Practice Perspectives

I am a perfectionist. Without realizing it, my perfectionism had me and my staff working ten times harder than necessary on things that, in retrospect, were mundane tasks of little importance. Perfectionism somehow leveled the playing field of priorities and every task became a big deal, the sole criteria being that it must be done perfectly. Looking back, this was an unconscious process rooted in fear that everything I did, everything my staff did, was somehow a reflection of my inherent worth. Not whether-I-was-a-good-lawyer kind of worth. More like do-I-have-a-right-to-take-up-space-on-the-planet kind of worth. I will never forget the first time in early recovery when I heard the slogan, “How important is it?” It was like a revelation. I started repeating it like a mantra. And I was surprised how many things, when examined objectively, actually registered quite low on the importance scale. This new orientation was really different for me, and I did not outright discuss it with my staff because I did not want them to get careless or lax. But my new outlook obviously changed the way I was interacting with my staff. About a year after I started this practice, one of my senior paralegals, who had been with me a very long time, mentioned that the feeling in the office more was like a slow simmer that sometimes reached a boil when we got really busy and less like the constant pressure cooker of the old days. At first I was a bit taken aback by her comment, but then I asked myself, “How important is it?”

If you are interested in contributing your own story to the Sidebar, click here. The Sidebar is supported by the stories of our readers, and we appreciate your contributions.