Being able to speak powerfully is a skill we can all use. Whether you are speaking to colleagues, partners, clients, or your spouse and kids. Julian shares his Seven Deadly Sins of Speaking and most importantly, tips that will help you be a better speaker so that others will listen—he delivers on his title.

Millions of people lost their jobs in 2020, and in their search for new positions, they discovered a new-to-them social network: LinkedIn. Yes, you read that right — LinkedIn is having a moment. According to a Q3 2020 Performance Report from Microsoft, the platform grew 26% in that quarter alone, adding a whopping 15 million members.

People have started posting on LinkedIn in the same daily, scroll-addicted way they do on Facebook. And if you AND your firm aren’t already on LinkedIn taking advantage of the surge, you should be! Here are three ways to get the most out of your accounts.

1. Post the same content to your personal AND business pages

Yes, we said it. Not only is cross-posting allowed, it should be encouraged! Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn was made for business and self-promotion, so you shouldn’t be embarrassed about posting all of your firm’s content on your personal page as well. Of course, you can also post different content on each page if you’d prefer, as long as you’re posting on both consistently.

2. Make adding LinkedIn “connections” part of your networking routine

When you get back from a networking event, you probably have a contact routine. Maybe you add all of the people you met to your CRM or other project management software and update your email list to include them. To level up your networking, we’d recommend adding another step to that routine. Take an extra 15 minutes a month and add all of your new contacts as “connections” on LinkedIn. This will help you stay in touch with leads, colleagues, clients, and referrals and nurture those relationships.

3. Get involved in LinkedIn Groups

You’re probably well aware that Facebook offers groups, but did you know LinkedIn does the same? On LinkedIn, those groups are places for people in the same industry or with the same professional interests to gather and swap insights, advice, and contact information. In other words, they’re an ideal place to do some networking. Use the search bar at the top of your LinkedIn homepage to find groups that work for you, then make a point of posting there regularly to grow your referral network.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.

What does happiness mean to you?

Healthy relationships? A good job? Time spent with your family?

The truth is, there are as many definitions of happiness as there are stars in the night sky because happiness looks different for each of us.

But here is something we all share in common: If we’re not happy, life is unsettling and unsatisfying.

So today I want to share four tips to help you find happiness in your own life.

1. Define happiness on your terms.

Your happiness is not the same as anyone else’s happiness. What makes me happy might not make you happy. And vice versa! So the first step in finding happiness in your life is simply defining what happiness looks like for you.

Let’s dream for a moment. Imagine that money is not an obstacle and that fear can’t hold you back.

What would your life look like?

How would you spend your time?

Would you travel? Where would you go?

What would your family time look like?

What type of work would you do?

Who would you spend your time with?

Make a list of what your dream life would look like. That is a powerful clue as to what happiness looks like for you.

2. Focus on what’s going right.

It’s very easy for us to get caught up in the weeds of life: the frustrations, annoyances and challenges. But the truth is, if you really stop and think about it, you’ll probably realize that there’s a whole lot to love about your life.

Take some time right now to focus on those things. What are five things you like about your professional life? What are five things you like about your life outside of work?

Pretty great, right?

We have so much to be grateful for. And it’s so important to focus on gratitude because that helps us to find happiness in our lives today, instead of getting tripped up by the little weeds that pop up and drag us down.

3. Make you a priority.

As professionals, we are always focused on so many things — our clients, our colleagues, our bosses, our community, our family … and the list goes on and on.

That doesn’t leave much time and energy to focus on ourselves, does it?

As I tell my clients, if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others, period.

As flight attendants across the world instruct us, in case of emergency, put on your oxygen mask first, and then help those around you.

You have to take care of yourself. Listen to your body. Stop working and take a break when you need it. Give yourself enough time to sleep (I know, easier said than done, but sleep is so important). Get serious about nutrition. Make time for the people, places, and things that energize and inspire you.

It’s hard to be happy when you’re sick, exhausted, and stressed. Take care of yourself, and then you’ll have the energy to take care of your other priorities. And you’ll be able to enjoy your life in the process!

