Legal tech CEO shares his tips for success and how to live a 'Fast Forward Mindset'
Ari Kaplan. Photo by Lauren Hillary.
Ari Kaplan recently spoke with David Schnurman, the founder and CEO of Lawline, a leading provider of continuing legal education, and the author of The Fast Forward Mindset: How to Be Fearless & Focused to Accelerate Your Success, published in 2019 by Highpoint Executive Publishing.
Ari Kaplan: What inspired you to write The Fast Forward Mindset?
David Schnurman: I have been reading self-improvement and business books since high school and have gotten more from a $15 purchase of a book than from any coach, person or course in my entire life. I started interviewing entrepreneurs in law school for a program called TrueNYC in an effort to share their knowledge and had always wanted to write a book.
Ari Kaplan: Why is it called the “Fast Forward Mindset”?
David Schnurman: Almost all of us have this vision in our head of who we are, who we want to be, and the impact that we’re going to have versus the reality that we are in at the moment. The Fast Forward Mindset is about how to jump from where you are to where you want to be. It is about how to be more fearless and focused to fast forward your impact on the world around you. After a certain amount of success, you hit your comfort zone in life and essentially coast in that comfort zone for the next 30 years. If you really want to have a bigger impact on the world around you and grow, you need to get out of that comfort zone.
Ari Kaplan: What is the three-step Fast Forward Mindset framework?
David Schnurman: Step one is taking action to get out of your comfort zone. Step two is to nip fear in the bud, which offers mental strategies to prevent yourself from falling back into your comfort zone. Step three acknowledges that nipping fear in the bud will only get you so far and encourages readers to find long-lasting focus.
Ari Kaplan: What is the most impactful lesson that you share in the book?
David Schnurman: The most impactful lesson is to avoid labeling the action that you take as good or bad because as soon as you label it, you’re afraid to do it. I realized the two biggest things holding me back were often a lack of confidence in myself and a lack of focus. So I decided to establish a framework for myself, which is the Fast Forward Mindset.
Ari Kaplan: What is the 30-day challenge?
David Schnurman: I wanted to leave people with a clear action step, and I love 30-day challenges because they are short and you can do them for your entire life. Essentially, I encourage readers to identify a goal or a commitment and actions they can take to achieve an outcome within 30 days. For example, writing the first chapter of a book or training for a 5K. It can be something small, and I have created a form in the book to help with this process. Additional resources are available at ffwdmindset.com/resources. During this process, ask yourself and write down three questions every day for 30 days: (1) What actions did I take today? (2) What is my No. 1 fear today? (3) What is my focus for tomorrow?
Ari Kaplan: What does it mean to live the Fast Forward Mindset?
David Schnurman: It is not about what you achieve or how many wins you have because those are just outcomes. The Fast Forward Mindset is about living as fearless and as focused as you can every day without regrets. Not everything comes in a time frame you expect.
Ari Kaplan: Tell us about your most challenging point as an entrepreneur.
David Schnurman: It was after Lawline’s third CEO in six years left due to a lack of trust, focus and structure in our relationship. As a leader, I had to take responsibility. So I dove deep into my entrepreneurial community and tried to identify the next steps. I realized we needed help and hired a coach, who helped me to get out of that cycle.
Ari Kaplan: Do you have suggestions for other entrepreneurs and professionals who are interested in writing a book?
David Schnurman: It is an amazing thing to do, and I plan to do more of it because it is essentially self-therapy and meditation rolled up in one. It prompts you to reflect on many different aspects of your experience. In addition, it is like running a marathon because it is really hard and painful, but when it is done, you appreciate your accomplishment. I recommend that prospective authors get energized for the experience and avoid worrying about the outcome during the process. Just start writing the stories that you want to tell. I used to go to Starbucks and handwrite 30 to 50 pages of content. Finally, get a good editor or a writing partner to review your work because it is often impossible to do it on your own.
Listen to the complete interview at Reinventing Professionals.
Ari Kaplan regularly interviews leaders in the legal industry and in the broader professional services community to share perspective, highlight transformative change and introduce new technology at his blog and on iTunes.