Recently, Joanna Penn was talking on her podcast about all the different things she’s tried and revenue sources she has developed over the years as a part of her writing business. She said that every year she does an analysis of the work she enjoys and finds productive and the work she needs to either delegate or abandon. Here’s the part that stuck with me though; Penn said it’s as important for her to know what the work is that she doesn’t do, as it is to recognize what she does do.
Not twelve hours before listening to that podcast episode, I had been talking with Curt Runger of Attorney Mentors who told me he had recently retained a consultant to help him make some decisions about his law practice. He felt like he was too close to things and needed an objective, experienced set of eyes to help him evaluate his business.
I started to see a theme emerge – productive and successful people put in the work to evaluate their businesses both for what it is and what it is not. What it should be and should not. Sometimes culling out those areas of our practices that either we do not enjoy or do not do well is as important as maintaining the successful parts of our work. We cannot be all things to all people, and to attempt to do so puts undue strain on us and limits the time we have to serve our clients well.
It is easy for us (and by us I mean me) to look around at our peers and think, real lawyers do that kind of work, not this thing I’m doing. Or my law school classmates have achieved X or been given Y recognition, but I haven’t, so I must be doing something wrong.
But the truth is that our successful is not determined by being recognized as a Super Lawyer or having seventeen different practice areas listed on your firm’s website. Your success will be determined by how you handle your business and take care of your clients. An important part of those things is doing the evaluative work to determine (and then appreciate) what your practice is and what it is not.