Ben Glass is a nationally recognized board-certified personal injury, medical malpractice, and disability insurance attorney. He is the owner of BenGlassLaw, a law firm that assists clients in making great decisions about their legal situations. Glass also serves as the Founder and President at Great Legal Marketing, a marketing and consulting firm teaching “effective, ethical and outside the box marketing” to attorneys.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
Annandale, Virginia. Oldest of seven children in a middle-class family. I was a good youth soccer player and I was fortunate to play with a lot of good players. My “Play Left Fullback”* story is that in my tryout for my first “travel” soccer team when I was 12 (a team that went on to become national champions when I was 18) my father told me to tell the coach I played “left fullback”, a position that not many people wanted to play and I had never played. When I asked “why?” he told me “showing up like no one else” would increase my chances of getting on the team and that we would “figure the rest out later.” I ended up playing left fullback on scholarship at a Division One college team for four years.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
While I had good sports coaches growing up, I was slow to get a business coach and a “life coach.” The right people looking over your shoulder is invaluable.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
“Do good work and they will come.”
“Put your clients above all else.”
“You must pay your dues and climb the ladder of success”
“Lawyers should not be thinking about profit”
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
I got into a lot of business/financial trouble when I tried to expand the business as a solution to low cash flow and I really didn’t know what I was doing. That caused a lot of financial distress for me and my family. I muscled my way through it then started to invest in business coaching so that I wouldn’t be in that position again.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
A mindset change and it was this: giving myself permission to reject the status quo of the legal profession; shun the ‘ladder of success’ theory of career development and give myself permission to build a business that would support the life I wanted to lead.
What is your morning routine?
Depends on whether it’s a CrossFit day or not. I work out doing CrossFit 4-5 times a week. On those days I’m up at 4:40, at the gym by 5:15 for 5:30 class. Leave the gym around 6:45 or so. Home to read two printed newspapers that arrive on my driveway (Wall Street Journal and Washington Post) and drink coffee. Then I write in my journal, check my calendar for the day, and work at home until I go in around 10 a.m. If it’s not a CrossFit day, up by 5 am then pretty much the same schedule.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
I’ll turn 63 soon. I’m stronger now than I’ve ever been. So CrossFit is the #1 habit I’ve pursued in the last few years.
I’ve also invested even more time/money in coaching not only for myself but also for my entire leadership team.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
No “to do” list.. instead, I block appointments for just about everything I do
I have not taken an unplanned, inbound phone call for over 25 years. Everything is scheduled.
Play to my strengths (I am a visionary), surround myself with really good people and delegate most everything to them, and let them do their stuff.
*I tell the story more fully in my book, Play Left Fullback, available on Amazon
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. reinforced the notion that you must think rationally and think for yourself. Also that there is no duty to self-sacrifice.
Deep Work by Cal Newport. This is the book I give away the most. Reinforces the notion that highly successful people do not get bogged down in “simply moving electrons around all day on the Internet.” They focus on thinking for themselves and arranging their lives to be able to think deeply.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Take responsibility for your own life. Where you are today is largely a product of the decisions you have made in your life. Where you will be in five years will largely be determined by the decisions you make.”
“The world owes you nothing. You owe the world nothing.”