4. Redefine failure.

Failure is a terrifying word for most of us. But it shouldn’t be. Oprah Winfrey, who I think is one of the most successful and inspiring people the world has ever known, says that “there is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

Oprah would know — because, for all of her success, she’s experienced plenty of failures, as well. But one of the things that makes Oprah so special is that her failures didn’t keep her from moving forward and creating her next big success. And we can all learn something from that.

The fear of failure is one of the biggest things that holds us back from pursuing true happiness in our lives. Starting today, I want you to look at this through a different lens. Failure doesn’t exist! It’s just life moving you in a different direction.

Find Your Happiness

I want you to find your happiness.

It starts by defining what happiness looks like for you. Make a conscious effort to focus on what’s going right in your life. Take care of yourself; put your own oxygen mask on first. And finally, redefine failure so that fear can’t hold you back.

Here’s to your happiness!

 

 

Entrepreneurs drive the economy forward with innovative solutions to big problems in business. How different businesses have weathered the pandemic this past year is proof of that. However, while entrepreneurs generate success for their businesses, one aspect of that role isn’t discussed enough: their mental health.

According to Dr. Michael Freeman, a psychiatrist who studies how entrepreneurship affects the brain, entrepreneurs are more susceptible to a number of mental health conditions than non-entrepreneurs. They’re 30% more likely to suffer from depression, 29% more likely to live with a hyperactivity disorder, and 11% more likely to fall on the bipolar spectrum. These numbers for lawyers specifically are even higher.

The confidence of your customers and workforce depends, at least in part, on your mental health, which is why every entrepreneur should consider seeing a mental health professional. However, abiding by a few basic principles can also help you nurture a healthy mental state.

PIVOT WELL AND STAY POSITIVE

The unexpected will happen. Ironically, that’s all you can expect as an entrepreneur. So, when you put together plans to grow your business, make contingency plans as well. Just because you have those backup plans does not mean the worst will happen.

If something unexpected does happen, instead of immediately considering all the possible negative outcomes, think of the potential positive outcomes instead. Remember that just because the steps to achieve your goal might shift, it doesn’t mean your goal has to change.

SCHEDULE TIME TO DO THINGS YOU FIND RESTFUL

We have a pretty good idea of how to improve our physical health in various situations: If we’re cold, we throw on an extra layer. If we want to lose a few pounds, we exercise and eat some vegetables. However, when it comes to improving our mental health, we might be at a loss.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the best way to rest your mind is to force it to work on a singular task, such as a puzzle, craft, or exercise routine. So long as you find the activity restful and it takes your mind off work, you should set aside time to do it for the sake of your mental health.

LIMIT THE NOISE AROUND YOU

The world is a chaotic place — it always has been. The only difference is that now, we have the means to see everything happening on our planet through our computers and smartphones. It’s good to stay informed, but when we let the media noise dictate how we feel on any given day, it might be time to curtail social media exposure. The world will continue to turn, even when we’re not looking.

The above tips are by no means prescriptive. You can take parts of one or a couple of them and leave the rest. The point of sharing these tips, however, is to encourage you to do something. As an entrepreneur, you can’t afford to ignore your mental health and hope everything is okay. So, take some of this information and use it to build success in your business and your life.

Over the years I have written about change hundreds of times—in this and other blogs, articles, speeches and not to mention 1000’s of hours I talk with my clients about change. As humans, we seem to be programmed to resist change, even when we want to change.  Here is a great TEDTalk by Talia Sharot, a behavioral neuroscientist that helps us understand why we resist and what will help us embrace the change we are looking to make. Enjoy!

Think about how consultations usually go at your firm. What talking points do you and your team bring into those meetings? If your answer is “who we are, what we do, and the cost of our services,” there is a fundamental flaw in your consultation model keeping you from converting clients: You’re selling yourself instead of selling solutions.

