How To Measure Success

about this episode

“If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful!” – Charles Barkley

episode transcribed

Todd Burnham 0:00
Hi, this is Todd Burnham. I am a licensed practicing attorney. But just because you're listening to me doesn't mean that I represent you. This is for informational purposes only if you're good with that, then let's roll.

Chris Braden 0:20
Season One was about how Todd Burnham started Burnham Law in his basement and built into one of the most prestigious law firms in Colorado by thinking outside of the box and surrounding himself with the best lawyers and staff in the industry. Now during a pandemic Burnham Law is still growing. How you ask? Walk toward the storm and face it head on, and you have power the people that help get you there. It's time to execute. It's time to make some lemonade. It's time to burn the ships. This is Deep Bench with Todd Burnham. Hey, Todd, how's it going, buddy?

Todd Burnham 0:57
It's happening Chris.

Chris Braden 0:57
Hey man. So we just talked about trusting your gut. Now, we did go off on a little tangent there. And so what I want to talk about today is how do you measure success? Because when you're an athlete, that's really easy. It's usually wins losses, you can always work on your game, and can tell you're getting better. But at the end of the day, when you're an athlete, it's about winning and losing. And that's sad to say, but that's just the way it is.

Todd Burnham 1:28
Yeah, I don't know, I think for me success is like, it's a moving target. And, and I have compartments for every, you know, most aspects of my life.

Chris Braden 1:39

Todd Burnham 1:39
And so I'm a pretty driven individual and, and like we talked about, I think earlier was like, I don't need people to tell me how I'm doing because I'm my own worst critic, you know?

Chris Braden 1:50

Todd Burnham 1:51
So I measured as it really is kind of like the, the whole point of what what I try to do in my life is, is try to get better, try to get better every day. And so it's in you, as long as you keep having a moving target, then success, you know, the definition of it for you is, is going to keep growing. And so at some point, for me, at least, the success for me at the firm was that I saw, you know, we have nearly half of our cases are referrals or things like that, you know, that's success, like, that's a reputation that's like, repeat people that unfortunately, like, if they're coming back in its domestic relations, then maybe we didn't do as good a job as we could have. That's how I think about it, could we have finished that case? And a lot of most of the time, it's not, you're gonna have people on both ends that are very emotional, and that are, you know, are focused on their children. So, but I think for the success of the firm, at what point when is it enough for me, I was so happy and content with how it's been going. And, and really happy with the growth of it. And I wanted to take a look at it and say, Alright, I think this is great. I don't need to keep putting everything, all of myself into this. And I can start putting some of that energy in places that I really want to focus on.

Chris Braden 3:15

Todd Burnham 3:16
And that even that mindset for me is success. Like getting to that point is success. And not necessarily like, now I have to you know, where am I going to put my emphasis or my plate the hopefully is imagined it's going to be with my family. But what kind of quality time was that? Was Archer driving me nuts and I just put them in front of Zelda? You know, so

Chris Braden 3:38
It works.

Todd Burnham 3:39
I know. And, and I'm but I'm also really critical of that stuff like I I don't know, I I want to keep growing. I want to keep getting better and and also keep becoming more and more more comfortable with just who I am. I think that's what we all try to do.

Chris Braden 3:56
You know, I think it's cool that you said that because especially you if you listen to deep bench season one. Early on, when you moved to Colorado success was not only about winning cases, but about revenues growing the offices.

Todd Burnham 4:12

Chris Braden 4:12
And it's just like life, you kind of evolve into, okay, this is going well now I need to like succeed at home. So when I first started you were wanting to succeed in college, succeed in law school succeed on the field. Then you were succeeding in the job. Learning about being an attorney.

Todd Burnham 4:33
Yeah, yeah.

Chris Braden 4:33
And then now you're at a place to where, man. This is kind of what I thought I wanted to build.

Todd Burnham 4:41
Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's, I don't see any I don't see the weaknesses.

Chris Braden 4:45
That's success

Todd Burnham 4:46
That's success, right?

