A Shortcut to Success
“We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history. They are a hundred times better educated than their grandparents, and ten times more sophisticated. There has never been such an open-minded group. The problem is that no one is giving them anything fresh. They’ve got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.”
— Timothy Leary 1
Taking a Hidden Shortcut
I have recently started to question a statement I have heard many times in my life: “There are no shortcuts to success.”
You have probably heard this after some bland affirmation about the value of hard work. Hard work is essential to success, no doubt. There are definitely shortcuts to success, though. Hard work is not always the solution to the problem of finding success in an endeavor.
I recently read Greg McKeowan’s excellent book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. This book persuaded me that most people take a path that weaves around many self-imposed, nonessential obstacles. We tell ourselves these obstacles are essential to our lives. We are affirmed in this regard by others, who tell themselves the same or similar things. In order to be successful in life, I am convinced we must avoid or break through these nonessential obstacles.
Nothing is necessarily wrong with obtaining the hallmarks of success or accomplishment. Quite to the contrary, such things are so valuable that some may be essential to our well-being. Not all activities or possessions are essential, though. Therefore, we should periodically take inventory of our lives. When did you last honestly ask yourself whether each activity or possession in your life adds meaning, value, and purpose to it?
I believe very few things are essential. I also believe the statement, “There are no shortcuts to success,” is a lie.
Here’s the truth: one shortcut to success is eliminating the nonessential from your life. Every silver lining comes with a storm cloud, though. The storm cloud of elimination is comprised of the lightning of discipline and the rain of trading “good” for “great”.
As is so often the case, what is true in our personal lives is also true in business. Businesses often spend precious resources in the pursuit of nonessential activities. This makes it harder, and increases the amount of time it takes, to reach their goals. Sometimes, the trade-offs we face in order to embrace the essential are very simple but very difficult. Often, we know what these trade-offs are, but we are reluctant to make them. Helping the businesses they serve make such tough decisions is part of a General Counsel Attorney’s job.
Breakthroughs Are Shortcuts
I spend a great deal of time with my clients helping them to confront hard truths. This collaboration helps them to overcome obstacles to being successful. I address risks before they become problems. By taking this approach, we prevent problems from arising, but that’s not the whole story.
Preventive legal services not only help my clients lower their risk profiles, but add real, lasting value to their businesses. One reason this is true is that it involves eliminating nonessential things and focusing on essential things.
I recently met with a client who struggles with hiring the best staff, despite having some outstanding staff members. Like many businesses, they struggle with hiring the right people for certain jobs. Many applicants seem able to do the work, but, ultimately, are not effective employees.
I asked my client what the one thing is that they need the new hires they’re presently considering to do. It turns out that the business was not doing a great job of hiring people who are effective at lead generation.
I asked my client what they thought they needed to do to improve the situation. They shared part of a conversation with a colleague. This colleague adopted the practice of assigning applicants to bring four qualified leads to him in one hour. If the applicant failed to produce four leads in 60 minutes, they were disqualified.
This was a breakthrough! I told my client I loved this idea. This test is a skills-based way to determine an applicant’s real potential. Near the end of our meeting, my client stated a hard truth.
“We’re going to have to have a lot more interviews,” they said, adding, “We’re going to have to say, ‘No,’ to a lot more applicants.”
Nobody enjoys saying, “No,” to people who could do the job. That’s the trick, though–the shortcut to hiring great staff. Reject good applicants. Hire great applicants.
We often have to be quick to say, “No,” to good opportunities in order have the chance to say, “Yes,” to great ones. While finding the right employee requires a bigger initial investment, it pays off in the long run.
My client had been hiring nonessential personnel, people who could do a job under the right circumstances. Going forward, they should hire only essential personnel, people who would do the job under any circumstances.
Legal Support Is Essential
Legal support for every businesses is absolutely essential. That’s a hard truth for many small business owners to accept. Preventive law may seem too expensive or difficult, but finding the right business lawyer is worth the effort.
If you’re a start-up, you need to start your business on a firm legal foundation. For existing businesses, General Counsel is essential. Every business has legal risks that should be actively managed by an attorney.
Preventive law attorneys are often catalysts for breakthroughs. They help business decision-makers to confront substantial risks and overcome them. A good General Counsel attorney shortens your business’s path to success. They help you punch through the obstacles slowing you down. General Counsel helps you avoid expensive litigation, comply with complex regulations, make better tax-related decisions, develop value-adding procedures, and more.
Ask yourself whether your precious time, focus, and energy–your most valuable resources–are best spent trying to manage your legal issues on your own. The answer is almost always, “No.” It is not essential for you to do this, when an attorney can affordably, and far more effectively, manage your business’s legal risks. Delegating your business’s legal work to a General Counsel attorney is a no-brainer. Reach out to an Outside General Counsel attorney, today. Get the essential legal help you need. Take a shortcut to success.
1 Interview by David Sheff in Rolling Stone Twentieth Anniversary Issue (1987)
2 How to Operate Your Brain (1994), a guided meditation spoken by Timothy Leary and set to music.
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