by Ada Hasloescher
It was only nine years ago this Spring  that I walked into the 40-hour basic training for family and divorce mediation and realized that everything in my life had led me to that exact moment. I threw myself mind, body, and soul into becoming the best family mediator I could ever hope to be—a path I continue to walk with humbleness and gratitude for having been given the opportunity to carry out this important and extremely satisfying work. I started my practice with zeal and zero clients! However, I soon figured out, through trial and error, what works and what doesn’t work to build and maintain a thriving practice.
I have devoted myself to getting the word out about mediation and have helped many of my colleagues grow and develop their own practices. Along the way, my associates have shared with me the “blocks” that prevent them from growing their practices, their fears about networking, their best-laid plans of mice and men, and their dashed intentions. What they have revealed has fascinated me, and I’ve been developing ideas about and implications of these for our practices, which I will share in this column.
I’ll also share my own success and disaster stories, as we together shed light on the business issues that stymie us, confound us, or just plain terrify us and prevent us from really “getting out there.”
I titled this column Mojo Marketing and Management because “mojo” has such an interesting connotation. Traditionally, it was known as a magical charm bag—a bag of tricks, if you will. Its modern definition and interpretation has come to mean “self-confidence, self-assuredness, as in the basis for belief in one’s self in a situation.” We all need that little bag of tricks from time to time. Don’t we dip into it when we are working with a rather challenging client? The same is true when we find ourselves confronted with the challenges of managing ourselves in the ebb and flow of our own businesses. There are two aspects to the work we do: First, there is the process of the mediation itself. And, second, there is the business of marketing and managing our practices. This column will concentrate on the latter and the very practical application of what this means and how to actually realize it. The process of mediating and the process of tending to the business of our practice require different and perhaps even conflicting parts of ourselves. Given that we all are in the “conflict” game— we really shouldn’t have too much trouble dealing with our own conflict, right? Uh-huh.
For example: How many of us know that we need to lose a few pounds? And, how many of us know a good diet, exercise regime, etc., to help us achieve that goal? And yet despite knowing all of that, how many of us actually are losing the weight and keeping it off? Yep, that’s what I thought! Unfortunately, we all know that this doesn’t necessarily translate into taking effective action on what we know. As part of this series, I’m interested in exploring that mysterious space between “knowing” and “doing”, and teasing out that little rascal! Whether an introvert or an extrovert, the person who you are while you are the third party neutral in the room with your clients may feel like a different “you” from the person who is faced with an impending networking event, speaking engagement, or request to write an article for the local newspaper. Even an extrovert may find him or herself backtracking from a commitment, due to some unknowable, inexplicable reason. Getting to the core of that enigma is what I plan to investigate, dissect and ultimately reveal because I believe it is in THAT revelation that the possibility of change in perspective, action, and results can occur.
So, no matter where you are on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, what you are trying to accomplish with your practice, or what your business goals may be, I invite you to take this ride with me. We’ll get there together, as I share our stories and your feedback. We will explore ideas, search for insights, and share a few good laughs along the way. So, buckle your seat belts and join me as I tackle the roadblocks, fast tracks and everything in between. All are welcome—even the backseat drivers!
Ada L. Hasloecher is the founder of the Divorce & Family Mediation Center on Long Island, New York, a former board member of the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation and a Founding Board Member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators. She is also a trainer at the Center for Mediation and Training in New York City. Ada is frequently asked to present workshops and seminars on divorce mediation as well as professional practice development, marketing, building, and practice management.
This article was originally published in The Professional Family Mediator, Summer 2012.