The Power of Acceptance, Part 1

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Personal Productivity for Lawyers

This quick-start guide to Getting Things Done and Inbox Zero also includes two shortcuts for those who want the benefits of GTD without having to learn the system.

Your business is the same as every other service and consulting business on the planet. When I say that, most lawyers start pointing to differences.

After all, we’re trained to spot distinctions and use those distinctions to benefit our clients. That’s a good thing when building a case, but a true handicap when building your business and your life. The real power to build comes when you spot the similarities and allow yourself to use those fundamental building blocks to your benefit without weakening the principles by picking them apart.

One of these principles is what I call “The Power of Acceptance.” This power is inspired by the following quote:

The most profound choice in life is to either accept things as they exist or to accept the responsibility for changing them.

The Universal Traveler, by Don Koberg and Jim Bagnall

We make this profound choice in every second of every day of our lives. Power comes from making the choice consciously.

You’ve heard that your business needs purpose, focus, mission, vision, and all kinds of buzzwords that may take you down one tangent or another. What all of these paths are trying to do is ask one question, and it’s the core question of your life AND your business:

What problem do you accept the personal responsibility to change?

This is a profound question for both your life and your business. It’s the core of personal and business leadership. Let’s break it down to make it easier, because even though it’s a small question, it has huge consequences.

What do you see as a/the problem that you are willing to solve?

I’ll give you a couple of examples. A major problem I see is that people don’t feel empowered to fuel that inner, divine spark of creativity inside them. I see too many people trapped in jobs they hate because they don’t trust their own creative spirit. Seeing that untapped creativity brings me tears. I ACCEPT the personal responsibility to change that for as many people as I can.

  • Maybe you see the drama and pain that young children experience when losing parents who have not designated guardians as a problem you are willing to solve.
  • Maybe you see long prison sentences for minor but repeat offenders as a problem you’re willing to solve.
  • Maybe you see the shame and fear of people in financial difficulty as a problem you’re willing to solve.
  • Maybe you see the anger and suffering of bitter divorces as a problem you’re willing to solve.

I’m not judging the problem you choose to solve. Power comes from being on a crusade to make something better. How you define that something is what will get you out of bed in the morning.

How you define the problem will be the foundation of your branding and marketing strategy lending a valuable conceptual theme to your communications. It will attract and screen the right team of employees and partners. Finally, it will draw the right clients.

What do you see as the solution?

Problems and solutions are the yin and yang of existence. Fretting about the problem doesn’t do any good. Solutions to non-existent problems aren’t much good either. Whatever your solution, it must be easy to understand. You solution statement becomes the opposite pole of the problem. Now comes the “business” of life and commerce – connecting those poles.

How can you best communicate the problem and implement your solution?

The “how” is what we pay for when we purchase services and the value we provide in business and as respected people in our “outside” lives. “How” equals “Value.” Communicating your “value proposition” or “unique selling point” is basically just telling people how you distinctively connect the problem with the solution.

An easy way to communicate this value is simply to tell the story of what you found to be the problem, share a turning point, and then share the key points of how you implemented the solution.

Start giving some thought to what you accept as it exists. Because none of us can solve all the world’s problems, the number of things we simply must accept as they exist will be far greater than what we can accept personal responsibility to change.

If you can accurately define even ONE thing that you simply can’t accept as it exists today, you will be closing in on your life’s purpose and that will guide everything you do from now on – in business and in life – and there won’t have to be a separation between business and life.

In Part 2 of this series, I’ll discuss some tools and techniques to help refine your thoughts on this and move to the next level of The Power of Acceptance, which is the ability to Receive and Surrender. In Part 3, I’ll tie this into our first rule of Professional Responsibility: Competence.

(photo: Sarcasmo)

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  • Great post. You nailed the beginning conversation of starting a business and understanding how a business can serve the marketplace. If we can clearly the questions you list above, we have created a good start to our businesses.