NBH016: Timing is Everything

Timing is everything. We know this as it comes up often in our life arc:  meeting that special someone when you least expected it, having your dream job fall into your lap, running into someone you haven't seen in a long time and reconnecting. We also see it in that perfect client relationship. The timing was just right for that client to find you for what they needed and for you to help them. Maybe a business opportunity pops up just right when you needed it, or when you were thinking about it. Or that coach or consultant came along right when you needed help and support. What we need most will appear to us at the right time.

And when the time is not right, we know that things may not work out, things may seem more tense, more effort is put in and results are not there. Things are just more attenuated. Things are not really working. Even though we know this and have experienced it, probably often we forget about it. We try to push our agenda at the wrong time. We forget that we know deep down what feels right, what the right time is. But we still push it. We try to push through something at the wrong time.

It's not that it's the wrong time, but we're ignoring our feeling of when is the right time. By focusing on what's right (I call this intuition), we can save time in the long run and be more productive. If something feels right, go for it. Actually better advice is to be receptive when things are right. They're just right. And so be receptive and let it happen to you.

Let it open up in a way that maybe you couldn't have even imagined. Let it be expansive and if something does not feel right, pause and consider another path. Slow down - which is what I talk about often. The stress we feel (or the anxiety) is that something is not right. And we have to step away. This can come up in your case strategy, client relationship management decisions, big things, and also really little things about what to do next in your day: how to prioritize what's most important and how to answer an email, what to do when something didn't go how you thought it would.

Timing is everything and you can get back in charge. When you take the time to notice and respect that your intuition, and your knowing of when timing is right, is appropriate, and when it's not right. When it is right, let it happen. Relax, put in less effort, let more stuff happen, and when it's not right, notice it and get back in alignment. And that usually just means that we are distracted by something that's not right. We think we should be doing something that's coming at us or we're chasing after something. I suffer from this, we're chasing after something that we think we should be doing. We were taught that we're supposed to do that; and then we're missing out on noticing what's right.

A big reason why lawyers burn out is we're literally working against this idea of timing. A big part of time management, the lion's share of time management, is paying attention to what we're doing with our time. And we've been trained to push harder when things don't work instead of stepping back. That's just the default. And we get rewarded for this. We pat each other on the back - “this is what it means to be a lawyer” or “this is what it means to be successful”. When things get rough we have to fight, to really get in there. This is one model and it works for a while. It's just not sustainable in the long term. And if we can learn to step back, we can better see opportunities that have been there all along. You might have noticed this when you slow down, when you start to take stock of your life, you notice things that were there all the time. But you couldn't see them before. You notice things about your personal relationships, about your law firm, about yourself. These are good things usually that we don't take the time and effort to notice because we're so busy chasing after things that are not the right time.

So timing is everything. And if you don't take that step to notice, there may be another time. Sometimes we miss an opportunity; it may come back and it might not. The choice is yours.

Thank you to the sponsor of this podcast episode and blog post, Smith.ai based in Palo Alto, CA. Smith.ai is a virtual receptionist and website chat company serving small businesses, most of which are solo and small law firms. Their friendly, professional receptionists answer your calls, chats and text messages as well as screen and intake clients, book appointments, and take payments. Use the code RITU100 for $100 off your first month. Smith AI can be reached at smith.ai or 650-727-6484.  For a free copy of “The New Billable Hour” book and other resources, visit www.newbillablehour.com.

Related Articles