I was chatting with a couple of young lawyers earlier today about some of my videos they were watching. Their take-a-ways are not congruent with the message I intended to give.
I know it’s Saturday night but I needed to get this off my chest and this video posted.
I’m aware that in my content I preach about having a balanced life. A life premised upon keeping things in this order (1) health first, (2) family second, and (3) business/profession third. The same order my father-in-law Mike shared with me and that I wrote about in my post, “Mike the Milkman Delivers His Three Keys to Success.”
Now I still believe in this approach, but after this morning’s conversation, I realized I’ve been minimizing in my messages the reality of just how much time, work, and effort it really takes to become the best at what you do.
Whether it’s the practice of law or starting a new business, I know that the amount of drive, focus, and dedication you put into the effort will determine the level of your success or failure.
There are no shortcuts. You have to obsess over the journey. Doing so is going to result in you sacrificing other things you care about. It just will.
But to be the best, you have to outwork and out-hustle your competition. You can’t do that unless you’re putting everything into a 100% effort.
I think this applies to almost everything, even when it comes to learning how to try a case or tap into the power of social media.
It’s hard. It takes certain qualities that others don’t have or an effort that others just refuse to embrace.
Yes, balance is necessary. Your health, family, and relationships are critically important.
But don’t kid yourself. If you want to be the best in town or even in the world, you’ve got to put in the effort and time. And when you do, it’s going to result in you not being able to do other things.
Most people don’t want to hear this. Most people settle for average, and that’s fine. Others will just quit.
But here’s the deal– figure out what you want to do and then do EVERYTHING in your power to get it done. Take action. Don’t let excuses get in your way. Learn every day. Practice every day. Keep getting better. Don’t get sidetracked.
As you perfect your craft, the amount of time necessary to stay on top of your game will decrease. The learning curve gets shorter and shorter. You become more proficient. When this finally happens, and it will, the trick is to make sure you double down on your health and family.
The two young lawyers I mentioned are trying to achieve their goals by starting at the end of this journey rather than at the beginning.
Life doesn’t work that way.
Passion, desire and dreams will get you out of bed in the morning, but the focused effort will put you on top of the hill. Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from climbing that hill a bit higher each day. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from making it to the top. If you do, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.
OK. Now that I’ve hopefully made my point take a step back and take a deep breath. Why? Because despite the above rant, I still believe to this day that you must always put your physical and emotional health first, your family and friends second, and your business and practice third. Don’t get this mixed up.
Just make sure that when you do work on your craft, you give it all you’ve got. Don’t make excuses.
Take advantage of the early morning hours to perfect your plan of attack. Use the late evening hours to get things done. Surround yourself with other people who share the same drive and determination as you do.
Mike’s message made sense to me, but it’s not how I rolled for the first ten years of my practice. Looking back, it was constant hustle and effort that made a difference in my professional success.
Put in the time, and you’ll experience the rewards.
It’s not easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it.