I recently had the opportunity to join Michelle King on Reputation Ink’s Spill the Ink podcast to talk about my favorite topic – LinkedIn. We discussed:

  • How I built my brand on LinkedIn and tips for others to build a strong online personal brand
  • Why lawyers should care about their social media presence
  • The important steps to building a successful LinkedIn company page and personal profile
  • Creating and organizing content for social media
  • How to get better engagement on your company page
  • Sharing personal stories and being vulnerable on LinkedIn
  • Are LinkedIn groups effective?
  • Helping law firms to drive likes on their company page
  • The power of multimedia content on LinkedIn

I hope you’ll have a listen and also follow this terrific podcast!

Listen to the podcast.

And if you want more LinkedIn tips, join me for a free LinkedIn Master Class this Friday, September 24. Register here

Rejection hurts. A lot. But it can also be a great motivator and teacher too.

You may start beating yourself up about being rejected in your personal or professional life and engaging in self-criticism.

However, rejection also has a way of teaching us, redirecting us and ultimately making our lives better.

But what if you recast rejection as redirection?

What if you thought of it as helping you not waste your time on situations and things they weren’t meant for you?

Don’t let rejection define you. Let it motivate you.

Many times when we face rejection, we over personalize it. We focus on the feeling of rejection more than its cause. It is important to separate what happened to us from who we are. Being rejected from something doesn’t define you. Everyone gets rejected.

Rejection isn’t always personal. Oftentimes when someone rejects us, it has nothing to do with faults on our part; it just means we weren’t a good fit for that person, job or opportunity.

Rejection IS redirection. Now keep repeating it until you really believe it.

In my career, there were several times I did not get the job I had hoped for. Or a promotion. Or a speaking engagement. At one point the rejections just kept coming. It shook me to my core.

But then I began to change the way I viewed rejection. I started to see it as an ability to reassess and learn.

My perspective became clearer. Every job I didn’t get opened the door to new (and better) opportunities. Every mistake I made, guided me to look within and learn, grow and ultimately make changes.

I kept seeing this quote on Instagram, which I kept going back to, “Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.”

If you really want to succeed, never give up. 💪🏽

When it feels like the world keeps getting in your way, ask yourself. “What is this trying to teach me?”, “What lesson can I lean from it?”

So instead of taking rejection so personally, instead thank all of the people, places and things that rejected you.

They led you to become the person you are today. They made you stronger, wiser and more resilient.

Rejection is the strongest redirection.

One of the most powerful elements to a law firm website are bio photos/headshots.

Strong photos are an easy way to connect with prospective clients, but many law firms don’t update their lawyers’ photos or have consistent photos.

It is essential to get new photos taken every few years. When potential clients visit your site, it’s important that they see you as you are now, not the you from 10 years ago.

Depending on how many attorneys and associates work at your firm, it can be complicated to schedule and budget for a photo session especially during the pandemic, but trust me, it’s worth it. There are ways to do this – reach out to my photographer go-to’s Barry Benton and Greg Lorfing at Gittings Photography for help with this.

Look at other law firm and professional service websites for bio photo inspiration as well as outside of the industry completely for a fresh approach.

it’s not necessary anymore to have formal portraits in full suits and ties. I would take two final photos of each lawyer – one formal and one casual – this will give you variety for use on your social media platforms too.

Make sure to keep your bios photos and text updated. When a new lawyer joins your team, have a plan in place to get new photos taken of them that are consistent with the others.

Please include your senior administrative team in your web site bios – just including lawyers today is just antiquated!

Finally, please smile in your photos. There’s one infamous law firm website where all of the lawyers are photographed looking like bulldogs or formidable courtroom opponents.

But that’s not necessarily what is going to resonate with all clients. I think it’s the completely wrong approach. Be you. Be approachable. They say that photos where people are smiling resonate much more than photos where individuals are not.

Now say “cheese.”

Check out this video to learn more.

No one likes to hear no. Especially me. And I feel like I’ve been hearing no on a number of fronts lately, which has me not feeling so confident.

If there is one thing that’s true about being an entrepreneur or being in sales, it’s that you have to get used to rejection and failure. These things are just part of the process.

But after talking to some wise friends in the industry (thanks Phil Flora!), who assured me that no’s aren’t personal – it’s just business and they often aren’t forever either, I was able to put them into perspective and also write a post about it because 1) why not make this a teaching moment and 2) I know I’m not the only one who hears no.

