Maryann is stuck on a tough assignment. The partner she reports to is busy and trusts Maryann to take a run at drafting something quite complex and different from anything Maryann has handled before.
Maryann is worried. “What if I overlook something?” Maryann is stalled as she ruminates about her possible shortcomings.
Talking it over with a friend over the lunch hour, Maryann comes to a different way of looking at the situation. Instead of seeing it as a challenge she could fail at, she shifts her focus to the opportunity it represents for improving her skills and getting better in this critical area of law that interests her.
She thinks: “Yes, it’s a challenge and the partner has confidence in me. This first draft will go to some people who will review it, and I can fully expect that it will not be perfect. But in doing my best and turning out the highest quality product I can, I will learn a lot, and I’ll learn even more when the comments come back.”
Maryann’s experience demonstrates the shift from a “be good” to a “get better” mindset.
This focus on “get better” is a simple antidote to some very stressful thought distortions that trip up and slow down many lawyers.
To read more examples and learn how apply this in your practice read my article in SLAW this month.