We had the good fortune of connecting with Falen Cox and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Falen, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
My definition of success has changed over time, and I imagine that it will continue to evolve as I get older, wiser, and have different experiences. I also think that there are different types of success and different ways to be successful. As it relates to difference types of success, sometimes it depends on where you start; it’s not always a clear finish line and sometimes, even if there is a clear finish lines success might not require reaching it. For example, in my work as an attorney I might have a client who is in a situation where the odds are stacked against him/her. Given the circumstances, we might not always be able to win every count or recover every dollar. However, sometimes winning some counts and recovering some dollars is a successful outcome; the counts that you do win, and the dollars that you do recover could be just enough to make a difference–to me, that’s success. On the other hand, if a client is an advantageous position and we don’t win every count or recover every dollar, that might not be a success because where we started and what we had to work with was different. I take the same approach in business. Not every process that we try or service that we offer will stick; sometimes we’ll lose money or valuable time. But, if we find a better way to do things or refine our services to those that people need then then it was a success.
What is or what is not successful very well depends on the goals of the individual person and how long or short of a term they give themselves to reach that goal. For me, being successful means more than having a profitable business–even though that’s part of it. Success for me involves being an employer, providing a literal and metaphorical space for other people to collaborate, hone talents, and shine. Success involves being there-at the right time and in the right place-to provide services for people who need them. Of course, success involves winning. My goal is to build a business that highlights other people and allows them the framework and resources to be their best selves.
Success at life, though, is more than just business. It’s having close, nurturing relationships with family and friends. It’s the way your family members’ faces lights up when you’re able to show up for something important to them or provide the means for an experience that’s important to them. It’s long conversations with friends about where you are and where you want to be; it’s friends who are rooting for you, and who also pull your coat tail. It’s being around people who inspire you–sometimes just being able to put yourself in a position to be inspired (whether that’s a vacation, a trip to an art gallery, or listening to hype music through high quality headphones) is part of being successful.
I define success as being able to get what you want out of life, while simultaneously being able to rid yourself of things and people that do not serve that purpose. True success invariably involves self-reflection and acceptance, which also necessitates a reverence and appreciation for God (or a higher power). You must know who you are to know what you need.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am 1/3 owner of Cox, Rodman, & Middleton a boutique law firm in Savannah, Georgia practicing personal injury, criminal defense, family law, and other general matters.
I am most proud to have started this firm. I have wanted to be a lawyer since 3rd grade. It wasn’t until I started the firm that I realized how much I wanted to be and enjoyed being an entrepreneur. I remember coming to the office on our very first day open and sitting at my desk with nothing but a laptop and the phone numbers of 2 perspective clients who had, thank God, waited for me. Almost 5 years later, we have 2 employees and are looking to hire a 3rd. There have been days (that turned into weeks) when I thought this wouldn’t work, but so far it has.
It has not been easy. Being a lawyer and owning a law firm are two very different jobs; I had been a lawyer for over 6 years but had never owned a small business. The biggest challenge was trying to figure out what to do. From learning my partners in our new roles to figuring out processes. I had to learn to get comfortable with trying things and seeing how it worked without being disappointed or feeling like I had failed when something didn’t work out. As the saying goes, “when you know, you know.” The converse is “when you don’t know, you don’t know.” I’ve overcome that challenge by giving myself and those who work with me more leeway: try it out, if it fails it fails and if it succeeds then how do we do more of it or spread it around? I’ve also had to adjust my definition of failure by extending the timeline. If I try something and it doesn’t work, I haven’t failed, I just haven’t succeeded yet. Usually, I can succeed through trial and error, and if I can’t, I move on and try something different–channeling my energy and resources at what is for me and getting better at what I am good at. Thankfully, I have partners and staff who can make up for my shortcomings, and when we all have shortcomings in the same area, we can hire an expert. As the great Maya Angelou said, “when you know better you do better.”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First of all, my BFF knows she can’t stay for a week, lol; I am a true only child introvert, so we can do 4 days tops. But…we would definitely do the following:
Starland Yard: this is a new food truck yard that has various food trucks cycle in and out with everything from crepes to British style fish and chips. There are two anchors: the Starland Bar (which serves beer, wine, and cocktails) and VITTORIA PIZZERIA which has been named the best pizza in Georgia by Food & Wine Magazine and I concur.
Randy’s BBQ: This place looks unassuming. It isn’t a restaurant, it’s actually a rib stand. Randy’s has some of the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life (and I’m from Alabama so that’s saying a lot). It is reasonably priced, but you must get it to go, and you must get it quickly, it sells out at around 1PM every day.
Drink: There are so many places to drink in Savannah. The only one that stands out is the original Wet Willies (on River Street not in City Market). Running on its heels, however, is Liquid Cafe, but it is also a place to hang out.
Liquid Cafe combines multiple flavors of daiquiris with great food and good music, there is an outdoor patio and both inside and outside is always a vibe.
City Market: There’s no predetermined destination when you hang out in City Market; the market is lined with bars and club. Go with the vibe.
First African Baptist Church: This church is a cornerstone in the Savannah and Black community. As featured on Real Housewives of Atlanta, it is one of the oldest black churches in the nation and was part of the underground railroad. Many of its features, including the interior, are in original condition.
Pin Point Heritage Museum: Pin Point is right outside of Savannah’s city limits and is a small African American community founded by freed enslaved people shortly after the civil war. The museum allows visitors to learn about the Gullah/Geechee culture directly from residents who grew up in the small, close-knit community.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate my shoutout to all of the public school teachers and staff.