How the Choices you make will Impact your Success in Transforming your Practice

One of the biggest challenges for growing a collaborative practice is finding the time to learn new skills, attend meetings and trainings, and implement strategies for building a collaborative practice.

How can professionals with busy lives, demanding clients, and the need for maintaining a certain number of billable hours transform their practice?

In my work collaborative professionals, I have discovered that the key to accelerated growth comes from the choices professionals make about how they are going to spend their time and money, and with whom they will spend it. Successful collaborative practitioners have made a deliberate choice about their commitment to growing their collaborative practice and it is this commitment that has provided the foundation for their accelerated growth.

When my clients tell me they “don’t have the time” to attend forums, go to trainings, or implement practice growth strategies such as meeting with referral sources to educate them about collaborative practice, what they are really saying is, “I have made a choice that something else is more important.”

It may seem like there are no choices and the thought of transforming a practice is beyond your control. However, you have more control than you realize. In the book The Power of Living Your Values, by Hyrum Smith, he crystallizes this thought: “We can be in control of our lives, and that control comes partly from realizing that we are constantly making choices.”

I just returned from the 11th annual IACP forum in Washington D.C. where 650 people, attended a three-day conference. At the conference, new relationships were formed, newcomers learned from experienced practitioners, and the majority of attendees left with a renewed sense of confidence, excitement, and a clearer sense of direction on how to transform their practice.

The professionals who attended the meeting made a choice to spend money and time on something that was important to them. The choices we make, including those about time, are a matter of confirming what really matters to us.

Ask yourself, “What matters most to me? What would I really like to accomplish? The answer to these questions will act as a guide for making choices that are in alignment with your values, passion, and goals.

Jennifer Tull from Austin Texas is one of the collaborative professionals I have had the privilege to work during the last four years. I have watched her practice grow from a handful of cases to more than 145 collaborative cases. I asked what formed the foundation for her success in growing her practice.  Her answer: “I was passionate about Collaborative Law and the benefits to clients, to children, to me, and to society as a whole.  I bought the concept 100 percent, and saw this as a way that I could continue to practice family law and do other things that I wanted to do. I made the decision that I was going to say, ‘yes’ to everything that supported me in doing this practice, and ‘no’ to everything else.”

My goal in writing this article is to remind you that you have the control to create a practice that brings you joy and improves the lives of your clients. This control comes from making choices about how you spend your time and resources.

One strategy I have found helpful is to start each day asking the question, “What am I going to do today to close the gap between what I am doing and what matters to me?”

At the end of the day, ask yourself, “What have I done today that is consistent with this value? What do I need to do more of? Is there anything I have done that does not reflect this value?”

You will begin to see results by simply increasing your awareness of what is important to you and how you spend your time.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

–Nietzsche


Elizabeth Ferris, founder of Ferris Consulting, specializes in assisting attorneys, mental health professionals and financial specialists to grow their practice through result-oriented marketing and practice development strategies. She has worked with attorneys, collaborative professionals and mediators across North America to implement effective strategies for increasing awareness and demand for their services. Elizabeth can be reached at www.ferrisconsult.com

© 2005 Elizabeth Ferris, All rights reserved. You are free to use material in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear.

The attribution should read:

“By Elizabeth Ferris of Ferris Consulting. Please visit Liz’ web site at www.ferrisconsult.com for additional marketing articles and resources on marketing for collaborative law and mediation professionals.”

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