I am speaking tomorrow at a firm retreat. The title of my presentation is “Taking Your Career to the Next Level.”

I will begin by asking for a show of hands who in the audience reasonably believes he or she can triple the annual revenue he or she generates in three years. So you can also answer the question, I did a search and the legal definition of reasonably believes is as follows:

Reasonably believes means believes on grounds that are reasonable in the circumstances.

Why would I begin with that question? For starters, when I first interviewed to join Jenkens & Gilchrist, the managing partner asked me to pretend like resources would not be an issue and prepare a plan to triple my volume of business in three years. In the previous year I had brought in about $1 million in fees. I prepared a plan he requested and I still have a copy.

That first year I generated $1.8 million in fees and the firm paid me a very generous bonus. I can’t remember if I went over $3 million in the third or fourth year. That is not important. What is important is I had prepared a plan to achieve that goal and I believed I could accomplish it by taking the actions I described in the plan.

Later, when I coached lawyers I asked each lawyer to create a long term plan designed to generate three times what they had generated the year before I began coaching him or her. When we talked I could tell whether each lawyer might achieve the goal.

How could I tell? First, I could tell by the quality and thought that went into his or her plan. Second, I could tell by visually seeing whether the lawyer believed he or she could accomplish the goal.

I am looking forward to the response I receive to the question tomorrow.