2 Signs Your Scarcity Mindset Is a Problem

Fear of not having enough files, status, or money underpins many recurring woes that arise in legal practice.

Is either of these scarcity mindset challenges showing up for you or a partner at your law firm?

You are constantly buried in too much work. Clients are clamoring for attention. You feel like you are on a hamster wheel of deadlines and stress.

You cycle through associates who burn out dealing with your last-minute emergencies and leave your firm.

Still, you worry: “I can’t turn away work; what if I don’t get another file?”

Having too many clients and work and not enough capacity to service your book of business is not simply a law problem. It is a common business problem.

The answer? Evaluate your capacity and the capacity of your team. Control the volume. Know when to turn work over to a trusted referral source. Put plans in place for growing and training your team.

Case in point, a family law lawyer I respect has controlled the volume of this practice for years. He limits the number of files, works them hard, and gets excellent results for his clients. He never wants for work. He has a profitable law practice. He has a loyal team that supports his practice.

The second sign of a scarcity mindset is you or a partner at your firm sees colleagues as competitors.

That outstanding junior who has worked with you for years has developed into an able colleague. They support you on projects, jump in to rescue you when there is more than you can handle, and they hold the fort for you while you vacation. Sounds great, right?

With a scarcity mindset, you now feel threatened. The junior is gone, and now you have a competitor in the office. You fear that they will take your work. Your change in attitude doesn’t go unnoticed. One day you wake up, and that colleague has become a competitor at another firm because you chased them away.

Instead of fearing the success of your former junior, you can embrace it. You now have a colleague to partner with on growing the practice. This colleague can take over more of the supervising of juniors and leave you to focus on complex technical work. You have a succession plan in place for your practice and can gradually slow down and exit when the time is right.

The bottom line is scarcity mindset turns opportunities into problems. This focus on lack promotes decision-making that initiates a downward spiral, leading to the feared result.

Instead of scarcity, turn towards opportunities.

To shift towards an abundance mindset, try these turnarounds.

Notice how you are thinking – do you perceive a threat? Practice turning the thought around. “She’s a competitor” becomes “she’s not a competitor, she’s a colleague.”

The thought “what if there won’t be another file like this” becomes “what if we have many more files like this?” Explore how these reversals are true. Notice how your options open up with this shift in perspective.

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