AJS South Africa


In our article, Breaking Bad (Part one), we started the discussion on how to break bad habits. 

We may have had to do some of those ourselves. Break our own bad habits. So we understand what you must be going through. It’s tough. 

We discussed things like self-image, imagination and innovation (being key) and hinted at the fact that your mind is your most valuable asset (which we believe to be partly true). 

But it doesn’t end there. How could it? 

Breaking bad habits takes time (again 21 days may not be the exact time limit). And it takes more than one morsel of advice to change your ways. It takes a multitude of tips, advice and steps.

And we have a few more to share with you.

But before we get into Breaking Bad (Part Two), we thought we would start off with the following song from Lizzo, called “Good as Hell”, specifically the following lyrics –  

“You know you a star, you can touch the sky
I know that it’s hard but you have to try
If you need advice, let me simplify”

And we truly believe that. Remember – At AJS, we got you!

So let’s simplify it for you.

Take time to relax (and delegate)

Although having a proactive lifestyle is important, especially today when innovation is so important (remember – it is a doing word). We need to take time to relax, disengage and distance ourselves from negative thoughts, convictions and actions.

We have discussed Lawyers on Leave before, but it bears repeating. The long hours and pressure of always being on call for clients can wear lawyers out completely. And this can, in turn, lead to total mental exhaustion and often time’s mental breakdown. The benefits of increased lawyer well-being are compelling and the cost of lawyer impairment are too great to ignore. And this is not only referring strictly to physical holidays but also to the ability to switch off at the end of the day or attend to other pressing matters, knowing your work will be taken care of.

And this (we believe) can be achieved through the utilisation of proper legal tech that can support you when you are “out of office” (or when you simply cannot get to the work yourself), that can help you check in once a day, maintain remote contact, quickly assess or attend to urgent work, assign any new tasks, record billable hours or whatever else that may be pressing. This ability to be adaptable and efficient is critical nowadays. 

Being able to work remotely is furthered by the collaboration between traditional law firms, in-house legal departments and alternative legal service providers (ALSP’s) who are able to take some of the burden off of your shoulders so you can focus on the work that actually needs to be done instead of focusing your time and effort on labour intensive work that creates not only a stressed working force (which is susceptible to inaccuracies and inefficiency) but also increases the costs for your clients due to unnecessary time spent on matters. 

And those ALSP’s as we stated in our article, It’s a kind of Magic….Sort of like the right legal tech…, require the magical union with legal tech in order to become a true force to be reckoned with (and relied on).

So, being able to work remotely, be flexible, adaptable and being able to collaborate is definitely do-able. And you know that if you are not doing it, someone else will. And those are the people who will be poaching your clients.

Let your successes speak for themselves and adapt where necessary

What Maltz suggests is this – once you get very clear about the problem that you intend to solve, you should clear your mind of worry, expectation and anxiety that is related to the potential end result. Let your subconscious mind do the work so that you are able to adapt and change as required. Start by –  

  1. thinking intensively about the problem – gather all the necessary information required, consider possible deviations and have the burning desire to solve it;
  2. after having defined the problem (and understanding what the finish line looks like), drop any thought related to it for a couple of days to give your mind time to breathe and mull it over;
  3. after coming back to the problem, you’ll find out that the solution presented itself in some way.

And this often revolves around being flexible and adaptable.

And let’s talk about this flexibility and adaptability for a second. Because these concepts are not going anywhere (and we have already mentioned it a few times, so…). Becoming a flexible legal practitioner does not only mean being able to work from anywhere, or having flexible working times (which are part of it). No. It involves more than that. It means being able to work across a range of environments and industries, within a law firm and perhaps even as in-house counsel. It means having access to a range of opportunities through various networks and being able to work both on-site and remotely, or a combination of both.

Being able to adapt your vision and what you think the finish line should look like in order to actually achieve your end goal.

Strive to be happy.

Like a line out of the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann – 

“With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy”

And both Maltz and those of us at AJS tend to agree. We wrote about this quite extensively in our article Leading a healthy life, even if (especially if) you are a lawyer. And this concept of “being healthy” means (very) different things to (very) different people. But the universally accepted measurement here is “being happy”. And this is a mixture of both physical and mental wellbeing (and health), including that of freedom and flexibility.

At AJS, we also believe that this overall happiness (especially in our working lives) is achieved by having an online practice and account management system and document automation system in place (such as those provided by AJS) to assist in easing stress and tension in your every-day practice by saving time and ensuring accuracy both within your practice and within your document drafting process (thereby guaranteeing structure and order).

If logic applies, this saving of time will support legal practitioners by enabling them to use their newly gained free time to undertake the activities that will improve their overall health and wellbeing – less stress and anxiety, leads to a positive outlook which will lead to a healthy mind and healthy body.

Therefore, a positive mental state can be achieved through practice and habitualization. Accustoming yourself to acting in a proactive way against challenges, always maintaining a clear and positive picture of the end result in mind and watching the results that follow. 

And perhaps adapting when the situation calls for it.

Let go of past failures.

Maltz aptly said that – 

“You make mistakes. Mistakes don’t make you”

And that’s 100% correct.

Further to Maltz’s quote, author Amit Ray said the following – 

“If you want to fly in the sky, you need to leave the earth. If you want to move forward, you need to let go of the past that drags you down”

And if we put those two quotes together, we basically come out with – yes we all make mistakes. We are human. But those mistakes do not define who we are. We can learn from them. But to succeed we need to move passed them. To touch the sky we need to take those failures and turn them into successes. We need to allow our past failures to inspire us to do more of what worked in order to move forward. 

Our errors, trials and tribulations have all been learning steps, absolutely necessary for our personal development. And we need to see them as that. But that’s all. If we focus on them too much, they can become quick sand dragging us down instead of propelling us forward. 

So develop a set of goals. As Albert Einstein once said, “People are like bicycles. They can keep balance only as long as they keep moving”. So do that. Keep moving. But forward.

We are driven by our own desire to achieve and become more. That’s why having goals and dreams constitutes a prerequisite for reaching success. And that often comes from admitting our mistakes and shortcomings and finding a way to correct them. 

So don’t be afraid to take on new challenges (even ones out of your comfort zone), as they will only serve to drive you forward and make you stronger, regardless of whether you achieve them or not. 

It is always good to remember that confidence is built upon success. So if you are able to remember the successes in your life (as opposed to only the failures), you’ll naturally feel secure in your ability to replicate those same successes in the future.

“It’s a fall down, but get up and dust yourself off and carry on walking” type of situation.

So we will end, sort of where we began, again with reference to Lizzo’s song – 

“Boss up and change your life

You can have it all, no sacrifice”

And that’s just it. Take charge of your life. Because you can have it all. And to do that, you can get support from a range of suppliers and providers who are there to assist you. Don’t “go at it alone”. But this change also starts with being flexible and adaptable and knowing that you can do it. 

And again this is where AJS comes in. Think of us as your team supporters, your cheerleaders and your champions. So contact us and see how we can do just that – support you and cheer you on.

It’s at this point that we hope you will start to feel lighter as you shake off your bad habits. So when we ask you – “how you feelin’?” We hope your reply will be – 

Feeling good as hell!

Written by Alicia Koch on behalf of AJS

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