Posts

Betties Book Brief | The Third Door

The Third Door Book BriefWe are back again with the very last Book Brief of this decade! This month, we read The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers by Alex Banayan. This one was cringy, vulnerable, inspiring, and packed with life lessons. I laughed, I cried – oftentimes simultaneously! Obviously I want you to read my Book Brief but despite that, you should stop reading and do yourself a favor and go buy the book. You won’t regret it.

Visualize your dreams

I’ve always been a vision board kind of gal. I love pulling them out of storage years later and seeing that everything I dreamt of has come to fruition. Every year, I create a vivid vision for my business’s annual goals. Last year’s board was a visual reminiscent of the Candy Land game, in the form of Betties Land. 2020’s visual will be a board in the style of Wizard of Oz. There is something magical about writing down your dreams and doubly powerful when you put down a due date!

Much like my vision boards, the author, Alex, carries around an index card with his dream list of people he’d like to interview. He also created a list of people he would love to have as a mentor.

The path to success

  1. Take great risks. Alex was in college to become a doctor, which would provide for a very predictable and steady life. However, he missed class on Exam day in order to get on The Price is Right in an attempt to win prize money that would fund his travels. It paid off. He also missed his Final in Accounting to meet his dream mentor – another gamble. There are thousands of people who could tell the tale of their dream to be a doctor but they lost their way and now live below their potential. This is not one of those stories! Great reward takes great risk.
  2. Never lose your cool. When Alex met his mentor for the first time, Elliott Bisnow peppered him with rapid-fire questions. I smiled reading this, just knowing something good was about to happen. When I like someone but I’m not entirely sure about them, I will oftentimes begin a line of questioning made to make them feel uncomfortable. They will either fold under the pressure or prove that they can handle it. When Alex passed this test, he was offered the opportunity to accompany his mentor to his next meeting. This just so happened to be in a room full of people like Larry Page, Tony Hsieh, and Reid Hoffman.
  3. Facts tell, stories sell. At first, Alex approached potential interviewees with only the facts of his mission. He hoped that would be enough to get them on board and failed to mention that he stayed up all night learning how to get himself chosen on The Price is Right or that he then won the entire thing the next morning. He failed to tell the story of selling the prize to fund the mission. His mentor told him that he should not ever tell anyone about his quest again unless he starts it off with the story. The story is what ropes people in. It’s what shows Alex’s character and is more entertaining than anything he could ever pitch.
  4. Haters come in all shapes and sizes. You may even call them “Mom”. Alex’s mom tried hard to reason with him and help steer him back to safety and predictability. You will have people that are jealous and hate on you, but more often you will have people who love you and are frightened when you choose a path of adventure over safe travels. Alex stood his ground when the opportunity to accompany his mentor to Europe arose. Elliott’s rule number five: Adventures only happens to the adventurous.
  5. Success only comes from kissing frogs. An interview with Dean Kamen (inventor of Segway and insulin pumps) revealed that each frog represents a different way to solve a problem. If you kiss enough, one will turn into a prince! If you haven’t found your success yet, you haven’t kissed enough frogs.
  6. Keep an intern mentality. No matter what level you reach in life, there is always more to learn. You need to be willing to be humble, think like an intern, and always keep learning.
  7. Growth comes from mistakes. In an interview with Quincy Jones, he stated that you have to cherish your mistakes so that you can learn from them. Your mistakes are your greatest gifts!
  8. The journey is your success. In order to get his publishing deal, Alex had to land an interview with Bill Gates. He spent months honing in on Bill Gates as the destination. But after interviewing Quincy Jones, he realized that all of his growth had occurred during the journey. Bill Gates was never the holy grail, it was the journey and the mistakes along the way that helped Alex to see that both success and failure are just different results from the same thing – trying. He learned that no matter the result, he will always walk away a better man.

Prioritize your desires

In addition to the above notes, something that really stood out from Alex’s story is that you should make a list of 25 things you’d like to accomplish. Then circle your top five. Forget everything else. Success as a result of prioritizing your desires. You can be really good at those 25 things or you can be world-class at 5.