Every client is different, so you can’t sell to all of them the same way (by selling yourself). Instead, you and your team need to tailor your sales pitch to the client, selling the answers to their needs and desires. Are they scared? Sell them reassurance. Are they in a hurry? Sell them speed. To go back to Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand, this simple mindset switch centers the client as the hero and makes you the guide.

It might sound complicated to craft a different sales pitch for every client, but you can use the exact same tactic each time to put yourself on the path toward nurturing a happy client. Instead of going into the room with answers, go in with 5–10 questions like these:

  • What do you hope your life will be like when this case is over?
  • How would you like to feel in six months?
  • What are you afraid of?
  • How would you describe your ideal lawyer?
  • How long are you prepared to wait for your case to be resolved?

Questions like these will help you unearth what is important to your potential clients, sell your services to them more effectively, and prevent basic sales mistakes. Without it, you’re taking shots in the dark.

Say, for example, that you’re a divorce attorney and you’re proud of your firm’s efficiency, so in consultation, you emphasize speed, speed, speed. But the client in front of you doesn’t care about speed — they’re willing to wait as long as it takes if they get the house and their boat in the end. If you don’t unearth that motivation, you will continue selling to them the wrong way — and probably lose them as a lead.

Don’t underestimate the impact of the client’s needs, wants, and desires. Instead, make them the center of your story and train your team accordingly. Your consultation rate will soar.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.

Most people, in my experience, don’t take the time to think about what fuels them, what guides them and what they were put on this planet to achieve. Life has a way of keeping us distracted and focused only on the moment. Day after day and week after week, many people go to work without much thought of anything else.

But I think we are built to do so much more than simply survive; we are built to thrive and build a life that we love, not just make a living. One of the true joys in my work is helping clients find their “North Star” — their true calling in life.

Finding your North Star helps you live with purpose, and it gives you a reference point to keep you moving in the right direction. It doesn’t mean that life isn’t still challenging. Of course, we all have our ups and downs. But when you’re living with purpose, it’s much easier to stay on track and weather the storms that come I want you to know the joy of discovering your North Star, your unique calling. Here are four important questions to help you do that:

1. What are the gifts that make you unique?

These might be skills that you don’t use very often in your daily life or even skills that nobody knows about besides you.

Are you a gifted listener or a skilled problem-solver who is able to put together any puzzle? Are you fluent in multiple languages? Are you uniquely gifted at connecting with people in conversation? Are you an entertaining and confident public speaker? Connecting with your unique giftings will offer an important clue into your true calling in life.

2. What are the dreams that speak to your soul?

What gets you motivated and inspired? What are the causes and beliefs that will get you out of bed in the morning, rain or shine, fired-up and ready to go?

I’ve worked with many gifted professionals who are most passionate about causes and beliefs that don’t directly tie into their daily work. And what I’ve helped them do, rather than ignore their dreams, is to find a way to tie their work into the causes that inspire them. Sometimes that means volunteering their time. Other times it means serving on the board of an organization or finding a way to shift their focus and attract paying clients in the area that they’re most passionate about.

As an example, I included a story in my recent book about a lawyer who has always been passionate about the arts. For years she volunteered her time pro bono in support of the art community. Then, lo and behold, a prestigious art museum had an opening for in-house counsel. This attorney was the obvious choice due to her years of investment in that community, and she got the job. She’s working full-time for a cause that she truly believes in.

So how about you? What causes and dreams are you most passionate about?

3. What type of work gets you the most excited?

Now think about the day-to-day work you do to earn a living. Even if you don’t love your job, there was probably something that attracted you to that field to begin with. What was it?

Is there a specific type of client you like to serve or a specific type of project you enjoy taking on? Identifying the work that fuels you will lead you toward your North Star.

4. How has your past uniquely shaped you for the future?

Finally, how has your past prepared you to make an impact in the future? Are there unique challenges that you faced as a child? Are you perhaps passionate about giving back to kids who face those same challenges today? Or, perhaps you grew up in a different part of the country (or even the world) and you’re passionate about helping the people in your former home to improve their lives.

