When we focus on our gratitude,
the tide of disappointment goes out
and the tide of love rushes in.
As you continue to take a look back at 2017, hopefully by now you have reflected on things that went wrong in your law firm and what you can learn from them. Before we set the table for 2018, however, we have one more important task, perhaps the most crucial of this exercise: It’s time to acknowledge and celebrate the things that went right for your firm this year.
One reason why many of us dread the end of the year is that we humans naturally focus on the negatives and ignore the positives. Somehow, the turn of a calendar year reminds us of all the ambitious goals we set for ourselves that went unachieved—or that the clock is ticking, and there’s less time ahead of us to do what we want to do.
I’d like to challenge you to confront that mindset by trying a different approach. Take time now to focus on what you accomplished, not what you failed to accomplish. When you take inventory of all the things you actually did, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised and encouraged. Most people don’t give themselves enough credit.
Study What Went Right
Take a look now at your list of the three greatest triumphs your law firm experienced in 2017.
Just as you did with the three biggest mistakes, start to ask why these things went right. What sequence of events led to that success? Can that sequence be remembered and duplicated? Or was it just dumb luck? (Nothing wrong with that, either—we could all use some from time to time.)
Glean as much as you can from these successes so you can repeat the process in 2018.
I’m a firm believer in the practice of gratitude. When something good happens to us or to our business, we should always acknowledge it and be thankful, whatever that might look like for each of us. Being grateful puts us in the frame of mind to notice the good things that we might overlook otherwise. Gratefulness leads to more happiness—and who couldn’t use more happiness?
In any year-end review, noting and learning from your mistakes is only half of the picture. Before setting goals for 2018, take time to appreciate how far you’ve already come. Unmet goals from 2017 aren’t failures in themselves, nor do you have to wait until you cross the finish line to be happy. As you grow your law firm—or in any other important endeavor—you must fall in love with the process, not just the end goal.
Here’s to even greater success in 2018!