McBride for Business Blog

Gen Why Lawyer Podcast

March 16, 2017 // R. Shawn McBride // No Comments »

R. Shawn McBride was recently interviewed by Nicole Abboud on The Gen Why Lawyer Podcast about

You can find the full interview here:


Nicole:   I’m Nicole Abboud and this is The Gen Why Lawyer Podcast. What originally started as an experiment to find young lawyers shaking things up in the profession, led to much bigger conversations about law, life, and the big picture. Join me for a peek into the lives of courageous lawyers who are taking a chance on themselves.

Hello, hello Gen Y’ers. Welcome back. I’m happy to have your attention today and I hope you’re doing well. I am gearing up to give a presentation at the Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference in Vegas at the end of March. I’m pretty excited, and the reason I bring it up is because I want to know if any of you guys will be there. I’ll be there. I’m sharing the stage with two other speakers and we’re discussing the five steps to bridging the generational gap in the workplace. I am going to be recording a lot of behind the scenes footage and also the presentation itself. As soon as I have that up on my YouTube channel, I’ll let you guys know in case you’re interested in seeing what happens there.

Like I said, if you’re there, if you’re actually going to be attending the LMA Conference this year, let me know. Tweet me, send me a message, email me, just get in touch with me somehow because we will meet up. That would actually be pretty cool.

All right, now for today’s episode. My guest joining us today is Shawn McBride. Shawn is definitely an impressive guy. He is licensed to practice law in 12 states and DC, and along with practicing, he is also a business strategist, a CPA, and a public speaker. Shawn talks to us about The Three Laws of Empowerment. Preparation, planning, and protection. He delves deep into each one to help us apply the three laws to help us get exactly what we want out of our lives and our careers. Shawn shares what we should do to get the ball rolling on living the lives that we truly want, ones that are authentic to us, and he talks about you can build your own personal brand, even when you’re working for a firm.

Let me just quickly apologize for the less than optimal sound quality of this particular episode. Some of the P’s were popping but please stick with it. There’s a lot of good content and advice that Shawn shares and you definitely want to hear it. All right, I hope you enjoy it. Here’s Shawn.

R. Shawn McBride: I started my career as an attorney and I still practice law. I work with clients on making their plans and getting where they want to go in their business, particularly partnership agreement and continuity plans as people get older. As my business has evolved, people started calling on me to help them more globally and with broader aspects of planning, which led me to doing some speaking, and now I split my time. I’m a lawyer, I also am a business strategist, and then I speak about business and business issues to audiences throughout the country and help them get in touch with their plans and what they’re trying to do with their lives and their business.

Nicole:  Okay. How much of your time is split between the two, or I guess, the three? The speaking, the business consulting, and the law practice?

R. Shawn McBride: It goes back and forth. Depends on the month and the week. I still practice law pretty much full time. I still run that, but then I have these related businesses and a lot of the same core knowledge, although when I’m speaking or consulting, I’m not actually giving legal advice, per say, but I am using a lot of the learning and training and things that I’ve seen with my clients and my legal clients over the years. Time wise, I’d say, most of it is still in the legal but then will bump into the speaking and the consulting as necessary.

Nicole:  Mm-hmm. When we actually connected, I noticed in your email signature that you had a whole slew of state abbreviations after your name and it’s because you’re licensed in 12 states and you’re a CPA.

R. Shawn McBride: Yes. I have a penchant for exams-

Nicole:  I guess.

R. Shawn McBride: I’ve taken a lot of exams over the years and it just kind of reflects the fact that I’ve worked nationally throughout my life and that my clients are spread throughout the entire US. As I was opening my own law firm after spending years working for other people, I had clients calling me from other countries so that’s what led to all the law licenses. The CPA license pre-dated my practice of law. I was an accounting major and studied accounting before I started practicing.

Nicole:   Oh really, okay. Then you decided to go to law school?

R. Shawn McBride: Exactly.

Nicole:   What came first, taking all those … or, wanting to be admitted in different states or was it clients that drove that demand, I suppose?

