“If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
-Sir Isaac Newton
For more than 20 years, I have had the privilege of working with attorneys investigating some of the most high-profile civil and criminal cases in the country. Along the way, I have found these men and woman – some prosecutors, others private counsel – to be incredibly helpful mentors. And for good reason: Success leaves clues.
To become true titans, living a rare life as only the top 5% do, we must continuously elevate our knowledge of our craft and deliver value that wows our audience. Once we understand that professional genius is less about genetics and more about the habits we adopt and the benefits we gain from being around epic performers, we will be motivated to study the greats in our life. Here are five key lessons, applicable to any profession, that I’ve learned by watching the high performing attorneys I’ve worked with.
Lesson 1: When you give people great listening, you make them feel important.
This is the first lesson I learned from my mentors. To truly honor someone and therefore show them respect and understanding, you have to listen to them with your full attention and with empathy.
Lesson 2: The most common cause of failure is quitting when faced with temporary defeat.
It’s no secret that many of the brightest minds have read Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich. This lesson is straight out of Mr. Hill’s classic text. Time and time again, I have watched attorneys experience a setback, only to rebound and propel themselves further than they originally anticipated. They see defeat as an opportunity to learn what doesn’t work and therefore increase their knowledge of what does work.
Lesson 3: Have the self-government to be true to yourself.
Do only the work that satisfies and challenges you, in an environment that fuels your joy. Saying no to projects and people that don’t align with your beliefs and desires is the best way to protect your energy and true happiness.
Lesson 4: It pays to know how to purchase knowledge.
As a private investigator striving to provide my clients with information worthy of basing their toughest legal decisions and strategy on, I value this lesson deeply. Understand that you don’t have to know everything, but you must know where you can obtain critical knowledge needed.
Lesson 5: When you’re at work, you’re on stage.
This lesson is all about delivering value and wowing others when it’s showtime. Being overprepared, being a true professional in all aspects, and striving to see around corners are all hallmarks of legends.
Human beings are said to be the sum of the five people they spend the most time with. Our mentors, peers, and clients have a significant impact on how we see ourselves and on our potential growth. While there is no substitute for hard work, we can shorten the road to success by studying the characteristics, habits, and methodologies of those in our professional orbit who are already achieving our desired outcomes.