you need to observe what is happening. If we don't do this, then we're going to feel overwhelmed. We're going to feel like we don't know what we're doing and we're going to wonder why we are so stressed out and we can't find time for anything. So just taking a look at this one particular habit and how it might play out in your life will make a huge difference. The second thing I wanted to talk to you about that second bad habit is seeking answers outside of ourselves rather than asking ourselves for the answer.
So this shows up in a lot of different ways and it really came up recently for me because I was teaching the online workshop I had recently and somebody asked me how much time should I be spending each week on self care? Like how much me time should I be making for myself? And that's a really great question because it's going to be different for every single one of us. And my answer to that was, if you're making time for yourself and you're still stressed out and you still feel overwhelmed, you need to make more me time. I make a lot of me time, make a ton of me time and I do that because I have an experience with stress and it resulting in breast cancer. And for me, I want to make sure that as ambitious as I am, I'm still taking care of myself.
I'm still making quiet time in the morning myself. I'm still going to yoga, I'm still going to the floats that I do. I still meditate. I still do all the things so that way I'm taking care of myself, but that's me and somebody else might need more time to themselves, may need more me time, may need to go take more vacations and some people need less. And the people who are most successful, I can tell you this, take the longest vacations. They are the ones who are taking care of themselves the most, the ones who are watching out for themselves the most. So if that's your question, take a listen to that. But the bigger picture here is the habit of seeking those answers outside of ourselves rather than looking inside. Because that question demonstrates what we've all been taught, which is to ask others for the answer to ask so that we can do things right, quote unquote right.
Rather than feeling inside and recognizing, Hey, you know what? I need some more me time. How do I make that happen? Or you know what? I feel really good right now. I think I'm going to do a little extra work cause I feel like I've got a lot of extra energy and I don't feel stressed at all. You know those kinds of things you've got to ask yourself and that comes down to your practice too. So yes, taking care of yourself is going to be a big impact and watching out for how much time you're spending on yourself and like asking yourself how much time you need to spend on yourself so that you are at an optimum level for your practices. One thing that this goes into all areas of your practice. How should I spend my advertising budget? Where should I be focusing my practice?
What areas should I be focusing on? Who's my ideal client? These are all questions that only you know the answer to and you can seek outside sources all you want, but you'll always be seeking something on the outside and no one's ever going to give you the answer that's right for you. Everybody reaches their results in a different way and if you ask other people all the time for an answer, then you're never going to train yourself to start looking inside for those answers. Cause you've got a lot of answers. In fact, you got all of them inside right now. And so it's important to start answering those questions. In fact, that's what I teach my interns. If they have a question for me, they need to have an answer ready. It's for me to understand their thought process but it's also to get them used to thinking up the answer for themselves.
The third bad habit I want to talk to you about is not promoting yourself or your practice, so this can be self promotion or publicizing your practice, whether on podcasts, guest blogs, networking, speaking at conferences, what have you. I'm going to introduce you to my mentor, Selena Soo over the next couple months as well as her stellar online program impacting millions which is going to help you in this area. So stay tuned for that but I to talk to you about this not only in terms of promoting your practice but also promoting yourself within a firm whether or not you own your own firm, whether or not you work with others within your firm you've got other associates are working with. I want to remind you that promoting yourself self promotion is important. So I was the absolute worst at self promotion at my office. It felt like bragging to me and I was raised to work hard and keep my nose down and that my hard work was going to be noticed.
And this isn't how actually how it works in the real world. Now it may have been true in school where everyone is measured by a grade, but everything is much more subjective in the workplace. And I didn't realize how much time you actually had to spend talking to supervisors and explaining what you're doing in your case load and help create an impression of yourself. And I was horrible at this. I'm a hard worker and I'm always on top of my cases, but I had a tough time with one particular lead in my office. This is like an example of how this can play out. And she had favorites. Now in this case, she chose to believe this is a particular incident that happened. She chose to believe her favorite attorney about whether or not I had contact with a witness. And this lead accused me of not subpoenaing this witness.
And of course I had the record of subpoenaing them and had lots of contact with that witness who was very cooperative with me, but her favorite attorney had lost contact with them. And so this lead accused me of not doing the job I was supposed to do. So this was totally embarrassing for me, even though the lead is the one who should have been embarrassed for the way she spoke to me. I, when she didn't apologize either. So that just kind of gives you an idea of like how entrenched her belief was in the believability of her favorite attorney. But I share this with you not to berate anyone or anything like that, but to let you know that if you're not out there promoting what you're doing for your office rather than just keeping your nose to the grindstone, you're going to get into positions like this.
There's going to be attorneys more senior to you that play favorites rather than objectively look at work product. They're going to look at and form relationships with other attorneys in your office. And other attorneys in your office or under pressure too, so they're not going to be objective either. So I, I want you to just keep this in mind when you're making a decision about working harder in your office or going out and socializing with your fellow attorneys. It's something that you need to do. You need to actually have really good relationships with them. And I had a great conversation with fellow attorney, Stephanie Hanna about networking and promoting yourself within your office and without an episode 58 so I'm going to link to that in the show notes. Now if you own your own firm, you're also going to want to be aware of where you can promote your practice for free.
