Stephanie talks with our new Lawyerist Lab business coach, Leticia DeSuze, about what is holding most business owners back and how working with a business coach can help. They also explore why it is time to be radically honest with ourselves about what we are—and aren’t—willing to do.
Links from the episode:
If today's podcast resonates with you and you haven't read The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited yet, get the first chapter right now for free! Looking for help beyond the book? Check out our coaching community to see if it's right for you.
- . Breaking the barrier of your worth
- . Holding yourself accountable
- . A bias towards action
Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts
Stephanie Everett (00:35):
Hi, I’m Stephanie Everett.
Jennifer Whigham (00:36):
And I’m Jennifer Whigham. And this is episode 464 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today, Stephanie interviews our newest lab coach, Leticia DeSuze.
Stephanie Everett (00:47):
Today’s podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionists, Postali, & LawPay. We wouldn’t be able to do our show without their support, so stay tuned, tell you more about them in just a few minutes.
Jennifer Whigham (00:58):
So Stephanie Clio Con is coming up and that’s kind of a fun event for the Lawyerist team. And we’re going to be there, right? I mean, I know we are, but tell me more about that.
Stephanie Everett (01:08):
Yeah, the conference is right around the corner. It’s going to be at the beginning of October in Nashville, Tennessee. Ever since the very first Clio Conference, Lawyerist has had a presence there. And so we’re always excited to go to the conference, but this is going to be our first time where we are actually going to have a booth down in the exhibitors show hall.
Jennifer Whigham (01:31):
Yeah, the expo hall,
Stephanie Everett (01:33):
Yes, that thing. So that means it won’t just be a bunch of random Lawyerist folks walking around with our T-shirts on normal. We’re actually going to have a dedicated place where people can come connect with us, and we’re going to try something a little different because instead of just standing at our booths handing out whatever it’s going to be, we dunno yet. We’re going to give folks a chance to check out coaching and actually connect with one of our business coaches and have a very quick coaching session on a very specific issue that somebody might have.
Jennifer Whigham (02:06):
That’s cool. How do people they sign up for it or how do they get there?
Stephanie Everett (02:10):
Yes, please. So head to the show notes, we’ll put the link in and you can sign up for a specific time. If you get to the conference and you realize, oh, I didn’t sign up or I’m still interested, just come find our booth wherever we are. But I think this is going to be a really cool chance. Maybe you’ve been thinking about coaching for a while, or you’re not really sure, or you just kind of want to come talk to us and check it out. I think it’s going to be a fun way for people to connect with us, get a little taste of coaching, have some fun, get a business problem solved, and yeah, we’re just really excited to go. Plus we’ll be at all the parties.
Jennifer Whigham (02:44):
How long are the sessions?
Stephanie Everett (02:45):
We’re just going to do 15 minutes, so this will be quick.
Jennifer Whigham (02:48):
15 minutes. Okay, that’s cool. So somebody just comes, they sign up, they come at the time, they sit down with the coach and they go straight into their issue.
Stephanie Everett (02:56):
Jennifer Whigham (02:57):
Awesome. Sounds like a great opportunity. Well, now let’s listen to your conversation with one of the coaches, I believe who will be there. Leticia DeSuze.
Leticia DeSuze (03:09):
I’m Leiticia DeSuze. I’m a business and mindset coach.
Stephanie Everett (03:12):
Hey, Leticia, it’s really awesome to have you on the show today because you are not just my guest for today’s show, but you’re one of our newest coaches in our Lawyerist lab coaching program. So welcome to the team.
Leticia DeSuze (03:25):
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m happy to be here.
Stephanie Everett (03:28):
So Leticia, we’re so excited to have you on the team and just to help us and help everyone get to know you a little better, I think it’d be fun to hear how did you get started coaching and working with lawyers specifically, which is what you’ve been doing for some number of years now?
