As a lawyer you are trained to find the pitfalls, the imperfect, the holes… and that ability serves you well in legal matters. But in areas such as business development, not so much. It makes you a critic. There are times when the critic foils progress. The most egregious of them all is when the self-critic is “on a roll.” I’m not advocating that you be overly optimistic, but as a client put it to me… “I’m an optimistic realist.” I’m talking about having the strength of your conviction to go the distance in the face of disapproval from your peers.
Most of you are “out on a ledge” when it comes to business development. It’s not your comfort zone, and you are trying new things. If you have thought it through and have taken the advice of those who have been there, take a deep breath and don’t listen to the critics, the one in your head or the ones around you.
Let’s face it: sometimes the critic will get a hold of you and you will think about what your peers are going to say. You know they will be brutal, after all they are trained lawyers. For those times look to this quote by Theodore Roosevelt for reassurance.
‘Not The Critic’
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
‘Citizenship in a Republic,’ Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
The human condition hasn’t changed since 1910, those words are still as relevant as they were more then 100 years ago. So, put the critic to rest… Live on the ledge, experience new things, learn and adjust. Put these words to work for you and experience progress over perfection.