Feature Article: Out of the Office—Gone Camping
by Kevin Houchin
Recently, I took 3 days out of the office to go camping with my 9-year-old son's 3rd and 4th grade class at the Pawnee National Grasslands. Of course it rained every day and was fairly cold and windy. The kids had a great time and maybe even learned a few things, but I learned at least a couple things worth sharing.
1. Clients appreciate knowing their lawyers are human too
I let my clients with active matters know I would be out of the office on the camping trip. They all responded with "have fun"—not "how dare you be unavailable." Granted, I had one issue that required a few text messages, a call, and some internet access via my iPhone, but staying on top of that required a total of about an hour total over the course of the 3 days and that client knew I would be on the job as soon as I got back to "civilization."
Maybe the culture of a larger firm doesnít allow this kind of flexibility, which is one of the reasons I enjoy small/solo practice. Iím blessed with clients who are usually void of unreasonable expectations of me. Iím betting if you think your clients are going to be upset with you taking some time for yourself or your family, youíre probably wrong. Iíve discovered that we really are not that important and are not on our clientsí minds that often. They have bigger things to worry about than what their lawyers are up to this afternoon.
2. We donít have to be flashy all the time to serve our purpose
The bigger thing that I realized on the camping trip came to me on one of the hikes. We were hiking out to one of the buttes. There isnít a lot to look at except sky because this is one of those scenes out of a classic western movie.
I noticed a very small, but very pretty flower in the underbrush. The fact that I noticed was itself notable, but then I thought about it. That beautiful flower, and probably millions like it spring into life, serve their purpose (however limited), and move on to whatever is next presumably without ever worrying about if someone notices them or not. Millions of them are never noticed at all, but does that make their existence any less beautiful or useful? I think not.
My take-away was this—I spend too much time trying to be noticed for the good things I do. I need be more content just sharing whatever small beauty I
can with whomever chances upon my existence, without striving to get attention. The Tao Te Ching tells us that the Master does his work, and then leaves it
alone and so the work lasts forever.
I think we can all learn a little something from those flowers I noticed out on the range. Share your beauty without striving for those willing to notice, and know that just the effort of sharing is good enough.
Kevin Houchin is a lawyer, graphic designer, husband, father and creative spirit. In his law practice, Houchin & Associates P.C., Kevin advises creative people on how to maximize creativity, build businesses, and protect intellectual property. He is also the founder of The Space Between Center for Creative Spirit in Business, a unique mentorship program designed to equip, inspire and position lawyers and other entrepreneurs to attract and serve their ideal clients in the information age. From vital flat-fee billing schedules to advanced internet marketing strategies, no subject is left uncovered in this groundbreaking mastermind program.
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