While on business in Las Vegas, I was at dinner with friends and colleagues sharing our dreams. I mentioned that the one thing I would love to do while in town was to see Celine Dion perform at Caesar’s Palace. Before I knew it, I had fourth row center seats for the show the very next night. I was so excited and ready to be entertained. Surprisingly, Celine’s performance also taught me a tremendous amount on how to really run a business. The lessons below are listed in order of how I recognized them during the concert, but in no other order of priority.
The LessThe Lessons:
- Give it your all! With every song (every client), put everything you have into that relationship. As far as the client knows, they are your only client and want your full attention to every detail. Celine would not sing one song really great, then only half-heartedly sing another. She poured everything she had into every song.
- Be passionate. It is clear that Celine loves performing and puts a lot of emotion into her shows. As estate planning and elder care attorneys, we meet people who are desperate for our services. The least we can provide is an appearance that we are passionate about what we do and how we do it. After I give seminars, I frequently get comments such as, “I can really tell you love what you do.” And it is true. When you are passionate about what you do, the client can tell and it really enhances their experience.
- Take necessary breaks. The concert was no more than two hours, yet Celine must have taken at least four breaks. During her breaks, she would change clothes and get ready for the next set of songs. She would recharge and show up differently, but with the same passion and energy. As lawyers, we have the opportunity to take mini-breaks between clients to recharge. On a larger scale, we should be taking vacations throughout the year. I hear from lawyers fairly regularly, “I haven’t taken a vacation in five years.” My first question is, “Why?” Without taking breaks, it is nearly impossible to give it your all because you are exhausted and running on nothing.
- Get comfortable with being personal and vulnerable. Celine’s husband has cancer and is dying. She has just returned from taking a year off from the stage so she could be with him. They decided it was time for her to return to her audience. Being away from him scares her, and she shared that with us before singing a really emotional song. Our clients share a lot of sensitive information with us about their families and their lives. How can we share ourselves with them in a meaningful way? At appropriate times, we can share our stories. During my seminars, I always mention that my father died at the age of 68 with congestive heart failure. It shows that I, too, have been a caregiver and understand losing a family member. Find a way to be personal with your clients.
- Give more than expected. All good lawyers can draft documents and put an estate plan together. It is the great lawyers who do more, and give more, than what the client paid you to do. When the concert is over, the last song is sung, the lights go out. The audience lingers and hopes for something more, one more song. The great performers oblige, as did Celine, coming back to sing signature songs. Not all performers do. Not all lawyers do. What is your signature piece? When we sign estate planning documents, we always give our clients a special “pen in a box” that has our firm’s information on it. But the pen is different from the ones I regularly hand out like candy. This new pen is a different color and in a box presented at the end in a ceremonious manner. It is giving more than expected.
- Have fun and enjoy what you do. Showing up and giving it your all every day is difficult work. It can suck the life out of you if you don’t enjoy it or find ways to have fun. While performing, Celine shocked the crowd and walked down the aisle singing and taking “selfies” with audience members. It was clear she was having as much fun as the audience, really creating a memorable experience for all. When my law firm is on retreat together, we always make sure to take silly pictures and enjoy an evening together.
- Have strong backup support. We all know who we are going to see for the night: Celine Dion! But Celine is not the only one on stage; she has an abundance of support around her. Moreover, while she was backstage on break changing attire, she had performers continuing to keep us entertained in her absence. It is no different for us as attorneys. Our team keeps our clients “entertained” in our absence. Our client services coordinator is our opening act, and our estate planning and government assistance paralegals keep our clients happy while we change attire. In my office, my team even shows up on stage to deliver our workshops. Who do you have for support so you can give it your all, be passionate and take breaks to rejuvenate?
Celine Dion is amazing and I highly recommend seeing her performance if you find yourself in Las Vegas. Between now and then, you too can be amazing and give your clients the best show in town. With so many to choose from, taking these lessons from Celine Dion can really help you stand out from the others and leave your clients feeling special.
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Victoria L. Collier, Co-Founder, Lawyers with Purpose, LLC, www.LawyersWithPurpose.com; Certified Elder Law Attorney through the National Elder Law Foundation; Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; Founder and Managing Attorney of The Elder & Disability Law Firm of Victoria L. Collier, PC, www.ElderLawGeorgia.com; Co-Founder of Veterans Advocates Group of America; Entrepreneur; Author; and nationally renowned Presenter.