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Practice makes perfect

practise makes perfectI’ve recently reread Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, in which he examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. One of these factors is what he calls the "10,000-Hour Rule", which means that the key to success (in most fields, even the law!) depends upon practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

This reminded me of my blog post from last week: Avoid Being All Things to All People. It takes discipline to become an expert (discipline to stay on track, and discipline to “say no” to the things that don’t support your goal or distinct personal brand).

Wherever you are in your legal career, I would suggest that you develop your "expertise proposition". What is your desired expertise? Who is the ideal client with regard to that expertise? What value do you deliver?

Once your value proposition is developed, you need to research your client base. Learn about that business or industry. Understand your client’s issues and how you can help resolve them.

Then go back to the "10,000-Hour Rule" and do anything and everything to practice your skills, remembering—a key point—that such practice is not limited to "billable" hours. Be imaginative. Nourish the other parts of your character. Invest in yourself.

If you’re really serious about becoming an expert, spend some time developing your expertise.

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