Episode 106: Defining Clear Results

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Defining Clear Results

Are you being specific enough when it comes to the results you want to create? Do you feel directionless or confused when it comes to the action you should be taking? How is failing to define clear results preventing you from achieving your full potential, and what can you do about it?

In my world, we always reverse-engineer our desired results. This means working backward to come up with the action items you must follow to go from where you currently are to where you want to end up. However, to identify the exact route that will get you there the quickest, you must first approach your goals with intentionality, specificity, and clarity.

Tune in this week as I invite you to audit your life and the goals you’re working towards. I’m showing you the importance of defining clear results, what happens when you fail to do so, how you might be adding confusion and indecision to the mix, and what you can do to begin making the most of the action you’re taking toward your goals.

If you want to start helping yourself first, it’s time to join Lawyers Only. This is my signature coaching program only for lawyers, and you can click here for all the details!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • 3 things that happen when you fail to define clear results.
  • Why you’re unlikely to create the results you want if you’re unclear about them.
  • What it means to reverse engineer your desired results.
  • How a failure to define clear results can present itself.
  • The value of setting micro goals.
  • What to do if you have multiple goals that are incongruent with one another.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 106. Today, we’re talking all about defining clear results. You ready? Let’s go.

Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach Olivia Vizachero.

Well, hello there. How are you? I hope your week is off to a good start. Today, we’re going to talk about defining clear results. I’m going to dive into why it’s important to define clear results, and then I’m going to teach you exactly how to do it. I’ll walk you through a couple examples just to give you some context. 

Now, because I’ve seen this come up a few times recently in the coaching sessions that I’ve been doing, I know that if I’m seeing this consistently with my clients, it’s definitely a problem for so many other people. Tony Robbins has a quote, “if it’s a problem for one person, it’s a problem for a million.” So, I’m guessing this will be helpful to you, because it’s helpful to the people that I work with. 

I don’t want people to struggle or suffer with this, okay? With a failure to define clear results. Because failing to define clear results prevents people from achieving their full potential. So, I want to make sure that this isn’t happening to you so that you’re able to accomplish what you want to accomplish, and that you don’t fail to accomplish it because you weren’t clear enough when you were figuring out what results you want to create. 

Think of the old adage… there’s two of these. One is, “be careful what you wish for.” The other is, “if you don’t ask, you can’t receive it.” So, “be careful what you wish for” means you want to make sure that you’re being specific enough, because you might just get what you’re asking for. And if you’re not being clear enough, you’re not going to get what you want. 

And then, same thing with, “if you don’t ask you can’t receive.” If you’re not asking for the very clear, specific results that you want, you’re unlikely to create them. You’re unlikely to get them. So, both of those concepts are at play here. You want to make sure that you’re being specific enough, because that specificity is what’s going to allow you to create the intentional desired results that you want. 

Now, remember, you’ve probably heard me talk about this on the podcast before if you’ve been listening for a while, but we reverse engineer results here. Okay? We get very clear on what it is we want to achieve, and then we work it backwards. We can come up with all of the little action items to create that “follow the yellow brick road” pathway to get from where we are to where we want to go. 

So, it’s like trying to go to dinner. If you don’t pick a restaurant, if you’re not clear enough about where you want to go, you’re not going to be able to get there. We’ve got to have the specific coordinates that we’re going to type into the GPS in order to figure out the pathway there. We want to make sure that we get hyper specific about the results we want to create. 

A failure to define clear results can present itself in a couple of different ways. The first way is not having a goal at all. And this normally happens for a couple different reasons. So, check in with yourself right now. Are you working towards a goal? If it feels like you’re not, then this is going to be you, okay? You don’t have a goal. 

Now, one reason this happens is because you’re afraid to fail. You won’t identify a specific goal, because if you don’t identify a specific goal, you can’t fail at it, right? However, if you don’t pick a specific goal, you don’t have anything to work towards. You can end up feeling a little adrift or kind of afloat, or a little lost, a little rudderless or directionless. Normally, that feels very uncomfortable for people. So, we want to make sure that we identify a specific goal. 