Remember that no two no’s are alike:

No, the timing isn’t right.

No, I need something different.

No, I need it in another format.

No, I need space to think about it.

No, I need the pricing structured differently.

If you get a no, it’s OK to ask why. You just need to do it in the right way.

You can also try to counter the no by offering another alternative or a solution.

If it’s about price, see if you can work out a payment plan to spread the costs out over time. Or perhaps break the project down into phases so it’s a smaller amount at each point.

If they’re concerned you don’t have the capacity to do the work, suggest hiring contractors who would work under your company’s direction.

When you hear no, it’s ok to directly ask if there’s anything you can do to change their mind. Maybe it’s changing an aspect of the proposal, scaling back the project or being flexible on pricing.

Reiterate the benefits of working together and convey why you want to work with them specifically. A little flattery can go a long way.

It’s not about begging; it’s about persuasion.

No isn’t personal no matter how much it feels like it is.

Sometimes no right now doesn’t mean no forever so stay in touch. Add leads to your newsletter or blog mailing list. If you see something about them in the news, send them an email to offer congratulations or a proposed solution.

If you handled the no properly and you haven’t burned any bridges, there’s still an opportunity to nurture the relationship.

Rejection is part of the game. Challenge it when you can, learn from it every time and move on to the next opportunity.

How do you handle when you hear no?

Meet Heather Stevenson, the Deputy General Counsel at Boston Globe Media Partners. Her practice spans a broad range of media law and general commercial issues, including advising the newsroom on public records and intellectual property matters, as well as providing legal guidance to the company on contracts, employment matters, and compliance issues, among other topics.

Heather started her legal career as a litigation associate at Sullivan & Cromwell and
previously founded a juice bar with locations in the Boston area. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Columbia College and received her LLM from the University of Amsterdam.

Learn more about her in this Women Who Wow profile.

What do you love most about what you do?

My favorite thing about my job as an in-house lawyer for a media company is that I’m constantly learning. Both the media industry and the law are evolving rapidly, so new questions come up all the time. The only way to do my job well is to adopt a growth mindset and understand that while I’ll never know everything, I can always learn more and, in doing so, add more value.

How did you end up in-house and what advice would you give to others who want go in-house?
 
My path was not a traditional one. I started in big law, left to start my own company and then returned to the full-time practice of law in an in-house role. It was my experience building a business – which involved doing all the things, including contract review and negotiation – that helped me secure my first in-house job as legal counsel at the same company where I’m now Deputy GC. My big law training was as a litigator, which was great in many ways, but wasn’t what the Globe was looking for when they hired me.
My advice to others who want to go in-house is to try to build skills transferrable to the in-house context in whatever role you’re in, whether that’s as a corporate lawyer, litigator, or doing something totally different. You don’t have to gain the skills that you’ll need in the same environment where you ultimately want to use them. Also, learn to tell your story.  You may know that as a junior litigation associate you managed a team of assistants, and that experience prepared you to enter an in-house role with supervisory responsibilities, but the person interviewing you won’t know that unless you tell them.
What do you think is the key for success in a role like yours?

As an in-house counsel, my business mindset has been an important key to my success. As a lawyer, my primary function is to provide legal advice and guidance. However, in order to do that most effectively as an in-house lawyer, the legal advice needs to take into consideration the business environment in which I’m operating. I don’t just state the law or even just interpret it broadly. Instead, I help my colleagues understand how the law applies to what we’re trying to do and how it can help us accomplish our goals, and I find ways to mitigate risk while maximizing potential upside.

How do you achieve work/life balance?

Work/life “balance” is not something I strive for. To me, the phrase implies that there is some sort of even division between work and everything else and that work is not part of life. That’s not how I see things.

I strive to live an awesome life on my own terms, and to have my career be one important factor helping me to create the life I want.

In order to do that, I have gotten really clear on what matters the most to me and on what is not a priority. I also put myself in an environment (in-house at a great company with a really terrific boss) where, as long as I am clear on setting and sticking to my boundaries, it is possible to prioritize what matters both professionally and personally.

For me, among other things, this looks like putting my son to bed and having dinner with my husband being the norm not the exception, it looks like running every day, and it looks like (at least, pre-Covid) traveling for fun regularly, all while spending my working hours doing work that I view as important and that constantly challenges me to learn and grow.

Follow Heather on LinkedIn.

 

Listen up job interviewers, sales professionals, lawyers and marketers (and single people too) – or anyone who wants to really get something – I have some advice for you that I wish I knew a long time ago.

Do you know how sometimes you can be on a job interview, a sales meeting or on a date and the other person talks about themselves the entire time and tells you thinks it went really well.

Maybe you get the job or close the deal but you’re shocked because you didn’t get a chance to tell them about you or talk much.

You start to remember all of the times that you commandeered a conversation and didn’t have the same positive results.

Well it’s because people love to talk about themselves.

And they love when you ask questions and listen to them intently.

They also want to feel heard and important. So the best word to say when trying to make sure somebody really hears you is to say their name.

So when I say be quiet I don’t mean say nothing I mean make the other person feel like they are the most important person in your life at that very moment and shine a spotlight on them.

They’ll feel good about you because you made them feel good about themselves.

I have some more tips in this video.

I’d love to hear if you had a similar experience.

 

What’s the best worst thing that ever happened to you?

Mine was losing my stable law firm job and starting my own business.

It enabled me to become my own boss and choose fulfilling work and clients on my own terms.

I would also add to the list when my significant other left me for one of our mutual friends. I didn’t see it coming.

It saved me from a lifetime of worrying what he would do next. It forced me to make better decisions when it came to my romantic partners and to stop choosing controlling narcissists.

It also made me realize that I ignore too many red flags.

I was also ganged up on by several supposed close friends and was the victim of bullying and the subject of malicious gossip.

It forced me to make better decisions when it came to my friendships and to cut ties with people who didn’t have my best interests at heart.

Being betrayed and having the rug pulled from under you whether personally or professionally can really shake you to your core and cause you to reevaluate everything in your life.

They say that the only constant is change and I’ve always been afraid of change but for the first time in my life I actually embraced it when these things happened to me.

Although the things that happened to me were out of my control, I could control my reaction to them and while I was shellshocked, life was forcing me on a new path.

A positive attitude, or seeing the silver lining even when things are bleak, will only help you to get things back on track faster rather than letting life win this round.

All sorts of bad things happen to people who in no way “deserve” them.

While experiencing something that shakes your stability to the core is just awful, the silver lining is that it helps you grow into a more compassionate person because you’ve now experienced it too.

So how do you find positivity when negativity strikes? The trick is to look past the situation, and to acknowledge how it can still bring forth some rewards and opportunities.

Sometimes a crisis can jolt you into reevaluating your life. It can force you to ask yourself if you’re really doing what makes you happy and spending your time how you want to, or with the people you want to spend it with.

See this as an opportunity rather than a loss. The story you tell yourself is so important during tough times.

Gratitude for what I did have kept me going – it can really help you cope and remain positive during the bleakest of times.

When facing challenges, appreciating your valued aspects of life has a way of putting things into a more manageable perspective. For me it was my family and my close friends and my dogs.

Spending time with the people who mean the most

It’s really important to recognize and dismiss self-fulfilling prophecies.

Be wary of the story you tell yourself, as you may find yourself acting it out.

If you keep repeating negative things to yourself, negative things will keep persisting in your life, but if you try and remain positive, good things will come. I promise.

One thing that always has worked for me in the face of tough times is having something to look forward to. For those who know me, I am a planner. Whether it’s a concert, a vacation or a social event, I love having my calendar full.

Doing this kept me going during tough times, and I know that for some people you may want to just hide and be by yourself but I strongly advise you not to do that.

If you are looking toward the future and are not excited about anything, then it’s time to find something to look forward to.

It doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive; it should just be something that will make you feel happy (e.g., dinner with a friend, a new book, a weekend getaway, etc.). Looking forward to something meaningful provides hope in the face of gloom.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes good things happen from bad things?

Life has a funny way of working itself out even when things seem bleak.

There’s a silver lining and almost everything sometimes it’s hard to see it but it’s there if you look really closely. Through every difficult situation is an opportunity to grow.

Trust me.

Are you an overthinker? Does it sometimes hijack your day? Does your mind wander with worst-case scenarios?

Right now I’m overthinking all of the things I need to do today and all of the things I want to put into this blog post and also thinking about the laundry list of to-do items I have. Oy vey.

If you’re an overthinker like me, you know just how draining and time consuming it can be, not to mention anxiety producing.

You can’t stop dwelling on an issue and then ruminating on all of the things that can go wrong, or you try to find a solution to it. Your brain often goes right to worst-case scenario which does wonders for your anxiety.

Here are a few ways to conquer overthinking so that it doesn’t hijack your every day.

  • Schedule time for overthinking: Schedule 30 minutes at the end of your day for overthinking. If a worrisome thought comes up during the day, write it down in your notes section of your phone and come back to it later on. Knowing that you have this time scheduled can help you focus during the day and help you relax. Writing down intrusive thoughts can help you conquer them.
  • Divide and conquer: Writing down your thoughts can be incredibly helpful in improving your mental health. Organize this list in two categories “Things I can control” and “Things I can control” – again keep this in the notes section of your phone for easy reference.
  • Reframe your thoughts: Change your negative, self-defeating thoughts by reframing them. So instead of saying “I’ll never get this done” instead say “This task is difficult but I will get through it.” Or “I am so mad at myself for doing X” instead try “This is a learned habit that I can change if I work on it.”
  • Be solution focused: Forget the whys about things and instead focus on the whats – so instead of “why is this happening to me?” think “what can I do to resolve this?”  This mindset shift can help you stop ruminating and be more productive in coming up with a solution.

I’d love to hear what you do to alleviate your overthinking.

 

 

It seems many of you have also experienced workplace trauma from the many comments and messages I’ve gotten from my earlier posts on this topic.

It’s really nice to know that we’re not alone in this which is why I shared my story.

A toxic work environment or workplace PTSD (these terms can be used interchangeably) affects employees long after the experience happens. I remember the negative things that were said and done to me as if it was yesterday.

My worst situation was a female boss who pushed me out of a job because she was threatened by me.

There’s the saying, “You don’t leave a job, you leave a bad boss,” for a reason.

She told me there was only room for one of us. Suddenly nothing I did was good enough. I was left out of meetings. My projects were taken away. She invited others to lunch and drinks and made sure I knew I was not included. She spoke negatively about me to colleagues and lawyers. She undermined me whenever she could.

I loved my job but I found myself having anxiety every day and it manifested itself with stomach issues.

It was untenable. I had to leave. My mental and physical health were at stake.

Here’s what I learned. She was a bully who was threatened by me. Something about me made her feel insecure about herself. No matter what I was doing it was going to not be enough because she did not want me there.

Sometimes women can be each other’s worst enemies and all the talk about women supporting women is great but doesn’t always happen if you were viewed as a threat to another woman.

Women who target other women do so because they feel threatened and insecure. Their biggest fear is another woman will take their position. Instead of working with them, they work against them viewing them as their competition.

Everyone deserves to work in a safe, respectful, healthy and encouraging environment with a manager and colleagues that have their best interests at heart.

Many victimized employees never share what they’re going through for fear of burning bridges or jeopardizing their future. In turn, this perpetuates, and in most cases, worsens the bullying.

It’s critical to find an organization that promotes wellness and mental health. When looking for a healthy work environment consider:

– respect
– integrity
– growth
– passion
– healthy competition
– drive
– compassion
– flexibility
– second chances

How do you avoid getting into a toxic work environment? Ask a lot of questions during the interview process and closely observe your future boss and colleagues. Don’t rush the hiring process.

It’s sort of like when you start dating someone and everything is great in the honeymoon. But then the cracks start to show. This is why I never understand how people can fall in love immediately and get married within a few months. Just like with a job you have to really get to know someone. And people are on their best behavior in the beginning.

And if you find yourself in an environment that’s not healthy, leave. We are currently living in the Great Resignation – the hottest job market in years. You don’t have to put up with treatment like this. Ever.

If there’s one positive thing you can take from a negative experience like this it is to create a work environment that is the total opposite of what happened to you in the future. It made me a better leader and colleague.

How has living through a toxic work environment changed you?

Here’s a video with more on toxic workplaces.

Today I noticed that I had a cool new LinkedIn feature – the ability to view paywall articles from various online news publishers with my LinkedIn Premium account.

You can see the prompt that I got here when I clicked on an interesting Fast Company article in my news feed that a connection posted.

LinkedIn Premium members will receive five credits they can use each month to unlock paywalled (locked/paid) content they discover on LinkedIn and read on publishers’ websites. The credits don’t roll over so be sure to use them.

In exchange for greater access to paywalled coverage, LinkedIn will send the participating publishers a stream of qualified leads for their own subscription products.

If you have a basic/free LinkedIn account, you can try LinkedIn Premium News with one free Premium News credit.

This feature is being rolled out so you may not have it yet. It’s another way for LinkedIn to offer benefits for a Premium membership (which starts at $29.99 per month).

Have you checked out this feature yet?