It’s no secret that having a clear vision for the future of your business gets you more clients, more revenue, more income, more free time, more satisfaction, and a happier life.
After all, if you don’t know where you’re going then how can you possibly get there? You can’t.
The need for a clear vision comes up, in one way or another, in every business book, every discussion with a management consultant, and in every analysis of every successful business or professional practice.
But lawyers I meet–knowing all of the above–fail to take the time to formulate a clear vision. Why?
Mostly it’s the busyness of the day that stops us dead in our tracks. You’re ready to go. You have grand plans for the day: you’re going to flesh out a comprehensive agenda for how the firm should function.
Then the phone vibrates, the first wave of emails rolls in, an unexpected client walks through the door, and you’re off in a completely different direction.
Unfortunately the direction we’re heading is often the wrong direction.
It doesn’t help that working on the long-term future of the firm requires waiting for the long-term in order to see the results. Lots of us flush our long-term future in favor of short-term payoffs.
We want to avoid pain and we know that the short-term problem, left unresolved, will cause fallout soon, while the future seems far off and hazy. We put off creating the vision for another day, or week, or year–any time other than today. It’s easy to prioritize the quick fix instead of taking time to create a bright future.
If they built a Delayed Gratification ’R Us store, it wouldn’t have many lawyers shopping in it.
Freedom, wealth, and respect are waiting
Even after I show lawyers the magical power of a well-crafted vision, they get distracted by the right-now tasks popping up before them. They get sucked into the urgent things and can’t find the time to focus.
“Yeah, I get it, I just really need to get things wrapped up this week and then I’ll have time.”
What a shame.
We pay a price. A big price. We work for decades and we never get what we wanted. Disappointment becomes our default emotional setting, because we didn’t take the time to map out a compelling future, to create a plan, to see it in our mind’s eye.
Creating a vivid, clear vision (call it goals, plan, objectives–call it whatever you need to call it to get yourself to do it) gets us what we want. But even knowing that, we still struggle to find the time and energy to do the thinking.
Creating a clear vision powerfully changes our future for the better
Yet, we put it off and off and further off until the future happens and we end up with less than we wanted.
What has to happen for you to invest in yourself? What has to happen for you to set aside time to plan? What has to happen to get you to take action?
Here’s a kick in the pants
Today, we’re talking about motivation. We’re talking about the pot of gold that is awaiting you at the end of the rainbow.
Right now I’m going to detail some of what happens when you clarify the vision. Here’s what happens to your life instead of:
- Toiling away late into the night preparing for tomorrow’s hearing
- Waking up worried about the deadlines missed
- Jumping out of bed at 5 AM in a panic about unpaid receivables
- Stressing out about your bank account being overdrawn
- Knowing the client is coming to pick up her file because she isn’t happy with how long it takes to get a return call
- Disappointing your family because you’re distracted all the time and lack the time, money, and attention they deserve
Here’s what you get when you get the vision right. This is how it pays off. This is what happens to your life. This is the impact of taking some time now, and investing it in yourself instead of rushing around, trying to solve today’s crisis.
Here’s the motivation you need to set aside this crucial time. This is how you get yourself ignited so you’ll see what you can do with your business and keep the fire burning inside you. This is how you get yourself going so you can lead your way to a dramatically better law practice.
These are the outcomes you can expect from investing time in creating your vision:
1. Get rich quick
You’d look very good behind the wheel of that Bentley Continental Convertible. You’d even look good in a Karlmann King SUV with a car seat strapped in the back for your toddler.
Seriously, if you’re going to get rich practicing law then here’s how you do it. Decide where you’re going, bring great people on board to help you get there, and move quickly and steadily toward the vision. You need a plan. You need to see the big picture, know where you’re going, decide how you’re going to get there, and then go.
Getting rich fast as a lawyer simply doesn’t happen without a clear vision. It helps if you’re also good at solving client problems, assembling a great team, doing the right marketing, and delivering on your promises.
None of it happens without a vision.
Want the house, the cars, the yacht, the helicopter? Then get the vision.
2. More clients, better clients, premium fees
Your vision will enhance your reputation. You’ll get people talking and sharing the good word about you.
That talk brings you more clients, better clients, and clients willing to pay premium fees.
The word can’t spread if the message isn’t clear. The message only gets clear when the vision is locked in, fully appreciated by everyone involved, and shared repeatedly. A clear vision is always the foundation for generating more of the right clients.
As you understand your path, you’re able to explain it in fewer and fewer words. The message is simplified. A clear message spreads further and faster. It’s hard to explain a general store. It’s easy to explain a candy store. Once you know what you’re creating, you’re free to tell the right story. That story gets amplified when others understand it and pass it along.
Telling that story brings more and more opportunities for you to serve clients and grow the expertise of your practice. The expertise draws even more attention and even more of the right kinds of clients. People trust a business that makes clear promises and delivers solutions in a reliable manner.
Law firms reliably get more clients by solving problems. That happens because the word gets spread even further by you and by the clients you’ve already served.
Better clients go where they know they’re going to be satisfied. They’ve heard that you’re “the best.” They’ve heard you “get it done.” They’ve heard you have what it takes to get the results they require. You get the respect, the reputation, and the referrals you deserve–because you really deserve it.
As your reputation grows, your value grows. Your firm becomes the one for your practice area in your market. The competition for your services increases. You gain the luxury of selecting the right cases, from an abundance of potential clients. You gain the privilege of charging what you’re worth in a market that values the skills and services you offer.
