The new year always brings with it many promises: to achieve better health, better relationships, improvements in career. But often, after just a few weeks, those resolutions fall by the wayside, and our determination falters. And in our careers, we often fall especially hard.
The key is to make our steps manageable, so that we don’t feel overwhelmed. It’s better to think in increments: lose five pounds at a time, instead of aiming for 25 at once; garner one extra client per month instead of wanting twelve immediately. This change in perception allows us to figure out the appropriate steps we need to take, and we will feel more in control and more focused about our progress and results.
Here are some of my resolutions for the year:
- I want to have more patience: Working with clients, I often forget that they don’t know the law. I want them to understand my thought process, my strategy, immediately, and sometimes I become frustrated when I have to explain everything more than once. My goal is to try to remember that this is why my client hired me: to work out a plan of action that is suitable, and to explain it to them in layman’s terms, and allow for their feedback and input.
- I want to be a better listener: I often anticipate what others are going to say to me, and I want to have an appropriate and thoughtful response. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, sometimes I may not really be listening as carefully as I should be, because I am formulating this response in my head when I should be listening. I want to say the smart thing, and answer in a way that seems clever. My goal is to not worry so much about my initial response, but to critically listen to what my client is saying or asking.
- I want to manage my expectations and my clients’ expectations: What do I expect when I work with a client? What does my client expect from me? Being clear from the onset is the key to managing and fulfilling my clients’ needs. Letting them know what I need from them, in terms of information or cooperation, will enable me to do the best job I can for them. And asking them what they anticipate from our relationship helps me to manage their expectations of our relationship.
- I want to be the best lawyer I can be: What steps can I take to improve myself? I want to keep up on the latest legal trends in my field. I want to take courses, attend seminars, and talk to others who have knowledge in my specialty. All of this allows for more critical thinking on my part and a better knowledge of my area of the law.
Call to Action: What are your resolutions for the year? Are they manageable? Think in incremental terms for better success. As always, let me know your results in the comments below.
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