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How Not to Sabotage Your Success as a Lawyer

"If only" are two of the saddest words in the English vocabulary.

If only you had kept your head when the boss was blaming you. If only you had trusted yourself when the judge was doubting you.

If only there were a solution to every way we hurt our careers. But alas, this is a blog, not poetry, so here are only two ways not to sabotage your success:

Self-Esteem Adjustment

With apologies to Rudyard Kipling, "If" leaves a lot open for speculation. When it comes to a career, lawyers need a little more black letter law.

Alice Boyes, writing for Harvard Business Review, offers solutions to ways that smart people often sabotage their success. A couple of ways seem lawyer-specific.

For example, she says smart people attach a lot of their self-esteem to being smart. But that can make them less receptive to criticism, which can hold them back from progress. The solution?

"The more you become accustomed to receiving critical feedback from people who believe in your overall talents and capacities, the easier it will become," she says.

Overthinking Solution

Boyes says smart people sometimes overthink problems, when other approaches may be more successful.

"Expand your range of skills for reaching insights so that you're not the person who sees every problem as a nail because their only tool is a hammer," she writes.

That's because the line between concentration and obsession can be thin. Take a step back to look at a problem from a different perspective.

In other words, use the force, Luke. Maybe only if you have to.

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