93: Resiliency and Business Development, a Conversation with Paula Davis-Laack

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Skills You Can Learn to Grow Your Practice

Paula Davis-Laack, is the Founder and CEO of Davis-Laack Stress and Resilience Institute. A former practicing lawyer, Paula is a stress and resilience expert and has taught stress and resiliency skills to thousands of professionals around the world.

Paula Davis Laack Bio

For those not excited about executing tactical business development responsibilities; networking; pitching on business without success, and generally taking time to grow your practice when you prefer to practice law– this episode is for you.

In LeftFoot episode 93 we talk with Paula Davis-Laack about lawyers and resilience and the relationship between resilience and business development. First, resiliency defined. Resiliency is the ability to deal with a challenge, change, and disruption: How to withstand it? How do you recover? How to bounce forward from these experiences and moving ahead more prepared.

We began our discussion with some common traits of resilient people. Resilient people think differently under stress and pressure. They connect with others more and have the ability to develop relationships, to be part of the conversation. Resilient people are curious about learning and finding out more.   Resilient people understand how to thrive, how you recharge and stay engaged.

Resilience is a skill set you can build and practice using tools that can get you through rejection – losing a client, loosing out on a new project with a client or prospect – and help you be more resilient and make meaningful strides.   Building resilience takes self-awareness and practice.

Paula shared a quick resiliency tool to assist with ‘thinking differently when under stress and pressure’.

Using the acronym STOP:

S – Stop

T – Take a breath

O – Observe – do a quick observation of how you feel, what your feeling

P – Proceed

Using this quick time out you can reflect on what you’re thinking under stress and pressure and carry more awareness into the next situation.

The relationship between resilience and business development lead us to discuss self-efficacy and ones belief in their ability to be successful.   People with high self-efficacy, look at difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered versus threats to be avoided. They believe they can stick with things longer – work harder, and look for resources to assist them versus ways to escape.

In a discussion following our interview Paula shared the following tips for building self-efficacy; an essential component of resilience:

  1. Mastery experiences are the most effective way to build self-efficacy. Getting the chance to learn by doing, and being successful in the performance of new skills.
  2. Vicarious experiences are the next best way. Observing others be successful at the desired activity.
  3. Verbal persuasion – learn by being coached by a credible respected source about your efforts. They express confidence in your abilities to complete the task, give feedback and guidance and recognize a job well done.

Research shows that lawyers with high self-efficacy are better able to identify new business opportunities, create new products, think creatively, commercialize ideas and persevere under pressure.

Embracing resiliency is not difficult, but it does take practice. Like business development, it’s a skill set and can be learned.  Tune in next week for Episode 94 where we feature legal industry innovator, Mark Cohen, Chair of the Advisory Board and Chief Strategy Officer at Elevate Legal Services.