Chris Braden 4:48

Todd Burnham 4:48
So at that point, is it okay, now, I listened to people. I really do. I listened to the people that and I watched the lives of others. People and I listened to their families and how they spoke of them, like when they die.

Chris Braden 5:04

Todd Burnham 5:05
And so I, you know, success is not making more to me. It's not like it, maybe it ends up being that because what something else that I choose to do is, is successful.

Chris Braden 5:19

Todd Burnham 5:20
But it was,

Chris Braden 5:21
Which it probably will because you know how to do it now?

Todd Burnham 5:24
Well, yeah.

Chris Braden 5:24
You know how to succeed.

Todd Burnham 5:25
Right. It's kind of like

Chris Braden 5:27
That's an important process man.

Todd Burnham 5:29
Really, I never I am amazed sometimes of where I came from, you know, like, my mother's every time I talk, I'm so proud of you like, thanks mom . Well, so I look at those things. And I'm more proud that I did this because I'm, I'm doing what I said is important to me.

Chris Braden 5:47

Todd Burnham 5:47
And it's, once you start, like, wait a second, we can build this into go into different states, which is a natural progression of what has been built. And do I want to put my efforts, and I know what it's going to take to do that? And that when I knew that, that's where it had to go. That was one of those final pieces of Yeah, no, it's good.

Chris Braden 6:10
And they're excited to do it.

Todd Burnham 6:12
And they're, it's like, you've got mini Todd's that are just chomping at the bit to make their own mark.

Chris Braden 6:18

Todd Burnham 6:19
Like, that's really cool.

Chris Braden 6:20
Dude, we're gonna own frickin' LA, we're gonna freakin go own Dallas. That's how we're gonna roll.

Todd Burnham 6:25
You know, probably, I mean, and I look at that, and I'm like, that's really exciting. That's exciting. Like, I, I have done it at a high level burned hot for a long time. And I'm proud of myself for being able to make that move and that decision, and, and I want to start focusing on getting, like honing in my skills of inspiring my kids. In a way that's not like, it's not about competition. It's like, what are the things that you love, I want to spend time with you doing things that you love to do.

Chris Braden 6:58
And it's so cool to hear you say that, it struck me it's funny because I I screwed up my career because I decided to stay where I'm at as far as where I'm living.

Todd Burnham 7:12

Chris Braden 7:12
And there's X amount of opportunities for what I was doing there. And me and my wife sat down one day, and I was like, well, we have a couple of options. And at that moment, I decided that success for me, was all about family.

Todd Burnham 7:32

Chris Braden 7:32
Business second. And I gotta be honest with you, it was hard. Because especially when you're younger, man, they will throw stones I mean, it's ugly.

Todd Burnham 7:42

Chris Braden 7:42
And to watch you just like, you just kill it in business and, and it feels like you've done it. Like so right. You've, you've made a good business, you've made a great life. And now you're, you're turning that spotlight on the family. I mean, it's pretty freakin amazing.

Todd Burnham 8:00
Thank you.

Chris Braden 8:01
That's total success in my eyes.

Todd Burnham 8:03
I you know, I and you gotta remember man, like, and I appreciate that, especially coming from you, Chris. You know, I look at these things in my wife makes fun of me all the time. Like, if we're getting an argument, she's like, what movie did you get that from? I find I find these, you know, the values that I have are things that I haven't learned. They're things that that I haven't seen in, in the world in my real life.

Chris Braden 8:30

Todd Burnham 8:31
And I resonate a lot with, like, I identify and I connect with movies.

Chris Braden 8:38
So do I.

Todd Burnham 8:39
So like, when you're like watching a movie, and I'm watching something, and they're in this situation, and, and it's like a life experience that you're living through something else, right, if you get immersed in a movie.

Chris Braden 8:49

Todd Burnham 8:49
And I'm like, oh, man, that resonates with me. My intuition is talking to me there that that's my real belief. And I remember watching, what was the Billy Beane story, the

Chris Braden 9:02
Oh Moneyball?

Todd Burnham 9:03

Chris Braden 9:03
Yeah, love that movie by the way.

Todd Burnham 9:05
Love the movie. It's how you, he tells you exactly lays out how to fire someone.

Chris Braden 9:11

Todd Burnham 9:12
And it's truthful, it's resonates here. And then he taught and then he makes a decision. He's given the keys to the kingdom of the Boston Red Sox, the highest offer of the time of a general manager

Chris Braden 9:26
in history of baseball,

Todd Burnham 9:27
and in the movie, at least, he stays because he wants to be closer to his daughter. And I'm like, that is what that's who I am.

Chris Braden 9:37
That's success.

Todd Burnham 9:39
That's success to me. No, it wasn't like I was I thought about it a long time after that movie. Because not coming from money. Just you know, and I think of myself, I'm like, Oh my God, you mean you're gonna have so much money that you're gonna not have to worry about money anymore. And then it resonated with me like how it's because I worry about money, right?

Chris Braden 9:56

Todd Burnham 9:56
So if you're worrying about money, you're not gonna get money if you if you're on into it, you're going to get it because you're not worried about it. It's just fascinating how this thing works. And so and so. But I was like, yeah, that's what matters. And so that's those are the things I thought of too, and just kind of thinking about this thing that that's kind of the one, I want to be that, man.

Chris Braden 10:19
Yeah. And I think really like measuring success early on, in a career before you get to where you're at. It's kind of it is about wins and losses, it's about keeping score it's about and score could be anything, whether it's like winning cases, revenues, numbers of clients, things that as a business you have to pay attention to, and now you've got great people on board. And they love doing that. And now you don't have to.

Todd Burnham 10:49
I and, and, you know, the other benefit is like, I keep coming back to this, like the, it's not like I'm leaving an average business or something, it's like, this is a really high level business that's doing really well and doing really good work for people. So if I'm doing if it's going to their lives benefit, all the people here like that, they've all grown so much, since I've known them, and they just do really good work and, and they care about each other. So like, I feel good about that. Like that I stayed true to my word. And, and this is a place as a destination for that, that feels even better, to a certain extent,

Chris Braden 11:31
When measuring success. It's funny, cuz you talked about Aaron and I know Stephanie, and a couple of the other attorneys, every individual person is gonna measure their their success in a different way.

Todd Burnham 11:44

Chris Braden 11:44
Like, how do you make that work for the firm? Like, is there? Is there struggle? Sometimes?

Todd Burnham 11:50
I don't think so. I mean, you start with the people that affirm, you're gonna say, is there? Is there movement for me to grow? And, and, and be paid more based on my value?

Chris Braden 12:02

Todd Burnham 12:02
So I like to think that we pay everybody better than anyone else.

Chris Braden 12:07

Todd Burnham 12:08
They're good a what they do, and, and we were quick to get bonuses and raises, that's just starting point in the firm, right? Where do you sit? Where do you stand? And, and if everybody, and that's why everybody might have different definitions of what success is, but you have to agree on what success is of the business that you're in?

Chris Braden 12:26

Todd Burnham 12:26
Are the doors open? Right? Do you have clients coming in? Is our marketing Good? Do we do good work? Right? So I think success and people being a part of something, I think is is probably what successes for in a law firm, and everyone's gonna have their own individual goals and success goals, I guess. And it's my job to kind of, is to make sure that I'm aware of what those are, and try to help people achieve those not just like you have to, you got to you got to give a damn about the people that you're with.

Chris Braden 12:59
That's true.

Todd Burnham 12:59
And it's got to be real. And so I don't know, I'm just these are my strengths. Yeah, I'm just very grateful. I was think about this last night. Like, I love what I'm doing.

Chris Braden 13:09

Todd Burnham 13:09
Right? Like, I'm like, holy cow. And there was a time when when I was starting this I said to myself, I just don't enjoy this. I don't enjoy going in and battling with people. I'm not made like that.

Chris Braden 13:22

Todd Burnham 13:22
I'm a feeler, like, I feel these cases.

Chris Braden 13:26

Todd Burnham 13:27
I don't just go out I'm not able to separate it and do really good. Like, I'm emotional about it. And so

Chris Braden 13:33
I could see that about me where I'd get attached and it would like hurt.

Todd Burnham 13:36

Chris Braden 13:38
Guttural feelings and all that.

Todd Burnham 13:40
And so the commitment to doing things a certain way, you know, I was really focused on that. And I learned over time, and I also realized that I'm not built for being a litigator at that level dealing with this kind of these topics.

Chris Braden 13:56

Todd Burnham 13:57
And so being able to understand it so well and feel and I have passion for the practice itself of what these people do on a daily basis now and and have been in those trenches and knowing and knowing how I felt like it gives me a nice perspective and an appreciation for what they do. And I hope that that is that they don't burn out the way that I feel like if you're so emotional about these cases, and I've learned that you've got to they're not hiring you for your emotions are hiring you for your knowledge and strategy. Like don't get emotional. It's not it doesn't benefit you and it took me years to figure that out.

Chris Braden 14:39
It's like being a coach on the field. You know, you got to manage the emotions and not be in the emotions.

Todd Burnham 14:44
You have to and and that's what effective lawyers do.

Chris Braden 14:49

Todd Burnham 14:49
And the the ineffective ones are the people out there that, and they know who they are, they get cases regularly because they sell the fear. The sell the 'you need me in your corner being emotional with you' like, and all it does is increase lawyer fees, because then it becomes a counselor and a lawyer and you're paying for a lawyer rate every time.

Chris Braden 15:13
Every time. We talked about that earlier. You know, as far as emotion goes, LeBron James is the face of the NBA. He basically is the NBA. And when people argue with me on that, I just laugh. I mean, just go Go, go go look at it.

Todd Burnham 15:29

Chris Braden 15:29
The other night. They were playing Miami in the finals. And Jimmy Butler was having the game of his life ended up beating the Lakers. LeBron had a temper tantrum, went to the locker room early. And I was like, You know what, at that moment, I was like, really upset. I got maybe that was fine for LeBron James. But that was not fine. For the NBA, or the Lakers organization. It was really Bush. And I, you as a leader, you're talking about empowering all these people just thinking about, actually, the emotion that's that's pretty interesting. You talked about that.

Todd Burnham 16:06
Well, you know, I might put the coach that I that I think resonate I resonate with and I if I could read a book, like I look forward to going Hawaii, man. I'm gonna...

Chris Braden 16:16
We have a plenty of books here.

Todd Burnham 16:17
I'm gonna read some books is Pat Riley. Yes. Like my, that's the guy that I look to right,

Chris Braden 16:23
Dude, yeah.

Todd Burnham 16:24
And he and LeBron played for Miami. And it wasn't a good ending. I don't think

Chris Braden 16:30

Todd Burnham 16:30
you know, these, you're in the emotion of it, and you're going to do things that you normally wouldn't do. Like, I think Michael Jordan would have probably done that too, with the pistons if he was pissed off. I don't know.

Chris Braden 16:40
No, I think he would have fist fought on the floor. I don't think he would have walked away. Which he did that a few times...

Todd Burnham 16:46
He did. So I mean, like, things like that. I think you got to give a give LeBron a break. He's at the he's playing at the highest level of sports in the biggest game on the biggest stage. And he's an ambassador. I cannot imagine the pressure and stress that the man feels.

Chris Braden 17:04
I'm sure. And he's been in a bubble for months,

Todd Burnham 17:07
been in a bubble for months.

Chris Braden 17:08
Yeah, no, I get it. But I still don't give them a pass.

Todd Burnham 17:11
Hey man, and you are...

Chris Braden 17:13
but I do understand it can happen. How's that?

Todd Burnham 17:15
Let's let's talk about one thing before we go and that is the passing of a rock legend.

Chris Braden 17:22
Yeah, Eddie Van Halen, passing.

Todd Burnham 17:24
Eddie Van Halen. I just read something about him. I loved it. And it was that he never learned that he never learned to read music.

Chris Braden 17:32

Todd Burnham 17:33
Everything was just based on observation and feel.

Chris Braden 17:37

Todd Burnham 17:38
And he said that if he didn't if he did read that, he wouldn't have been as good as he was. And so that, I mean, it's kind of like what we've just been talking about earlier about intuition getting a feel for it and having passion for something. Right?

Chris Braden 17:50

Todd Burnham 17:51
That's like greatness. And I woke up the girls this morning with Dance the Night Away.

Chris Braden 18:04
Oh, there you go, that's a good one.

Todd Burnham 18:07
And then woke up Clara with Running With the Devil.

Chris Braden 18:10
You know, the funny thing about people that are like, like, he was a genius period, he was a musical genius. And I think the thing about people that end up becoming great at what they do, whether it's writing or Eddie Van Halen with the guitar, Michael Jordan or LeBron with basketball. It's like they do that thing. But when they get great they are that thing. Like Eddie Van Halen is synonymous with a guitar and he will be for the rest of time. You know, whether it doesn't you know matter about the writer I just think that whatever you do, the Greats always end up superseding, what the guitar like, Eddie Van Halen can strum the guitar one time, maybe not touch a touch a string, and I'll know exactly who that is like that.

Todd Burnham 19:00
So and I go deep on this stuff, especially when Kobe died, like, ya know, like, we're here for a very finite period of time.

Chris Braden 19:08
Mm hmm.

Todd Burnham 19:09
And if you're not gonna have impact on that, such a level like that, one thing that you can do is have an impact locally.

Chris Braden 19:16

Todd Burnham 19:16
You can have an impact when you how you vote.

Chris Braden 19:19

Todd Burnham 19:20
You can have an impact on where you volunteer, what your purpose is. And, and so for me, it's like, I am inspired when, you know, by these great icons, of growing up makes me think about death and, and what my purpose is, and it, you know, helps me start like, if I'm ever stuck a little bit things like this kind of bump me a little bit.

Chris Braden 19:44
Exactly. And it is funny. I just went through it with my daughter getting married, and I was like, alright, you know, I'm giving my daughter away. I'm gonna do the talk. I go, Okay. How do I make this matter?

Todd Burnham 19:56

Chris Braden 19:57
You know what I mean?

Todd Burnham 19:58
Yeah. It's a memory.

Chris Braden 19:59
Yeah. So like, I love my daughter, she knows that I'm going to tell her that. But how do I make this matter?

Todd Burnham 20:05

Chris Braden 20:05
This moment lasts.

Todd Burnham 20:07
You know that it's gonna be an it's an iconic moment. In her in her memory.

Chris Braden 20:12

Todd Burnham 20:12

Chris Braden 20:13

Todd Burnham 20:13
Right? And so you can't suck.

Chris Braden 20:17

Todd Burnham 20:17

Chris Braden 20:18
And I didn't suck.

Todd Burnham 20:19
Yeah, you were real.

Chris Braden 20:21
I kept it real. And it was funny. And I think that the cool thing and you were talking about and I think we said this on the the first episode of season two, that's your legacy.

Todd Burnham 20:31
That's your legacy. That's it right there. That's it.

Chris Braden 20:34
And like my daughters for me, like, that's my legacy,

Todd Burnham 20:38
And how you raise them and how you act with them, and how you teach them to be strong, but also compassionate, and all that battle

Chris Braden 20:46
All that.

Todd Burnham 20:46
All that is really what I'm here for.

Chris Braden 20:50
And it's okay to be a kick ass lacrosse player and a fiery competitor,

Todd Burnham 20:56
It really is. You can you can be all of it. And also that balance of like, and sometimes they they need more time on a certain way. Like I am obsessed with the development of my children.

Chris Braden 21:08

Todd Burnham 21:09
And in doing my best not to screw it up. And that's the wrong mindset. And I still get there sometimes because I'm like, it's so important to me.

