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Melissa Shanahan

#168: Overview: Drive Success with Reminders, Rest, and Rewards (Part 1)

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As you may have heard, Melissa introduced a concept called The Wee Things in a special episode where she was joined by her husband. Of course, we all want to knock it out of the park with our goals and tee ourselves up to win, but The Wee Things are what actually contribute to your success, so this conversation needs to be kept alive.

When Melissa started the 75 Hard Challenge back in April, it quickly catapulted her into a dark mental space. While she had an excellent plan she was ready to execute on, the big shifts and transitions happening concurrently over a short period of time sent her into a tailspin. And since she’s had some revelations about this experience, she’s here to kick off a brand new series.

This week, Melissa breaks down the power of focusing on and taking care of The Wee Things, and why, without them, even with the most perfect plan, you will be left in the dust. You’ll discover the three R’s of The Wee Things you need to consider, and how going into execution mode without this piece will leave you falling short.

If you’re a law firm owner, Mastery Group is the way for you to work with me. This program consists of quarterly strategic planning facilitated with guidance and community every step of the way. The enrollment window for Mastery Group is open right now, so click here to join us!

Show Notes:

What You’ll Discover:

• What the concept of The Wee Things means.

• The power of focusing on and taking care of The Wee Things.

• Why an intentional focus on The Wee Things will eliminate the barriers that are preventing you from winning at this game.

• The 3 R’s of The Wee Things that will produce the most success for you.

• How not considering these three categories will leave you in the dust as you go after your goals.

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#108: The Wee Things Matter

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Full Episode Transcript:

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I’m Melissa Shanahan, and this is the law firm owner podcast, Episode #168.

Welcome to The Law Firm Owner Podcast powered by Velocity Work for owners who want to grow a firm that gives them the life they want. Get crystal clear on where you're going. Take planning seriously and honor your plan like a pro. This is the work that creates Velocity.

Hey, everyone, welcome to this week's episode. I'm so glad you're here. I am just coming off my birthday weekend. My birthday is August 21st, and I turned 42 this year. It was a great weekend. On Saturday night, my husband and I had a date night, and went out for a tasting at a local aperitif startup. That was super fun, got to talk to the owners.

That was a great time, and then went to dinner at a place we've been wanting to try. And that was a great meal, with great service. I care a lot about service. I'm never mean to servers, but man, I know, good service. I used to teach customer service at the consulting firm I used to work for, there was a training I did on it. My eyes are always very open to it. When it's done well, and this place did it really well. So, that was great.

It was called Abejas, in Golden Colorado, in case you're out this way or maybe you live in Denver, and you want to give it a shot. It was an excellent experience. And then Sunday, our house is on the market, right now. So, we had an open house for our home on Sunday, which was my actual birthday.

We decided, because we had to get out of the house anyway, we went to Cheesman Park, which is a park here in Denver. Probably my favorite park here in Denver. So, we went there; took a blanket, got a bunch of really great snacks and drinks, and had some of my best friends come and some family come, and just hang in the park and let the toddlers run.

It was excellent. And, it wasn't too hot, it wasn't too cold. It was sunny, but not. We had some shade. It was just very idyllic. I’m back this week, and my heart is very full. It was just a really wonderful weekend.

And now here we are, we are back and preparing to end August strong. Enrollment, as I'm recording this, is still open for Mastery Group. But by the time this airs, it will be closed again. Now listen, if you missed the window and you want to get on the waitlist, go to, and you can put yourself on the waitlist there. And next time we open enrollment, which will be towards the end of this year, November, then you can join us at that point.

We are excited to work with the new members. We have a lot of really fun plans to be more helpful, more hands on with the new members, so that they get comfortable, and we are just ready and excited over here. I hope you are planning things well, and considering with lifting your head and evaluating where you are in the quarter. Are you on track? Are you off track? You don't have to do much more than that. Just get awareness about; are you spinning in busyness, or are you actually creating results?

If you are finding that it's hard to answer, or that you're not spinning in busyness, then this is an opportunity to say, “Okay, listen. Let's go to the calendar. Let's make sure that I have this set up the way I want, so that I can be successful and finish the quarter strong.”

We don't have that much time left in the quarter. And it's very common for law firm owners to get to the end of the quarter and realize like; oh, wow, Q4 is here. All right. And, you didn't really follow through, or remember, or stick with the plans that you had made for yourself, or the priorities that you wanted to keep. It's like the can keeps getting kicked down the road.

This is very common. And this is just your local PSA (Public Service Announcement) to lift your head and just see, okay, what am I doing here? Am I getting caught up in busyness? Am I staying on track the way I wanted to? If I'm not, how can I shift so that I'm at least leaning in the direction more of what I want, instead of just remaining in the busyness of it all? So, this is your reminder to do them.

Now today, I'm going to be sharing something with you that I've wanted to share for a while, but I needed to let it settle, simmer, poke holes in it, make sure that I felt really good about what I was going to share here. So, that it was worth it for you guys. As many of you have heard, I talk about a concept called the “Wee Things”, and that the Wee Things matter. We did an episode on this, I think it was September 2021, with my husband.

I interviewed my husband, and we talked about a coach that he had. He played soccer at a pretty high level, had a coach that used to say, “The wee things matter.” I loved that. I've had conversations with him and his teammates about this. And it stuck with them, which is kind of why I even know about it. And so now, it sticks with me.

The idea is that, of course, for them... Of course, you want to go win the championships and knock it out of the park, on the field, when it matters. But the wee things are what will actually contribute to the win or to the success of that thing. And the focus for the team, was that you have to focus on the wee things and make sure those are taken care of, so that you can perform the way you want to perform on the field.

So, I love the concept. I play around with this for myself. All of my clients and members are facilitated through thinking through this portion, for themselves. Like, at the end of their strategic planning retreat, there's a section where they have to think about these things.

Because they have this excellent plan, that they're supposed to go execute and knock out of the park with. But if they don't tee themselves up, well, they won't give themselves the same shot that they could have, to be successful with the plans that they had set.

There are different ways that this comes out. It's usually around taking care of yourself and supporting yourself, getting enough rest, making sure you're not drinking too much. Like, that's a very common thing. You know, people have drinks at night, but they're not as sharp as they could be during the day. I have experienced that for myself.

So, this is all something that is very personal, it's very individual, when you're making decisions about the wee things that matter for you. And you can't just focus on 10, wee things all of a sudden, and do those really well. You do need to make headway with wee things, so you pick one or two that are really going to matter. And, you make sure to do those things.

And then, once it becomes your new normal, you can stack the next set of wee things. Many times, for people, it's been around drinking enough water; getting enough sleep, automating certain things in the morning so that they have a really smooth morning, and they can get out the door, having a closing routine for the day, or an opening routine for the day. Just small things.

Now, another way to think about this is, what are the wee things that you can do, that are multipliers for you? So, when you make sure that this thing is done, this wee thing, it just tees you up to win at whatever you're supposed to be doing. This can cover many different life categories, so that's not what this is about.

But what I do want to share with you, is that I had a realization earlier this year, around, there's a few different kinds of wee things that will produce the most success, will be the best multipliers for you. I have tested this out on myself, I have talked to clients about this. And the verdict is in, that these three categories need to be considered for yourself.

If they are not considered, you will leave yourself in the dust, in the going after your goals and dreams and plans. Now, even if you do leave yourself in the dust, and you go after your goals and dreams and your plans, you are cutting yourself off from what's possible. It's like you haven't set yourself up to really knock it out of the park, so you can get it done.

But could you have gotten it done in a way, that number one felt better? Maybe you could have gotten it done more quickly, just the journey would have been optimized. Maybe you would have reacted differently along the way, as you were executing. It is subtle.

So, I'm not saying here that you can't accomplish your goals and your dreams and your plans without considering these wee things. But damn, it can be smoother, if you consider the wee things. So, that feels important, to keep that conversation alive with you all, with members, and with private clients.

And so here, I'm going to break down what I realized. When I started 75 Hard, which was in April, I shoved myself into this program, which catapulted me into a pretty dark mental state for about 10 days. And you know, having come out the other side of it and being able to articulate it, I pulled the Band-Aid®, I ripped the Band-Aid on so many things that I had been doing, that weren't the healthiest. And I think, it was just a lot for my body to handle at once.

If I would have gone slower and, you know, shifted the way I ate a bit and started increasing my activity, then I think my body wouldn't have reacted so severely. But it was just pulling the plug on sugar, flour, alcohol, exercising twice a day when I really wasn't consistent at all with exercising, and all of that just did a number on me.

And it felt hormonal, the shift felt hormonal. If you're a woman, then you will understand this, hormonal stuff, like big shifts and transitions, it feels like it's happening to you. It doesn't feel like there's anything you can do at all, to come out from underneath it. So, I'm familiar with that feeling. And that's what it felt like, and I think just the rip of the Band-Aid, with all the things I did to myself physiologically and the improvements I made, quite frankly, was a lot at once, and sent me into a tailspin.

It was a really deep depressive episode that was pretty short-lived, meaning under 10 days. My anxiety… It was like depression and anxiety all at the same time, was so ramped, which means my worry, and my over analyzation, and spinning on certain things, and feeling like this was all way too much. It just felt like the weight of the world, and it wasn't the appropriate level of anxiety and/or worry, and doubt, and depression for what I have going on.

But it was like, mentally and physiologically, I couldn't handle things in the same way, because of what I had done. So, all this to say, I get out on the other side of this, and it did lift at day 10. And I knew, when I was in it, when I realized what was happening, it dawned on me that; oh my god, I am in this state, because of what I have done health wise. Like, I just threw myself into this, and this is one of the effects that I'm having.

And so, I thought, “Okay, if this doesn't lift… Like, I don't want to stop. If my body is adjusting, I don't want to interrupt it and just take steps backwards, unless, of course I need to. But I'm gonna stick with this, and now I am expecting that this is going to feel like shit for a while. And I don't know how long, but I'm going to give this another week. And if I don't feel better, then I'm going to go to a doctor. And I'm probably going to, like, stop 75 Hard and with the commitments I made there.”

So, it did lift. I was right. My hunch was right. I got through it. It was like my body cleared some things and I pushed the reset button, it was just very intense. And when I came on the other side of it… So, like, day 10, I swear to you, it felt like it just started to shift pretty quickly into a much lighter mode and much healthier mental state. And it held, I have not felt like that since then. It's been pretty remarkable.

And so, as time went on, I was able to see much more clearly what had been going wrong when I had done my plans, and my goals, and things that I teach and facilitate, when I'm doing them for myself in my business. What was going wrong was very clear to me. And that, is what I want to share with you guys.

Because I have always liked this concept of the Wee Things. I have always known that they matter. I have always tuned into them. I don't ignore them. It's something I think about and make plans for. So, not only do I have goals and Rocks for myself, in my business, I also have wee things I am implementing, so that I can tee myself up really well.

But I was missing some things, that once I was really clear headed and I could look back, I can see what I was missing. And what it boils down to is yes, it's the wee things, but there's three different kinds of wee things that you need to consider. And they just so happen to all start with “R”, so I have been calling them, “the three R's”.

So, what are the three R's? Okay. One of them is reminders. You need daily reminders of what you're doing, what you're committed to, and why it matters. It is very easy to set these lofty goals and to make these grand plans, and then allow yourself to get caught up in the busyness. Kind of like what we talked about at the beginning of this episode.

And reminders and daily reminders are extremely important to keep you on the path that you want to be on. I am going to cover this, in more depth, on the next episode. I'm really going to dig into reminders and give you what I do for myself, what I encourage others to do, but having something that you can look at every day before you hit your day, that says, “Oh yeah, this is what we're doing. And, this is why.” That makes a huge difference in your decision-making throughout the day. So, that's the first R.

The second R is rest. Now rest, yes, that covers sleep. But it also covers time for leisure and rejuvenation. So, we're going to talk about that one, as well. And then the third R is rewards. Rewards is super interesting, because people have a hard time finding ways to celebrate the win that happen.

Like, the word “celebration” doesn't always land for everybody. It doesn't land for me. I'm one of them, where, you know, someone says, “Have you celebrated your success?” I'm like, I don't even know what that means. I get what they're saying, I think, but I don't know how to tell them how I've celebrated.

Do I have a party every time I hit X? No. Right? So, what do we mean? Am I throwing confetti around? Am I blowing a bazooka? So, celebration for me for some reason, it's hard to say, “Yes. And, here's how we celebrated.” But I can think of rewards for hitting milestones, and rewards for certain types of behavior exhibited by myself, and others, by the way.

You can totally apply this to your team. Right now, I want you to think about you. Because if you're not running optimized, then you shouldn't be applying this stuff to other people. You should figure this out for yourself first, and then go for it with your team.

So, how can you reward yourself for hitting certain milestones or leading the team to hit certain milestones? And, how can you reward yourself for certain behaviors that you have exhibited? That you're saying yes, yes; it's like reinforcing that behavior.

Now, some people think I don't need all that. But the truth is, you're wrong about that. There's been too many studies done that have shown that the human brain responds to rewarding behavior. Now, rewards can look different. There are many different kinds of rewards you could consider. And I do think it's worth a brainstorm. And, we're gonna go into that when I'm covering more in-depth rewards as a category. But rewards are worth thinking through.

Now, each of these can be wee things. But giving thought to it, before you're supposed to go out and execute on your plans, is important because it means that you're building this stuff in. That's a part of the planning process.

So, that's why in people's workbooks, when I give them their workbooks, there is a, you know, a section for setting goals, there's a section for setting Rocks, there's some other stuff in there too. But then, there's also a section at the end called, Integration, where we talk about what are the wee things? What are the small things?

It's just anticipating you, as the human, and the kind of barriers you are going to hit. And, how do you eliminate or lighten those barriers? What can you do to tee yourself up to win at this game, that you’re getting ready to enter? And so, it all becomes a part of the plan. This is very important to keep you whole, as you move towards your goals, your plans, and your dreams, the results that you want to create.

When you can keep yourself whole, you can go further, faster. And you also don't have to pick yourself up, like scrape yourself off the pavement, at the end of every quarter, and try to boost morale for yourself and for your team and go again. It prevents some of that. Now listen, I say some of that, there are going to be quarters that are really hard. You're going to have to like, take a deep breath and recoup, and be very intentional about that.

But if you aren't leaving yourself in the dust, it's not going to be as severe as it could be otherwise. So, the reason I'm doing this episode, this series, is because when you're considering wee things, I think when I say that to people, it's overwhelming. It's like they have the sun, moon, and stars to pick from, what are they supposed to choose when they're thinking through the wee things, and the wee things that matter?

This can help you identify the types of wee things you have to consider. And so, it is; reminders, rest and rewards. And as you come up with ideas that could be wee things, that are reminders of what you are doing and why, and why it matters. And wee things that could be making sure that you're getting the right amount of rest; not just sleep, but leisure time and rejuvenation, just space.

And then, wee things that can be rewards for the hard work you're putting in, and for rewarding behavior that you are proud of exhibiting for yourself. Though, when you consider all of this, what will happen, is you will start to see there are some things that you need to build into your day. But wee things take a very tiny amount of time, they do not take a bunch of time. So, that's why we call it a multiplier.

Maybe you spend a minute reading through reminders, for example. And that one thing makes you 20 times more effective and on point, over the course of the quarter, right? So, it's a multiplier. When you think of these rewards, and rest, and reminders, you'll start to come up with ideas on things you can automate, so that you can tee yourself up better. And things that you can do, that take a very small amount of time, but are going to multiply results.

This is really important; this topic is important. And it's very easy to leave this stuff out of planning. Because you are just focused on the big goals, and the Rocks, and the big initiatives that need to be done. You feel pretty pumped up, and there's this an emotional high once you get done.

So then, you go into execution mode without considering this piece, it's more likely that you will hit a wall, or get distracted, or fall short for some reason, that could have been prevented had you thought about these things that we're gonna be talking about.

Wee things matter. And now, we have a way to easily identify some of the things through the three R's. We're gonna be digging more into this in the next episode. I think you guys will really enjoy that. It'll be a little more nuts and boltsey for you all.

And then, for those of you in Mastery Group and private clients, this is going to be a part of the workbook. So, we'll make sure to cover this when we are together for your strategic planning retreat, for Q4.

Alright everyone, thank you so much. I'll be here next Tuesday with more on this topic. Have a wonderful week. Bye-bye.

Hey, you may not know this, but there's a free guide for a process I teach called, Monday Map/ Friday Wrap. If you go to it's all yours. It's about how to plan your time and honor your plans. So that week over week, more work that moves the needle is getting done in less time. Go to to get your free copy.

Thank you for listening to The Law Firm Owner Podcast. If you're ready to get clearer on your vision, data, and mindset, then head over to where you can plug in to Quarterly Strategic Planning, with accountability and coaching in between. This is the work that creates Velocity.

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