R. Shawn McBride: It was definitely the clients. I started in … I started my career …. I was born and raised in Maryland and I got recruited to Delaware to start my career so I was in Delaware for several years. That’s where I really cut my teeth as a lawyer. Then I went to Washington DC to work for a large national firm and then eventually Texas. That was my first three licenses. I quietly worked for big law firms in Texas until I opened my own firm. When I opened my own firm, I started telling people and what was funny was people that never called upon me to be their lawyer before were suddenly like, “Oh wow. I’d love to have you jump in on this project or work on that project.” That’s when I started practicing law in multiple states and when I went and did the bar exams and all that work.

Nicole:  Okay. I want to focus a little bit on the speaking, so just your speaking career and the different engagements that you participate in and whether or not there’s overlap with the business strategy that you offer. What is it that you speak about?

R. Shawn McBride: Definitely. All of my speeches center somehow around planning. My signature speech is called The Three Laws of Empowerment. It’s really about building plans and lives that people love. I learned a lot of themes about plans that were successful in my legal practice, which can be applied to businesses. How do you build a plan? How do you make sure you’re getting where you want to go? How do you make sure you are protected?

The three elements of the three laws are preparation … that’s really a visioning and understanding what you need to do and where you want to go, and laying the foundations for getting there. Then I talk about planning, which is building a plan that really works. Moving yourself from one level to the next. The third law is protection. Making sure that you build things into your plans to get what you earn. To get what’s fair and right for your hard efforts and work.

Nicole:   How is it that this can be applied by young lawyers?

R. Shawn McBride: There’s something about being intentional. I think the first thing … I’ve talked to a couple of law schools recently and one thing a lot of people don’t think is how do I break out of the box? How do I do something that’s authentically me? I think that’s the first piece for lawyers to understand is you don’t have to follow a standard career path. Just because you went to law school doesn’t mean you have to pick which law firm you’re going to work for and go to work. You can do that but you have other options as well. You could build careers around non-law firm avenues. You could do like I’ve done where I’ve built my own law firm plus built a speaking business and other businesses around it. You have a lot of choices.

I think the first part is to figure out what’s authentically you and want do you want to be? What do you want your life to look like in ten years? It’s interesting that … it’s better to think about that when you’re younger, when you’re a law student or when you’re freshly starting practice, than to wait until longer. I did a CEO workshop about a week and a half ago and the CEOs were even confused about what they want to do in ten years. When you take very successful people and you say, “Where do you want to be in ten years?” A lot of them get a ‘deer in the headlights’ look. “Oh wow, I didn’t think about that.”

The more you understand where you want to be, the more likely you’re going to have a life you love. That’s what I call the Law of Preparation in the three laws. Then you move into building a plan. You’re going to put it in writing. You’re really going to work through it. Then finally you want to make sure you have protection. You’re going to think about what the contingencies are, what could go wrong, and what you negotiated for to make sure that you’re going to earn what you earned.

Nicole:  Right. I feel like lawyers probably have no problem with planning and protection. It’s that first one, the preparation, that’s really the hardest. It’s interesting, you talk about young lawyers or maybe even law students starting to think about this while they’re still in school or as soon as they graduate, and finding what is authentically them in a job that’s going to allow them to be their authentic self, I suppose. It’s interesting because a lot of people believe law school is this place where a lot of people go and just learn the same things. It’s very conformist. It’s very conventional. It’s difficult to go to law school and go through that system of two, or three, or four years and then, all of sudden, you’re out in the real world with your degree, you pass, and now you’re supposed to be creative and unique when you just spent three years being the same as everyone else. I don’t know where it should start.

R. Shawn McBride: I think the first step … I think a lot of people lose this and it’s not unique to law students. It’s to all different professionals and business people, is to lose track of the fact that you don’t have to be on the same track as everybody else. You’re absolutely right. Law school teaches you how to follow systems and rules and you want to think creatively obviously with your litigation strategies or if you’re negotiating, and there’s some elements of that, but mostly law school is about these are the systems, these are the processes. Do you understand these systems and processes and have you sufficiently learned these systems and processes.

Like you say, very mechanical. Takes a lot of the creativity out of you, and that’s been one of my things I talk to with a lot of my clients, particularly the ones that are coming out of corporate America after many years. Very similar to law school. You spend years in corporate America and again, systems, processes, do it our way and people do that. What I do is I try to get people first to wake up and say, “Okay. What do I really want my life to look like? If I could be spending my days the way I wanted, if I could be serving the clients I wanted to serve, what would it look like?” Then we start working backwards from there.

