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How to Outperform Your Competition — or — What I Learned from My Dad

October 6, 2011

Filed under: Practice Growth — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:36 pm

Photo by ElvertBarnesThere is a simple, simple concept I want to share with you. But like most simple concepts, it can be difficult to put into play.

It still astounds me after more than 22 years as an attorney and 15 years of coaching lawyers that I find still the greatest key to beating your competition is through honest hard work.

Now, hold on. Before you quit reading this, let me break this down a little.

What makes up Hard Work? My definition, and I am wide open to adding your thoughts to this thread, includes asking ourselves three questions:

  1. Is there clarity of commitment?  I am not talking about just busting your hump for no good reason just to say you work hard. No, I believe you need to be clear about what you are committed to and know the direction toward your hard work.
  2. Is there focus? I see many people running in circles. I once heard that you should never confuse action with progress. A dream is worthless without a plan. Action is without a dream is worthless chaotic futility. Where are you going and what is your plan to get there? Are you focused and working in the right direction with a plan?  Are you just running on the treadmill of action going nowhere? Think about it.
  3. Are you recognizing the value in your hard work? I have said this before, if things were easy you would just order stuff off the last infomercial you watched and you’d be rich, good looking and on a boat (and you would not reading my blog, no doubt, either).  The interesting thing is many, many people are lazy and think they are entitled to something because of who they are, what they know and where they went to school.

The great thing is that these folks don’t know is what my dad taught me — focused work with a clear plan of action will always keep you ahead of talented and unfocused competitors.

The old Woody Allen joke of “80% of life is showing up” really is on the mark. I feel the same way about outworking the competition. I honestly believe that most people put 20% effort into a work day and get really annoyed when it does not play out quite the way they hoped. Yes, I said hoped. Most folks don’t plan their days with any clarity of commitment. Their hope is that things will go the way they wanted versus the way they actually planned. 

You really don’t have to be brilliant to outperform your competition. You just have to work a little bit harder not a lot harder than your so-called brilliant competition. Show up when and where they don’t, return the phone call or email when they don’t, and boom, you’re ahead of the competition.

So what do you think? Will you give hard work a chance to grow your practice, or do you have a better idea on how to outperform your competition?

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