SECURING MY CLIENTS’ FUTURES
Estate Planning and Elder Law Come to the Firm
B ack in 2007, long before I met David Gibson, I was still practicing commercial litigation law — the same discipline David and much of The Gibson Law Group deals with today. Though I enjoyed it initially, there was a moment when I suddenly realized it wasn’t the field I wanted to stay in for the rest of my career. At the time, I was leasing an office from an older, more experienced attorney. I would hear him through his office walls almost every day, screaming into the phone for hours at a time. As I was leaving the office one day around 6 p.m., I stopped and listened to him hollering for a moment. “If I keep up doing litigation,” I thought to myself, “I’m going to end up yelling into a phone day after day, just like this guy.” I needed to do something else, something that would mesh more with my personality and allow me to connect with my clients on a deeper level. Soon after I departed my life as a litigator, I discovered estate planning and elder law and never looked back. Today, I spend most of my time protecting seniors from pitfalls and scammers who would leave them penniless and securing the assets of the people I serve, ensuring my clients’ legacies remain intact long after they’ve passed away. It feels good to make a tangible difference for my clients and to guide them to the best possible decisions for them and their loved ones. Of course, if you look at David Gibson and the rest of the team at The Gibson Law Group, they’re a far cry from that loud and embittered attorney whose voice used to leak into my office all day. Still, I’m glad I switched over to my current role; it just more closely aligns with who I am and what I personally want to do. It still has everything I love about
working in the law — finding simple solutions to complex problems — but I find that now I have more time to connect with the client on a personal level. When you’re working in estate planning, that back-and- forth is an absolute necessity. It takes clear lines of communication to suss out the best options for the client. Outside of the office, I’ve been spending most of my time with my wife and three daughters, trying to train our new black pug puppy, Oliver. My oldest just headed back to her last semester of undergraduate studies and, I’m happy to say, she’s looking at possibly starting law school when she gets out. She won’t exactly be following in her father’s footsteps, though — she calls what I do “boring law.” My middle daughter has one more year before she makes her way to college, while my youngest is just learning how to drive. As school starts up, I spend most of my time going from activity to activity with them, but that’s far from a complaint. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I met David Gibson about a year and a half ago, and we became fast friends. Over the summer, I joined his firm as an “of counsel,” offering my services in estate planning and elder law and assisting with cases the firm previously had to refer out to others. I’ve loved working with a new slate of clients from The Gibson Law Group, helping them and their families secure their futures for years to come.
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Has a client ever asked you for something you didn’t have the resources to provide? Have you ever had a request to do something that’s against company protocol? Do clients want you to bend over backward on a task that isn’t worth the ROI? On these occasions, you are perfectly justified in saying no. But clients rarely like being turned down, so it’s important to learn to say no without losing a paying customer. Offer Alternatives Maybe a client has asked for something you don’t traditionally offer. Unless this is a rare opportunity to branch out and begin offering a new service to all clients, it doesn’t make sense to run yourself ragged fulfilling a niche request. Avoid the fear of letting your client down by referring them to another place where they can get what they need. This way, you get to say no while still being the person who helps the client get what they want. Ask for Clarification If you have changed anything in your company, be it the software interface on your website or your pricing structure, you may have frustrated clients who demand things go back to the way they were before. Since that’s not an option, try to determine exactly what they are upset about. By asking a client why they prefer
The first steamy cup of coffee on a brisk day, the smell of cinnamon, and the crispy crunch of leaves under your boots fuel enthusiasm for fall. It is a time for shedding the old in preparation for renewal and regeneration. Growing up in Houston, I remember a blanket of pine needles across every surface and with it, a sea of pine cones. Fall may be known as the time to lay dormant, to wrap a scarf around your neck and drag through your daily routine in anticipation of the time when you finally get to snuggle under your fuzzy blanket and binge-watch Game of Thrones. But, like the pine trees, it is important to plant seeds of success for the spring. It can be easy to get comfortable in your own world and indulge in this dormancy. Just think, if the pine tree waited to start shedding pine cones in spring, it would be too late, and the new sapling wouldn’t be strong enough to survive through the sweltering heat of a Texas summer. The beauty of life is that it is ever-changing. One small event is sometimes all it takes to turn your world upside down. Seeds of success sometimes end up as seeds of failure, but each time a seed is planted, you learn more about the conditions it requires to thrive. WHEN YOU CAN’T SAY Y E S PLANTING THE SEEDS OF SUCCESS 3 Ways to Say No Without Losing a Customer Don’t Lay Dormant This Fall
Planting the seed means taking the small steps that are going to lead to massive change in the long run. Furthermore, you are always making choices about what kinds of seeds you plant each day. It could be learning one new skill, breaking a bad habit, or even putting that spare change in the bottom of your washer in your dream jar. Identify one small, realistic task you can do and write it down. Ensure the task is one you could do immediately if you wanted to. Plant that seed. Do it again the next day and the next day. Continue to nourish and water those seeds by maintaining consistency. It might seem too small to notice, but before you know it, you will have a life full of saplings that will grow to be deeply rooted, powerful trees and from them, more seeds will come.
