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What if your “Power Hour” is during off-work hours?

One of the helpful strategies to improve your productivity and reduce procrastination is to effectively use your “power hour”. The power hour is the time of day (which could actually be multiple hours) that you feel the most energy, the most focus, and can be the most productive. The idea of using your power hour is to identify when it is and plan to work on the most difficult tasks of the day during that time. This works out the best when your power hour is at the beginning of your day so that you can ride the wave of productivity the rest of your workday. But what is one to do when their power hour is at the end of their workday? Or even worse, what if it is during off-work hours?

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The Skill of Making Imperfect Decisions

We all want to succeed. We want to make the best decisions, complete our work successfully, and feel competent in the things we are asked to do. However, when our desire for success becomes a pursuit of perfection, analysis paralysis can be the by-product of the fear of failure. When we want perfection so badly or when we fear failing too much, making the wrong decision can seem like the worst thing ever. This can influence us to avoid an uncomfortable decision, feeling frozen or weighed down; your brain unable to act.

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Thinking beyond the Zero-sum Game

In game theory, a zero-sum game is the situation in which one person’s gain is equal and opposite to their opponent’s loss. For one to win or advance, the other must lose or retreat. There are situations in life where the zero-sum game is undeniable. These typically have to do with dividing up commodities (money, time, property, etc.). However, most problems in life have less to do with commodities and more to do with what those commodities represent. Hence thinking beyond the zero-sum game can be one of the most power tools to resolving conflicts.

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Don’t Wait For Your Feelings: Bravery

There is probably no better example of acting before you feel like it than the concept of bravery. By definition, bravery requires one to act in the face of fear, not the absence of it. We can often misuse bravery to imply that someone does not experience fear in a situation (“Look at her, she’s so confident and brave. Nothing rattles her.”). When we misuse the word bravery we can inadvertently tell ourselves that being brave requires a sense of unflappable confidence. Bravery suddenly seems at odds with doubt and fear. Quite the contrary, bravery is acting despite our doubt and fear.

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Don’t Wait For Your Feelings: Forgiveness

Contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is not a feeling. Forgiveness is an action. Done well, forgiveness can be freeing and can allow the person to heal from a painful experience and become more resilient as a result. But there are a lot of misconceptions and fears that surround forgiveness, what it is, what it is not, and what the result might be.

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Don’t Wait For Your Feelings: Motivation

“I feel ready. Now I can act.” The order of those phrases sounds logical. First you feel ready and then you act on that feeling. No obvious controversy there. Yet some of the common phrases we toss around in everyday conversation are not only inaccurate, but they also negatively affect our abilities to accomplish what we desire. This is often used in terms of assessing our motivation to do something difficult. In this example, waiting to feel motivated (or ready) will most often prevent you from accomplishing something that you never knew was possible. In fact reversing the order of those original ideas is often more accurate and advantageous. I decide to act and then I notice my feelings changing.

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Counterintuitive Networking

Most often when people hear the word “networking” they think of a means for ultimately getting a job or getting clients. In the current legal industry, networking is an essential part of marketing your legal services, gaining connections for future job opportunities, and strengthening your brand. It is rare these days to hear of someone who got a job by simply sending in a resume cold, without having any connection to anyone involved in the process. Unfortunately for many, networking is also one of those activities that elicits much anxiety and increases a sense of vulnerability. One reason why networking is uncomfortable for so many is the fact that often times the power to achieve the goal of networking is in someone else’s control. For example, if my goal is to get a job, then by definition I am relying on someone else to provide that job opportunity. And before you say, “Thank you, Captain Obvious for that insight” allow me to suggest an alternative.

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What’s More Important: the quality of your eulogy or your résumé?

No one has ever said on their deathbed that they wished they had spent more time at work. Yet many of us spend most of our adult lives acting as if that won’t be true of our own deathbed experience. Given how fast-paced life seems in the moment, we are tempted to be somewhat shortsighted. Career is important, you need to pay the bills, and you want to advance in your career and make a difference. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem arises all too often when we stop being able to distinguish between what is good for our career and what is good for our lives and the lives of others around us. David Brooks gave a brief TED talk on this topic.

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