Am I good enough?
Lawyers are competitive and critical issue spotters. This is great for their clients—but not always great for them as individuals, who will often fall victim to a cycle of self-sabotage.
The irony is that this insecurity tends to drive lawyers to succeed even more, and the more they succeed, the more they encounter other brilliant lawyers, giving rise to a cycle of self-doubt. This fear of not being good enough is often magnified during the legal recruiting or hiring process.
Lawyers tend to take care of other lawyers, encouraging each other much better than they encourage themselves.
Here are a few quick reminders to overcome the unproductive thoughts of self-doubt that prohibit you from reaching your highest potential:
Remember: you’ve already made it. The only one doubting yourself is you.
You’ve already passed the bar and completed your legal education. You are a member of this profession. For law students, you made it to law school. Yes, you are going to feel like you don’t know enough—that’s why you are in school. No matter what stage of the game you are in, be mindful about overcoming the fear of rejection.
Remember: you are going to have to work to catch up and get ahead.
You should never be the smartest person in the building (if you find that you are, you might be outgrowing your role and should consider cultivating a stronger network). Law is a lifelong profession, and no matter what you accomplish or achieve, there are always other competent, brilliant attorneys out there (and thousands of law students with new resources studying to be competitive). The growth of the talent pool is outside of your hands.
What is in your hands is your work ethic. Spend time preparing for your meetings and revising your work. Solicit feedback and improve the quality of your work product. Seek out mentors and professional development opportunities to learn from as many resources as you can. If you don’t find a way to out compete yourself, your competitor will.
Remember: you have a voice.
Listening is a great skill, especially when you aren’t the smartest person in the building; but you have to find and use your voice. You are hired as a lawyer because your opinion is valuable. Don’t fade into the background.
Remember: you are going to need a great mentor in your corner.
Self-doubt is a tape that lawyers fall into a bad habit of replaying over and over again. Lawyers hide this insecurity and don’t talk about it to others. A way to fix this is to seek out a trusted mentor who has overcome this challenge.