I made a typo in a blog post a few years back, and a number of readers noticed it. They took the time to email me and point out the error I made. It bummed me out that whole day, and as you can tell, I have not forgotten about it …
I may have left the law, but I still battle with the lawyer’s perfectionism. I still bristle sometimes at “constructive” criticism. I still have areas of me that want to be perfect from the outset. I still don’t want to fail.
And the advice many “experts” or motivational speakers give on how to handle failure often isn’t that helpful: embrace failure, failure is the first step to success, you only know what you want from failing, and on and on.
Sure, make sense. But it’s still general, nebulous advice that can be difficult to get our arms around.
And this advice doesn’t lessen the blow at all. Failing hurts. It’s hard to be comfortable with. We lawyers instinctively want to avoid it.
Two kinds of failure
But recently, the value of failure became more clear to me. I learned that there are two kinds of failure:
Failing to do anything at all …
… and failing after you actually try.
For so many of us unhappy attorneys, we don’t leave the law, we don’t do anything at all because …we don’t want to fail. That’s the first kind. We don’t get anywhere, we’re still in the same place where we began. We lose out on an opportunity that the Universe presented us.
This type of failure we learn nothing from. We don’t grow from it. It could turn into regret.
But those of us who fail like the second kind, who do take the steps to leave the law, who do actually try, who do get out there, when we fail, we still are moving forward. We don’t remain stationary and we don’t fall back. We run into bumps, but we still are taking steps forward. We still are growing courageous.
I made a typo, I failed, readers pointed it out to me. I remember it, sure, but I’m still here. In fact, I’m thriving. I’m growing. I’m better for it.
Failure is part life. Learn how to do it better. Come join us in the Leave the Law community.