In this episode, we’re going to talk about when your bills are paid. Yes, you read that correctly. What do you do when all of your bills are paid and you have a comfortable life? How do you keep yourself motivated?
This topic is actually coming up because I’ve talked to a couple of lawyers recently who have been interested in joining the Law Firm Mentor community. We are always looking for the right type of client for this community but, there is a certain type of solo and small law firm attorney we’re looking for. In essence, it includes people who are looking to grow their businesses. There can be several end goals achieved when you are looking to grow your business, but in order to get there having a solid growth strategy is key.
In this episode we discuss:
- Keeping yourself motivated when money isn’t the main goal.
- Struggling to push yourself to achieve economic goals.
- Precepts about the idea of being financially satiated.
- How it is healthy to have multiple streams of motivation.
- The difference between extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.
Allison Williams: [00:00:11] Hi, everybody, it’s Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor. Law Firm Mentor is a business coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys. We help you grow your revenues, crush chaos in business, and make more money.
Allison Williams: [00:00:26] Hi, everybody, is Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor, and on today’s episode of The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast, we’re going to talk about when your bills are paid. Now, you might be thinking that there’s a typo there. There’s not. We’re actually going to talk about what you do when you reach a point where all of your bills are paid and you have a comfortable life. How do you keep yourself motivated? So this topic is actually coming up because I’ve talked to a couple of lawyers recently that have been interested in joining the Law Firm Mentor community and we are always looking for the right type of client for this community. So, we’re you know, we serve solo and small law firm attorneys and I think that’s very clear, it’s very well branded but there is a certain type of solo and small law firm attorney we’re looking for and in essence, it includes people who are looking to grow their business. Now, grow your business doesn’t mean you’re looking to make more money necessarily. It typically means that it typically means more money and more free time for the owner. But it really can be that you want to grow to help more people or to have a bigger platform or to create more opportunities for people in your community. It can usually be discerned, whatever your goals are, can usually be discerned by what you talk about first.
Allison Williams: [00:01:52] So the first thing I always ask people when I have a growth strategy call with them is what is it that you want? And if the first thing that comes up is I want to triple the number of people that I serve or I want to be able to open offices in the central and southern part of my state because I want to have a much bigger reach and a greater impact. Those things are just as valid as I want to make an extra five hundred thousand dollars this year. I want to put an extra million dollars in my pocket. I want to dramatically increase my retirement investments, right? So everybody has a slightly different purpose and a slightly different aim and that’s OK. But a lot of times what we find with lawyers that have either a financial nest egg that they’re living off of or they secured a major settlement and so they really are… They’re eating the profits of a settlement, thus don’t have any, any substantial outstanding expense or any expense they think they won’t be able to pay in the course of a year. Or when you get people who are married to very successful, financially successful partners and so they don’t have an economic incentive to keep themselves going, oftentimes it really is a motivator for them to do the work and it’s not because they don’t have a big enough ambition, it’s that they are disconnected from their vision, their vision is optional.
Allison Williams: [00:03:21] And I think a lot of that derives from the fact that at least here in the United States, a lot of us have learned the cultural imperative that work is about accumulating things, right? So we think work is about buying a bigger house or having a bigger office or driving a nicer car or sending your kids to a more elite private school. There is a societal value that we have placed on accumulating wealth and accumulating economic value. And because of that societal imperative, it becomes really challenging for a lot of us to ultimately see ourselves as working without a purpose to accumulate. In fact, so much so that when you talk to a lot of people and we say things like, you know, here in Law Firm Mentor, our motto is that we never stop growing. People say, oh, that just sounds awful, like why would you ever want to grow more work? Why would you ever want to like once you have a certain amount of money, why are you trying to get more? And those money stories are baked into the fabric of our society. This show is not really about dysfunctional money stories, but those dysfunctional money stories are often the natural offshoot of having an approach to work that says that work is for the purpose of making money.
Allison Williams: [00:04:47] Now, I am a big lover of money anyone that knows me knows I’m a capitalist, you know that. I very much love driving in a nice car, living in a nice house, being able to afford myself luxury, that’s how I take care of myself, at least one of the ways I take care of myself and I don’t apologize for it. But I do know that a lot of people have a mindset that says that when I am achieving for the purpose of making more money, at some point there is a law of diminishing returns. At some point, I don’t get more out of achieving more economic value and hence if the reason why I am putting my labor into something is to achieve economic value, then what happens when I have enough economic value. Then am I going to get up the next day. Or am I going to grind for that next client? And am I going to put in the effort to figure out that next marketing campaign? Am I going to deal with the next uncomfortable client? Right? If I don’t really have to? Why would I? Why should I? And so we have had any number of people that have either come into our community, either in our free Facebook group or, by the way, shout out to the Facebook group. If you haven’t joined the Facebook group, we have recently had some of our coaches here at Law Firm Mentor also posting free, free trainings in our Facebook group in addition to me. So I welcome you to join us for those trainings. You can join us on Facebook we’re at the Law Firm Mentor Movement, so shout out to our coach team that is adding a lot of value there.
