It's what screws things up for most lawyers who aren't as happy with their law firms or their lives as they could be.
And fear has an ugly way of growing into frustration, resentment, defensiveness, anger and worst-of-all the twin-devils: Justification & Compromise.
I say "happy lawyers make more money". So what happens to lawyers who make compromises with themselves and then turn their skills of advocacy in-ward on themselves to justify their compromises?
For one thing, they eventually become angry.
They also don't make nearly as much money as they could.
That is to say, all things being equal, an unhappy lawyer could be a much more profitable lawyer if only he or she took the steps that would result in him or her being a happier lawyer.
What makes most lawyers happy?
- Is it a temporary bump in cash-flow?
- Or a victory in court on behalf of a third party whose case, cause or matter doesn't really matter that much to you?
- What about a nice stiff drink or some other "vice" like gossip or criticism of people whose own happiness shouldn't affect you one bit, but inexplicably it still does!?!?
No, what makes lawyers happy is when we get to do what we love to do on cases, causes or matters or for people whose outcome resonates for us.
And what enables a lawyer to engage in these activities which make us happy?
Proper, professional and reliable "real world" law firm management. Which such management includes marketing, sales, financial controls. And policies, systems & procedures that work to protect us from all the b.s. we don't like to do.
Because law school didn't teach us anything about the business of running a law firm, did it?
Now, when I say "happy lawyers make more money" you can now recognize that it's the law firm management that causes us to have the option of doing what makes us happy. It makes the law firm more profitable too.
So why did I write "fear" in the subject line of this email?
Because fear, more than anything else is what prevents far-too-many lawyers from taking the steps that lead to being a happier lawyer with a more profitable law firm.
But it's not fear of failure that gets in the way.
Of course that's the "accepted" and the politically-correct explanation that all our friends and family and bar officials and CLE directors and everyone else is prepared to undertand and accept.
No-one challenges us on it when we give them these types of explanations for why we don't do the things that must be done to find out just how great our law firms and our lives could be:
"I'm afraid if violating bar rules"
"I'm afraid of losing money"
"I'm afraid of getting a bar grievance filed against me"
You might as well add, "I'm afraid of being eatten by a crocodile" to the list because, afterall, being eatten by a crocodile is universally-accepted as a bad thing.
But what do any of these fears have to do with building a more successful law firm that enables you to explore your true potential?
I've been at this for more than 10 years now. I have had the unique opportunity and the privlege of working with thousands of lawyers. And I myself have had my struggles with my own fears too, both as a lawyer and an entrepreneur.
So I can tell you with a high-degree of authority that the fear that holds most lawyers back from doing what must be done to be happier and consequently more profitable lawyers is NOT the "fear of failure" .
It's actually fear of success.
I'm going to let that sit with you for awhile.
And when you're ready to talk-about, doing-something about it, you can decide for yourself which description resonates most with where you are today with your law firm or in your legal career and then schedule a call to speak with me at www.HowToMANAGEaSmallLawFirm.com