We work for money. We need to pay our bills and support our families and live the good life we strive for.
We also work to be recognized. We have spent a lot of time and effort becoming a lawyer, and while a salary is a good reflection of our worth, a kind word goes a long way as well. It just feels really good when you are recognized.
A lot of our unhappiness comes from simply not being appreciated. At the highest levels, this manifests itself in being passed over for partnership or required to take a reduced (or stick with an un-changed) salary. More day-to-day, this unhappiness and reduced confidence is often marked by silence, specifically the lack of unprompted feedback from clients, colleagues and associates. Sometimes you wonder How the hell am I doing? Sometimes you just want someone to say Real nice job, I love how you handled that.
Of course, the appreciation will come. And do not lament the dearth of compliments now; just know that the gratitude is likely there . . . and the public recognition is right around the corner, from someone important, sometime soon.
In the meantime, compliment yourself. Yup, do it yourself. When you need some good energy, look to yourself for it first. Write an email you could imagine your client writing to your boss (cc’ing you) and print it out and post it in a private place and look at it daily. Here’s an example.
I just wanted to send you a note saying how pleased I am with how this transaction and its negotiations have taken place so far. I really was amazed at YOUR NAME’s incredible ability to identify the right issues, drill into the right details and get the points we were after. He/she really knew how to steer the negotiations towards what was important – not just conversationally but also from a business and legal perspective. He/She really delivered much more than I expected from a lawyer. YOUR NAME was “on” from the moment it started and the results showed.
It’s really great to have a law firm that sets a high bar for itself and I’m looking forward to working with you and your team throughout the rest of the deal.