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4 Traps Every Lawyer Should Avoid

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4 Traps Every Lawyer Should Avoid

The road to success has many stops that look like destinations but are not. They are traps. The post is about 4 traps every lawyer should avoid.

The challenge is recognizing them and avoiding them.

Unfortunately, the main problem on this road is You. You need to recognize when you have gone off the road and entered a trap.

Here are some of the traps:

1. The Perfectionist.

2. The Sacrificial lamb

3. The Imposter

4. The Yes Person.


A good question to ask is, “How do we fall into these traps?” To answer this let’s first see what each trap is.


1. The Perfectionist:

Just like the name implies, you want everything to be perfect. Here, you are at the stage where you mix up the desire for excellence with an expectation of perfection.

The challenge for the perfectionist is that standards keep changing.
So what should be the standard and when is one overdoing it?

High standards are good, but it’s important that the standards are not unreasonable.

A simple way to judge your standard is your competence. Has what you have done showing the competence you have?

Excellence is an attempt to perform a task in the best way possible, while perfection is the definitive 100% right way of doing anything.

Excellence is based on competence. Perfectionism leads you to burnout.

There is a difference between being competent and being perfect. It’s important that you do all you can to be competent.

A simple example is writing a document. A perfectionist will consistently look for mistakes, so to prevent this, give someone your documents to proofread.


2. The Sacrificial Lamb:

Lawyers in this category feel that by sacrificing for others, they will be rewarded. It is an indirect way of manipulating the
opinion of our peers. This move usually ends with negative results.

So, the next time you agree to a task, ask yourself this question, “Am I being a team player, or am I being a people pleaser?” When you take on work you think will please your superiors, make sure that you are not sacrificing your well-being needlessly.


3. The Imposter:

This is the individual that has this fear that he is not really what he says he is, or he cannot really do what he says he can do.

So he tries hard to prove himself by doing everything by himself. This behaviour is the exact formula for burnout.

The idea of reaching out for help is unconsciously interpreted by this person to mean incapable, unqualified, lazy, irresponsible, traits no lawyer on his way to the top wants to be attributed with.

The truth is, you cannot do everything by yourself. You need help. You’re not fake, lazy or poorly qualified for reaching out for help, you’re human after all.

To succeed and get to your career goal, you need people.


4. The ‘Yes’ Man Trap:

Those who fall into this trap are usually scared of displeasing people and are too afraid to say no.

What they fail to realize is that saying NO clearly marks your boundaries. It helps you plan your workday, and it makes you productive. Saying YES to everything is counterproductive because you find that, you want to do everything at once and you can’t clearly state, or see how to achieve all these things at the same time.

So what happens when you’re not so quick to say YES? You can step back, look at it carefully, and decide if this work is beneficial or detrimental to your career. Once you’ve done this, it becomes easy to decide whether to take it up or not.

So don’t agree to everything out of fear, or because you want to please superiors or clients. At the point of taking up a task. Stop and ask yourself, “Is this moving me forward or pulling me backwards?”


In conclusion,  to achieve the needed growth,   be intentional in applying or avoiding these traps in your work.

Share with us which of these traps you’ve fallen into before and how you ensured it does not repeat again?

I will love to hear from you.


Your legal doc

Dr. Becky

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