“You have a clean slate every day you wake up. You have a chance every single morning to make that change and be the person you want to be. You just have to decide to do it. Decide today’s the day. Say it; this is going to be my day.” ~ Brendon Burchard
The emotional, physical and financial needs of our world can be undoubtedly overwhelming. As we become more and more comfortable with the vision, design and signing meetings, we then begin to move fully into and embrace the counseling side of serving in the estate and elder law industry. With this comes the journey of compassion:
- We will feel for people in pain – even people we don’t know personally.
- We will want people to be encouraged and hopeful – even people we don’t know personally.
- We will seek to help people practically – even people we don’t know personally.
Beyond the "conference room," you will begin to find that you are naturally feeling this and wanting to do it. Once you gain knowledge in the tools, competency in the legal technical and confidence in your team, you will begin to lead and guide from a place of compassion. And this is how you attract people to your office, without even trying. Your ability to actively listen and solve problems is utterly absent from your competition. And everyone sees it. So your calendar begins to fill up with potential money appointments: Initial contacts increase (yay!), vision meetings increase (yay x2!), your hire rate increases (yay x3!).
But if there is not time in your calendar to “empty your backpack” of all compassion – stories, grief, troubles and struggles that you get to solve all day (not to mention the employees waiting at your door in-between all these fantastic meetings) – you will be burdened. Imagine a backpack filled with the heaviest cinderblocks you can imagine. At some point, you have to put the backpack down or else you’ll break your back. That's compassion fatigue.
In an unrelenting world of constant giving and solving, filled with back-to-back appointments and very little breathing space, it eventually becomes impossible to “muscle through” week in and week out. Then we start to see our initial/vision and hire rates decrease because that bountiful compassion has turned into resentment and frustration. And we might tell ourselves, “The lucky streak has ended,” but as humans we are just not conditioned to continue at that pace without operating at a deficit.
We have to refill our tireless giving “compassion account.” When your reserves are in deficit, you can’t truly give. Here are some quick suggestions for how to refuel your compassion account, “empty your backpack” and let go of all the emotional stuff you picked up throughout the day. This should take no more than five minutes at the end of each day to allow you to hit the ground running the next day with a full account:
- Get a journal or notebook and keep it at your bedside.
- At the end of your day, download all the stories you picked up from the day: prospective clients, existing clients, referral sources, client complaints, employee issues, even whatever may have hit you personally at home, because all compassion and heartache are created equal.
- Jot down the NAME (Smith case, Sally the receptionist, my son Timmy.)
- What the story/situation was. Keep it simple and don’t make it into a dissertation. Just brain dump the emotionality of what occurred. This part is important: Connect and dump the emotional compassion that occurred in order for you to truly unload the backpack.
- What did you provide in regards to coaching, conflict resolution, counseling, etc. to provide value? It is equally important for you to get the WIN in it, to know you were part of holding a safe space for X to have a breakthrough in that moment with the resources you had.
- Then detach and let it go, and write down, “My job is not to rescue. My expertise in helping X was more than enough for today. I am not responsible for the circumstance, only for coaching the person. This is no longer mine to carry.”
- Celebrate the victories and share them with the team. Acknowledge what you have done as a huge accomplishment. Give yourself kudos – don’t minimize what you’ve done.
- Pretend you’re a duck! When you are in a leadership role – and you are as an entrepreneur and intrapreneur – you will take hits. You've got to let them roll off your skin, just like a duck lets water roll off its feathers. Work this muscle until you see the results.
- Build “pause” time in your calendar to reframe yourself between appointments. Use that time to do something for yourself, to make deposits into your compassion account. Doing this will allow you to always “show up” genuine and prepared, with your clients feeling heard and you feeling confident.
You will begin to notice how much compassion was actually turning to clenching for your clients, which is a circumstance that creates undue pressure on us to “deliver.” Yes, you have to deliver on your promises (planning, etc.), but when the delivery becomes all about the person's circumstance vs. about the person, which we all do day in and day out, that blocks the unpacking of the backpack to eliminate the compassion fatigue.
If your interested in joining us in Chicago, book your flights now! There are still just a few seats left so register today and be in the room to experience what the Practice With Purpose Program is about and what we have to offer.
Molly L. Hall, Co-Founder, Lawyers with Purpose, LLC, and author of Don’t Be a Yes Chick: How to Stop Babysitting Your Boss, Transform Your Job and Work with a Dream Team Without Losing Your Sanity or Your Spirit in the Process.