Several years ago, I coached an incredibly successful lawyer. He had been doing extremely well long before he met me. But, he was a lawyer always striving to become better. That kind of lawyer is never content.
By contrast, about the same time I was coaching a group of lawyers at a firm. After a few months the managing partner took me to lunch to get a report. When he asked how the group was doing I told him the firm was wasting money on me. He looked shocked and asked why I believed that. I answered:
They are too content with where they are.
I thought of a quote that is attributed to Abraham Lincoln:
I would add that my great concern is not whether you have failed to bring in your clients or expand relationships with firm clients, but whether you are content with the level of success you have achieved.
I run into this problem all the time. Some younger lawyers have a senior lawyer feeding them work, so they are content with that level of success. It is easier for the younger lawyer to do the senior lawyer’s work than it is to develop business.
Lawyers who are content stop learning and stop making efforts to get outside their comfort zone. They sit at their computer and just do the work fed to them by the senior lawyer (and hope she doesn’t get hit by a bus on the way home).
Being content is not limited to younger lawyers. I see more senior lawyers who have reached a certain level of business and then go on cruise control.
Like their junior counterparts, they stop striving to be more valuable to clients. They also fail to see other opportunities to help clients.
Several years ago Scott Ginsberg posted a blog: Have You Pierced These Six Veils of Success? I urge you to read it. Here is what Scott wrote about veil 4.
4. Complacency is bankruptcy in disguise. You’ve never arrived. You’ve never “made it.” There is no finish line. Ignore that truth at your own (and your company’s own) peril. Or, try this: Don’t be self-satisfied with past glory. Get your ass out there again and go make your life stronger. Because when you receive regular injections of divine discontent, the money will come. Either that, or your arm will swell up. In what three areas of your life are you the most overconfident?
I agree. There is no finish line. Get your rear end out there again and make your life stronger.