Recently I received an email from a firm that was proudly announcing the lawyers who had been promoted to equity partner. I had coached all but one of those lawyers.

When I coached those lawyers, I was struck by four things.

  1. They are passionate about their work and clients.
  2. They are very competitive, but they are also very collaborative and want to be a part of a firm team.
  3. They are open to new ideas and willing to try them.
  4. They are very focused on excellence in their work and service to clients.

So, in many ways this blog post on excellence is written for that group of lawyers I coached. I want to make sure they know that becoming an equity partner in their firm is an awesome achievement, but it is only a step in their pursuit of excellence.

Some time ago, I wrote about Vince Lombardi’s suggestion to pursue perfection because in the process you will likely achieve excellence. That quote and my time with the new coaching group reminded me of a point Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) made in his book Leading with the Heart  This morning I took the book off my bookshelf looking for the quote:

My hunger is not for success, it is for excellence. Because when you attain excellence, success follows.

You might be wondering what the difference is. To me success is comparing how I am doing with how others are doing. Excellence, on the other hand, is comparing how I am doing with my potential. It is funny how great coaches think alike. When he passed away, I wrote a series of blogs about John Wooden. He said:

Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

It is interesting that three of the greatest coaches in history essentially said the same thing. It is  also interesting how well their players, and how well the really outstanding lawyers I get to coach respond to becoming the best they can be.

Are you doing your very best to become the best lawyer you are capable of becoming? Or, are you comparing yourself to others?

P.S. For additional reading I think you will find: 10 Mistakes That Make You Unable To Reach Life Goals helpful.