In addition to being afraid to fail and not picking a goal for that reason, I’ll also see people find themselves in this position when they’ve recently achieved a goal and they haven’t set a new one. They’re sort of in this limbo, in this in between; between accomplishing something that they already set their mind to, and then picking the next thing that they want to achieve. 

If that’s you, and you’re feeling purposeless, you want to make sure that you identify a new goal to work towards. So, if you’re not working towards a goal right now, the thing that I want you to do is ask yourself, why? Why is that? Do you fall in camp one or camp two? Are you afraid to fail, and that’s why you’re not identifying clear results that you want to work towards?

If that’s you, you’re going to have to embrace the fear of failure. Now, I love to tell myself that I can’t fail, I’m always just winning or learning. That helps me to move forward and give myself permission to pick a new goal and to start anew, okay? Now, if that doesn’t resonate with you, then you might be in the second camp. So, check in. Have you recently achieved something?

I see this happen a lot when people become new attorneys. They’ve worked so hard towards one specific goal, becoming a licensed attorney and passing the bar exam, and then they get into their careers and they sort of feel directionless because they haven’t set a new goal. They haven’t picked a new destination that they want to arrive at. 

So, if you’re a new attorney and you’re feeling a little adrift, this is probably you. You want to identify a clear result to work towards in the early stages of your career. This could also be you if you’ve recently made partner. You’ve probably been working towards that for a while, and now you’re like, “Hey, what comes next? I’m not sure what I want to achieve.” You can feel a little afloat. 

Now, the second way that a failure to define clear results manifests itself is by being too vague about what you’re working towards. So, I’m going to give you a couple examples of this. It would be saying to yourself, “I want to make more money. I want to bill more hours. I want to sign more clients. I want to work less.” Those aren’t specific enough results. 

The problem with that is they beg so many questions. For example, if you want to make more money, how much more money do you want to make? And how will you make it? Depending on the amount you set, that’s going to give you a different strategy. 

And if you’re not super clear about the specific result that you want to achieve, you’re not going to be able to measure your progress. It’s going to be really challenging. You’re not going to be able to determine ‘am I working less enough? Am I billing enough hours? Am I billing enough?’ We want to be really clear. How much do you want to bill? How much less do you want to work?

You want to measure that in terms of hours, or in terms of days of the week. Let’s say you don’t want to work weekends, that’s a much more specific result than saying you simply want to work less. Is one hour less enough? Is 10 hours less enough? You want to make sure that you get crystal clear about what it is you’re aiming for. 

So, check in with yourself. If you feel like, “Hey, Olivia, I do have a goal. I’m not in the first camp,” are you being specific enough? If these goals that I listed out for you resonate, then you want to make sure that you get more specific. How much money do you want to make this year? Define it in terms of the dollar amount in a given period of time.

If you want to bill more hours. How many more hours would you like to bill? And in what timeframe? Are we talking about per week, per day, per month, per quarter, per year? You want to make sure you get hyper specific here so you are able to measure your progress. 

And then, you can break it down over the course of the days and the weeks. That way you know whether or not you’re on target to hit your goal. If you want to sign more clients. How many more clients do you want to sign? And then get clear, how are you going to do that? What are the specific action items that you’re going to take in order to create those clients? 

If you want to work less, how much less do you want to work? Measure it in terms of hours, or specific time periods during the week that you’ll work and then the time periods during the week that you won’t work. That way you’re able to keep yourself honest as you’re working towards that very clear result. 

Now, something that you can do here that will keep you even more intentional, is once you identify the clear result that you’re working towards, ask yourself: Is this a situation that’s ripe for micro goals? That’s going to help keep you even more on track than you would with just defining that overarching goal. Okay?

So, if you want to sign more clients, what are some micro goals that you can set for yourself that will help you move in that direction? Maybe you want to build an audience. How big do you want that audience to be? The number of connections that you have on LinkedIn, or the number of followers that you have on Instagram, the number of people you have subscribed to your email list, how many people do you want to aim for? 

If you identify those micro goals, it’s going to help you get really clear. What do you need to do in order to get those connections? What do you need to do in order to get those followers? What do you need to do in order to get those email subscribers? 