Now there are always podcasts looking for guests and blogs that are looking for guest writers and those are great opportunities to talk to your ideal clients and let them know who you are. So I'll do an episode on promoting your practice in the next month or so where I'll talk more about impacting millions with Selena Soo and how that program can help you get organized and do just that. In a really systematic way. So the fourth bad habit that I want to tell you about is not giving undivided attention to the important people in your life. There is a person in your life right now who wishes you gave them more attention and not just attention where you're silently nodding while looking at your phone or thinking about your business. This is a person who is likely your biggest cheerleader and they never tell you that they want more attention from you because they know your work is important to you, but they want your attention.
And if you don't have an important person in your life, then the person who needs your undivided attention is you. Now, how does this relate to your practice? Because this person is probably the person you rely on to help you. If they're not there or they don't feel appreciated, they may not be there for you when you really need them. During law school, I lost contact with pretty much everyone except my study buddies and the people I saw day to day. It wasn't until I poked my head up after my cancer diagnosis that I began forming connections, and that was about three years after I graduated from law school. The very first person I paid attention to was me. Then I began focusing more on the attention I needed to give to the people around me, and even though I had that wake up call, I still find myself immersed in work because I love it so much and if I'm not practicing law, I'm writing a podcast or I'm promoting my business or I'm coaching or I'm learning or I'm writing or I'm working on finances, it's all encompassing, right?
So that is why I plan myself care before I add anything else into my week. I also plan time to be with important people in my life. That time is for them, and that's one of the reasons I love planning so much because it allows me to make time for what's most important to me, which brings me to that habit. Number five, saying yes more than you say no. No. I've learned that I have to say no more than yes, I'll get guilt trips. I'll get size and moans from people, but I still say no and the people who understand what I'm doing and who are my true friends do not do any of that by the way they get it and they know that if I go underground working on a project that I will pop my head up soon enough and they are there for me.
Warren Buffett says something, it's something like the most successful people are the ones who say no more than if you want to get things done. You've got to make tough choices. You cannot do everything. You can only do what's most important in that moment and sometimes that means saying yes to work and saying no to going to an event with friends and family. It means feeling guilt and doing what needs to be done to accomplish your goals. Shonda Rhimes wrote a great book on this called the year of yes where she talks about mom guilt and being an ambitious writer. It's not about balance, it's about making choices and she does a fabulous job about writing on this topic, so I'm going to link to her book in the show notes. Bad habit number six is dabbling. Instead of investing, often we don't invest in ourselves because we think we should already know something or maybe we feel guilty about spending money.
So instead of investing the money, we invest our time, which is way more valuable than money. Now, I used to be guilty of this. I used to swear I could piece meal business plans and projects together by going to different free podcasts and blogs and YouTube videos. Can you do this? Yes. Is it time effective? No. There's tons of free resources for managing your calendar, making a podcast, writing a book, but when I want to do any of those things in an efficient way and really take massive action to make a goal, a reality in my life, I go to a paid program. I go to a coach, they have everything organized for me and they tell me what I need to do. Even they even tell me what I need to be thinking for myself. I love that. So Pat Flynn's power up. Podcasting was like this for me.
I'm an affiliate of his. So if you are interested in starting your own podcast, I will link to his program in the show notes. He has a ton of free resources. Now you could literally start your own podcast by piecing all of his free materials together. But I didn't want to procrastinate waste time by trying to piece together his free trainings. I watched a few, but I knew I was serious about starting a podcast and he is the GoTo podcasting expert. So I invested in his course best investment ever, by the way, and he walked me step-by-step on everything I needed to do with no time wasted trying to figure things out on my own. Now we invest when we stopped playing around and we get serious. Anything less than going all in is dabbling and dabbling is just a waste of time. Okay, well I guess I just told you how I really felt about that one.
On that note, let me do a quick recap of the bad habits that we need to kick in order to increase our bottom line and also just improve our life. Number one, jumping in rather than planning how you want your day and your week to take shape. Number two, seeking answers outside of yourself rather than asking yourself the answer. Number three, not promoting yourself or your practice for not giving undivided attention to those important people in your life. Five saying yes more than no. And number six, dabbling instead of investing. I hope this gave you some food for thought. I know that these are all things that we've experienced at one time or another. Maybe you're one of the fortunate few who have not had any problem with any of these bad habits. But I know that if you really take a look at your life, if you really start to recognize what is happening in your life, increase some awareness around these different topics, you will be able to shift your perspective. You will be able to change your habits so that you can improve in each of these areas. Thank you so much for listening. I will talk to you soon with a new and improved podcast coming up shortly. I hope you have a wonderful day. Bye.