In the interview with Kamen, he states the following about doing big things: “Be prepared for them to take way longer than you thought, cost way more than you expected, and be full of failures that are painful, embarrassing, and frustrating.” When you prepare yourself like this, managing 5 things seems a lot more reasonable than 25.

 

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for this Book Brief! I hope you enjoyed it because I thoroughly enjoyed writing up these notes. If you want more where this came from, check out past Book Briefs here or sign up here to receive them straight to your inbox.

Again, this book is one you absolutely must-read. Hopefully these small takeaways are enough to motivate you to go grab it!

Betties Book Brief: The Happiness Project

This month, our team at Back Office Betties had the privilege of reading The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.

The Happiness Project is rarely described as a book or a blog. More often it’s described as a “movement”. This book takes you on Gretchen Rubin’s year-long journey to answer the question “What do I want from life, anyway?” The simple answer? “To be happy.”

The Happiness Project is great for people that are on the go, lead busy lives, and generally just don’t have the time to dedicate to a lengthy tutorial on how to live your best life. Each chapter is packed with useful information and provide abundant stopping points if time constraints require you to tackle a few pages at a time, or you simply want to reflect after taking in these words of wisdom.

We’ve compiled some top takeaways for you which will be beneficial in your daily pursuit of happiness below:

1. Spread happiness and be near people who spread it too

“In a phenomenon called “emotional contagion,” we unconsciously catch emotions from other people – whether they are good moods or bad ones. Taking time to be silly means that we’re infecting one another with good cheer, and people who enjoy silliness are one third more likely to be happy.”

2. Challenge and growth are the keys to happiness

“Challenge and novelty are key elements to happiness. The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. If you do new things – visit a museum for the first time, learn a new game, travel to a new place, meet new people – you’re more apt to feel happy than people who stick to familiar activities.”

3. Working towards a goal makes you as happy as achieving it

“The challenge, therefore, is to take pleasure in the “atmosphere of growth,” in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present. The unpoetic name for this very powerful source of happiness is “pre-goal-attainment positive effect.”

“Enjoy the process.”

4. It’s normal to search for happiness even if you’re already prosperous financially

“As countries become richer, their citizens become less focused on physical and economic security and more concerned with goals such as happiness and self-realization. Prosperity allows us to turn our attention to more transcendent matters – to yearn for lives not just of material comfort but of meaning, balance, and joy.”

5. Being productive takes focus but brings happiness.

One great way to free up some time to focus on your own Happiness Project? Hire virtual receptionists from Back Office Betties at your law firm! You can only focus on so much every day. By using a virtual receptionist, you have more time and energy to focus on going to court and dealing with other aspects of your practice and life. You can leave your law firm’s phone calls to our competent, well-trained, and courteous virtual receptionists!

Are You Unstoppable?

March’s Book Brief highlight is Unstoppable by Dave Anderson! This amazing book is all about how your mindset, when coupled with action, can greatly change your performance in your career. Dave Anderson breaks down the 4 different types of employees:

  • The Undertaker: Performance is below baseline, and they achieve nothing meaningful. This can include high achievers who win by violating values.
  • The Caretaker: They do just enough to get by and collect a paycheck.
  • The Playmaker: These people have what it takes to become Game Changers but aren’t quite there yet. Playmakers are more motivated by external factors, excessive affirmation, and personal glory. They have to celebrate every win and are more wrapped up in their own success rather than the success of the team.
  • The Game Changer: They are intrinsically motivated, they do ordinary extraordinary well, and are great cultural fits. They are committed to self -improvement, they want feedback from others, and they don’t see themselves as victims but products of their daily choices and efforts.

Are You A Game Changer?