Nicole:   Reverse engineering. Yeah, that makes sense. I think we’ve all been to conferences and workshops where we’ve heard exactly what you’re saying. We’ve heard people say think about where you want to be in five, ten years. What do you really want to do? If you didn’t get paid for it, what would you wake up and do every day? I’ve even said that to people, right? I’ve been guilty of saying that too and I feel like its one thing to say it and it’s a completely different thing to actually do it and implement on the other end. I guess the question is, we have been to conferences where we’re taking down notes. We get excited. We hear people say, “Okay think of what you want to do,” and we write down, “Okay, this is what I want to do. I want to be a teacher. I want to be a dancer. I want to teach yoga.” Then we close up our notebook and go home and go back to work on Monday like nothing ever happened. How do we break that cycle and actually get moving and get started on what we really want to do?

R. Shawn McBride: Well, a couple of things. First, you hit on a great point which is actually stop and write it down and take the time to reflect. Pull a piece of paper out and do it. There’s a lot of different exercises out there. When I speak, sometimes I’ll lead people through an exercise where I ask them to envision what they want their life to look like. First step is that. Then there’s a lot of different strategies from there. Part of it depends on who you are. If you’re a written person, write down those goals and revisit them regularly. Make notes. Put a reminder on your calendar that pops up every day that reminds you where you want to be.

Some people like the vision boards. You get drawings out of a magazine and you put it on your mirror in your bathroom. I have different things that I like on my bathroom mirror which is a constant reminder. You go in there in the morning. Some mornings you don’t think to look at it, but other mornings you glance at it and you’re like, yeah, that’s what I’m working towards. That’s where I want to be. Just different ways to remind yourself.

A great tool to do is if you can keep that vision of where you want to be, what you want your life to look like, if you can keep that in your head regularly as you’re making routine decisions and then even non-routine decisions, it will start informing your decision making. Part of it is just being conscious. This is where I want to be and then start viewing every decision that you make. Is my decision consistent with where I want to be or not? That will help you make a lot of decisions.

Nicole:   Yeah, I think you touch on a great point and it’s the fact that not all decisions have to be major, life-changing ones. They can just be small decisions that you make every day, but as long as they’re aligned with where you want to go, or they’re moving you towards that, they’re still good decisions. It doesn’t have to be completely abandoning your current position.

R. Shawn McBride: No, no, no, it can just be slight twists. Slight turns along the way can make a huge difference. Can make a big difference at the end. It’s like you’re making constant course corrections. You talk about how when they sent the Apollo missions to the moon, they were only on course like half a percent of the time. 99% of the time, the rocket or the spaceship was off target, but it was constantly course-correcting and eventually they got to the moon like they intended. Same deal here. You want to be constantly correcting to get to where you want to go. That’s the thing. If you have that vision of where you want to be, you can start making decisions to be consistent with where you want to go and you can keep constantly adjusting the course to get there.

Nicole:  Right. Okay. We’ve got this vision. We wrote it down. We’re staring at it. It’s our backdrop on our computer. How do we get into … maybe we can delve a little deeper into the planning phase, if you don’t mind?

R. Shawn McBride: One of the keys is to really make robust plans, and there’s a couple of strategies for that. One thing is to, obviously, think about where you want to be. What you want it to look like. Then break it down into steps. Very simple process of which steps get me there. Then the thing I challenge people on is think about what needs to change because if you were capable of being where you want to be, you would already be getting there. You would already be on that course. You might already be where you want to be. There’s something that probably needs to change. Is that training? Is that education? Is that a different way of viewing things? Is it a mindset issue? There’s something that needs to change.

Once you have that in place, then you make a timeline to go through your changes. Then you want to adjust that. I find when people work through those first four steps of figuring out what steps you want to do, figuring out what the goal is, what the steps are, what the changes need to be, and then the timeline. Those four usually don’t fit together so you need to take one more step of going through there and aligning everything. That’s the steps to get you a really nice start of a plan.

