Transformations & Liminal Space
European anthropologists Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957) and Victor Turner (1920-1983) studied rites of passage – the transition from one life phase to another. Those you are familiar with include commencements, Bar Mitzvahs, graduations, and weddings.
Estate planners can benefit from van Gennep and Turner’s work, as we often interact with individuals going through another of life’s transitions – retirement.
Van Gennep identified three stages of a rite of passage: separation, a symbolic break from the past; transition, the point at which the person is remade; and re-incorporation, the re-entering of society with a new identity.
Turner noted a related concept, liminal space, defined as the place that is neither the starting point nor destination. It is the place in between where the transition itself occurs. Separation into a liminal space is necessary because we are all affected and tend to conform to the norms of those around us. Only in a new environment can we transform into the identity we want to be.
This brings me to why it is crucial for you, as a leader of your estate planning firm, to regularly remove yourself from the office to gain clear thinking about your transformation. Equally important is to immerse yourself in a dynamic atmosphere where everyone around you seeks transformations for themselves and their firm.
I’ve been in coaching programs for the better part of two decades, requiring me to spend several days every quarter traveling to places like Chicago, Toronto, and New York. When describing my experience to others, some attorneys tell me, “I can’t leave the office. I’m too busy.”
Well, I’m too busy too! And I’d rather have more money and more free time. That will not happen if I never leave the office to chart a new course for me and my firm. Without regularly separating myself from the office, I never would have considered ideas nor implemented new processes and systems that have made us so successful both in revenues and free time. In fact, I’m writing this email to you from my mountain residence where I spend several weeks a year hiking, bicycling, and whitewater rafting with my family.
Another challenge I faced was to adopt new ideas into my practice. Unfortunately, most of the programs that I attend are very expensive (as much as $50,000 for four quarters of coaching!), so, for many years, bringing along someone to understand the reasons for and help implement adaptations to my firm was out of the question.
When I returned to the office fresh with new ideas, my team would hide behind computer screens hoping that my desire to implement changes would fade.
I’m persistent if nothing else.
Our firm constantly transforms, which is a new normal for us. When COVID struck, we took it all in stride. Working remotely, serving clients in new ways over those several months did not seem all that challenging to my team. We excelled – 2020 marked our largest revenue year ever!
I hope this helps you consider what you need to do to achieve whatever transformations you have in mind for your firm.
To your bigger future,
Craig R. Hersch
Florida Bar Board Certified Wills, Trusts & Estates Attorney
Senior Partner, The Sheppard Law Firm
Founder, The Freedom Practice®
PS – Because of the difficulties I faced coming back to my office after being all charged up from one of my coaching sessions, I’ve made Practice Xcelerator’s one tuition enroll two members of your firm! I want you to bring someone along – whether it’s an assistant, paralegal, associate, or partner – from your firm! Your excitement will bleed over to them. They will be your ally implementing the transformative ideas you will generate during our two days together. Questions? Click here.