So clearly, we should all be striving towards being Game Changers, but that can be easier said than done, especially without guidance. Well,

fortunately for us, Unstoppable provides a roadmap to Game Changer status:

  • Start with the “why”. What do you want to do? Do you want to inspire others? Do you want to help others succeed? What motivates you and pushes you? What inspires you?
  • Live life in the zone. Know where you excel and spend time in this zone perfecting those skills. This is called the zone of excellence. You should spend more time in the zone of excellence. When you leave your zone, snap back into it faster.
  • A.P.E– Attitude, Passion, and Enthusiasm. Having a good attitude, passion, and enthusiasm for what you do will determine how well you do it. The more A.P.E you have, the more dedicated you will be.
  • Have mental toughness. Have faith that what you are fighting for is worth every ounce of effort. Faith is what gets you back up when you fall. Faith turns criticism into helpful feedback. It’s what keeps you moving toward your goals!

Being a Game Changer isn’t easy, nothing that involves practicing discipline over your mindset is. But having discipline is what turns unexceptional into extraordinary, and there is no other way we should be living our lives!

Back Office Betties

Free PR for Your Law Firm

At Back Office Betties, we do a ‘Betties Book Brief’ to keep our approach fresh and implement ways we can improve.  This month we chose, Free PR: How to get chased by the press without hiring a PR firm. This book teaches you how to perfect your pitch, build media relationships, and get buzz-worthy coverage, without having to spend a fortune on running ads or hiring a PR firm. This book is an amazing resource for small and large businesses alike, because who doesn’t want to master the art of free PR?!

Emily’s 5 Takeaway’s

For me, this book had 5 important takeaways that I wanted to share with you all in hopes it will help you in your pursuit towards becoming your own PR company.

  • You MUST find out where your ideal clients are hanging out. Do the research and find out what blogs do they read, what podcasts do they listen to and what events do they attend? I reached out to several of my clients and attorney friends to ask this question and was blown away by the answer. I thought I knew the ‘who’s who’ of the legal world, but I now know otherwise. There are dozens of specialty conferences, podcasts and blogs that I didn’t have on my radar.
  • Create new angles and pitches for each medium. Use popular buzz words and news to create angles that weave in current news.
  • There are five major story archetypes such as: Culture, Overcoming Adversity, Customer Story, Leveraging Technology, and The Future.
  • Keyword tools will make this process easier! Check out BuzzSumo, Google Trends, or SEMRush. These analytics tools provide information about keywords and search volume.
  • Yes, it is possible to get published in 7 stories a month! Read Free PR to learn how former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Cameron Herold fired his PR company and tackled PR in-house with incredible results (can we say Oprah?!).

I hope this has inspired you to read the full book and take in all it has to offer!  This book is a powerhouse full of great information that can change your firm forever! Get out there and start mastering the art of Free PR!

Work Backwards!

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule,

but to schedule your priorities.”  

-Stephen Covey

This wise quote conveys the importance of goal setting and planning your future.  Goal setting can feel like an overwhelming task, in fact, many people struggle to do.  It is difficult to foresee the future when you start from the present.  However, when you start from the vision and work backwards, you can uncover a clearer idea of what the road-map will look like.  This gives you the benefit of calculating more precise steps of what is needed to attain the end-goal.

Identify Milestones

A major benefit associated with backward goal setting is that it helps you to easily identify milestones.  When you start from the present and set your goals, they will probably be mostly comprised of immediate things on your to-do list.  When you start from the goal, the first milestones your brain produces will be high-level goals, ones with many subsequent steps.  Once you’ve established the subset of goals needed, correlate them closer to the present.  As with any form of goal setting, being accountable on due dates will be vital to success.

Better Understanding

Backward goal setting can also create a better understanding to your team members.  It can be easier to present to team members when working on group projects.  Good presentations outline the goals early on and use the remainder of the presentation to illustrate critical milestones that need to be hit.  This minimizes confusion for team members because they don’t have to figure out the main points themselves.  Backwards goal setting works in the same way.

Use It As Motivation

Backward goal setting can also be much more motivating than traditional planning.  Plans tend to be less cluttered with smaller tasks, so everything appears more manageable.  It also highlights areas in the process that will require outside assistance or additional resources, thus preventing unexpected hiccups along the way.  And with enough self-discipline, this method will eliminate time pressure caused by procrastination.

The following quote from Stephen Covey is a perfect illustration of why it is vital to success:

“To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination.  It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction”