Start where you are with what you have


I think we can agree that most attorneys are analytical. We wouldn’t be much use to our clients if we weren’t.

But many attorneys are overly analytical. They get caught up in crunching the numbers and sifting through the facts. They can’t stop saying “what if” and “on the other hand”.

At some point, decisions must be made and advice must be given. And ultimately, it is. The attorney delivers their recommendations.

They are able to do this because they are accountable to their clients or employer. They are paid for their advice so advice they must deliver.

But what happens when an overly analytical attorney has to make decisions about marketing or the management of their practice? When there is no client to answer to, very often they can’t decide.

They procrastinate. They defer. They make no decision and take no action.

This is one reason why many attorneys stagnate and struggle to find success.

There have many times in my business and professional life where I have found myself fighting this very tendency. Most of my bigger projects would still be on the drawing board had I not found some solutions.

If you find yourself holding back because you’re uncomfortable with moving forward, here are three things that can help:

  1. Give yourself permission to do it badly.You’re the only one who will see it for now. You’ll have time to make it better. You can edit a bad first draft, and turn it into something great, but only if you have a first draft. When I wrote my first marketing course, I was afraid it wouldn’t be any good. Instead of fighting my fears and trying to talk myself out of them, I acknowledged those fears. “Yep, it’s gonna be bad, but I’ll make it better,” I told myself. Of course when I read the first draft it wasn’t bad, it was actually quite good. My fears and doubts had lied to me.
  2. Focus on activity, not outcome.You can’t control your results, only your activities. If you do the activities, you are successful. The results will come. If you focus on results, however, your ego gets in the way. If the results aren’t what you want, you may become discouraged and give up too soon. “Progress, not perfection,” is the byword. I wrote about this in this post about how to stop procrastinating.
  3. Start with easy. Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview, “I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.” I wrote about this before:

Many people who start a business project, myself included, tend to focus on the hardest parts first. My thinking has been, “I can always do the easy things, I need to conquer the toughest challenges first because if I can’t lick those, this project will never get off the ground.”

How about you? Do you start with the easy things or, like me, do you first jump into the deep end of the pool?

Perhaps we equate “easy” with “having less value,” but in the practical sense, that isn’t true. The things we can do without a lot of thought or effort are often of greater value because they allow us to get started and getting started is the most important part.

Most business projects never see completion because they never get started.

When you start with the easy things, you have started. You’re on your way.

I think these three tips for moving forward are effectively summed up by something Theodore Roosevelt once said: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Do you find yourself procrastinating on projects? What have you done to move forward?



  1. […] mentioned Teddy’s quote in a previous post where I also quoted Mark Zuckerberg. He said we often start projects with the hard parts, figuring […]