Priorities and habits have a decisive influence on your professional life. What are your priorities?
Whether it is to consolidate, boost or reorient your professional career or to improve your life balance, it is important to identify your priorities and stay consistent.
We have identified four priorities among others (like family), which have to do with a lawyer’s professional and personal life: health, professional practice, time management and personal and professional development. The key is finding a balance between them.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom, and, like everything that depends on oneself, it needs to be done with the long term in mind through the building of good habits: a balanced diet, regular and moderate exercise, rest, free time and leisure, proper stress management, and so on. Though I am sure everyone knows this, only a few have the discipline and perseverance to carry it through without excuses or procrastination.
It takes considerable effort to consolidate oneself in the market. The key to a satisfying and profitable professional life is not working hard per se but working hard in the right direction and surrounded by competent and loyal fellow travellers, with whom we share values and vision.
Farsightedness, business acumen and the ability to build authentic and trusting relationships are more important than just working hard – many of us know professionals who have worked very hard, and do not, or have not, enjoyed a fulfilling career.
“Working putting out fires” is a common expression among lawyers and other professionals. They are aware of their short-term thinking, they complain about it, but they often do little to go beyond what is urgent, to focus on what is important even if it is not as pressing.
They lack focus and self-discipline when dealing with important but not so urgent matters that translates into a lack of planning for or attention to essential assets like branding and business development. That lack of discipline and long-term vision, that tendency to procrastinate, comes at a cost. In contrast, those who make a difference are those that don’t make excuses, they do what they have to do.
Where does the “I don’t have time” excuse get you? You will have more time if you organise yourself in line with what you want, if you manage your customer services better, delegate (that is, trust in others more), put aside certain unproductive habits and focus on productive ones, like getting up or going to bed earlier, and taking advantage of downtime to improve or train yourself.
Personal and professional development
Personal development is discovering and learning about yourself, mastering your talents and managing the brakes that can block or stall your career.
There are professionals who do not really know themselves or the effect of their communication. This leads them to miss out on opportunities.
The first stage in personal branding is crucial and consists of an analysis and diagnosis, that is, on an understanding of what the lawyer can enhance and what he needs to avoid or lessen to find his better version as a professional and, on that basis, and only then, communicate the brand, convey its differential advantages to potential clients, knowing how to create trust-based relations.
Personal and professional development is sometimes confused with training. It means more than that. It seeks, I repeat, the most authentic and profound advancement of the individual for the professional to thrive, through awareness. Awareness is priceless. This is knowledge that can mark a watershed as it helps the professional to make a qualitative leap in his or her professional career. If they accept the challenge.
What are your priorities starting today? Define them and act, no excuses.
© Francesc Dominguez, legal marketing and personal branding consultant, www.francescdominguez.com