You’re going to have to promote your email list in order to get those subscribers. You’re going to have to send connection requests on LinkedIn in order to hit that number. In order to get followers on Instagram, you’re going to have to engage with your ideal clients by liking and commenting on their social media content. That’s going to help you achieve those micro goals. Okay?

You can also set a specific goal for the number of consultations you do. Again, that’s going to help you figure out the action items that you need to take and complete in order to create that result. So, how many times per week are you going to have to make an offer for a consultation in order to hit your goal, if you want to hit a certain number of consultations per week or per month? The more specific you get, the clearer the actions that you need to take are going to be for you to find. 

And last but not least, the third way that this manifests, failing to find clear results, is when you find yourself torn between multiple different results that are somewhat incongruent with one another. An example of this that came up recently in one of my client sessions was, my client was torn between wanting to build the highest number of hours possible and then being an excellent firm citizen. 

She found herself volunteering for a lot of non-billable tasks and projects at work, because she really wanted to be a great firm citizen. She wanted to be a “team player”. She also wants to hit a specific billable target in order to make partner. And these two goals are a little incongruent with one another, because the more time she devotes to those non-billable matters, she’s not able to spend that time billing hours towards her billable target goal. Okay?

So, check in with yourself. Are you pursuing multiple different goals, and are they at odds with each other? If they are, you’re introducing confusion into the mix. Because one result requires a certain action, and the other result requires different actions. You’re pulling yourself in two different directions, sort of like Stretch Armstrong. 

You’re going to feel really confused day in and day out about what you should be doing in order to achieve your goals, because the further you head in one direction, the further you get from achieving the goal in the opposite direction. 

So, when this happens, you can do one of two things. One, you can recognize that you’re pursuing goals that are a little incongruent to one another, okay? And when you find yourself in that case, you can choose one of the goals. You can pick the one that you most prefer to achieve and make that your focus. That’s one option. 

If you are in the same position that my client is in, if you’re torn between being a great firm citizen and billing the highest number of hours, which one’s more important to you, and why? Get really clear on your reasons, and then pick the one that you prefer. 

So, for her, she’s most concerned with billing the highest number of hours possible, and hitting her billable target. That means reducing the number of hours she devotes to those non-billable matters. That means she’s going to be volunteering a lot less for the mentoring opportunities that she’s been taking part in, in order to devote that time to billing hours instead. 

Now, the second option here is that you combine the two and make it one specific goal. Okay? What that would look like here is, “I want to bill the highest number of hours while still being a good firm citizen.” And your action plan is going to be a little different than if you were to just pursue one of those things on their own, or being torn in between the two of them feeling like you’re being pulled in multiple different directions. 

So, you’re going to get hyper specific on how much you want to bill while also being a good firm citizen. What are the things that you want to do that constitute being a good firm citizen? You’ll get clear on those, and then you’ll limit that in order to allow yourself to still hit your billable hour target. 

You’re able to achieve both of those things, but you’re not doing it, where they’re working against one another. You’re doing it where you’re working in tandem and pursuing both of them at the same time. Your action line, again, gets a little different and more specific about what you need to be doing in order to achieve what you want to achieve. You end up factoring both of your desired results into the equation, and it changes how you show up. 

If you do this, if you audit your life and the goals that you’re working towards, and check in; Am I being specific enough? Have I defined the clear results that I want to work towards? You will be so much more intentional with the action that you take and the results that you ultimately produce. 

It’s going to be way easier to reverse engineer your desired results when you’re really clear about the results that you’re working towards. It’s going to help you make the most progress as fast as you possibly can. And it’s going to prevent you from feeling directionless, or feeling confused about which direction to head in, or about what to do when. 

Again, use that analogy from earlier. It’s like trying to go somewhere without having the destination locked into the GPS. You want to make sure you set that very specific destination so you know the exact route you need to take in order to get there. Alright? This is really going to help you accomplish what you want to accomplish. 

So, check in. Are you being specific enough? Have you defined clear results? And if not, go get clear. 

That’s what I have for you this week, my friends. I hope this helps you go out and make the most of all of the action you’re taking. And I will talk to you in the next episode.

Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.

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