Leticia DeSuze (03:45):
Well, I’ve actually been a coach since 2009, so for the last 14 years. And in that coaching, I coached executives, entrepreneurs, but the common theme around that is all of those people were going through some sort of transition trying to get from point A to point B, and I love a good crisis, a good transition. About 2017, I felt like I could make a greater contribution in the world of coaching, and I did something completely different and went to work with the law firm coaching company. And in that role I coached about 30 law firm owners on all aspects of just building a thriving firm. And I really, really love the work. And in 2019, I started my own coaching practice working exclusively with lawyers and here we are. Most of those lawyers though that I worked with, they had this desire to break the seven figure barrier. So it was like, okay, this is what we’re doing. We’re signing up for mindset business coaching to help you get to this goal. And then what they realized was that a lot of them ended up redefining what success looked like and it was so much more than just this arbitrary million dollar firm.
Stephanie Everett (04:59):
I love that. And yeah, I’m so excited with the background and experience that you bring to the team and that you enjoy working with us lawyers that’s fun. See, we’re not so bad. We get a bad rap.
Leticia DeSuze (05:13):
Yeah, you really do. Because I’ve had a few people ask me, are you okay? Are you okay? Why out of all the people that you could choose to work with that you would work with lawyers? And I’m just like, they’re really great people once you get to know them.
Stephanie Everett (05:31):
I mean, in a way, the problems that our lawyers are facing, they’re really the same as all business owners, like you said. It’s that idea of I’m trying to get somewhere different with my business and feeling stuck or feeling unsure of how to get there. Is that fair?
Leticia DeSuze (05:48):
Yeah, no, that’s really fair. I think the difference is you could say doctors, they go to medical school, and so there are certain things that are deeply in them that don’t always go or align with building a business. And so it’s the same thing with lawyers. So I think the challenges are fundamentally the same. It’s just that a lot of it conflicts with what was taught or not in law school.
Stephanie Everett (06:13):
And I know from our conversations, one thing you’ve really helped a lot of lawyers with in the past is this idea of understanding and maybe being okay with our value, our worth, as lawyers. And it’s funny, we often are dealing with other people’s money in terms of we’re fighting about it, but we actually don’t talking about it. Has that been your experience?
Leticia DeSuze (06:39):
It has been my experience, and I think it’s because money is one of those ways that we, well, how can I put it? Maybe we associate ourselves with money or our own value with money. And so if I don’t really feel like I’m worth much, then how can I ask for this much money? And so sometimes people don’t separate what they do from who they are. And so it’s just one big hodgepodge, you yourself are worthless. I’m not worthless, priceless, I’m not worthless. You’re priceless. So your value has nothing to do inherently with the work that you’re actually doing as a lawyer. But sometimes people don’t see it that way. It’s very, very difficult to ask for what people think is this insane amount of money because it’s not only work, but it’s value in the sense of what you are actually providing for another person.
Stephanie Everett (07:32):
And so how do we start to break through that barrier? I do think that that is what’s tied up for a lot of us is like, wait, am I really worth that or can I justify that much money? Is that too much? And so how do you help people get comfortable with that idea of their worth?
Leticia DeSuze (07:51):
Well, it goes a little deeper. A lot of times it goes back to the money story that you grew up with and the money story in your family and how you were conditioned around money. And a lot of that comes up in these conversations. So if for example, there’s an attorney that I work with and she broke way through the seven figure barrier. And in our conversations she was having a challenge with enjoying her success or spending money on herself. And when we talked about it, well, she grew up in a family where there was never enough. So she’s got this subconscious fear that at any moment the other shoe is going to fall where she’s not going to be able to keep this. So oftentimes there’s conditioning that if subconscious, that has nothing to do with what we’re consciously thinking. So if you came up in a place where that was an example of scarcity or not, or sometimes people have this sense of I’m not worth success, I’m not worthy of it, and this large amount of money that I’m asking for people is directly tied to my inherent worthiness. So I don’t think that it really has a lot to do with the actual work. It has a lot to do with the way people view themselves.
