Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why aren't you excited about 2009?

Do you think that 2009 is going to be a banner year, that you'll end it doing the work you want to do for the clients you dream about having? Why not? Do those dream clients no longer need legal advice? Has the work you love disappeared as a legal discipline? 

Isn't it possible that this year could be good for you in some respects? That the slowdown might give you an opportunity to analyze your client base and focus your business development efforts on the handful of clients you like, who pay your bills on time without question? A chance to rediscover what it is you love about the law, what you're truly good at, and how you can do more of that work? Is there no chance at all that you can finish this year right where you want to be, in your sweet spot, ideally positioned to make your post-economic-crisis career better than that which you had before the world came crashing down around us? 

It won't be easy, of course. It will require commitment, planning, discipline and lots of hard work. You'll need to focus your time, effort and money, chase only those opportunities that fall into your zone, keep your eye on the prize at all times. You will have to make hard choices, step outside of your comfort zone, maybe even pass up a chance to bid on work you don't want to do for a client that won't pay your bills (not as easy as it sounds). But it's not impossible. 

You'll need a plan of action, one that identifies your objectives and the steps you'll take to meet them. Not a "Strategic Plan" filled with self-evident truths that takes too much of your time to draft and ends up saying little because it tries to say everything. Just a plan, an idea of where you want to go, how you're going to get there, how you'll know when you've arrived, and how long you think it will take. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be long. It doesn't have to be complex. You don't need to account for every potential development, you're allowed to make mistakes, you can always change the plan later when you discover this idea doesn't work or that one does or this client doesn't have as much work as you thought it would. It's your plan after all.

Would you be more excited about 2009 if you owned your future? Write your plan and you will. 

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