Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Law Career Fitness Challenge #10- Go The Extra Mile

law career fitness challengeToday’s challenge is to go the extra mile in whatever you do.

This is a tough one. It’s easier to do the bare minimum – but no more – to pass the course, or graduate from law school, or land a job, or complete a project. Then you move on to the next thing and again do just enough to get by. And so it goes.

What this produces is mediocrity. Not excellence. Not failure. But a middling, mushy outcome that leaves you more or less right where you started.

Like all clichés, the one about giving 110 percent contains more than a kernel of truth.

When we push ourselves, we find we can actually do more than we imagined.

Anyone who has taken up a sport like running knows this. At first you can’t make it around the block. But if you keep lacing on the shoes and plugging away – even when you feel your tank is empty – you will soon be going an extra mile. Literally.

Smart Career Strategy

This challenge, though, is about more than personal improvement. It’s about career success.

“Developing the habit of going the extra mile and rendering service above and beyond expectations is a smart business decision that pays big dividends,” says this sales consultant. “[It] enhances customer loyalty, increases sales and promotes positive word-of-mouth advertising.”

This sales advice applies to a career in law as well. If a project is due on Friday, turn it in on Thursday. If you’re expected to arrive by 8:00, show up at 7:30. If you’re asked to carry a box up one flight of stairs, go one more.

Your career prospects will blossom. And here’s the best part: you don’t have to become a Type A person to get there. You don’t have to be aggressive. Quite the opposite. People love to work with someone who is cool, relaxed and soft-spoken. In stressful situations, going the extra mile might mean nothing more than holding your tongue, defusing tension with humor or just walking away from a potential confrontation.

Five Training Tips

  1. Do things the right way. Don’t shirk, cheat or take shortcuts.  Take as long as necessary to do a stellar job. This alone will put you ahead of the pack.
  2. Think outside the box. Don’t sit and complain about problems. Come up with creative solutions. An imaginative, innovative employee will rise quickly.
  3. Develop positive habits. Thoughts become words. Words become actions. Actions, over time, become habits.
  4. Be a team player. Build bridges with your colleagues. Pitch in when they need help – with no expectation that they owe you a favor in return. Provide encouragement and constructive feedback. Look for ways to make their work lives easier. Schedule lunch or coffee dates to get to know them better.
  5. Follow up. Send handwritten thank you notes after interviews. Pass along interesting articles and information. Return phone calls and emails promptly. Try to stay ahead of the game.
If you missed last week's challenge, you can find it here




About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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