How Introspection Can Make You a Better Lawyer
By Anna Johansson • February 09, 2017•Careers, Other Career Issues
When you’re a lawyer, you typically spend most of your time considering and addressing other people’s problems. That’s what they hire you to do, after all.
But if you don’t ever take the time to peer inside yourself and become more aware of who you are, you’re doing yourself -- and by extension, your clients -- a disservice.
Five Benefits of Professional Introspection
Introspection doesn’t come naturally in the legal profession. It’s your job to care and worry about other people, and attorneys often neglect their own personal needs for days or weeks at a time.
Once you develop a taste for the benefits of introspection, it’s likely you’ll never turn back. Consider the following five rewards.
1. Better Understanding of Strengths and Weaknesses
Susan Green, a senior market strategist who specializes in trading futures, is big on introspection. She’s found that it allows people to understand their strengths and weaknesses better, which will fuel superior decision-making.
She frequently relays the story of a peer who purchased a futures contract with the intent to sit on it for a long period of time, only to sell a few days later, after he failed to account for his own proclivity for impatience. This rash decision cost him thousands of dollars and left an impression on Green.
When you’re an attorney, the stakes are similarly high. You may not be wagering thousands of dollars, but your clients have put their future in your hands.
Spending some time thinking about who you are can empower you to identify the strengths and weaknesses that could lead to better outcomes for your clients.
2. Acknowledgement of Fear
Fear is the worst limiting factor for you as a lawyer. Fear can prevent you from taking on new clients or pursuing a daring strategy in the courtroom or negotiations.
Fear may keep you from accomplishing the things you’ve always dreamed of. Fortunately, a healthy level of introspection will allow you to identify and take inventory of the fears that could be limiting your career.
3. More Focus on Future Goals
It’s easy to get caught up in the here and now. And though there’s plenty to be said for focusing on the tasks you have in front of you, personal maturing and growth is less likely if you’re always living in the present.
Introspection can give you the ability to focus on future goals and identify the steps that will be necessary to reach them.
4. Greater Self-Fulfillment
Did you know that the average person has more than 50,000 unique thoughts per day? More than half of them are negative, and 90 percent are the same as thoughts you had the day before.
In other words, most of us are mired in stagnation. “In Buddhist thought your mind is likened to a drunk monkey,” writer Kevin Wood says.
“If you don’t take the time to tame this drunk monkey your life might as well be run on autopilot. Never actually acting for yourself, simply doing them out of a conditioned response.”
The answer is introspection. When you start thinking for yourself, you will tame this “drunk monkey” and discover greater self-fulfillment.
5. Strengthens Client and Peer Relations
Finally, introspection leads you to become a better version of yourself. In turn, this strengthens relationships with your clients and peers. No longer will you be trying to be someone you aren’t, which makes you more appealing to those around you.
Give Yourself a Little Attention
You give enough attention to other people. It’s time that you spent a little more time focusing on who you are and where you want to go in your career.
If you feel unhappy or stuck in your legal tasks, then you should give introspection a try. It’s a game changer and can dramatically alter your outlook for the better.
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