I have clients who have overcome physical and emotional challenges in their lives, and they now find deep meaning in helping others overcome those same challenges.

Although it’s not always the case, I’ve seen that sometimes the journey that life has taken you on can set the stage for your next act. How have you been shaped by your past?

Remember: The only opinion that matters is yours.

Sometimes, as you begin to dream big dreams, you’ll face resistance. People might tell you, “That’s not how it’s done,” “You could never do that,” or “You have to choose between making a living and chasing your dreams.”

But let me tell you: they’re wrong. I believe you can have it all. You can build a meaningful life and still meet your financial goals. It’s your life, not theirs. Don’t live your life based on the expectations of others. As novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”

So, go find your North Star.

 

 

A few months ago, a Spotlight Branding client told us a story that is every lawyer’s worst nightmare. It all started when our client (we’ll call him Justin) got a phone call.

“Hello!” said the person on the other end of the line. “I’m looking for a lawyer who can help me with a family law issue.”

“Oh, I’m sorry!” Justin told the caller. “Family law isn’t my specialty. But I know another lawyer who is excellent at it. Let me give you her name.”

When Justin passed on the name of the other attorney, his caller gasped.

“Oh my gosh, I actually worked with her three months ago,” they said. “I was very happy with her work and wanted to get in touch with her again, but I couldn’t remember her name or figure out how to find her. So, I went online and found you instead!”

Justin’s heart sank. He was thrilled that the caller had found him online and was inspired by the content we’d helped him create, but he also felt awful for his friend. This client, with their thousands of dollars of repeat business and potential referrals, had almost gotten away.

It’s chilling to think you could be that family law attorney, losing clients without even knowing it, despite being excellent at your job. Maybe you are that lawyer, and you just don’t realize it! How would you know?

Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening to your firm. To ensure you aren’t forgettable, you need to do what the family law attorney didn’t do: Bring every new client and contact into your firm’s Content Loop™.

The Content Loop™ is Spotlight Branding’s tried-and-true method of keeping your firm top of mind. (Find out more about it at SpotlightBranding.com/NL.) To leverage its power, invite your new contacts to join your mailing list or social media pages, then put out consistent content like a monthly newsletter, social media post, blogs, and videos. This will keep your name fresh in your network’s heads and ensure you capture their repeat business and referrals.

With the Content Loop™ in your back pocket, you’ll never find yourself forgotten like that family law attorney. Your name will always be in your client’s inbox or newsfeed, just a click away.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.

Management expert Ken Blanchard is credited with saying, “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”

So, I ask you: When you set goals for your career and your life, are you truly committed to reaching those goals? Are you committed to building a business that works in harmony with the rest of your life? Have you made the commitment to thrive — to build a life that you love, not just earn a living?

If you’re having trouble committing, keep reading, because today I’m going to share three steps that will help you finally make the commitment.

1. Find your passion.

It’s hard to commit to anything if you’re not passionate about it. Passion gets you out of bed in the morning, ready to take on the world. Without passion, it can feel more like just going through the motions.

So I ask you: What are you passionate about? What gets you excited? Is it traveling the world? Time with your kids or grandkids? Are you a history buff?

I’m passionate about travel, cooking, and amateur photography. So, I’ve structured my business and my life in such a way that I can enjoy each of these passions and more. For example, I use the photos I take on my travels as the foundation of my Instagram strategy. And when I give speeches and go to conferences, I make sure to set aside time in my itinerary to explore and take photos. I often make time for a cooking class, as well! This allows me to blend my work with my passions. You can, too.

What are you passionate about and how can you build your career and your life around those passions? Now that is worth committing to.

2. Take the first step.

Most people get stuck because taking the first step is scary. Whether it’s leaving your job to start your own business, changing careers, moving to a new city, or whatever the case may be — change is always scary.

It’s OK if you’re not 100% sure that it’s going to work. Really, when are we 100% sure of anything?