Stephanie Everett (09:15):
Yeah, it really resonates. I know I work with a lawyer who’s had tremendous success, and yet she still has a lot of sleepless nights thinking, is this all going to fall apart tomorrow? I’m going to wake up and the phone’s going to stop ringing and no one’s going to hire me. And then what do I do?
Leticia DeSuze (09:32):
Right? Absolutely. And so if you live with that fear, then just fight, flight or freeze, you can just be frozen in this space because you can’t even really enjoy the thing that you’ve actually created. And I see it very common. I was having a challenge with someone recently, one of my favorite attorneys, and she broke the seven figure barrier probably mid-year when that was her goal for the previous year. And I said, do you realize you did this? And she said, it’s not the money for me. I’m not really motivated by money. And I said, well, I can get that. Money is not the motivator. It does position you to do a lot more of the things, put a lot of systems in place, do the hiring. I just had to help her reframe some of the perspective because she was just going to brush it off is if it wasn’t a big deal, you just break seven figure barrier every single day. But what I know about her and in working with her is she doesn’t make a big deal about any of her successes, not just she’s just not a big deal. So if we go back somewhere along the way, she was conditioned to believe that maybe you don’t matter or you’re just not a big deal. And so it shows up even though she’s doing all this tremendous work.
Stephanie Everett (10:50):
And I think sometimes we’re maybe especially women, I don’t know. I’m a woman, so I can only speak for myself. We’re almost taught to play down our successes. You don’t want to come across as this confident brag or I can’t remember to think of the other words, but you can’t enjoy your success because then that’s a negative thing. You shouldn’t do that.
Leticia DeSuze (11:15):
And oftentimes you’ll get the feedback of that. And so what I find very interesting is that when people are struggling, when they are down and when they’re going through and they share it, people resonate with that story and they’re just like, oh, thank you for your vulnerability. Thank you for sharing, because I can resonate with that. But when people share that they’re doing great, that things are going well, that they’ve really overcome some things and broken through barriers, it’s just like, oh my God, this person lacks humility. Or they’re bragging. And it’s an unfortunate thing because we’re just conditioned to bond with people problems as opposed to successes. And if you internalize that, then you’ll kind of succumb to the pressure of maybe I shouldn’t share my shine, or maybe I shouldn’t share how amazing I am or these things that I’ve done. And I’m just like, did you actually do the things? Yes. Okay, then you’re not bragging. You’re telling me absolute truth. So I think a lot of that is the way that we’ve been conditioned by society as well to just play down are amazing.
Stephanie Everett (12:25):
Yeah, I think we were talking about it one day. I mean, it shows up. The best example is with clothing, if I saw you and I’m like, oh, I love that shirt, whatever it is, our natural inclination is like, oh, you know what? I got it on sale. I got such a good deal on it. We have to downplay. Instead of just saying like, thank you. Take the compliment.
Leticia DeSuze (12:45):
Just thank you and just be done with it. Thank you. Now, thank you. Oh, Nordstrom had a sale or just thank you. Thank you so much. You look great. That doesn’t mean I have to say you look amazing too. You can just, so many of us have a challenge with just accepting and receiving praise. Thank you. Compliments. Thank you. And just being done with it.
Stephanie Everett (13:07):
Yeah. And I think it’s funny because we just don’t realize how, what feels like everyday things or things in our life show up in our business?
Leticia DeSuze (13:16):
Oh, for sure. One of my newest favorite books, it’s No Explanation Required, and she was saying how she literally had to rewire her thought process, but she said, when you understand that bragging is your superpower, you will change everything that you do. Because if you’re looking for opportunities and alliances, strategic alliances and partnerships, people are not looking for the people whose head is just down doing the work. People are looking for the leaders who say, Hey, I spearheaded, I led, I was responsible for and owning their greatness and their success because it’s like, this is the person that I want to be a part of my team or to partner with. And it goes way against what we’ve thought. I’ve seen so many people where they were the hardest worker. They may have been the smartest person, and they got the least reward or the least recognition because they don’t understand the way, it just doesn’t work that way.