Allison Williams: [00:06:22] In addition to the idea of money being associated with work, I think a lot of people are also struggling with when I am pushing myself for an economic goal and I achieve that goal, what’s on the other side? What’s going to keep me going and growing and moving when I don’t have an economic value there? One thing that came up recently is, one of the content creators that I, that I sometimes listen to on YouTube recently did a video about the I Don’t Dream of Labor Movement. And this movement is about millennials who are kind of saying no to work and their mindset is if all that I’m doing is producing for the sake of producing or working so that I can increase the GDP without increasing profit to myself, why bother? I’ll do something that’s minimal enough to keep me fed but beyond that, I’m not I’m not putting time and energy into that. Now, that is typically a movement of wage workers, so people that are going to earn at a lower, middle income or even lower income threshold. So it’s not necessarily a lawyer’s movement per say. But I think it’s illustrative of kind of a cultural shift that people are really starting to examine the idea of work equals purpose, equals money.
Allison Williams: [00:07:47] And I also want you to be thinking about your thoughts around, am I working so that I can just achieve a financial goal, because then once I grow to a certain size, I don’t need to grow anymore. And what we find is oftentimes the motivation to create a business started from something that wasn’t economic but in order to fuel economic growth. We often put financial metrics around it because that’s what tells us that we are operating at a healthy profit margin. That’s what tells us that we are generating enough revenue to have the number of people that are required to give you the free time that you want. So the economics of your business take on their own significant importance when you are growing a business but the focus on that economic value should not in any way signify to you, that that should be the reason why you’re growing and then once you hit that target, you’re done, because we all know here at Law Firm Mentor our motto is never stop growing. And never stop growing, doesn’t mean never stop growing economically, even though it may mean that, it very much means never stop growing into more of who you are so that you can have the life that you truly desire and the life that you were designed to have.
Allison Williams: [00:08:59] So when we think about that, I want to just give you a few precepts about the idea of being financially satiated, and then we’re going to be talking about motivation.
Allison Williams: [00:09:09] So the first concept is that nothing creates the hungry, like the hustle. OK. or rather, I think I mixed that up, yeah, I think I mixed that up. It’s nothing creates the hustle like the hungry, right? So if you know that you’re going to run out of money at some point soon and you know you have bills to pay and you know that you have to take care of yourself, that’ll get you out there and pound the pavement pretty quickly, right? But if you have fifty thousand dollars in the bank, sitting back, relaxing, enjoying yourself doesn’t sound so scary if all you have is twenty thousand dollars in bills because you know, you’re not going to be destitute next month, right? You’ve got some time. The other thing to consider is that if you are not hungry, right, if you are not in a place of having economic need, then your motivation may very well have to shift. So in other words, it’s always healthy to have multiple streams of motivation so that your motivation is not singularly tied to an economic set point and then once you hit that point, poof, you’re where you should be. It’s kind of like dieting, right? I want you to think about it in as many contexts as you need to in order to get this concept.
Allison Williams: [00:10:21] If you go on a diet and you say, I want to lose 20 pounds and you start restricting your food or you start eating differently and you start exercising, let’s say, five times a week, and let’s say in about two months you lose 20 pounds, well, what happens at the end of two months? Well, typically, you just go back to the old eating habits from the old exercise habits or lack thereof that you had before because now you’re at a place of maintenance. The problem is that if you do what you did before, you’re going to likely get the same result as you got before, which was the weight gain, you’re not going to suddenly maintain the weight loss because you are now at a place where you are not actively seeking to lose weight anymore. The fact that you changed your intention without changing the causative elements you put in your place that led to the effect of weight loss does not mean that you will suddenly stop losing weight, right? Because causes leads to effects. So I want you to think about that when you are thinking of the idea that focus on a financial goal cause is what led to the effect of your growing your business at a global level. Right? When we’re thinking big picture, you might have to also build in as you are growing other things that will motivate you so that you’re not just motivated by the dollars and cents, but you’re also motivated by the things that are a deeper more fulfilling promise.
Allison Williams: [00:11:44] So think about it this way, we know that there are two different types of motivation, right? There must always be some motivation for you to do anything but when we think about the motivation that most often triggers action, that leads to business growth, we will often see extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. So extrinsic motivation is motivation external to ourselves, this is things like includes things like our money, right? How much money are we making?… self-esteem. So when people start to reward us or praise us for what we’re doing. Public notoriety, right? It could be the benefit of helping someone else, right? You see the, the tangible benefit of you creating a scholarship fund or the tangible benefit of you giving someone a job, right? That’s something that you can see outside of yourself. The intrinsic motivation is what’s inside ourselves and this is something that I think is often glossed over when you talk to a lot of other business coaching services. You kind of get the idea of, OK, great, you’re going to get that extrinsic motivation of dollars and cents. Yay! Yay! Yay! But what happens when the dollars and cents wear off? What happens if that’s not a big deal for you because your bills are paid? Then typically you’re relying on intrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation can be the desire to be more, to do more, to have more.