Do your homework. Do your research. Listen to your gut. Talk to a mentor. But then, once you’ve done the work, don’t let fear hold you back. Take the first step!

3. Don’t let doubt creep in.

Doubt will keep you from making progress. It’s OK that you don’t know exactly how the future is going to unfold. Again, do we ever really know what the future holds?

What I can tell you, from decades of experience owning my own business as well as coaching other business owners, is that if you find your passion and you’re committed to taking action, you will find a way to make it work. Your path may look different than you thought it would, but you will get there. Don’t let fear and doubt tell you otherwise.

Make the commitment!

I have helped clients create a business and lifestyle they never thought possible, so I know you can do it. Find your passion. Do your homework and then take the first step. Don’t let fear and doubt hold you back. Make the commitment and I believe you will achieve the results you’re looking for.

Think about the last time you went online to order takeout food. How was the experience? Did you put your order in without a hitch, or were you frustrated by the restaurant’s outdated website, malfunctioning plugins, and counterintuitive ordering process? Maybe you even wondered whether they were open at all when a COVID-19 popup from March 2020 appeared.

Restaurants are notorious for their terrible websites. Once or twice we’ve come across an ordering platform that was such a mess we felt like throwing our laptop out the window. When that happens we say, “Screw it!” and order DoorDash instead. The restaurant’s old, crusty website officially lost them a customer.

If you haven’t updated your firm’s website in a few years, YOU could be the one making people want to toss their computers across the room.

Unfortunately, this problem isn’t exclusive to restaurants. If you haven’t updated your firm’s website in a few years, YOU could be the one making people want to toss their computers across the room. To win over clients and keep up your firm’s image and reputation, you need to refresh your website regularly. Here are three big reasons to stay on top of those updates:

1. DIGITAL TRENDS CHANGE — AND YOU DON’T WANT A WEBSITE THAT’S “SO 2015.”

The looks considered eye-catching, popular, and modern online change just as often as what’s “in” on the runway. What impressed visitors years ago might look awful today and vice versa. Right now, asymmetrical website layouts are in — who the heck would have predicted that in 2016? Updating your website regularly shows that you’re keeping up with the times, and that’s a reflection of your firm’s credibility and attention to detail. Don’t get sloppy.

2. EVERY DAY YOUR WEBSITE AGES, ITS FUNCTIONALITY DEGRADES.

Think of your website like a car. As soon as you drive a new vehicle off the lot, its value goes down, and it keeps degrading over time. After 10 years, your turn signals are sticky, your glove compartment won’t close, and you have stubborn stains on your leather seats. The same thing will happen with your website but much faster. A decade in car time is like two years online.

Websites have dozens of moving pieces and parts, and many of those plugins and integrations aren’t native to the website itself. They get separate updates, and over time, they become incompatible or stop working entirely. Without regular full-site refreshes, entire sections of your website can become defunct. But when you update your website regularly, you can fix those issues and add cutting-edge features.

3. IF YOUR WEBSITE IS OUT OF DATE, IT MIGHT BE MISREPRESENTING YOUR BRAND.

Think about what your firm looked like at the time your website was created. How many people were on your team? What were your practice areas? What did your branding and logo look like? Odds are if your website is more than two years old, some or all of those things have changed. 2020 forced thousands of law firms to pivot their practice areas and update their messaging. If you haven’t made those changes on your website, you’re misrepresenting your brand and missing out on clients who could be ideal fits for you. Your website needs to reflect the current you, not the old you. A refresh can make that happen and bring in an influx of consultations.

We know these are tough pills to swallow. Maybe you LOVE your old website, or you designed it yourself and sending it to the digital scrap heap hurts. We get it. Sometimes we have to replace websites for clients that we designed just a few years ago, and they can be hard to let go. BUT, doing so is necessary for the greater good of your firm — and we can help. Together, we can create a website that looks stylish, functions smoothly, and is the perfect fit for who you are now. It won’t be long before it pays for itself. When you’re ready to upgrade and start bringing in more clients, contact us today.