"Everything you've been told about building
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How to Move Beyond Mediocrity

You return from a world-class seminar full of energy and excitement. You can’t wait to get started with your grandiose plans for world domination…or at least making a few changes to your law practice. But when you get back to the office, emergencies start popping up and before you know it, you’re back to the same ole’ grind. And after a few weeks, your big plans and goals are a distant memory and your time and money spent at the amazing seminar are a waste.

There is a reason why seminars fail and they are the same reason why you don’t follow through on your New Year’s resolution: there is no system for ongoing accountability. Of course, you have the best of intentions and a strong commitment to make changes, but your self-discipline (just like mine) is far from perfect and you quickly lose sight of the big dreams and goals that you had when you left the seminar.

It’s time to change this.

Success Can Only Be Achieved with Accountability

There is only one path to long-lasting success: ACCOUNTABILITY. Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers provide peer accountability that have proven to make powerful life-long changes in seemingly hopeless situations.

Wanting to improve ourselves is one thing; actually following through is another.

Keith Ferrazzi, “Who’s Got Your Back

My best friend, Vince DeCicco (“Vin-Man USA”), lost over 60 pounds (in only 5 months) at Weight Watchers through the power of weekly weigh-ins and an accountability system that virtually forces compliance with goals. Vin-Man USA knew that he couldn’t take off the weight alone and had the courage to ask for the help…and the rest is history. Today, Vin-Man USA is no longer a diabetic and he eats healthy, nutritious meals that will add 10-20 years to his life. The power of peer-to-peer accountability changed Vin-Man USA’s life—hopefully forever.

There is no secret formula to the success of Weight Watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous. Everyone should have a small group of trusted peers (a/k/a your “Board of Advisors) who you meet with regularly, share your biggest goals and dreams and give them permission to kick your butt when you don’t do what you say you’ll do.

There’s only one question: WHY ISN’T EVERYONE DOING THIS?

Strive to be the Dumbest Person in the Room

Rule out family and friends. They are too soft and will never hold you accountable. You need a peer group who won’t hesitate to kick your butt when you’re slacking off.

Work with people who’ve been where you’ve never been, to help you learn from the mistakes they’ve made and see opportunities differently than you do.

Keith Ferrazzi, “Who’s Got Your Back

Look for peers who are doing things much bigger and better than you–if you aren’t the dumbest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. If you are earning $100k, you’ll never get to $1 million by hanging around persons making $100k-$300k. Join forces with peers who are living big lives, making a boatload of cash and living life that seems unattainable.

Masterminds that are Kicking Ass

William Eadie, Esq., a malpractice lawyer in Cleveland, created his own monthly mastermind group consisting of 7-10 lawyers. Will’s mastermind members meet face-to-face once every 3 months and bring guest speakers to their meetings via videoconference. There is no cost and there is ongoing accountability among the members. This is a good start!

Mitch Jackson, Esq., an injury lawyer and social media guru in Southern California, created an online mastermind, “LegalMinds”, for lawyers who want to grow their practice through social media. The mastermind has two mastermind calls weekly via videoconference, where the members share marketing and social media concepts. Accountability is a work in progress for LegalMinds, but the twice weekly sharing of best practices is unbeatable.

[W]ithout a formal structure to hold ourselves accountable through peer pressure—with that kick in the butt when we need it—it’s too easy to settle into a comfortable routine and never improve.

Keith Ferrazzi, “Who’s Got Your Back?

Infusionsoft has a mastermind consisting of small business owners, Elite Forum and Elite Mastermind, from across the world. The members meet every 4 months to share best practices and hold each other accountable. The sharing of knowledge, resources and the building of relationships with power brokers is off-the-charts.

Starting from Scratch

Start small by asking the highest achieving lawyer in your community to lunch. Explain that you want to pick her mind about the secrets to her success, so you can prioritize what you should do next. Successful lawyers love sharing their best advice and they will rarely turn you down. And if the super-successful lawyer turns you down, move down your list to the next highest achieving lawyer.

Schedule a lunch date once a week with an existing referral partner and a potential referral partner. This is a great way to build goodwill and expand your referral relationships. Thanks, Craig Goldenfarb, for this priceless tip!

Exceptional achievement in work and life is a peer-to-peer collaborative process.

Keith Ferrazzi, “Who’s Got Your Back?

Carefully chose 3-5 lawyers for your mastermind who you admire and are kicking ass. Don’t create a mastermind with mediocre lawyers. You want to be the dumbest person in the room. Ask the potential members to commit their time, knowledge and money to making the mastermind a success. Your mastermind will require members who are willing to be generous, candid, vulnerable and kick your butt when they need to.

The Ingredients for a Powerful Mastermind

For a mastermind, accountability is everything. Begin by creating a closed Facebook group, where members can share best practices and post challenges. The closed Facebook group will be a daily resource for collaboration, but this is not nearly enough. Create a Directory consisting of the address, email and phone number of the members to provide accessibility. The members can create a video narrative that tells their back-story for the on-line Directory.

Schedule monthly videoconference “accountability meetings”, where the members can share their progress and biggest challenges. Zoom.us or BlueJeans.com are great for videoconferencing. The monthly accountability meetings should be recorded for those members unable to attend. Document the progress and goals of the members at each accountability meeting and share your notes with the members. Assign each member to an “Accountability Buddy”, who she can call on a whim.

Having someone hold you accountable for your goals is a powerful reinforcing mechanism.

Keith Ferrazzi, “Who’s Got Your Back?

Meet in person at least once every four months. At each meeting, every member must give a “Hot Seat” presentation about the biggest marketing or management challenge. The group will share their best advice and offer solutions. Each member must set specific goals that they want to accomplish by the next mastermind and the goals are shared collectively among the members.

The Power of a Mastermind

Challenge the members to share specific goals with the group. Mastermind member, Kurt Lloyd, Esq., set a goal of publishing a book about jury selection at a mastermind meeting in 2015. And guess what? Kurt published the book, “Kurt D. Lloyd on Jury Selection”, and is now the recognized authority about jury selection in Illinois and has had multiple speaking engagements sponsored by the Illinois State Bar Association.

Is the mastermind responsible for Kurt’s success? No, Kurt gets all of the credit for taking action. But it was the prodding and accountability of the mastermind that provided the impetus for Kurt’s success. And just maybe with a little prodding and encouragement of a mastermind, you might get similar results.

For those interested in joining an elite mastermind of plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers, the “Mastermind Experience” offers a mastermind with meetings in Chicago and South Florida and will be having our next mastermind in Washington, D.C. You can apply for admission to this mastermind at www.MastermindExperience.com.

photo credit: lumaxart Free 3D Business Men Marching Concept via photopin (license)

Leave a comment below telling me what surprised, inspired or taught you the most (I personally respond to every comment). And if you disagree with my take on running a personal injury law firm, or have a specific, actionable tip, I’d love to hear from you.