Learnings for lawyers from the sensational summer of sport 2021.
For a hurdler, perfection is 15 or 13 (women or men) equally precise strides between each hurdle. For lawyers, perfection is found in the combination of technical skills and an enabling mindset. Great lawyers enable clients to make better choices and achieve their priorities, while managing downside risk. Conventional legal training tells us practice makes perfect, but practice actually only makes permanent (good or bad).
“You can practice shooting 8 hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way.
Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”
- Michael Jordan,
Sydney McLaughlin, Team USA 400m Olympic hurdler, seeks her perfection in unexpected ways. She has only run the 400m hurdles once since 2019. Instead, her coach has her training in more uncomfortable scenarios, pushing her outside of the comfort zone. Her routines include 100m races, taller hurdles and so on. So when she comes to her race, the 400m hurdles, she’ll be faster, the 15 strides will be quicker and relatively effortless.
"He is all about putting me in uncomfortable situations,”
- Sydney McLaughlin.
- Read the interview with Sydney McLaughlin here.
And she's not alone. The All Blacks use it. endurance athletes too - blending different types of discomfort (running slower than comfortable - going slow to go fast, training faster and more intensely than competition pace, to simulating on field match day emotional pressure) to create the best in class performance on competition day.
It's part of the inspiration for the idea that we realised into FM: Catalyse Play, Fuel+Move’s simulator game training for lawyers. By the time you’ve been through the intensity and disruption of the game a few times, real life will seem just that little bit easier. You'll see things a moment sooner and you'll respond a quicker. All in your own unique style.
AND WHAT ABOUT AUTHENCITY?
IF THERE’S A "PERFECTION” TO PURSUE, WHERE’S THE ROOM FOR AUTHENTICITY?
That’s the thing - the two go hand in hand.
As lawyers and leaders, it’s individual uniqueness that draws out our perfection - it’s the imperfection that’s perfect. The winning combination that enables us to shine.
Think about Roger Federer and Bjorn Bjorg or Martina Navaratalova and Serena Williams, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Each one best in class.
Each one with a level of technical excellence that made them unbeatable in their moment.
Each one in the same “job title” or “function”.
Each one unique.
You would never confuse the individuals in the pairings, not even in how they communicate or move. They never tried to be like anyone else. They learn from others to bring out the best of themselves and to raise the bar. But they never to lose their own identity.
As lawyers in pursuit of perfection, we often try to emulate role models or people we perceive as having the career story we’d like to have. But we risk losing the very thing that will allow us to excel and shine - our individual uniqueness. Polish your unique shine so that you know it and everyone else can’t help but know it.
“You want personalities, you want people to be happy, not robots.”
-Matthew Hudson-Smith, as he gets ready for Team GB 400m Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers.
Read the article here to give you a bit of a mid-week boost.
It applies to lawyers too. Robots don’t win clients or get promoted. Personalities who can woo clients and keep their teams engaged get promoted. They're not perfect, they are just perfectly themselves.
To get there, do these 3 things consistently:
Develop your awareness.
Work out what works for you (trial and test) and then do that and refine it.
Shine up, own who you are and be unapologetically your unique self.
🔥 Give yourself a head start (or a kickstart) by booking a complimentary call: https://bit.ly/3fW5vyi. Fuel+Move offers legal team and career development, inspired by sport and designed for lawyers by lawyers.
Setting up lawyers for a better version of success