Trust Your Gut

about this episode

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice." Steve Jobs

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 it to 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. Todd, what is going on, buddy?

Todd Burnham 0:58
Hey, Chris, what are we up to? This is our fourth?

Chris Braden 1:00
Fourth in season two.

Todd Burnham 1:02
Season two man, that's crazy.

Chris Braden 1:03
So we just talked about playing up. And we talked about how not only do you have to play up but how you get your players to play up, which would be your employees. So today, you talked a lot about your hiring process and finding the right people. And I wanted to talk about that a little bit and trusting your gut. Because really, at the end of the day, when you're hiring somebody, you get a gut feel.

Todd Burnham 1:31

Chris Braden 1:31
You usually know yes or no. And I don't know about you, but for me nine times out of 10 When I go against that initial gut feeling that was right.

Todd Burnham 1:42
You're right. And it's it's one of those things where over time it changes. So especially me who we talked about my impatience, which I refer to as a sense of urgency. I've also experienced more and more the benefit of giving your guts some time. You know?

Chris Braden 2:00

Todd Burnham 2:00
Like, not just immediately going with your immediate intuition. But giving it some room to breathe a little bit. You don't have to make decisions. Unless it's urgent, then you go strictly with your gut, usually in the data, but Right. But I mean, you got to give yourself some time. You know, I balance this with Alcoholics Anonymous, and they talk about in the big book, they talk about how you're, you will gain an intuition, and you come to rely upon it. And so in the beginning, I you don't, in any business or anything that you're doing, you don't necessarily have any experience to rely on. So your gut is going to be just based on what you've learned up to that point in life.

Chris Braden 2:41

Todd Burnham 2:42
It's not going to be based on experiences of hiring or firing or something like that. So there's a balance to that, and knowing when, okay, that's just my crap from before, and I have trust issues, versus something else that is more relevant to the business. And I think the things that I've learned is giving, giving time time.

Chris Braden 3:03

Todd Burnham 3:04
Also is, is relevant to having that intuition or that gut. And it's now it's, it's served me so much that it's something that I follow almost completely, like, letting people know that we've reached where I've, I thought we would reach and to go further. It's gonna require me taking a step back was it was months and months in the making. And then it when it hit, it hit.

Chris Braden 3:33

Todd Burnham 3:34
And I knew it, and it was done. And that was it. And I didn't, I mean, if you get a chance to talk to Katy, because I've talked about it so much, and thought about it so much, and what it would look like, when it finally resonated at my core. It wasn't like I'd just go talk to my wife about it. You know, it was oh, it's now it makes sense.

Chris Braden 3:56

Todd Burnham 3:56
And so I've had no feelings of Oh, my God, why did I do that? You know?

Chris Braden 4:01

Todd Burnham 4:01
And it's kind of like No, with with the podcasts like, I just had a gut that I should be doing something that was more innovative last year.

Chris Braden 4:09

Todd Burnham 4:11
And I'm like, I want to be, I want to let people know what we're about. If you want to take the time to learn about what we're about, you're going to talk to the founding person of how I've evolved, right?

Chris Braden 4:22

Todd Burnham 4:22
So all of those things, you know, it's not like I all of a sudden woke up one day and said, Oh, we're going to move we're gonna take off and I'm going to do this in a different way. And it was over a year of giving it time and letting my intuition have time to, I don't know, come up with it. It was it was a lot of stuff and what it came down to, when I reflected on it after writing the email to everybody. It was it was more of like the pieces were in place and I just couldn't name it.

Chris Braden 4:54

Todd Burnham 4:54
I couldn't name like why that was holding it back from this happening but then once it It was going in that direction. I just couldn't describe it. It was in that's kind of... I hate, hate the word too, organic. But, you know, you've got to give it up. And that's the end. That's why you don't have a business plan. You know,

Chris Braden 5:16
But you you said, you're gonna step away. I think also, what you're doing more is empowering those that you've already put in place and knowing that they're going to do an amazing job for you. You did send out the email, I read the email, and what was the reaction of the staff? Like, who was the first person that got back to you? Were people sad, were people happy? Were people confused? Like, how was it take?

