In this week edition of Things I Wish I Knew, Joleena Louis discusses how focusing on the “why” helped her accelerate the success of her practice.
If money is your only motivation, you’re not going to be successful as a solo attorney.
The lawyers I know whose motivation, or why, is based on their clients, their passion for their practice area or their challenging cases always seem to be the happiest. The least satisfied attorneys I meet are those who practice a certain area of law simply because the money is good.
As a solo there are going to be many slow months, especially in the beginning, so money alone will not be enough motivation to see it through.
Benefits to Focusing On Your Why
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why can endure any how.” Knowing your why is the best way to figuring out how to achieve your goals.
Your why may be similar or even identical to your business core values, and just as your core values help you make the right decisions for your business, so can your why.
My why guides my interactions with clients and potential clients. Reminding myself of my why makes it easier to consistently provide excellent service even when I’m tired or busy.
Finding My Why
My why was the driving force behind starting my own practice. I wanted the freedom to guide my clients through the most difficult time in their life while making them feel like their case is my main priority.
Some of the law firms I’ve worked for in the past did not put a value on customer service once the retainer was paid. They prioritized getting as much money as possible from the client over actually helping solve their problem.
This was extremely frustrating and caused me to lose my passion for the profession. I did not want to be that type of lawyer who put financial gain ahead of my clients needs. I decided to practice family law because I enjoy helping others get through tough times, not because I like dragging out the process and increasing legal fees.
How to Focus On Your Why
If you are still trying to determine your why, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why did you want to start a law firm?
- What do you get from this, other than money?
- What are you passionate about in your practice?
- What is your definition of success?
Once you determine your why, find a way to remind yourself. I have a file with every thank you note I have recieved from my clients over the years. When I’m frustrated or want to give up, this file helps me remember why I do this.
Since starting my practice, my why hasn’t changed, but it has been reinforced. Even when times are tough financially, when I focus on how I can best serve my clients, I feel happy and fulfilled with my work, and that is what is most important.