Coaching Managing Self Personal Development Positive Psychology Reflection & Mindfulness

Powerful self-coaching with two words: get better

man thinking
Written by Allison Wolf

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.




About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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