Alongside all the folk registering, my inbox started filling up with replies from people telling me why they weren’t able to take part.
Excuses versus reasons
In all those emails there was only one person who gave me a reason for not attending (her sister was getting married on a tropical island – she’d be offline working on her Maid-of-Honour speech and her tan). The rest, I realised, gave me excuses.
Look, I’ll own it. I used to be as guilty as the next person when it came to excuses.
It’s much easier to say, “I’m too busy” than it is to admit “I’m choosing to not make this a priority”.
Your excuses are holding you back
The problem is, an excuse by its very nature, lets us off the hook. When we make excuses we don’t need to examine the real reasons behind our choices. That means we never figure out a way to overcome the obstacles and move forward.
If you want to build a sustainable, scalable law firm (hell, if you wanna do anything from having a great relationship to cooking perfect chocolate fondants) you need to ditch the excuses and re-frame any “reasons” as solvable challenges.
Identifying limiting excuses
Before you can ditch them, you’ve got to be able to spot an excuse which is harder than it sounds because they’re sneaky buggers. Excuses are very good at masquerading as reasons. They have enough truth to them that they’re plausible. Plus, they usually make us feel better because they absolve us from responsibility.
Here are some of the excuses I’ve heard (and been guilty of saying)
- I’m too busy working IN the business to spend time working ON it
- I need to hire some lawyers, then I can focus on innovation
- We’re committed to this, we just can’t find the right people to help us
- We don’t have the money to invest right now
- My clients are so demanding – I just don’t have the headspace
- We’re so successful with what we’re doing, I don’t have time to think about a different direction
- Things are tight, we need to focus on getting paying clients in first, then we can start innovating
- I’m working on bringing my partners/clients on board with the idea
- I am chipping away at an online legal solution in my spare time
- We’ve just landed a new client and they need to take priority
- That’s definitely on the list for 2020
We all make the same excuses
See on the surface, they look and sound like pretty plausible, specific reasons as to why something can’t be done.
Drill down a bit though and they fall into one of a few categories:
- I don’t have enough time
- I don’t have enough money
- Something (or someone) is stopping me
The real reason you’re not doing it
How do these stack up? Again they are just excuses. Throughout that whole list, only one reason is being given.
“I’m not making this a priority.”
Once you identify the real reason, it’s time to re-frame it as a question – “Why am I not making this a priority?”
(Beware at this point your excuse-loving brain will want to shout your original excuse back at you).
Ask yourself the hard questions
Challenge yourself to be as honest as you can. Are you worried about failing? Is there a knowledge gap?
Now re-frame your reason again – “What happens if I don’t make this a priority?”
If you can live with that answer, great. But I suspect the vast majority of you are like me. You want all the amazing benefits building a sustainable, scalable law firm will give you.
Overcome what’s holding you back
The good news is, once you’ve ditched the excuses and articulated what’s really holding you back, you can use all your personal strengths and professional skills to solve the problems you’re left with.
I’ve already written blogs about overcoming some of the common challenges we face as entrepreneurial lawyers. Check out these articles:
You’re not alone
If you’ve identified another reason holding you back, chances are, other lawyers are experiencing it too. Drop me a line and tell me about it. I’ll devote some future blogs to unpacking some of the most common challenges that come to light.
In the meantime, if you want to ditch the excuses that are holding you back from creating a successful, scalable law-firm then schedule a Scale Up Session with our team today.
During the session, we’ll have a chat with you to determine:
- Where you want your law firm to be in the next 12 months
- The #1 thing holding your firm back from achieving the results you deserve
- The 3 strategies you need to implement to take your firm to the next level
And if it feels like a good fit we’ll talk about how we can work together to keep you accountable and on your road to success.