“Mojo is that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.”
Professional practice is a roller coaster of emotions.
They are intertwined with:
- The quality of the clients.
- Are you meeting your targets?
- How many complaints/claims are you dealing with?
- The relationship with your colleagues.
- If you are being properly rewarded.
- If you are seeing enough of your family.
- And if you are enjoying what you are doing.
And many, many other areas that would, otherwise, take up an entire post.
In my time in practice, I really rode the emotional curve. There were times when I felt that I was making progress in my career, and other times when I would go home and say to my wife “Why do I bother?”. My issue was always that so many people, even those who were supposedly running the show, seemed to have lost their Mojo and were, in effect, going through the motions.
Looking back I now realise that trying to mould people to my way of thinking was ideologically wrong. And, in fact, the only way I was ever likely to feel satisfied is by doing things my way (in a risk sensitive way) and for myself.
The thing is as much as it pains me to say so professional practice has a way of eliding certain facets of your soul, chief amongst those is your authenticity and personality.
I am all for having to wear, from time to time, a race face – no fake smiles PLEASE – but the problem with this persona is that sooner or later you forget what it is to be human. Sometimes your inner voice just cries out for a sense of reality.
Now you may well chide me but ask yourself how much of your real self turns up to work each day? As I have mentioned before, so many people have this superficial persona when in reality they are passively disengaged. They have come to rely on a persona that gets them through the day but it doesn’t inspire them let alone those around them.
Firms have become immune to happiness. All they are seeking is predictability. In other words are you meeting your target?
What price are you paying for this?
For some the price is worth paying: a salary that is better than a number of other jobs. The work is not too hard to find. You seem to be making some progress through your firm. All things being equal it isn’t all that bad.
At the end of the day work is personal.
And my experience is not your experience.
But how many of you can say that you are the most of anything?
You may say that no job is like that. There are always compromises. You may be right. You wouldn’t be the first to tell me that my expectations are wholly unrealistic. All I know is that having had a near death experience in March 2010 (I spent 6 days in a high intensity bed for a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage) there was no way that I was going to go back to work and pretend to be some other person. I wasn’t going to sacrifice my Mojo for anyone. I needed to look at myself in the mirror and say that I had lived my life on my terms and that I had pursued my dreams. Good for you, I can hear you say and even if you feel that your sacrifices at work are worth the return outside, please don’t think that you have to mould yourself all the time to live outside of yourself.
Stop making compromises.
Go look for your Mojo.
Me, I would start with your clients. Stop thinking that you have to deal with every client that makes an enquiry. You don’t.
After that I would start looking at what sector really floats your boat. I married my love of sport with my final position in law. In was a real blast.
I am not pretending that this is easy but you will notice that once you start to deal with people that value you, for who you are, and don’t grumble and complain about every unit of time, you will begin to feel so much better about what you do.
Look at sectors that don’t just have the potential for economic growth but where your interest lies. There has locally been a huge focus on food and education but I wonder how many people are genuinely interested to see these sectors flourish? You need to enhance your reputation not besmirch it by jumping on the pariah bandwagon.
Of course I make it sound so easy.
For many firms they are still wrestling with how to leverage their brand but what they have not focused on is the immense skill and self-belief of the lawyers in their midst. If only they would sit down and listen to people. What they will quickly realise is that nearly everyone wants to build a better practice and they just need the tools to do so. Of course there are people that would just as rather sit there and process the work (the grinder in Maister speak) but they are in the majority. Nowadays, unless you are working in a shed, everyone is expected to have an entrepreneurial spirit.
Next time you take instructions or attend a team meeting ask yourself are you truly developing and taping into your Mojo? If not ask yourself what you need to do to shake of the off the mediocrity of professional practice.
~ JS ~