Then the next piece of that plan is once you have your beta plan or first version of your plan, then you want to get other people involved. That’s where you get really good at making really strong plans is when you start involving other people. We can only see so much. We have blind spots. That’s when I tell people to write your plan down. Take it to someone. Show it to somebody you trust. It doesn’t have to be another business person. It doesn’t even have to be another lawyer but somebody that understand the world and that has good common sense, and then ask them about the plan. Don’t ask them, “Did you like my plan?” They’re always going to say, “Oh your plan was great. You did a good job.” You want to ask really specific questions. What would you change about my plan? What would you improve? What do you think would work? What do you think wouldn’t work? What would you do differently if this was your plan? Really get the details.

You’re going to collect data from that review process from that person. Then you can adjust your plan again and improve it. Then you can run back through that process with a different person or even with the same person again, but you can really lay a foundation for a process to make a really, really strong plan. By the time you get through that process a couple of times, you’ve really got a realistic plan that’s doable. You’ve built a support system of people that understand who you are and where you’re going. You’re off to a great start.

Nicole:   These people that you are turning to work through your plan with you and revise it, are they people that you’re related to? Is it a spouse? Is it a sibling? Is it better to go with a friend or someone who has no direct connection to you and are they able to give you an unbiased, objective opinion? Who would you recommend we go to?

R. Shawn McBride: I think it’s really a personal choice. You want to go to somebody you trust, obviously, because you’re giving them your plan. It depends on the sensitive information in there. If it’s a business plan where you’re doing something new and novel, you might be giving them important information. If it’s your life plan or your career plan, you may not have the same level of sensitivity. It could be your spouse. I mean, obviously, that’s hopefully who you have a lot of trust with. It could be a business friend. It could be somebody you’ve known for years, or it could be somebody you just respect. Maybe a mentor. Maybe somebody in the community you’ve met that you just respect.

You want a good, solid decision maker that has some wisdom, who can provide you some guidance. It doesn’t have to be a … there’s not a particular one magical person. Who’s right for each person is going to be varied a little bit but you want somebody who really just … really you want a second set of eyes. You want some fresh perspective. You want people to show you what your blind spots are and help you reconsider some things and say, “This might be harder for you to do than you think it is,” or, “This part over here … you can call this person over here and they’ll help you get through that step very quickly.” You’re going to add a lot of momentum to it just by getting those outside perspectives.

Nicole:   Right. You know what, even this step can be very difficult. You can take your plan to a friend or a spouse and they can help you with maybe the mechanics of it, but even getting to that point can be really scary. That point of sharing what it is that you really want to do. Imagine you’re switching careers all together and you take that plan to a spouse. That’s hard.

R. Shawn McBride: You’ve got to have that open communication and really talk about what the significance of that is to your life because that changes their life too. Hopefully your relationship is strong enough for that. You probably don’t want to go to your boss and share a plan where you’re going to change your career completely, although some are open to it. Depends on your company. I gave a speech to a corporate group, a couple months ago. One of the people in the audience, when we asked them what they want to do with their career, they raised their hand and said they wanted to start their own business. I immediately looked at the CEO of this fairly sizable company, who was very okay with it. He was like, all right.

Nicole:   That’s a good leader right there.

R. Shawn McBride: That’s a leader that wants his people engaged. He wants his people doing what they want to do with their career but then is open to them going a different direction at some point as long as it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. That’s the kind of people I like to work with. Those are my ideal clients. That’s the three laws of empowerment version for corporate environments. Corporations that are scared of losing their employees and scared of having employees follow a life path they love, those are not my clients. They’ll never book me to speak anyway.

Nicole:   I know you work with a lot of businesses. Like you said, you strategize, you consult. Is there a difference between working with businesses that are trying to grow and expand, and build a business brand as opposed to a person?

R. Shawn McBride: You know, I think that the world’s getting more blurred in that area. It used to be yes. There used to be a distinct difference between a business brand and a personal brand and the two would never meet. Nowadays in the world we’re getting in, especially in the authorship, thought leadership world, professionals, so much of it is about your brand and its different scales. A very successful lawyer in a local economy is often well known. They have a brand. It may only be a city-wide brand, it may only be a regional brand, but people say, “That lawyer is a great real estate lawyer here in Los Angeles,” or, “that person is the best environmental lawyer in this market.” Brands are pervasive. They’re very strong in our legal profession. You need a personal brand if you’re going to be a successful, client-attracting attorney. You often want a personal brand. You want to be known as the expert in this knowledge base.