It’s next to impossible for your reputation to grow if you lack the focus that comes from having a clear vision. Your message will never spread unless it is simple, clear, and focused. You can’t maintain and build the reputation without serving the right clients. None of it happens unless you invest energy in creating your vision.
3. A better team
I said to my companion in the car, not realizing I was being overheard, that my receptionist was a “f***king idiot.” Unfortunately, I wasn’t on hold and she heard every word.
You know why I called her that name? Because it was accurate. I’ve hired lots of great people, but I’ve hired some not-so-great people too.
A grand vision attracts better employees. It brings you folks who’ve heard good things, who see the impact of your focus, and who want to be a part of where you’re going and what you’re accomplishing.
Today, more than ever, you need to be doing something big in order to attract the best talent. Without a strong, clear, inspirational vision you’re going to fail to lock in the employees with the best education, experience, and training. Your vision is a powerful story that helps prospective team members rank their best offers–and pick you.
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A vision is inspirational. Your team loves being part of something bigger than themselves. They love knowing there are big challenges and big rewards. They’re invested in their jobs and want to understand how their contribution fits into the grand scheme.
Motivated employees get more done. They go further faster. They make things happen that go way beyond expectations.
When your team understands the difference they’re making in the world, they show up each morning excited to have an impact. Instead of removing staples, they’re organizing documents to further the vision. Instead of sending out invoices, they’re helping to finance the mission. Instead of making coffee, they’re energizing the team.
4. More free time and more freedom
A week in an overwater villa in the Maldives? Ten days eating sushi, enjoying hot baths, and exploring Japan on the bullet train? Two weeks in a Swiss chalet with a view of the Alps?
More money, more clients, better clients, and a better team naturally result in you having more free time to do the things you enjoy. They open up possibilities for time with family, giving back to your community, and kicking back on vacation.
A clear vision with a shared sense of purpose enables your team to make strong decisions and continue to guide clients even when you’re away from the business.
The vision empowers your firm to function without your presence. The law firm doesn’t require your input moment by moment because the team is in alignment. The actions being taken are consistent with achieving the objective. That’s true whether you’re around the block or around the world.
5. Fewer decisions
We’re burdened with decisions all day long. We suffer from decision fatigue. It’s exhausting.
When the vision becomes clear two important things happen. First, the team knows what to do and they’re able to make decisions without turning to you for answers to every question. Second, you know what to do when tough questions arise. You know where you’re going, so each choice needs only to move you closer to the objective. That makes it dramatically easier to decide.
Decisions are tough when you have to pick a path without knowing the ultimate destination. When you know where you’re going, you need merely to keep your business on the route. The decision-making becomes a matter of fine tuning. You’re not reinventing the wheel with each answer.
Imagine a life that takes you home to your family at 6 PM, when you’re still fresh enough to make some more decisions. “Can we go to the pool on Saturday?” “Can we go camping this weekend?” “Can we do date night on Thursday?” Wouldn’t it be nice to actually hear and understand those questions instead of just shrugging through the exhaustion without comprehending a word?
6. More meaning
Wouldn’t it be nice to do something that matters?
I know one lawyer who wants free speech for conservatives, but he’s too busy getting people divorced to take on the cause. I know another lawyer who wants to spend time on the Innocence Project working with DNA to free the wrongly convicted, but she’s too busy handling traffic tickets.
We need to make a living, but we also need to make something of our lives.
It’s hard to do things that matter to you and your team when you’re bogged down in doing the work that pays the electricity bill.
If you aspire higher–if you want to change the world, deliver justice, bring fairness to others–then you’ve got to get your business out of the chaos and into the clarity.
Your inspiring vision will enable you to spend less time chasing clients who owe you money, worrying about making payroll, and wondering how you’ll find the next new client. You’ll be able to see the progress you’re making toward the goals you set, the objectives you plan to achieve, and the vision you’re turning into reality.
With more clients, better clients, premium fees, and a great team, you can make the difference you’ve dreamed of making. Instead of being mired in the mundane, you can lead your team to the mountain top.
7. Happier life
More money, more freedom, more time, more meaning–that’s what you get with a clear and vivid vision. Less hassle, less upset, less aimless wandering–you get these benefits as well.
Life is dramatically happier for a lawyer with a vision.
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One thing that we’re all after is the stability of knowing that a slow month won’t tank the practice. The peace of mind you get knowing that you won’t have to take a cut in your paycheck so the rest of the team gets theirs on time. The relief of not worrying whether or not you’ll be able to make the next tuition payment.
You’ll spend your days building it out, taking action steps, creating something you’ve always wanted instead of putting out fires, talking people off the ledge, and worrying about what will go wrong next.
A clear vision gives you peace of mind. It gives your team security. It communicates to your family that there are better days ahead. A clear vision gives you a happier life.
Small investment, big payoff: do it now
These are so many great reasons to set aside some time to think.
Developing a clear vision for your practice truly changes everything. The payoff is huge–for you, for your team, and for your business.
It’s time. Make it happen. Do it.
Don’t let the short-term control your day. You need to seize control because that’s how you get what you want. Take control of the long-term by gaining clarity for yourself, your team, and your law firm.
If you’re ready for more clients, more revenue, more income, more free time, more satisfaction, and a happier life, then you’re ready to clarify your vision. It’s time to see where you’re going.