Exploring the Thin Places: Travels in Ireland

Dan Bedard on Mt. Brandon

"For now, just know that everyone is meeting up at the Dublin Airport on Saturday, June 23rd at noon... This is no mere vacation. It’s a pilgrimage."

I've just returned from a weeklong trip to Ireland. As it turns out, the above was almost everything I would know about the itinerary before arriving. What was I getting myself into? 

At the end of June, I had the great fortune to join best-selling author Perry Marshall and 10 other business owners to explore "thin places" in Ireland. Before I arrived, I had only a faint expectation of what might be coming. I have returned with a new energy and conviction about what I want to do—including what I know Carolina Family Estate Planning can be. 

So… what happened in Ireland? 

A lot. Too much to put in a single newsletter article. So, for now, I'll share a few highlights. Upon arrival, we rented 3 cars and roughly followed the coast of Ireland, driving counterclockwise. Along the way, we visited "thin places," and I met some incredibly interesting people. I climbed a few mountains and enjoyed the beauty in silence. I set foot on an island that few people have ever visited. And I witnessed a few things I can’t really explain.

The understanding that I came back with is that we have an opportunity to do more at Carolina Family Estate Planning than I had realized. For a long time, Jackie and I and the team have been striving to differentiate ourselves from other law firms. You see it in our approach to client care: the cookies, the educational seminars, this newsletter, the dozen or so books on our website, the pains that we take to make sure that we get the details right—and to fix them right away when we occasionally fall short.

All those details are important, and we'll continue to do them of course, because they're helpful, and they are completely congruent with who we are. But now I realize that there are things we can do that are much harder to articulate or train new team members to embody. We have, I realized, been hiring for this ability without even knowing it. Now we need to cultivate it every day. What are we trying to do?

To initiate transformative improvement in our clients’ lives through estate planning services. 

I know that sounds lofty. But we do some of it already: think about how you feel before and then after you "get your ducks in a row" by planning ahead or by settling a loved one's affairs. Many clients arrive paralyzed by the very idea of making the wrong move. And once we've helped them make it all neat and tidy? Freedom.

But now we have started working with our team to cultivate an ability they innately possess (because we've hired really really well), but which we never encouraged before: Go deeper. Talk less; listen more. Empathize. Where before we might have held back some words of encouragement because it seemed unlike something a lawyer would say, we are going to honor you with those words. 

In short, I'm not sure where this will go yet. But I know it's the right path. And, well, I want to thank you for being a part of it. Want to know more about Ireland? Curious what "thin places" are? Please check out the second article in my series. Or receive them in your email as they come out by following me at vip.carolinafep.com/Ireland2018

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