Cracking the Code: Trust Your Gut

If the situation does not seem right at the beginning, or the client does not seem like a good fit at the beginning, act accordingly.  In my entire career that has never changed. When it starts off wrong it ends up wrong. Dreaming and hoping that it will turn around is foolish. If something does not seem right at the beginning, just don’t get involved.

The corollary to that lesson is, if you have ignored your gut and are now in a situation that is sinking, get out of it. When everyone at home knows because you crossed the threshold in a foul mood and took it out on them, when your secretary is afraid to put the call through because she knows who it is on the phone, get out of it.

As a lawyer I have learned to say: “For whatever reason this is just not working. You have paid me this, and I am giving it all back to you-a 100% refund. Find another lawyer. We are done.” (And I follow that up with a letter.)

We all know that life is a journey-not a destination. And that journey should be filled with lifelong learning-not just about your core competence, which is an obvious ongoing need but about skills that are related. Go to experts and invest in yourself to improve yourself on a regular basis.

Patricia Annino is a nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  For more visit:  www.patriciaannino.com



Cracking The Code: Know Your Own Worth

Women tend to spend most of their time striving to excel, going for the “A” and focusing on external approval (“Atta girl, great job!) to derive a sense of accomplishment.

Going for the “A”, however, is a weak and singular goal.

Men understand that they can go for the “A” and also go for making good money; and, in fact, these are not mutually exclusive concepts.  Nor are they concepts that conflict; they are collaborative concepts that go together, and when they do, you can achieve greater success. You can achieve the “A” more often and earn more money as well.

Because by nature women base their success on their relationships to others, they often make choices that are not in their best interest. Barbara Stanny, the pioneer in the field of women, money and self esteem and author of “Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money: and “Secrets of Six Figure Earning Women:  Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life” says the reason women don’t earn what they should is not because of any external force, but rather an internal force that stems from the way they have been mapping their lives.

Women give more of their time away than men do.

They undervalue themselves. They give breaks to people they feel sorry for (regardless of that person’s ability to pay), and they do not value themselves economically. Women will get a second job to earn more money, rather than insisting on getting what they deserve to earn in their core job.

Cracking the Code: Create Your Own Review!

In most positions as an employee you are “reviewed” on an annual basis. That is when you are called in and your strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement are summarized. You are told where you stand, and often this review is tied to your compensation/bonus/career track. Many women make this a one-way process. They expect to be judged, and they listen to what is said.

A better idea is to take the time in advance to review all your accomplishments and write them down.

After all, who knows better than you what you are doing and what value you bring to the organization?

In one of my first associate positions I knew that I was going to be reviewed, and I was pretty sure no one understood what I had accomplished, so I put together a ten page report on what I had done. The report was not just a list. It had numbers in it-ways that my results had driven revenue, client relationships that had been strengthened because of my involvement, ideas and directions I had suggested. It also included a listing of ideas and strategies I was currently working on. I knew what was important to the firm, and I made sure that my report addressed all of those factors and my contributions.

The managing partner and committee were taken aback by the amount of work I had put into it. They told me they had never seen anything like that. At the end of the report I asked for a certain dollar bonus, and I received it. I later found out that the bonus I asked for was the highest bonus given to any associate that year.

Patricia Annino is a nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  For more visit:  www.patriciaannino.com



Cracking the Code: Just Say NO!

In one of my first associate positions, I was interested in doing trusts and estates, but the real estate market was booming and the trusts and estates work was not as busy. The managing partner of the firm assigned me to work in real estate. 

Although I did not like real estate work it did not occur to me that I could say no to the assignment.

Soon I was doing 12-15 condominium closings a day. The more work I did, the more work I got, but it still did not occur to me to say “no.” I soldiered on and found myself driving to the lending bank’s office every night at 9:00 on my way home from the office to drop off closing packages in a locked chute. I gained 10 pounds because I was always eating fast food on the fly and had to buy new clothes because I did not have time to do laundry.

That continued for six months. No one thanked me. No one gave me a raise or bonus and no one else had to work as hard. No one cared, but to be fair,

Why should they if I did not care enough to stick up for myself?

When I left that firm-not because of that experience but because there was not enough trust and estate work, which is what I wanted to do-the managing partner was shocked. “You had a tremendous future here,” he told me, “You are one of the best workers we have ever had!” (No kidding.)

Many women have a hard time saying “no” because of the manner in which we value relationships and the connections we create with others.

We worry that if we say “no,” we are letting someone down.

The reality is when we don’t say “no” in certain circumstances we are demonstrating a lack of self respect and letting ourselves down. 

Hand in hand with ‘Just Say No’ is that we all need to remember that we are our biggest asset-our minds and our time. We must remind ourselves of that, recognize it and take care of ourselves. 

Patricia Annino is a nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  For more visit:  www.patriciaannino.com


Cracking the Code: Be Creative With Your Marketing

In 2004 I wrote a book, Women & Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning. Once it was in hand the question became, how do I market it? For me, presenting seminars was a natural fit, and I approached those with compatible practices with the possibility of presenting a seminar. 

The head of an accounting firm and I presented an estate planning seminar for women. We invited a well known master chef to cook dinner after the presentation and advertised that on the invitation, knowing that the women would come because of the chef. That would be the hook to get them to listen to us. 

We put tremendous thought into whom we invited to attend, made sure each table had a current client of each of ours, a prospective client of each of ours, and an employee of each of our firms whose specialty was compatible with the client and prospect. We briefed his employees on what to expect and what we expected as an outcome. We made sure each woman walked away with a gift bag that included flowers, a bottle of wine and my book. The event was a tremendous success, and both of us attracted new business because of the way it was handled.

A local hospital that had just opened a breast care center, thought Women and Money would be a perfect topic for a fundraiser. We invited 100 women to lunch, charging each $50.00 to attend, and that check was written out to the new breast care center at the hospital. The event was a triple win-the breast care center was highlighted and met new donors, my book was highlighted, and the women had a wonderful time. 

Thinking outside the box when looking to market your product or service is a tremendous way to capture new business and build relationships in multiple ways. 

Patricia Annino is a nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  For more visit:  www.patriciaannino.com



Cracking the Code: Connections Build Business

Men take the importance of connections seriously and put together a game plan on how to leverage them and make them effective. One of the first law firms I worked in had an annual Christmas party for its important clients. The lawyers in the office were handpicked. You were selected that year if you were a “star” and if you had the opportunity to increase the depth of the relationship between the firm and the clients.

The managing partner of that firm took building those relationships and the money expended to make it happen very seriously. Each year on the day of the Christmas party he would call into the conference room all of the selected lawyers – most of whom were older than I was and most of whom were men – and he would remind them of the rules that were to be followed at the party:

  1. No lawyer was to eat the shrimp-that was for the guests and too expensive.
  2. You had to have a glass of beer or wine in your hand so the guests felt comfortable, but you were not allowed to drink it
  3. No lawyers were to congregate and speak to each other; the point of the evening was to connect with clients.

His preplanning and “lecture” worked. Every year the firm achieved new connections, strengthened existing relationships and increased revenue from the party.

Men also understand that the entire world is connected and positive connections may prove useful later on. One of the first firms I worked in had a policy that whenever an attorney left (unless the attorney was fired) there was a lunch in his or her honor where the attorney’s contributions to the firm were applauded. That firm knew that it is a small world. That attorney could very well end up in a position to refer business back or to recommend someone in the firm for a position.

Patricia Annino is a nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  For more visit:  www.patriciaannino.com

css.php