GREG MCKEOWN’S ‘ESSENTIALISM’
the old way, you might learn that they are having trouble accessing important information in your new software or that the new price increase is beyond their budget. Armed with this information, you can hopefully find a solution for what’s really troubling them. This is also a good time to explain the reason behind the change, if possible. Clients can be more accepting when they understand something better. Make Clients Feel Heard In every interaction, people want to feel listened to. Even when you have to say no to a client, making sure they feel heard and respected can go a long way toward maintaining that goodwill. Acknowledge the issue they are having, empathize with their frustration, and make sure your client knows you are listening by using their name and saying, “I understand.” You can’t say yes to every request, but you can remind clients that you value their support and appreciate the effort it took for them to contact you. Saying no is not bad customer service. When you take the time to say it the right way, you’re actually doing the client a favor because it means you aren’t wasting their time. SUDOKU
WILL HELP YOU DECLUTTER YOUR WORKLOAD
“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will,” writes Greg McKeown in “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” When he set out to write the book, McKeown wanted to know what keeps skilled, driven people from achieving as much as possible. What he found was that many people suffer not from being lazy, but from allocating their time ineffectively. The impulse to “do it all” keeps folks from spending their time on the things that actually matter. The book, then, serves as a guide to cutting out the extraneous and focusing on the essential.
“Life is not an all-you-can-eat buffet,” McKeown says. “It’s amazingly great food. Essentialism is about finding the right food. More and more is valueless. Staying true to my purpose and being selective in what I take on results in a more meaningful, richer, and sweeter quality of life.” This metaphor can be applied to your work life as well. There aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish every task. The essentialist works to spend their time diligently by pursuing what actually matters, rather than filling their days with meaningless busywork. Early in the book, McKeown uses famed Braun designer Dieter Rams as an example of an essentialist. He notes that Rams’ design philosophy can be characterized by three simple words: less but better. This, in essence, is what essentialists believe. Doing your best work where it matters and cutting out the superfluous will allow you to better manage your time and increase your performance. As McKeown puts it, “It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at your highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” Instead of having their energy spread out in a million different directions, essentialists channel it into what really matters. McKeown also advocates for defining your purpose in order to accurately assess what’s essential and what isn’t. The more a task contributes to your purpose, the more essential it is. Many business owners and leaders struggle to let go of tasks that are best left to other employees. If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to manage a massive workload while resenting the fact that much of what you do is needless, then it’s time to pick up a copy of “Essentialism.”
SOLUTION ON PAGE 4
TAKE A BREAK
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INSIDE Meet Aaron Miller, Our New Of Counsel
Can You Say No to a Client?
Planting the Seeds of Success
A Guide to Workplace ‘Essentialism’
Take a Break!
Have You Heard About Mauritius?
Just over 1,000 miles off the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean lies the small island of Mauritius. The island is often overlooked by the rest of the world. Most people are more likely to have heard of the island’s most famous extinct occupant, the dodo bird, than the island itself. This is shocking when you discover how much fun there is to be had in this tropical wonderland. Adventure Awaits Looking for fun in the sun? Start your trip to Mauritius with a hike up the lush Lion Mountain, or take time to snap a photo of the Seven Coloured Earths, where volcanic soil has created sand dunes of seven distinct colors. And what’s a trip to an island without the beach? Beautiful coral reefs surround Mauritius, keeping sharks away from the pristine beaches. Island guests and locals can fearlessly scuba dive around the brilliant reefs, swim with dolphins, kite surf, and find lots of other ways to enjoy the warm ocean waters. MARVELOUS MAURITIUS A Secret Island of Adventure
learn about the island’s layered past. You can visit one of the historical rummeries or explore Mauritius’ two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can also check out Aapravasi Ghat, the Immigration Depot, and Le Mourne Brabant. Taste the Memories A day spent playing on an island is always better with great food. Influenced by its French, Creole, Indian, and Chinese heritage, Mauritius offers a vast menu of delicious dishes to try, from curry to dim sum. And the rich soil and bountiful ocean provide more than enough fresh fruit and seafood to go around. Despite its amazing vacation potential, Mauritius is all but unheard of to people in the United States. This means travelers can find amazing five-star resorts at unbeatable prices! With this in mind, isn’t it time you got to know the island of Mauritius?
Walk Through History More than a tropical escape, Mauritius is an island full of history and culture, so there are plenty of opportunities to
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