Are You a Plate Spinner?


Once upon a time, I entered the gates of China, albeit via Epcot, to find myself completely enthralled by street performers expertly spinning plates. The beautiful ease with which these Chinese acrobats transitioned into spinning a dozen plates, stacked catawampus upon six chairs 20 feet up in the air, held my attention the entire time. As I stood there captivated, I could not help but compare the number of plates they were juggling to a day in the life of Orange Legal.

You see, my journey with Bobbie Barrett, owner of Orange Legal, has been very similar.  Bobbie is a do-it-herself-er and was driving a U-Haul to our new Tampa office the day she warned me about her ability to get plates spinning, only to walk away leaving someone else to keep them going without allowing them to crash to the ground.  Bobbie is a risk-taker.  She has a true gift for innovation, an eye for marketing and a heart as big as Texas.  She is what I like to call predictably unpredictable. We work well together. I believe my over-analytical, let-me-think-things-through-to-make-your-wish-my-command approach is often unrealistic but seems to work well with her.

When I joined Orange Legal, our goal was to do anything the big corporations could do, only better.  With a shoestring budget, we hit the ground running and quickly introduced every law firm in Florida to Orange.  It is amazing what a calendar, chapstick and pen will do by way of introduction.  Soon we began opening location after location to better serve our clients.

With Bobbie’s people-pleasing mentality in tow, we coined the phrase “Yes Company” and became all that and more to anyone willing to ask us for help.  Leading a growing company was hard work, and most days I felt like a firefighter putting out fires.  I would attempt to strategize, only to have Bobbie spin a new plate in the form of a new service, location or event.  She shot by the hip and it worked well, most of the time.

In our last company meeting, Bobbie, who is predictably unpredictable, was given one part to speak, just one.  She announced that meetings are boring, turned Pit Bull up on her phone and began dancing.  When she paused, she explained through tears to our entire team that the profits we make go back into the company, for them, for their future.  She does what she does for others.  She worries about their future more than her own and probably more than they do.

When I look back on my career at Orange, I can’t help but think of what an honor it has been to work with this plate spinner.  She has gotten us into some real doozies, but I never felt alone.  She has always been there to help me through it and to point out new opportunities.  And I’ve relaxed, knowing that before I can find a way to make the impossible work, Bobbie will be off spinning the next big plate.

Bobbie is by far the best leader I know.  She has a unique way of getting others to grab poles and climb chairs while attempting to balance a spinning plate on their big toe 20 feet in the air!  What type of leader are you?  Do you care about the people you serve or are you only in it for the paycheck?  Are the people you lead loyal to you?  Do they grasp your energy and commitment to providing excellence to your clients?  If not, I encourage you to find your heart and passion again.  Do what you love without giving pause to whether or not it is impossible.  If it is a good idea, those around you will take hold of your passion and help you fulfill your dreams.

For more awesome tips on becoming a “plate spinner” and building your success, check out our blog. To look at all of the services offered by Orange Legal, click here. To schedule with Orange Legal, click here, give us a call at (800) 275-7991, or contact us online.