Are You Struggling because You’re Unwilling to Struggle?

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Are you willing to do what it takes? Are you willing to pay the price?

I’m a big believer in creating a vision. In fact, I spent last fall with about 75 lawyers working on the creation of a vision in our Vision Quest program

We were successful in creating some amazing plans for building law firms custom-tailored to the needs of lawyers and their clients. The Vision Quest lawyers were able to see a better future for themselves and better outcomes for their clients, and they finished the program ready to do the work required. The lawyers learned to develop their ideas into vivid visions of amazing practices.

But visualizing a dream practice is only the first step.

The visions they developed inspired them and their teams to take action and bring their creations to fruition. It’s an exciting exercise, and it creates powerful outcomes. But that outcome doesn’t just happen by magic. Creating the vision took hard work, and it will only come to pass if a price is paid. A big vision requires paying a steep price.

Not everyone with a clear, vivid vision gets to reap the rewards of the amazing business they’ve created with their imagination. It only happens for those willing to do what’s required next.

A vision without payment is just window shopping

You can have anything you like. You can create a vision for your law practice and turn the thing you imagined into reality. You can live your life within the picture you created. It’s a powerful way to live:

  1. Create a vision
  2. Draft a plan
  3. Execute

You get what you set out to get if you follow the three steps.

But you must pay the price.

It’s step three–execute–that hangs us up. That’s the step where we pay the price. It’s in executing on the plan that we find out whether we’re dreamers or doers. It’s in execution that we find out if we’re all talk, or if we’ve got it in us to organize, motivate, and lead.

Seeing it is one thing. Doing it is another. When it comes to paying the price–the doing part–many of us turn our focus to distractions. We let ourselves get carried away from the execution by the client busy-ness, the family requirements, the distraction of the shiny object, or the numbing familiarity of television, books, or food–whatever comforts us while filling our time.

Lots of us know what we want. More often than not, it’s pretty reasonable. We want a nice home, decent transportation, a healthy family, maybe children who don’t always have snot dripping from their noses.

We’d like a successful law practice which finances all of the above. We’d like to be able to take nice trips, pay off the student loans, build a retirement plan, and send those snotty-nosed kids to college.

Some of us have grand plans, but many of us have more conventional aspirations. We know what we need in order to feel successful. Many of us have a clear sense of our goals and objectives for ourselves and our practices.

But are we willing to execute? Are we willing to pay the price?

How much does it cost?

The vision will only become reality if you pay the price. There’s no free lunch. We’re not talking about the mystical power of the law of attraction.

If you don’t pay the price, you won’t achieve the vision. There’s no magic, sadly.

What do you want? What’s required to get it? Are you willing to do what’s required to make it happen?

Here in the real world, everything comes with a price. Most of us are damn good at doing the math required to figure out the cost. We’re experts at breaking things down, logically thinking through the steps, budgeting the time and money required to achieve our goals, and assembling all of that data into written form.

Have you done the math? Probably. The math isn’t the problem. We know what’s required.

Now comes the hard part.

Are you willing to pay the price?

Don’t gloss over the question. It’s easy to get excited about your vision, goals, and plans, and hope it all happens. Hope, however, will not get the work done. Hope won’t cut it. Hope won’t bring the vision to fruition.

The price must be paid. You must be willing to do what it takes. You must slow down, contemplate the time, energy, and effort required to pay that price, and you must be willing to do what it takes. You must ask yourself if you’re really willing to do the work, to extend the effort, to find the energy–even when you’re tired. A big vision comes with a big price.

This is a time for realistic thinking. No super-hero fantasies, no day-dreaming, no pretending to be someone you’re not. This is the time to consider what effort you’re willing to bring to the vision. Are you willing to pay the price?

Again, don’t gloss over the question. Slow down. Think. Are you willing to do what it takes? It’s easy to say “yes,” even when the real answer is “no.” What’s your real answer?

How about telling yourself the truth?

Let’s get serious. Let’s be honest. Are you willing to look hard at whether you’re willing to make things happen for your business?

Are you willing to give up the time you enjoy spending on other things, in order to follow through on your vision?

Are you willing to put relationships on the back burner? Are you wiling to say “yes” when you want to say “no?” Are you willing to feel anxious? Are you willing to face difficult people? Are you willing to confront those who must be confronted? Are you willing to ask for help when it might feel humiliating or undignified?

Are you willing to invest money you’d rather spend on other things, in order to buy what’s required to bring the vision to life?

Are you willing to do things you’d rather not do? Are you willing to make the call to a stranger to invite them to lunch in order to build a referral relationship?

Are you willing to learn new technology when it requires more than a few minutes or a minimum of effort?

Are you willing to spend hours training an employee, then give them feedback and coaching, then supervise them day after day, month after month, year after year, long after the novelty has died?

Are you willing to master the financial management of your business even if it involves math and spreadsheets?

Are you willing to be different from the other lawyers, to stand out from the pack, to push the envelope in ways that make you the recipient of unpleasant glances, negative comments, or hostile feedback?

You know what to do next

I’ve known you for a while. And if I haven’t known you, I’ve known someone who is much like you, because we are all much more similar than we are different.

Most of us don’t need a lesson in how to succeed. We already know how.

Most of us don’t need someone else to tell us what we want to build. We see it in our imagination.

Most of us don’t need someone else to tell us the price we must pay to have what we want–deep down we already know what it costs.

Most of us don’t require a lesson in the hardship we’re going to have to endure in order to make our dreams come true.

Set yourself up for victory

I’m not suggesting that you can’t build a practice without stretching yourself too thin. I am, however, more than suggesting that your vision won’t happen if you don’t pay the price.

A vision achieved, even if it’s smaller than originally intended, is a victory. Being realistic about the price you’re willing to pay leads to a vision you’re willing to create. Don’t limit yourself to a small vision, but do limit yourself to the price you’re honestly willing to pay. Set yourself up for victory.

A small vision comes at a small price.

A big vision comes at a big price.

Only you know what you’re truly willing to pay.

There are clues to your payment philosophy in your past. How hard have you been willing to work before? What about college? Law school? Volunteer projects? Other jobs? Are you an A-player? Do you rise to the occasion and leave it all on the field? Or do you get comfortable, relax, enjoy a lemonade, and hope for the best? You know yourself. Use that knowledge to scale a you-sized vision.

Are you willing to do what it takes to bring the vision you’ve created to fruition?

If so, go.

If not, then it’s time to go back to the vision drawing board. If you’re not willing to pay the price for what you’re telling yourself (and the world) you want, then you need to hit the reset button. It’s time to remake the vision so you can create something you want, rather than delivering a result far short of your imagined outcome.

If you’re one of the lawyers who went through Vision Quest last year, or one of those who will enroll this summer, then it’s time to assess yourself. Ask yourself what price you’re willing to pay. You truly can have whatever you want, but only if you’re willing to pay the price.

Are you willing to pay?

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