Chris Braden 21:18

Todd Burnham 21:19
You know, and so if I'm overthinking it, then I lose my intuition. I lose my gut feel. And it's all emotional.

Chris Braden 21:28

Todd Burnham 21:28
And that is my and you know, what I'm looking forward to being able to put more effort into going into the flow of this thing and not, not being like emotional about...

Chris Braden 21:38
I'm so excited for you. Because here's the interesting thing for me is like, I've been to hundreds, maybe 1000s of soccer games, practices, all that. And I was talking to my daughters. And of course, I remember the games. And I remember the state championships. I remember all that. And we were she was like, you know, we talked about the games and stuff. She goes, she asked me what my favorite part was. And I was like, the car rides to practice.

Todd Burnham 22:01

Chris Braden 22:02
I go, there were 1000s of them. But like, literally, the time we spent together and just doing nothing.

Todd Burnham 22:11

Chris Braden 22:11
Whether they wanted to talk or didn't talk, whether they were doing homework or not. I think about it, like, all the time, and that goes away.

Todd Burnham 22:19
I'm in it right now.

Chris Braden 22:21

Todd Burnham 22:22
And I appreciate hearing those things, because it makes me appreciate it more.

Chris Braden 22:26

Todd Burnham 22:26
You know, like, there's nothing like, what? Yeah, of course. And it's, it's like last night I was driving. I was like, I'm the lacrosse dad. I'm just driving girls all over the place.

Chris Braden 22:38

Todd Burnham 22:38

Chris Braden 22:39
And it kind of feels like it sucks sometimes.

Todd Burnham 22:41
Totally. Man, I got Archer in the back. He's screaming. He just monopolize my time. I'm at practice. I'm bringing three other girls home. You know, I'm getting home late and and I'm like, Hey, was I cool? You know, like, did I like snap on anything? Did I was I like, come on. We're getting late or anything like that? Or was it a good experience? That's my goal. All the time is like, don't say that. She didn't. You've got to work on your left hand. It's Did you? Hey, did you have fun today?

Chris Braden 23:10

Todd Burnham 23:11
Right? Like so. That's really my new practice. Like I'm, I'm committed so

Chris Braden 23:16
It's so cool yeah, then you get to be MacGyver the way you think like, you know, my daughter, she's right footed. And she scored more goals in college with her left foot. And it was only because like, I feel like man, that right foot is nasty. Just think.

Todd Burnham 23:31

Chris Braden 23:31
What if you could do that with your left foot?

Todd Burnham 23:34
That's a great way to do it.

Chris Braden 23:35
You know what I mean? And it was fire. I didn't know I was doing it. I was like, really? Just a cheerleader. I did. I don't know crap about soccer. I'll be honest with you. I don't really like it. But I love watching my daughters play and so they could have done anything. Soccer is cooler now but like come on, man. Come on now.

Todd Burnham 23:56
I got you. Now that your kids aren't in it. It's like yeah, I'm done.

Chris Braden 23:59
That's all right.

Todd Burnham 24:00
That's great.

Chris Braden 24:01
You want to go watch... now if you ask me to go to like Manchester United and some like that...

Todd Burnham 24:06
Of course.

Chris Braden 24:06

Todd Burnham 24:07

Chris Braden 24:08

Todd Burnham 24:08
Yeah, I'll go.

Chris Braden 24:09
You want to go watch the Rapids with me?

Todd Burnham 24:11
Yeah, I'd like to go see Messi. That'd be great.

Chris Braden 24:12
Yeah, exactly. So anyway, measuring success.

Todd Burnham 24:15

Chris Braden 24:15
Always evolving. Good stuff, Todd.

Todd Burnham 24:17
Hey remember everybody. Get out there. Get your vote heard and your voice heard and make sure that you vote.

Chris Braden 24:23
Amen to that.

Todd Burnham 24:24
Catch you later.

Chris Braden 24:25
I endorse you on that.

Todd Burnham 24:26
I endorse you on that.

Hey, thanks for listening. Make sure you subscribe and until next time, keep getting better.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai