Sense of Urgency

about this episode

"I'm a great believer in the character of a club. To me, character has a lot to do with how you compete. That creates urgency and toughness. That elevates the talent that you have." - Tony La Russa

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 0:23
What do you do when you move to a new state during a recession with no contacts, no job, no money, little experience and a family to support you lean on what you know, you continue to learn grind every day and you keep getting better join Todd Burnham as he outlines how he started, Burnham Law in his basement grew to seven offices relying only on his experiences and inspirations from being a college athlete. His unique style of motivation and raw sense of humor are a welcome change from the business advice you're used to hearing. Whether you're a new or seasoned attorney, trying to grow your practice or an entrepreneur in any service industry, Todd's story is sure to inspire you to take action and follow your instincts. This is Deep Bench with Todd Burnham. Hey, Todd, how's it going, buddy?

Todd Burnham 1:12
Good, man, how are you?

Chris Braden 1:14
I'm doing great. So it's been well established throughout all of these episodes, that you have a sense of urgency to get things done not only personal and business and stuff, but you've got goals that you want to get to where does that sense of urgency come from?

Todd Burnham 1:30
I don't know, being a business owner. I mean, being a business owner, you you are going to partner with different people. And you're going to be dealing with human beings who may or may not be as motivated as you may or may not believe that their their company or their business or the service that they're providing is something that needs to get to you. So I don't know necessarily where it came from. But I think it's, it's just who I am. And starting out and running a business for the first time coming from New York to Colorado, and running it here. Nobody else was gonna have a sense of urgency.

Chris Braden 2:04

Todd Burnham 2:04
No one else is gonna care as much as you do about your business. So yeah, there's a sense of urgency and everything that I do, and I can't turn it off.

Chris Braden 2:13
So do you think that sense of urgency started, because when you came here to Colorado, you kind of had a ready built in family, and you had to basically figure out a way to put food on the table? Was that part of it?

Todd Burnham 2:26
Well, yeah, I mean, I remember when I started my law firm, and New York, I said, This is it. I can take these chances. You know, I don't have anybody here. It's just me. I'm single, I don't have any, anything that is holding me away from failing. And so that was my mindset. And I'm like, Okay, I'm gonna go for it. I've gone for it 10 times more since then. And I've had children and I've had everything to lose in quotes, I have a sense of urgency to accomplish things that move us forward. Today. Every day, it's like, I want this done today, I can tell you 10 Things that aren't done that I really want done. And that's not going to change. It's not I am this is who I am. I believe in it. It's working, I believe. And the benefit of it is that I'm also growing. And so my sense of urgency isn't a directive from some dictator. It's inspiring people to push a little bit.

Chris Braden 3:25

Todd Burnham 3:26
So you have a sense of urgency and building this of a sense of urgency and running it in dealing with vendors dealing with whoever else we're dealing with on a daily basis dealing with, you know, whoever, and then I have a sense of urgency, always that I am a business owner. I'm a coach, and I'm a husband and dad.

Chris Braden 3:46

Todd Burnham 3:47
And so, sense of urgency and business works. sense of urgency as in being a coach, absolutely perfect. Practice makes perfect. Not practice makes perfect. It's perfect practice. And so you want to have a sense of urgency, like, fix these things. Let's practice better. It's like I use those things here. It's a practice. We talked about this before it, it's not a perfect, but the goal is to get perfect, and have a healthy sense of trying to achieve a form of perfection in what you're doing. It doesn't work all the time at home. And that's where I'm starting to. Hopefully I'm getting better at but even like this, I talked last episode about Clara being late to school. It's a thing me and Clara, coming with dad. All right, who's late. I've been like, I'm going to take away this if you're not on time, you know, and my focus about that is always been to instill some character traits that are going to serve them later in life. And if I have to be the heavy right now I will at the same time like I'm dealing with my daughters, these are my girls, and I I my love for them. No one loves their daughters more than I love mine.

Chris Braden 5:00
Right, just like y'all say.

Todd Burnham 5:03
And so, coming to terms with every child, every person is different. And they have different learning ways about them.

Chris Braden 5:11

Todd Burnham 5:11
They have different things that motivate them, they have different ways that put them in a corner and their fight mode. And there are certain things that that will make them want to get better. And other ones that are going to just force them away from it. And Clara is an amazingly beautiful, sensitive, strong human being. And she is not going to tell me what she thinks most of the time. And remember, we talked before about hearing someone at the firm, say something to me or criticize me in an email?

Chris Braden 5:46

Todd Burnham 5:46
And it was think of the message, right? It's not the delivery, it's the messaging behind it. And it's so much easier if you just put yourself or if I put myself in situation of my daughter in those moments. I think it's a whole lot. It's just a growth for me that I learn every day and especially letting my my girls know that daddy makes mistakes too. And and learning from them in, in connecting with within that situation, Clara and saying, Hey, I love you. I just want you to be on time. I don't want you to miss things. Because I also I also know that she is really into school. You know, she's the one that in lacrosse, it's you know, and I don't like I talked about this, I don't make girls do anything. If you want to practice, practice, you want to be great at something then have a love for that so much that that's all you want to do. Right? And they're nine and eight. We're not raising, like all Americans here. Like that's that's not the purpose. And to turn it off sometimes and not have this. That healthy sense of urgency is a little different at home. And that's really where I'm really grateful to my wife. So you Clara, love you May you said Archer, I was..

Chris Braden 7:00
You've gotta name 'em all off.

Todd Burnham 7:01
Yeah, Oliver. No, I love you guys.

Chris Braden 7:04
Okay. You're a good dad.

Todd Burnham 7:05
Thanks, man.

Chris Braden 7:06
So what you said one thing, and I think...

Todd Burnham 7:08
So are you.

Chris Braden 7:09
Thank you. I try. It's hard sometimes.

Todd Burnham 7:11
It's all we can do, man.

Chris Braden 7:12
I do my best.

Todd Burnham 7:13
It's a practice!

Chris Braden 7:14
I do my best.

Todd Burnham 7:16
And everybody is. And that's the thing, you know, like everybody is doing the best that they can do. My wife taught me this. That even these people that completely pissed me off because they don't care about the service that they're providing. Like, that's not the best babe. That's not the best that they can do. It's like they think they that's what they think though.

Chris Braden 7:33
Your wife's right.

Todd Burnham 7:33
She is right, man.

Chris Braden 7:35
Cuz it's true. Because sometimes you just talk to people and you're like,

Todd Burnham 7:38
Oh, that's the best you can do like that.

Chris Braden 7:40
I get it.

Todd Burnham 7:40
Okay, I'm, I get it. I don't get it. But okay.

Chris Braden 7:44
It's not good for me, but...

Todd Burnham 7:45
It's not gonna work. But yeah, so I do, I think that nobody is going to push, nobody's going to push forward the way that a business owner is going to, nobody's going to look and try to look and see not just what the firm can use it a firm needs or the industry is doing and what changes you can make and how to become great at something and, and have that that desire, that motivation, that passion, the burning desire to push forward and be the best at this is just my competitive drive.

Chris Braden 8:21
You said something earlier, and I want to address because this might be a tough question. Athletes say it all the time. And people that weren't athletes, I don't know if they can measure it or not. getting better every day is a process and you have to put in time every single day if you want to get proficient or great at something. How do you measure if you're getting better every day? Do you sit and reflect sometimes like how do you how do you rehash that?

Todd Burnham 8:48
Oh my god. I reflect constantly. And I think what at home when I'm when I process like we were talking about this earlier, but you know, you have two daughters that are very different.

Chris Braden 8:57

Todd Burnham 8:58
And you talk to them differently, because they motivate differently, are they you know, and I'm not some guy at home, that's like, I want you to be the best of everything. And I can't believe you got something wrong, and I want them to fail. I want them to appreciate failure. That's really one of the things that's really important.

Chris Braden 9:13
That's the great thing about athletics is because they learn..

Todd Burnham 9:16
Man, like that's what I'm talking about like, I read more things about like what LeBron James like, all these fit these amazing athletes that compete. And they talk about the things that really resonate with me about the importance of failure and your mindset and grinding.

Chris Braden 9:31

Todd Burnham 9:32
I don't hear that in any business meetings that I've ever heard. And I think it's the most important thing you have to get your mind right and to get your mind right, you also have to realize that you're going to fail in getting your mind right. And so it's practice, everything we do is practice. The more you put time into doing one thing, the better you're going to be doing it that one thing so and that's why you go from working in the business to on the business. You can't do both.

Chris Braden 9:57
You can't.

Todd Burnham 9:58
You can't!

Chris Braden 9:59
I've tried.

Todd Burnham 9:59
I have too!

Chris Braden 10:00
It's hard.

Todd Burnham 10:01
And so if people don't stop practicing, in this case, if you people that are out there, stop practicing law and work on building your law practice. That's the only way to build something that's not based on just marketing. It has to be this burning desire. For me at least it's this burning desire to get better. And to, you know what, here's an example. I'll give you one. Yesterday, I was printing, and I scan something to my email. And it said, COS printer at Burnham law. And I'm like hmm

Chris Braden 10:39
I know where that went.

Todd Burnham 10:40
Right? Right. So but, but it's not that it went there. That's our printer. But we're in this office, it's Boulder. So I'm like, that is an attention to detail that bothers the heck out of me. Right?

And so...

Chris Braden 10:55
Is that fixed, yet?

Todd Burnham 10:56
It's fixed. But if you have someone else come in, that's new to the firm. That is like, huh, they're not paying attention to teach, pay attention to the details. And I am a big picture person. So it's like, I'll come down from the from like, you know, looking down at something and saying, look at this tree. This, this tree doesn't make sense, you know? And if people are like, dude, will you stop? It's like, okay, Todd, you're just you're not helping here. But I can't help it. And it's all with a goal of getting better. And so I think, I believe in I believe it that and even speaking to Stephanie and everybody here, I think they understand me. They don't necessarily have to always agree with me, but they respect it, because I respect them. And I listened to people and if they have different opinions, Sara Doroff, right next to me here. I'm like, I want to do this. I think we should just do this. She's like, Yeah, but no, you just wait, no, I really want to do this, like we should, we should definitely do this.She's like, why don't you give it 24 hours? And I like fine. So I'm surrounding myself with people that are making me better also.

Chris Braden 12:01
How does that help? Like she typically right.

Todd Burnham 12:04
I think that...

Chris Braden 12:04
Or it just gives you time to think it through.

Todd Burnham 12:06
You know, I don't think there's a right or wrong, I think that...

Chris Braden 12:09
That's true.

Todd Burnham 12:10
You know, I think that I'm open to practicing different things. Because my way is not the right way all the time. And if...

Chris Braden 12:18
What is your way?

Todd Burnham 12:19
but it's my way, but my way can has to be able to be to be able to be changed. Like I can't just be like with blinders on. Otherwise, why? It's just a solo operation. And I have people around me that I value their opinion, and what they bring to the table. So they all understand that I have a sense of urgency. And I like to think that they're like, Todd, I understand that you want to get this done right now. But did you think about this, and and it'll make me think, and I think a lot of ways, that's what happens at home for me is Katie is giving me a counter look at something that is important to her. And I respect her, and she wants what's best for me for our family. And I think obviously, same with Sarah, she wants what's best for our business and what's best for her family, right? Because she wants us to be successful. And so there's all these different factors that the underlying principle of me wanting to people to have a sense of urgency that permeates throughout the firm, because because we are in the service industry.

