The Street Smart Law Blog

Writing 2
  • Frederick L Shelton

HABITS: The Best of Servants or Worst of Masters

It can be hard to start and maintain a good habit. Work habits, diet, exercise etc. But keep at it long enough and here's what happens: Today I woke up and realized I have a slight bit of tendonitis going on in my left elbow. So I can do yoga, planks, lunges etc. I can also get in cardio with an hour of tennis. But I can't do weights or exercises that might irritate the elbow further. I FEEL DENIED!!! I used to have to drag myself out of bed to exercise before work! Now I feel like I'm missing out because I can only do about 30 minutes of exercise before my day begins!

That's what happens when a habit is ingrained. It's no longer work. It's your new normal.

This is especially true with work habits. I start every day with a nice cup of coffee (No celery juice for me!). I give myself 30 minutes for Mental Bubble Gum (Facebook, Tiktok etc.). Then I (usually) work out. By 9am I'm at my desk and it's time to study. Working class people work. Professionals work and also study. Doctors learn the latest procedures, attorneys study the latest laws and regulations etc. Entrepreneurs work, study and innovate. They're constantly looking for new ways to do what everyone in their industry is doing. That's me. We change something about the way we do things almost monthly. Whether it's marketing, organization, tech or something else, we're constantly changing. If you're a lawyer or entrepreneur and you're not constantly studying and innovating, you need to know one thing: You're not the best. Because someone else is. Someone else is using legal tech and AI to save clients money. Someone else is using Alternative Fee Arrangements to provide more value or certainty. Someone else is providing greater value for the dollar rendered. One of our favorite clients is a Virtual / Brick & Mortar Law firm called Practus LLP. They have an army of non-attorney C-levels and directors who are in charge of everything from getting the latest and greatest tech, to maximizing the effectiveness of their social media marketing. They revamped their website and implemented a more modern marketing system that has landed their attorneys new clients. Study & Innovation. Since I own a legal consulting and recruiting firm, I study magazines like The American Lawyer, Attorney at Law Magazine, Above the Law, Bloomberg Law, as well as Forbes, Fast Company etc. for at least another hour every day. It is a habit. Then I write. I write articles for national legal journals, pitch myself as an SME (Subject Matter Expert) and send offers for quotes to national media, write blog posts etc. Sometimes, I might only write an outline or even just a premise e.g. today I wrote "Do Article on the Power of Hope - Harvard Experiment". A month ago I wrote "Can Howard University Beat Harvard?" and I am almost done with that article. The result of all this writing, is that I'm recognized as a journalist on Muck Rack, I've published numerous articles and have been quoted in everything from Forbes and Bloomberg Law to Reader's Digest. Guess what that's done for my brand? We no longer seek clients. They have to earn their way onto our roster. On the innovative side, I'm constantly dictating ideas to my phone about how we could change and improve things at our firm. The result has been that our recruiters don't have to "Source" candidates (spend hours finding qualified people). They don't have to manually build databases or manually send Direct Messages to people on LinkedIn. They don't even have to make cold calls. I had to do ALL of those things when I started in the business and none of them were much fun. My people are spoiled and I like it that way. I've developed the habits of working smart, studying and innovating. I can't imagine what a day would be like wherein I didn't do those things. That's what happens when you stick with a habit long enough. You don't have to force yourself to do it, you look forward to it as a normal part of your day. Look at your habits. Do you study daily? When was the last time you tried something new and innovative in the way you do business or marketing? Develop enough good habits and you'll find yourself enjoying success in the physical, mental, professional and relationship aspects of your life. That's a great place to be!

Frederick Shelton

CEO & President

Shelton & Steele