Of course, as you get into broader scale knowledge leadership and you deal with other speakers and other authors throughout the country, the same types of principles apply on a national scale. Your company, your business brand, right, you want to be positioned as a business. Here in professional services in particular, yeah, your personal brand is important and I don’t see much difference. Either way, you’re trying to communicate with people who you are and be consistent about who you are so that everybody can understand it.

Nicole:   The reason I even ask that is because I get a lot of young lawyers who ask me and I just see it on social media being asked, that they’re just not sure … these are young lawyers who work for firms. They’re not sure if they start a Twitter account, if they want to blog, who they’re really representing. Are they representing themselves? Are they representing the bigger firm that they work for? They find difficulty harmonizing the two.

R. Shawn McBride: I think there is a difficulty and challenge there. In today’s day and age, you’re still laying a brand for yourself regardless of whether you’re in a big firm or not. I think some of my past experience taught me that. I worked for one of the largest law firms in the country who ended up dissolving in 2008.

Nicole:  Oh wow.

R. Shawn McBride: As I watched that process, it was very interesting because what you found was as this law firm was starting to struggle, the partners in a tough economy were selling their personal brands. Some of the partners that had big books of business that were known for themselves and the clients would come to them, those are the ones that successfully got out quickly and took clients with them. The ones that didn’t have a personal brand or weren’t as well known by the clients, they had much harder times finding their next career.

Nicole:  Yeah. Completely makes sense. That’s usually what I tell young lawyers, that hopefully you work at a place where your personal brand and their firm brand align. Yeah, always work on your own personal brand. Obviously, have loyalty to your firm but just work on your own personal brand because you just never know what will happen. It helps anyway in the business development.

R. Shawn McBride: Right. There’s often that debate. Do people hire lawyers or do they hire law firms? Most of the time they’re hiring the lawyer. They trust the person. The law firms, particularly big law firms, tend to be such … they look the same from a distance. Their marketing copy looks the same. Everything looks the same. People hire the lawyer, the person they trust.

Nicole:  Right. That’s true. Okay. Then quickly, what does protection look like for a business, and then can it be applied to just an individual person?

R. Shawn McBride: Absolutely. For a business, it’s about negotiations. It’s about making sure you get what’s right for what you’re doing. The famous case I’ll often talk about when I give the speech is the Facebook case in the movie Social Network. In that movie, early investor Eduardo Saverin chases down Mark Zuckerberg and they have a heated discussion because Eduardo Saverin has found that he now suddenly owns a much smaller percentage of Facebook than what he originally thought he would or what he intended. Zuckerberg essentially says, “Well, you didn’t negotiate properly. You didn’t protect yourself.” That’s a problem.

Nicole:  Yeah.

R. Shawn McBride: That’s a business case of it. Personally, it’s about what you are doing … we talked about career development. What are you doing to develop your career and how are you making sure that even if your employer changes or reorganizes, is your personal brand strong enough? Are you able to step out on your own? These are the things you can do to protect yourself on a personal level to make sure that, regardless of what other people do, are you getting what’s right? If you become that lawyer who someday becomes a business partner with another lawyer, what provisions can you build into the agreement to make sure that, regardless of what happens to that business partner … even if your partner goes through one of the four D’s I talk about in my speech. Death, disability, divorce, disagreement. If one of these downer D’s happens, do you have a plan to make sure that the time and the effort and the stuff you’ve put into the business are all still going to be protected and you’re going to get that economic value? These are the things you can do to protect yourself on a personal level.

Nicole:   Yeah. Also, staying on this personal level, when I heard protection, my first thought was money, as in do you have enough saved up? You actually brought up a really great point. Another form of protection is actually developing yourself personally. Are you gaining any kind of marketable skills while you’re still in the position that you’re in right now? Are you taking more CLEs? Are you reading the right kind of books? Are you attending other non-legal seminars to develop yourself as a person, as a business owner, whatever the case may be?

R. Shawn McBride: Absolutely. In the negotiations world, people often talk about your BATNA, or your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, which is what the Harvard University school teaches and there’s different ways of doing it. Basically, what’s your walk away? How vested are you in an interest? Not that you want to walk away from your law firm. Not that you want to leave. The more skills you have, the more abilities you have, the more things you’ve accumulated in your personal war chest, the more alternatives you have, which means you have more negotiating leverage when it comes to set new salaries or make partner decisions or whatever the case might be. The more alternatives you have, the more strength you have, the better positions you’re going to be in. That’s really a great way to protect yourself is to have that personal war chest of skills and abilities.

Nicole:  Right. Let me get your opinion on this one. What is the point of empowerment anyways? Why are we trying to empower ourselves anyways? I guess, I’m not trying to be facetious about it, but does it matter? Are there people out there who are happy in the positions that they’re in and they are okay not necessarily growing or expanding, or going elsewhere?

R. Shawn McBride: Well I think it’s all about your personal satisfaction. My definition of empowerment is really following a course of action that’s consistent with you, that allows you to be the person you want to be and is respectful of the desires and needs of others as well. If you’re already in an empowered position, if you’re at the place you want to be, if you have the relationships you want to have, then you don’t need to be thinking in these terms. You’re already in a very good spot.

It’s human exercise. Most people I meet usually have spells of being happy and not being happy, and there’s things they would like to change. What I’m talking about is if there’s things in your life or your career that are not making you happy or are causing friction or not enjoyable, then what path are you taking to make sure that you’re changing that? You might not be able to change it overnight, but over a course of five or ten years, you could make major changes in your life.

Nicole:   Do you have any thoughts on how long this nagging feeling or unhappiness, or frustration with whatever it is that you’re frustrated with, your job, your finances, how long that needs to persist before a person should recognize that it’s actually a problem and not just a fleeting feeling that will pass?

R. Shawn McBride: Yeah. I think you need to take a step back. A lot of it is really a personal decision. I’ve known a lot of people over the years and I’ve been in some tough work situations too. I’ve known some people that have been in tough situations. You’ve really got to look at whether it’s a temporary transient issue, or whether it’s a structural issue. Is there just pressure right now because you have a big client project that’s unusual and is a big demand, or are you working around the clock because your law firm is understaffed and that’s their way of making bigger profits is to overwork everybody? Which situation are you in? You’ve got to look back behind the curtain and figure out why this is happening. That will give you some guidance on whether it’s you or whether it’s temporary or whether it’s long term.

I have some friends that are teachers. It was interesting. I was out having lunch with them and they were both talking about how they each had quit teaching. They were frustrated by the system. They had students that were acting up, they weren’t doing great things, and they weren’t being protected by the system. They both said, “Hey I’m done,” one day. They looked at the system as being structurally flawed. It was never going to come around and fix them. Their frustration built and built. You’ve got to look at your personal situation and whether you think it’s a short term thing or a long term thing. People make different exit points depending on their personal tolerance and whether they think it’s permanent or temporary.

Nicole:  Right. Yeah. Definitely a great answer. Was there something that happened in your life that led you to discover these three laws of empowerment? What is it that got you to this point where now you’re speaking about this and motivating others to take action?

R. Shawn McBride: It was a building … it was my career. I for so long did exactly what you and I talked about at the beginning of the session is I followed the path that everybody told me to follow. I went to law school. I got good grades. I went to work for the big law firm. I was the definition of successful. I was doing what everybody else was doing. After many years of doing that, I started having some self-reflection. I started talking to lawyers that were senior to me as I built relationships. Many lawyers that were senior to me both inside and outside of the firms I had worked in, were not happy with their career. They were not happy with how things developed. Based on those conversations, I decided, okay, why would I keep doing what everybody else is doing if they’re not happy with the results? I need to do something different. That’s what led me to starting my law firm.

Of course, I built that to a certain size and then it became … I started talking to more and more audiences in a speaking capacity and people started asking about my path and how I got where I did, and what themes am I seeing working with my clients on their plans and their success? It just evolved over time. It just kept … as the layers kept getting removed over the years and I became more and more authentic to myself, more and more people loved the message of how I was getting where I was getting and how I was doing the things I was doing. That’s how I came out.

Nicole:   Good job. Good job on acknowledging what was happening and recognizing that that’s not the path for you. You looked around and saw people were unhappy. It takes a smart person to realize that that’s probably for a good reason, right? You didn’t want to be in that situation anymore. Congratulations.

Shawn, I actually noticed that you gave a TED X Talk, I guess pretty recently. Tell me a little bit about that because that’s exciting.

R. Shawn McBride: Yeah. As speaking came … many years ago I had seen TED Talks. I saw people on the Red Dot. I started getting interested in this and I thought it was very interesting. I never thought that one day I would do a TED Talk. As I started speaking more and more, it started to come into range. I started meeting other people that had done TED X Talks, the smaller version of the TED Talks, and then it came. One day I decided I wanted to do a TED X. My staff and I started looking at opportunities. We started looking at TED X events.

One of my staff members suggested I do women in business because I work with a lot of women business partners in building their partnerships. She suggested I apply. We applied just on a whim, and there it was. They called me back and they were very interested in the topic for TED X women. They wanted me to talk about what women do great in business partnerships. It was just such a fun event. To finally get to do a TED X Talk, to stand on the Red Dot, the audience engagement, and just that personal journey of getting there, it was a great moment in my life.

Nicole: It’s definitely an amazing opportunity, so that’s awesome.

R. Shawn McBride: And a great message too. Women are wonderful in business and I think it’s under-celebrated. To really stop and apply some academic research, which is how I did my TED X talk. I looked at some research and really just expose the themes of what I’ve seen women do really good in business partnerships. It was a fun topic.

Nicole:   Okay. Yeah. I was going to ask next, what’s one theme, if you don’t mind sharing that?

R. Shawn McBride: Women cooperate and collaborate differently than men-

Nicole:  That’s a good one.

R. Shawn McBride: And they do it very well. That’s a great thing that I think women should really focus on when they’re in business is how can they use that great skill of being cooperative and collaborative individuals. The statistics show they do that more than men. How can they use that skill to compete better at business? It’s something that can be a real competitive advantage.

Nicole:   Yes. I like that. Hear that ladies? Collaborate.

R. Shawn McBride: Work together. Work as a team.

Nicole:   It’s a good one. Did you feel nervous? Going into a room of women … I assume a lot of the attendees were women. Were you nervous speaking to women about women?

R. Shawn McBride: I gave a lot of thought about that beforehand. I was a little … it was a little bit different. At the beginning of my TED X Talk, I acknowledged … I said I’m different. I know I’m different. I was the only male speaker that night and so it was interesting speaking to a room of women. I’ve done it before, but in that setting and that genre, and particularly with a line-up of all female speakers other than myself, it was fun. The female speakers were great. We all got along. We build camaraderie behind the scenes and we all really got along great. It was a fun night.

Nicole:  I bet. Well, that’s definitely very impressive. Before I let you go, I’d love to grab your contact information because I’m sure my listeners will love to reach out and connect with you.

R. Shawn McBride: Sure. Feel free to reach out. It will get you to our email box and then 214-418-0258 is our main line. is our website. There’s a great checklist in there for those of you that are business owners or considering business owners. You can get a free download of a business checklist on how to maximize the value of your business.

Nicole:  Okay.

R. Shawn McBride: Our Shawn McBride Live showcases me as a speaker so if you’re curious of seeing a little video of me speaking and some other stuff, that’s over there.

Nicole:   All right, very cool. I’ll have that contact information listed in the show notes at Any parting words of wisdom for our young lawyer listeners?

R. Shawn McBride: I think just stop and think about where you are and where you want to be. Take that moment. The executives that are running successful companies haven’t even stopped to do it. You’re going to have a very powerful advantage if you stop, think about where you are, think about where you want to be, and then you can start mapping that course. It really all starts with that vision, knowing that you’re capable. We all are capable humans. We can do great things with our lives. We just have to pick what we want to do with our lives and how we want to make that look.

Nicole:   Perfect. Well thank you Shawn. Thanks again for being here.

R. Shawn McBride: Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed it.

Nicole:   Me too. All right. Bye. All right, I hope you enjoyed that. Thanks again to Shawn for joining us and thank you guys for listening. I hope you have a super productive week and if you’re finding yourself in a funk this week and unsure of where your life or career are going, then please just take some time and reassess what’s going on. Apply The Three Laws of Empowerment that Shawn talked about, and hopefully, you will gain some clarity. I think most importantly, just stop, take some time to reassess what’s happening, and then figure out your next move. All right, until next week, take care.


This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique.  Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Hans-Gunther Dreyer.

About the Author

R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (, gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at or (214) 418-0258.

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Posted In: Business, Growth, Speaking, Strategy

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