Balance Business Development Goals & Planning

Rising Up: Taming Your Inner Critic

Sandra works three times as long as she needs to on her files, checking and re-checking and going through countless drafts. She is driven by her fear of making an error. Sandra works long hours in the office but rarely meets her billable target because she consistently edits down her time.

Mary is unhappy. While she enjoys commercial litigation files she is stressed all the time. The partners provide her with positive feedback as do her clients but every time she makes any kind of error she takes it as a sign of failure.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

Some might say the answer is simple. Sandra just needs to take a different approach. Sandra needs to do fewer revisions, record all her time and let the partners decide what needs to be written off.

As for Mary, shouldn’t she just pay attention to the positive feedback from the partners and her peers and realise that she is good at her work?

If only it were so simple.

Sandra and Mary are each in the grip of their inner critic and it is obscuring their judgment.

To learn more about dealing with your inner critic please visit my article on the Canadian legal weblog

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.