Todd Burnham 5:44
It was, it was really nice. If people were there, like, oh, man, I never I didn't see that coming. You know? To this day, my mother in law works. For me. She's like, working remotely and deals with a lot of the financial pieces. She hasn't spoken to me since then. But I like everyone was like, thank you. And I think they see. And I think I sensed a lot of appreciation for what we are. And for the way that I'm transitioning, leadership. It was like, everyone recognizes what we are. It's not like, I'm running away from something. And in that time, it's also what it's led to also is me having one on one conversations, and even setting times, I have one person at the firm that I'm talking to on Mondays and Fridays. And this person's, you know, just kind of struggling through through new roles and new life changes. And in a lot of it, I have these experiences that I've I can help that person with. And that's really rewarding to me, like, how does this person become better and look at this a different way, you know, instead of being stressed about something, look it as an opportunity that you're, you're reacting to it physically. So there's nothing you can do about the past. But what can you learn in like, having like just someone coaching up a little bit? That's really, I wish I had that. And so I...

Chris Braden 7:11
Someone to help you navigate.

Todd Burnham 7:13
Yeah. And it's it, I see it as investing in people that that I care about.

Chris Braden 7:19

Todd Burnham 7:19
And so I want to add that value and still maintain that contact, because I think this, you know, I can help that person. And if anyone wanted to do that, I would spend my days doing that with the people at this place.

Chris Braden 7:32

Todd Burnham 7:32
I mean, they get sick of hearing the same thing. But I think it's a lot of this is the law of attraction and getting your mind in the right space to have good things happen as long as you're doing the best that you can.

Chris Braden 7:44
So when you're trusting your gut, you're not just trusting your gut when you're hiring people. You're also trusting your gut. Like when you're making marketing decisions, because I knew about you before I met you, right? You were doing some radio stuff, and I listened to it. And I know that guy who I think he wrote your first Kali, what was it? No slogans, just great lawyers.

Todd Burnham 8:08
No slogans, just great lawyers. That was me in Erie. I was walking down the street. And I was talking to someone, and I was talking about slogans, you know, a radio slogan, and I'm like, How about no slogans? Just great lawyers.

Chris Braden 8:23
Dude, that's so...

Todd Burnham 8:24
Isn't that good?

Chris Braden 8:25
See you've got a whole other career.

Todd Burnham 8:27
Yeah, like, it's like, I still go on with Danny Williams.

Chris Braden 8:32

Todd Burnham 8:32
And I talked to him once a week. We just pick games. But I

Chris Braden 8:35
Started this year, by the way.

Todd Burnham 8:37
I'm awful. I'm awful.

Chris Braden 8:39
Danny's always awful.

Todd Burnham 8:40

Sometimes. I owed him a burrito from last year. Caroline Moore's some of the works with us in the intake department. And, and she's great. She's really athletic. She is She has energy and positivity and all these things that are just such a great addition.

Chris Braden 8:57

Todd Burnham 8:57
And normally, I'm really good at fantasy. And for the past few years, you know, I've just been like, I just don't run into it. And so she's asking me about these players. And she's thinks that I'm knowledgeable. And I used to be.

Chris Braden 9:08

Todd Burnham 9:08
And she's like, Well, what about this person? I'm like, and they suck. It's like, Well, you had 22 points last week.

Chris Braden 9:13
So she knows more than you know now.

Todd Burnham 9:15
The person ahead of him is injured. And I'm like, Oh, God, can I get out of this conversation? You know? It's funny.

Chris Braden 9:20
It's funny. Yeah. So you went from no slogans, just spray lawyers. I don't know if you use that at all. And it's funny to watch it evolve because I'm equating it to the rest of your marketing message, like, the new website, and then you've gone to divorce sucks. Your lawyer shouldn't Yeah, I mean, you went from no slogans to something that just kind of slaps you in the face. And to be honest with you, it's just sounds Burnham Lay-y to me.

Todd Burnham 9:47
Well, you know, I appreciate that. And it's also like, you know, we're not doing it all over the place. I don't want to mark it like that.

Chris Braden 9:52

Todd Burnham 9:53
It's not real, but it's like things like that are just cool. Sometimes. That's, I always tell Sarah all the time. I'm like, you know, I just I just want us to be cool.

Chris Braden 10:01

Todd Burnham 10:01
You know, it's like, if you have game you don't talk about it, this is the most...

Chris Braden 10:04
You be about it.

Todd Burnham 10:05
That's right. You know, and so game recognizes game and all that stuff. And I, I really want to, I always want to just want to be like that, then I want to do things that are fun.

Chris Braden 10:14

Todd Burnham 10:15
And at the same time, just, you're not going to fail. If you have the best people. If you have the best product, the best service, like, your marketing can suck, but the word of mouth is going to be out there.