Allison Williams: [00:13:14] If you think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I talk about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs quite a bit, particularly when we’re talking about marketing. But here I want to bring it to center when we talk about self-actualization and positive self-esteem. So if you think about those needs, self-actualization, well, how are you going to be actualized? Most people do not strongly associate being self-actualized with making more money, right? If you are truly looking to be self-actualized, it may require you to have more money right? Because your self-actualization may be flying around the world to get on stages to motivate people or be an inspirational speaker and there is a certain amount of money that is required in order for you to do that thing. But your self-actualization can come without any money whatsoever, right? It can come from sharing your message with the world. It can come from having a platform where you ultimately help people, it can be, it can be starting a movement of a change in the legal industry, right? There could be any number of things that would give you a sense of purpose and a sense of value that is unique to you and something that derives really from your private innermost thoughts.
Allison Williams: [00:14:31] So I want you to think about this, that motivation is always going to be either a desire to create pleasure or the avoidance of pain. Again, your motivation is either going to be a desire for pleasure or the avoidance of pain. Now, the avoidance of pain tends to be easier to motivate us in the short term, if we come to work and we know that if we don’t place those phone calls and get those e-mails made, that we’re not going to be able to pay rent. Oftentimes what we’re hearing is not the eviction, we’re fearing the discomfort of having someone call upon us to make a payment we can’t make but that’s a whole separate discussion, right? You ultimately know that there would be a consequence eventually from you not paying rent and a very unfortunate consequence. So that pain that you would anticipate by not making enough money is typically going to trigger you to do the things that cause to get to the effect of having enough money to pay those bills, which, by the way, is part of the reason why people stop growing once they get to a certain level. They get to a place of financial satiation and they’re like, well, I got what I need now, right? I don’t need to create any more often because they are not driven by money. They are driven by something greater, but they may not have tapped into it yet.
Allison Williams: [00:15:52] They may not actually have thought about it, they may have actually been in a place of driving their behavior, driving their success, driving their movement forward by virtue of extrinsic motivators and not intrinsic motivators. So for today, I want you to really give yourself the gift of thinking about what your intrinsic motivators are. What are the things that wake you up at night with, with gazing eyes and smiles and intrigue and excitement. And if you’ve lost that, I want you to give yourself the opportunity to tap into it again by asking yourself this question. If no one would care in the world and I had all of the money in the world that I needed, what would I be in this life? What would I create in this life? And oftentimes we can use our law firms in order to be the vessel through which we achieve that self-actualization that comes from whatever is intrinsically motivating us to create. But you have to be willing to allow yourself to dream out loud and to own what you really want. All right, everyone. Today on the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast we have been talking about when your bills are paid. How to tap into the motivation that is within you in order to achieve the results that you want in growing your law firm. I’m Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor and I’ll see you on our next episode.
Allison Williams: [00:17:35] Thank you for tuning in to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. To learn more about today’s guests and take advantage of the resources, check out our show notes. And if you own a solo or small law firm and are looking for guidance, advice or simply support on your journey to create a law firm that runs without you, join us in the Law Firm Mentor Movement Free Facebook group. There you can access our free trainings on improving collections in law firms, meeting billable hours, enjoying the movement of thousands of law firm owners across the country who want to crush chaos in their law firms and make more money. I’m Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Have a great day!
Allison C. Williams, Esq., is Founder and Owner of the Williams Law Group, LLC, with offices in Short Hills and Freehold, New Jersey. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney and is the first attorney in New Jersey to become Board-Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in the field of Family Law.
Ms. Williams is an accomplished businesswoman. In 2017, the Williams Law Group won the LawFirm500 award, ranking 14th of the fastest growing law firms in the nation, as Ms. Williams grew the firm 581% in three years. Ms. Williams won the Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017. In 2018, Ms. Williams was voted as NJBIZ’s Top 50 Women in Business and was designated one of the Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners. In 2019, Ms. Williams won the Seminole 100 Award for founding one of the fastest growing companies among graduates of Florida State University.
In 2018, Ms. Williams created Law Firm Mentor, a business coaching service for lawyers. She helps solo and small law firm attorneys grow their business revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money. Through multi-day intensive business retreats, group and one-to-one coaching, and strategic planning sessions, Ms. Williams advises lawyers on all aspects of creating, sustaining and scaling a law firm business – and specifically, she teaches them the core foundational principles of marketing, sales, personnel management, communications and money management in law firms.
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00: 01: 52 (38 Seconds)
So the first thing I always ask people when I have a growth strategy call with them is what is it that you want? And if the first thing that comes up is I want to triple the number of people that I serve or I want to be able to open offices in the central and southern part of my state because I want to have a much bigger reach and a greater impact. Those things are just as valid as I want to make an extra five hundred thousand dollars this year. I want to put an extra million dollars in my pocket. I want to dramatically increase my retirement investments, right? So everybody has a slightly different purpose and a slightly different aim. And that’s OK.