Stephanie Everett (14:13):
Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, we often talk about confidence cells just being true to who you are.
Leticia DeSuze (14:21):
For sure. That’s why you don’t have to be the best writer to be a bestselling author. I hear people say this, oh my God, I’m a much better lawyer than this person. I can run circles around them. And I say, yeah, but they’re getting the money. They’re better at marketing. They’re better at letting people know how good they are. And so this is not a contest of who’s actually the best, who do people perceive to be better in this instance, and it’s not you. So that’s one of the things that oftentimes I see people needing to solve with.
Stephanie Everett (14:55):
Yeah. Well, let’s take a quick break and hear from our sponsors. When we come back, I want to shift the conversation just slightly to something else that was a big breakthrough for a bunch of our Labsters.
Leticia DeSuze (15:05):
The Lawyerist Podcast is brought to you by LawPay. Don’t be the last to discover why the legal industry is raving about LawPay Pro. Say goodbye to manually recording your working hours and chasing down late payments. Accurately track time, reclaim billable hours, and get paid faster with all the billing and invoicing features you need in one easy-to-use tool. Plus, plans start as low as $19/month per user. Visit www.lawpay.com/lawyerist to learn more.
And by Postali. At Lawyerist, we know marketing is an essential piece of a firm’s growth strategy. While marketing may be on your radar, the branding process is often glossed over. Our partners at Postali can develop your law firm brand. Postali is a full-service legal marketing agency working with attorneys nationwide. Their team will guide you through an exercise and then deliver a blueprint that powers your firm’s internal operations, visual identity, and marketing efforts. Branding is more than a logo and color palette. Taking the time to define your target audience, vision, and core values will ensure that you have a well-aligned internal team ready to help you set and achieve your growth goals. Visit postali.com/branding to get started.
And by Posh Virtual Receptionists. As an attorney. Do you ever wish you could be in two places at once? You could take a call while you’re in court, capture a lead during a meeting or schedule an appointment with a client while you’re elbow deep in an important case. Well, that’s where Posh comes in. They’re a team of professional, US-Based, live virtual receptionists available 24/7/365. They answer and transfer your calls, so you never miss an opportunity and you can devote more time to building your law firm. And with the Posh app you’re in total control of when your receptionist steps in. You can save as much as 40% off your current service provider’s rates. Even better, Posh is extending a special offer to Lawyerist listeners, visit posh.com/lawyerist to learn more and start your free trial of Posh Live Virtual Receptionist services.?
Stephanie Everett (17:26):
Okay. I am back with our brand new, our newest lab coach, but not new to coaching, which is awesome. And so we had our lab conference recently. You got to join us in person, which was amazing. And you and I were having this discussion on the stage. Well, because I invited you to the stage where we needed to have it, and it was about this idea, accountability. And a lot of people come to us, you’re a business coach, and they’ll say, I need to work with you because what I really need is accountability. How do you respond when you hear that?
Leticia DeSuze (18:01):
Well, I respond and I tell people that I don’t believe that I can hold another adult accountable or I don’t believe that another adult can be held accountable. And so I began speaking to people about self-accountability and self-leadership and rebuilding. And then you in essence, begin partnering with the coach and they’re holding space for you, but I can’t make another adult to anything.
Stephanie Everett (18:28):
Yeah, I mean, it’s almost like, I mean the word accountability. I actually looked up the definition, a nerdy lawyer like that, and the definition is to hold yourself responsible. But our society has turned it into a phrase that someone else has to hold you accountable when the very definition is you are holding yourself responsible for something. And I think as you and I were talking about it, it’s like something happens and if I say I need someone else to hold me accountable, it’s actually putting the responsibility on that other person instead of myself.
Leticia DeSuze (19:06):
It really is just like if I talk to people and they’ve worked with two or three other coaches, and I say, well, I’m curious to know what happened in that coaching relationship that just wasn’t the right fit, or they said this was going to happen and that didn’t happen. And so I say, your picker seems to be off. So putting it back on the person, and of course there can be a situation where somebody is just not the right fit to work together, but I’m really more interested in what it is you expected, what it is that was expressed and what got lost in between. And probably nine times out of 10, there was an expectation that working with this coach was going to somehow magically make you do something that you hadn’t done before with that coach. Well, it’s the same thing with personal trainers, with fad diets, with everything else. What magically makes you become the person who does this thing with this person? Nothing. No one can do that except yourself. I recently changed gyms and I changed gyms because I was like, like this one better and the aesthetics are better, but nothing about this gym is going to make me get up and go work out when I didn’t do it at the other gym. It’s just a choice, and I feel like so many people just will not take a hundred percent responsibility for their lives and businesses.
Stephanie Everett (20:28):
So it kind of brings up an interesting question about maybe who should work with a coach or what are the elements. A lot of it’s still a new concept for a lot of people. So there could be people listening and they’re like, I’ve thought about working with coach, but I wasn’t sure what’s the real value or should I do it? Or what would it help me do? And so I guess, how would you answer those questions?
Leticia DeSuze (20:50):
Well, in my experience, people who have the most success working with coaches already have a bias toward action. They take action already. And so there’s a difference. If you’re someone who is willing to take action and maybe you need thought partnership strategy in terms of what action you should be taking to get to a certain goal, that’s a different kind of relationship where it’s just like, well, I don’t know what to do. I need you to tell me what to do. Then I need you to make me do it. Then I need you also to be a responsible if I don’t do it. No. And so I think when you already have a bias toward action, you are already nine steps ahead of the game because now you just need to be taking the right action to get the right results.
Stephanie Everett (21:37):
Yeah, that makes sense. Because yeah, a lot of times what we’re doing is helping people feel confident in their decisions. We’re helping them get to a decision, and then really understanding the impacts of that decision so that they can feel good about it and take that action. But a lot of times we can’t do the action for them as much as sometimes I want to. It’s really on them
Leticia DeSuze (22:02):
Sometimes in addition. So if you have a bias toward action, what I find is that sometimes I feel like people borrow belief, and so they need a stronger belief, a stronger level of confidence than they currently have. So it’s just like if you think a baby that’s taking steps, well, baby is actually moving, but they’re just looking like, okay, in case I fall, I just want to make sure that there’s somebody here other than myself. So that’s different. It’s completely different than you just go and you do everything for me. You figure it out.
Stephanie Everett (22:33):
Yeah. Are there any other thoughts you have If someone’s considering coaching, they think this is something they want to do, is there anything else you would tell them? Maybe like a self-assessment that they should take to make sure they’re ready for it and they’re kind of approaching it in the right way.
Leticia DeSuze (22:50):
I’m always curious to know from people why now, what’s different now that you want to do this thing when you haven’t done it before? I’m just really curious to know why now? Is this just an arbitrary number or goal that you have? Is it really tied to something that means something? Because if it’s not tied to something that’s really meaningful, you’ll give up on there When challenges come and they do. So that is something that I really think people should ask themselves. Why now? What’s different for me now that I’m willing to take the actions and see things through when I haven’t before working with a coach or just on my own? I think that is something really important to consider because if you’re willing to be radically honest with yourself, coaching becomes that much easier.
Stephanie Everett (23:40):
Yeah. Say more about that last part. What does it mean to be radically honest with yourself?
Leticia DeSuze (23:46):
Well, radically honest with yourself is telling yourself the truth. Calling yourself on your own bs. It doesn’t take another person to do that. I can remember working with someone and she had some serious help challenges, and there were some things that she was supposed to do so she could be healthier, and every week we would have this conversation and she wasn’t doing it. And she said, Letitia, I know what the doctor has said and this still is not a priority for me, so we can stop talking about it because I’m not going to do it and I’m not going to commit to it right now. And I said, wow, thank you for your honesty. The same person said to me before, I said, did you just not have time to do it? She said, oh, I had plenty of time to do it. I didn’t want to do it, and I didn’t make it a priority.
So she understood I’m fully responsible for this. We can move on to the next thing because I’m not going to do it. But she was someone that I found honest in a way that was very refreshing. She actually had a very, very successful firm, but those areas that she was not ready to commit to, she didn’t waste time giving lip service saying she was going to do something that she wasn’t. I’m willing to do these things right here, and I understand the detriment of not doing these things, but let’s move on to these things. Okay, let’s move on and change the plan. So when I say being radically honest, when you’re not going to do something or when you are going to do something, it’s just getting real with yourself to say, I’m going to in not making it good or bad, just the truth is the truth. I feel like all change starts with truth and because so many people won’t tell it, things don’t change.
Stephanie Everett (25:34):
Just going to let that sink in for everybody.
Leticia DeSuze (25:40):
I was thinking about that because I can remember one time when I was really struggling in my life for about a period of 18 months, I asked myself, is this really how you want to show up in life? Not just this somebody’s mother, but as a woman, is this really what you want for yourself and the best that you want for yourself? Okay, well, what do you need to do differently? This was just myself and myself having this conversation, a lot of prayer, and I just had to change some things in a way that wasn’t very uncomfortable, deal with some truths that were deeply uncomfortable, but I came out on the other side of it.
Stephanie Everett (26:17):
Yeah, I mean, we got deep there in a good way,
And maybe on the flip side of that, when you’re ready to say, this is what’s important to me, this is why I want to change, I’m going to put the work in. There’s nothing more frustrating as a coach is to see people who come to you and that they want to change, but they’re not willing to actually change. But for those folks who are willing to like, okay, I’ve got a partner here. I know the changes I’m making are the right next steps and I’m going to do it. It’s like the sky is the limit and they just are like a rocket shooting off, and it’s so much fun.
Leticia DeSuze (26:56):
For sure. I think sometimes we try to get around the fact that change is hard. That’s why coaching is necessary, because changing is very, very difficult. Change is just not easy. Change is very, very difficult. So when people stop looking for it to be easy, I think it’s not so hard.
Stephanie Everett (27:13):
Yeah, I like that. Well, that’s maybe a great place to wrap this up. We’re going to be talking a lot more If this is interesting to you, if you feel like you’re ready to make some changes and have some hard truths with yourself, the good news is reach out and let’s talk. Because Leticia has room on her calendar. We’re getting it filled up with lots of lobsters, but I know she’s excited to work with people in our community and really break through and hit those goals, and she tells you that radical truth in such a nice, gentle way. It sounds good coming from you when you say it. I mean, I’ll tell you guys the last thing I’ll say about her. On our first day together when we were doing her onboarding and training, she was just asking me questions and I was like, oh, yeah, she’s coaching me right now. This is great. So I love it. I love everything you bring to the community, and I just know we’re all so excited to just work with you even more so thank you for being here.
Leticia DeSuze (28:10):
Thank you for having me.
The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, are right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10-minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.
Leticia DeSuze is a highly skilled coach specializing in mindset and strategy coaching for law firm owners and their teams. With over 15 years of coaching experience, she brings a wealth of expertise to her work. Leticia firmly believes that true success stems from aligning personal growth with a powerful mindset. She guides law firm owners in cultivating a winning mindset that sets the stage for their teams’ exceptional performance. eticia’s coaching philosophy embraces a holistic approach that combines personal development with actionable strategies. Leticia empowers law firm owners and executives to lead with intention and create workplace environments that foster collaboration, psychological safety, and outstanding results.
Last updated September 7th, 2023