Chris Braden 10:27
As long as the phone rings.

Todd Burnham 10:28
And that's in the beginning, right in the beginning. It's like just oh my god, please ring.

Chris Braden 10:32
Just sitting there, staring at it. Trying to bring in 100 bucks by osmosis.

Todd Burnham 10:35
Google ads were, you know, so I don't know, I think the messaging is, you know, and now I'm kind of excited to see where the messaging goes from here. When it's not me actively engaged in I suspect, it's going to be cool, because Sarah is going to be involved in it.

Chris Braden 10:49

Todd Burnham 10:50
And I was said, you know, I want to do like, you know, some videos...

Chris Braden 10:53
She is cool, though, by the way.

Todd Burnham 10:54
She's cooler than me. And so he gets some and she's younger.

Chris Braden 10:58
That's right.

Todd Burnham 10:58
I have problems with technology, I'm not gonna lie. And so like, I want to do those things and just see what it becomes too, and not dictate it. As long as you always are focused on on the work product and doing better than anybody else. That's has to be the focus. And if you do that, you can have fun with other stuff.

Chris Braden 11:16
You know, and it's funny, too. And that's another thing like Sarah has been with you like, what a year?

Todd Burnham 11:20
Yeah, it feels like a decade.

Chris Braden 11:22
So before you had her, who did you bounce this stuff off of? Was it the other attorneys and stuff? Because, you know, talking to her because I've done other little projects? And she's really good at figuring out what's gonna work and what's not going to.

Todd Burnham 11:35

Chris Braden 11:36
And just kind of things like that, like, you know, trusting your gut to have faith that she's gonna carry your message forward.

Todd Burnham 11:44
And before her, it was me.

Chris Braden 11:46

Todd Burnham 11:46
It was just me, man. Like, I would talk to people and and no one really? Of course not. It was my law firm. And no one's really going to care as much as you do.

Chris Braden 11:58

Todd Burnham 11:59
So they're probably just like, Yeah, whatever. Just keep giving me cases, and just make sure I don't I don't, I'm not gonna get laid off.

Chris Braden 12:06
Baby needs diapers.

Todd Burnham 12:07
Yeah. So. So I just kind of like, and I think more and more, it's, no, it's Stephanie as it was when Stephanie like, again, like, once she got involved, and was really committed. It allowed me to do other things,

Chris Braden 12:21

Todd Burnham 12:21
You know, so you kind of got to, like we talked about the first season, you gotta get to find your stuff. And you got to find your Donna, you got to make sure that the word product is such that you're attracting people that want to join you.

Chris Braden 12:33

Todd Burnham 12:33
Even with the the partners and profit sharing and, and stuff like that. It was like, Why be a partner here? It's just a lot of work.

Chris Braden 12:42
It is, right?

Todd Burnham 12:43
It's just a lot of work. And now I have you having higher salaries, but it's like, where's the benefit? Where's the progress for you?

Chris Braden 12:51

Todd Burnham 12:51
And, and I think people would leave because of that, and the more I thought about it, people are going to leave. And it's good if they do.

Chris Braden 13:00

Todd Burnham 13:01
And at the same time, you also want blind faith will only go so far.

Chris Braden 13:06

Todd Burnham 13:06
So you want something concrete. And so those are the that's like the intuition piece like you these these signs are out there. You just have to be like aware and I'm so grateful that I'm not working in the business so much that I can do the work on the business and and now with Sarah, I think that the messaging I'm just really interested to see where she, where this goes with her primarily thinking about it and talking to like, partners and and even talking to intakes, talking to paralegals talking to everybody like What is the vision? It's exciting for me to kind of think about it.

Is she gonna have to call you and they're doing like final decisions on messaging and stuff. Are you gonna have your hand in that a little bit?

Yeah, I mean...

Chris Braden 13:48
Cause you love that stuff.

Todd Burnham 13:49
I do and I also know what what's authentic.

Chris Braden 13:52

Todd Burnham 13:52
And it's hard when you're not I've done this for so long that I see what it is and I feel what it is and I think that it has to maintain that that just authentic feel to it. And that's really where Sarah strengths are.

Chris Braden 14:07

Todd Burnham 14:07
She calls it what it is and if she you know I'll forward things that I get. I get a lot of emails and for them to Sarah like this person wants to do this this person wants to market here. And she was just really quick so she's using her intuition she has a vision for it and we've talked about it you know, so I don't have to worry about it. But I also like to add little bits and pieces here and there that I think

Chris Braden 14:28
Put a little Todd-isms in it?