Chris Braden 13:22

Todd Burnham 13:23
And people that caught like, call us or contact us, and that want our assistance, are not in a patient mood. I'm a perfect fit for those people. Because I have that sense of urgency. And we're gonna make sure that we're going to do it in a way that is excellent. And that we're going to get it done now, if possible. When people call on the phone, I don't want them waiting long to get a call back if we're if the phones are busy. If someone contacts us on the weekend, we have people that are on call, I don't have like an answering service. We have people that will take a call. And then it'll go to the person on that weekend that is handling the calls back to potential new clients. Because it's the weekend and they're looking at our they need our help.

Chris Braden 14:09

Todd Burnham 14:09
So why wouldn't I have a sense of urgency and match the sense of urgency that our clients have?

Chris Braden 14:17

Todd Burnham 14:17
Isn't that service?

Chris Braden 14:18
No that's great service.

Todd Burnham 14:20
And so then in those situations, having a sense of urgency is really about the communication piece with the clients. The sense of urgency is fixing the bottlenecks that we have in our business in a not tomorrow today if we can, and at home, it's having a sense of urgency for me, of learning to get better. And that is where it's kind of a sense of urgency to have some patience is what I'm learning now. I'm trying to learn. Doesn't really make it doesn't sound right. But if I find myself getting impatient with anything.

Chris Braden 14:55

Todd Burnham 14:55
My kids and I'm like, what? I've asked you five times to do this, right? And it's not like that, don't worry, I'm not like, like some freak at home. But it's, it's, it's

Chris Braden 15:05
I know that wouldn't work, that's why.

Todd Burnham 15:06
No, it wouldn't. And we're trying to be effective. Right?

Chris Braden 15:09

Todd Burnham 15:09
So the way to do that, for me, is to just keep getting better. But it's not just there. It's in all aspects. When I realized that my stress was crushing me, you know, when I watched Kobe and all that, I also realized that my health wasn't where it needed to be. So I had a sense of urgency about really getting on top of it, and becoming more in shape than I ever have. Even probably more than I was, like, probably not in college, but like, right afterwards, I want to watch what I'm putting in my body.

Chris Braden 15:09
It goes away quickly.

Todd Burnham 15:16
It does. And so I don't, I want to have a sense of urgency and purpose, because I don't want to look back, or heaven forbid, I'm, you know, like with Kobe, and you know, you have an accident, it affected me so much that, um, back then, and now that I don't, I don't want to miss a thing. And then that's why I'm, you know, talking like this is, it's like we talked about for my kids just being authentic and honest about it. I'm not perfect. But I think what we've done here is built something that not many people can say that they're a part of. And it's you know, it's a team based mentality that people rely on each other. And it's a family and it's a family that you're growing with. So, sense of urgency is a nice thing to have, I think, but having some emotional intelligence on top of it to know when to choose your battles, and when they're important, and, and also remembering that it's never more important than than what your wife says.

Chris Braden 16:39
No, absolutely, I think sense of urgency. It's one of those double edged swords, where it's great sometimes, but other times, it's not so awesome.

Todd Burnham 16:49
And that's where it's not a one trick pony thing here, I'm not sitting here saying, These are the 10 things you need to do to start a business and and it's, you got to feel this thing and know your weaknesses and know where you're, how do you become the best leader? You're leading your team, you're leading people that you're working with? You're a leader at home as being how to, what does it look like to be a man nowadays, you know, in the eyes of your daughters in the eyes of your sons? Like, what does that look like? Is it are you going to be spouting off about like, back in the day when I did this, you know, I did X, Y and Z and I want you to do the same thing or is it individually looking at every single person and saying what do they need? And what can I add? What can I add a value to your life today? That is going to make you better and have a better experience in this world. And if you have that sense of urgency to do those things. I think it's healthy and I'm not changing the thing.

Chris Braden 17:43
Good stuff, Todd. Love it.

Todd Burnham 17:44
Catch you later. Hey, thanks for listening. Make sure you subscribe and until next time, keep getting better.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai