Your Biggest Obstacle to Progress is You
But do you realize the two distinct categories of challenges you face?
I related the time in an earlier email when I almost quit the practice of law, and how my mentor enlightened me as to my main problem – my own mindset!
I’ve now coached estate planning attorneys running boutique practices for several years, in addition to running my own firm for over 30 years. I have noticed that attorneys’ biggest obstacle is overcoming their own predispositions. Those in my Freedom Practice program most open to challenging their own mindsets are the ones who achieve the largest breakthroughs.
As a leader, you are faced with challenges every day. Some may even be frustrating enough to throw up your hands and declare, “That’s it! I’m retiring!” Understanding the difference in the types of challenges you face helps resist this urge, enabling you to quickly get to the meat of each problem.
In his book, Leadership Without Easy Answers, Harvard scholar Ronald Heifetz distinguishes between challenges that seem easy (technical challenges) and those that appear more difficult (adaptive challenges). A technical challenge is one where you have a problem and someone else has a solution. You are ill, you visit the doctor, he diagnoses your condition and prescribes a pill. All you must do is follow instructions.
An adaptive challenge, in contrast, arises when you are part of the problem. You are ill, the doctor can give you a pill, but you must change your lifestyle, get more rest, eat better, exercise. The pill alone won’t solve your problem. You must change your ways, and oftentimes, the ways of those around you. As an example, studies confirm that you are far more likely to be overweight if you regularly hang out with overweight people.
Adaptive leadership is called for when the world is changing. When circumstances are no longer what they were – when what once worked works no more. There is no quick fix, no pill, no simple following of instructions. We must change.
Adaptive leadership is immensely more difficult. People resist change. For years, my law partners and staff resisted the sweeping changes I believed were necessary to take our firm to the next level. They erected barriers. One is denial. The second is anger. A third is blame. That is why adaptive leadership is emotionally draining. Helping people find the strength to change is the greatest leadership of all.
As you begin your journey to more freedoms in your life and within your practice, remember the difference between these two challenges, and what is necessary to overcome them.
To your bigger future,
Craig R. Hersch
Florida Bar Board Certified Wills, Trusts & Estates Attorney
Senior Partner, The Sheppard Law Firm
Founder, The Freedom Practice®
PS – If you approach Practice Xcelerator ™ with a curious, open mind, willing to challenge your own beliefs, you will gain far more out of our two days together. I want you to achieve major breakthroughs.
PPS – We seek already successful estate planning attorneys to attend The Practice Xcelerator™ Event. Ambitious attorneys intuitively understand that challenging one’s own mindset is crucial to growth. Those wallowing in mediocrity haven’t crossed that divide – and may never. They just complain about how hard they’re working but keep at it with ever longer hours. My role in The Freedom Practice is to encourage attorneys like you, eager to adapt to today’s changing legal marketplace. I would like for you to envision more personal freedoms, an energized staff, and fully satisfied clients as byproducts of our time together October 27-28th.
PPS – Want 15 minutes to ask my team questions about Practice Xcelerator ™? Schedule your call here.