Todd Burnham 14:29
Little cherry on top.

Chris Braden 14:31
That's a good way to put it. Last thing I want to touch on and and I think this is for a lot of large companies, especially attorneys, I mean, trusting your gut on which kind of like, charities you want to support in the community because you guys do a lot in the community up here. I know you had a partnership last year with CU

Todd Burnham 14:51

Chris Braden 14:52
And the football club you do a ton of stuff with Vons Vision, and I'm sure you get people just because Want help all the time? Like, how do you kind of vet that stuff and trust your gut on? What's good? And what's bad and all that kind of thing?

Todd Burnham 15:07
Yeah, that's interesting, because you want it to be reflective of what your values are.

Chris Braden 15:11

Todd Burnham 15:12
So we are, you know, we represent examples like domestic violence, child abuse.

Chris Braden 15:19

Todd Burnham 15:20
Like, what can you What is stuff you deal with every day and see the value of the people that are volunteering and things like that.

Chris Braden 15:29

Todd Burnham 15:29
Like I talked to Sarah and said, we're just going to give that money to the community, regardless if they have a program, regardless, if we're gonna...

Chris Braden 15:29
We're just gonna put it there.

Todd Burnham 15:30
It's going there anyway, right? Like, we're just not going to pay for the advertising, because it's something we believe in.

Chris Braden 15:39

Todd Burnham 15:42
And so I think those things matter, and it's in the intention has to be to give back and not get something from it. Right? Like, I would hope that they're going to link to our website, you know, if we're giving him money, but other than that, it's just that's the part of being a business. And that's our, that's our focus. So those are the things that are just easy. And also like, when cases come in, that you're like, Oh, God, like we've got to help this person.

Chris Braden 16:11

Todd Burnham 16:11
Just don't talk about it. Because the rule was, I just want us to be cool. Yeah. So we're not going to be like, telling everybody, like what we're doing. We're sponsoring a Boulder Country Day, my kids school, we're sponsoring Feather Berkower, who does seminars on parenting safe children.

Chris Braden 16:28

Todd Burnham 16:28
So I say that because I want other people to hear about it, and to go there. But it's not something that I'm actively out there and and saying, you know, we support safe children. Of course we do. It's for really parents that don't understand how important it is these ages specifically about making sure that you know, where your children are being babysat from or are at.

Chris Braden 16:50

Todd Burnham 16:51
Like there's sexual predators out there. There's, it's very nuanced. And if you're not...

Chris Braden 16:56
It's not the old days, but I was like a latchkey kid from third grade on like, I don't know what a babysitter is.

Todd Burnham 17:02
Same here. And I'm amazed that I made it.

Chris Braden 17:05
Dude, we survived.

Todd Burnham 17:06
Seriously, like, so like, it's really hard and is in there. It's insidious. And there's predators out there that that are just smart. And so, gotta listen to your kids got to teach them early. And that's just something we believe in.

Chris Braden 17:09
That's stuff that, you know, as a father that terrifies me.

Todd Burnham 17:23
Me, too! So like, why wouldn't I like, you know, the things that I invest in are things that the firm invest in are things that are like real? You know, I have asthma. I think I personally like Katy and I donate to that. Just things, you know, politics, be speaking of make sure you vote. Make sure you vote. This is an important election.

Chris Braden 17:43
You must go out and vote.

Todd Burnham 17:45
Must go out and vote. I support certain parties.

Chris Braden 17:49
Yeah, man, you just support people that are up for positions.

Todd Burnham 17:53
Yeah. For positions, alternatives. You know,

Chris Braden 17:57
You follow Burnham Law and Todd Burnham. You'll figure it all out.

Todd Burnham 18:01
Yeah, right?

Chris Braden 18:03
I'm more I'm more of like a blank canvas.

Todd Burnham 18:05
Yeah, right. Oh, man. What was our topic again? What were we supposed to be talking about?

Chris Braden 18:12
Trusting your gut,.

Todd Burnham 18:13
There's my gut.

Chris Braden 18:15
My gut says do not listen to Chris Braden.

Todd Burnham 18:18
Or you more you look at the data over the years.

Chris Braden 18:22
That's what I do.

Todd Burnham 18:23
Right. And are we better or worse?

Chris Braden 18:26
I never know it changes everyday.

Todd Burnham 18:28
Like, and was it reversible? You know, those are the kind of things that I think of?

Chris Braden 18:31

Todd Burnham 18:32
I suppose the things that I believe in.

Chris Braden 18:33
And you should believe in them.

Todd Burnham 18:35

Chris Braden 18:35
And the hard part is nowadays. Nobody wants to like discuss we all want to fight.

Todd Burnham 18:43

Chris Braden 18:43
So you know, so basically trusting your gut. I think the cool thing that I've learned about it is about you as I think we're when we're all young, like I've always kind of trusted my gut.

Todd Burnham 18:54

Chris Braden 18:54
But when you're younger, you make knee jerk reactions, like you talked about with the emails and and not letting things marinate.

Todd Burnham 19:02

Chris Braden 19:03
Cause you can trust your gut. That doesn't mean you have to make an instant decision. Like you said it unless it's something imperative, but

Todd Burnham 19:09
The best advice that I've ever heard about this is everything that was written about Abraham Lincoln.

Chris Braden 19:16
Mm hmm.

Todd Burnham 19:17
And it's the it's the 24 hour rule. He would write a letter, put it away if he was upset.

Chris Braden 19:23

Todd Burnham 19:24
And he'd wait it wait a day, is he going to send a letter and the day of emails, it's so much harder, right? It's so much more reactive, and it's immediate, and that is not good. I think that you've got to know what you're saying. And believe in it, and make sure that the emotional pieces that's the hardest part is you know, this thing is this firm. You know, I'll tell you, I'll tell you example, we have a Facebook group and we have like Facebook ads that go out in there, very informative.

Chris Braden 19:55

Todd Burnham 19:56
How do you do this? It's for people that don't have attorneys also to get our name out there, but it's it's authentic.

Chris Braden 20:01
I saw one today about voting like I think it was how to make sure your mail in ballot works like in Colorado. It's easy. We've done it forever.

Todd Burnham 20:09
Totally. But you know, social media is not something like I just like posting pictures of lacrosse stuff for my kids.

Chris Braden 20:15
And that's kind of what I do.

Todd Burnham 20:16

Chris Braden 20:16
Not lacrosse stuff, soccer.

Todd Burnham 20:17
Right. And so like Sarah is really does a lot of the other stuff that's really focused. And we have this this one group, and we had a former client that was that was commenting on their experience, saying it was just a really bad experience from two or three years ago. And I'm like, A, I know this person. I know the exact situation. And I know that we gave really good advice, and emphasized a sense of urgency in this person's case, right? That wasn't followed. I can't write that stuff. I can't say Hey, first of all, it's unethical. Right?

Chris Braden 20:55

Todd Burnham 20:55
And at the same time, it's like, it's just gonna make me feel better on when to look like a biggest idiot because like, I just do/

Chris Braden 21:03
You know, just setting somebody straight isn't always the right thing to do.

Todd Burnham 21:08
It's not and as an I still am competitive, you know?

Chris Braden 21:13
You're like, that's not how it went down.

Todd Burnham 21:14
That's not how it went down. And, and so like, you're gonna have negative reviews, how do you get better? And this case, I was like, Oh, I see. I have this person's email address still, I'm gonna tell this person what really. I'm like, why man? You know, why?

Chris Braden 21:29
Did you just let it slide?

Todd Burnham 21:30
I let it slide. After texting with Sarah incessantly for like, 30 minutes?

Chris Braden 21:35
Did she tell you to let it slide?

Todd Burnham 21:37
She didn't have to. I don't think I mean, I responded in a way that was positive.

Chris Braden 21:42

Todd Burnham 21:43
Hope you are moving forward. I'm sorry that we did not meet your expectations.

Chris Braden 21:48
Love Todd.

Todd Burnham 21:49
Ah. And so those are the things that I'm not going to miss because it is personal to me. And I know and I do the research and I know that this is not true and I can't believe so.

Chris Braden 22:01

Todd Burnham 22:01

Chris Braden 22:02
When people say it's just business it's never just business.

Todd Burnham 22:04
It's not man. And trusting your gut there is is really just remembering that there's a better way to do it. And that was Abraham Lincoln and he's a much wiser person than I am.

Chris Braden 22:14
That's something we can all agree.

Todd Burnham 22:15
I agree. Yes, that is, he's the man.

Chris Braden 22:18
Take it easy, Todd.

Todd Burnham 22:19
See ya man. Hey, thanks for listening. Make sure you subscribe, and until next time, keep getting better.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai