I had an awakening recently. You see, a few years ago, I needed a new desk chair. Since I was in a hurry, I couldn’t find one that I really liked. But I found one that was adequate and cheap—$69 or so—and I bought it, figuring that I’d replace it in a few months. I put the chair to hard wear: 10+ hour days on weekdays, at a minimum. The chair was ok, so I wasn’t in a hurry to replace it.
Last fall, I noticed that I was moving like a 100-year old woman when I’d stand up after working at my desk for a few hours. My back hurt all the time, my shoulders were tight, even my legs were painful. And I concluded that I’m getting older… That I should count myself lucky to have no worse complaints.
Last week, my chair started leaning to the right, to the point that I was afraid I’d tip over. Clearly time for a new chair. And this time, I found a chair that suited me perfectly. Ideal back support, a seat that’s just the right depth, great support. So I bought it, assembled it, and plopped myself down to get back to work. When I stood up, I realized….
I felt great. Nothing hurt. It isn’t age: I had been in pain for several months because I’d bought a cheap chair, I used it long past its prime, and I didn’t bother to investigate the reason for my pain. I kept suffering much longer than I should have.
What does this have to do with practicing law? Simple: we all too often get lulled into the familiar, accepting low-grade discomfort. Unless we’re screaming for relief, we put attention elsewhere and get distracted. We don’t fix the problem even when the fix would be simple.
- Is your physical environment comfortable? Is your equipment (computer, printer, lamp, etc.) in working condition and located where it should be?
- Do you need more support? That support could be a colleague to help with the billable work or administrative decisions, well-trained and enthusiastic staff, a virtual assistant on call, someone to do your bookkeeping and billing, or someone to help you with decisions about your career or your practice, just to name a few possibilities.
- Are you taking care of yourself well enough? Do you need more sleep, more activity, better nutrition, a long vacation?
- Are you working toward a goal, or are you operating on autopilot?
- Would you be happy if your practice continued for the next twenty years on the same trajectory that it’s on now in terms of the substantive practice, the kinds of clients you serve, and the financial rewards that you’re receiving?
- Are you delaying or avoiding an investment of time or energy even though you’re know that investment would bring significant benefit to your practice or your life?
One business development failure I see among lawyers is the tendency to delay getting started with consistent activity. Unless you’re a sole practitioner or you’ve been told that you must bring in business or find a new job, you could possibly float along for years, saying that you’re focused on building your book of business and delaying any significant activity. You have to make the decision that you’ll do what it takes to grow your practice… And then do it.
Take a moment today to ask yourself whether there’s any aspect of your professional life in which you’re feeling so comfortable that you’re effectively stuck. Stuck in something that’s familiar but not effective? Take an immediate step to get unstuck today. (If your stuck spot has to do with business development, perhaps we should talk. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.)