February 12, 2013
You probably don’t remember when you last used a phone booth. In fact, it likely has been a while since you saw or even thought about one. This is worth correcting. Strange as this may sound, something as random and seemingly inconsequential as a good old-fashioned telephone booth may be just what you need to improve your career.
When you do take a moment to reflect upon the phone booth, you are sure to remember some of the reasons why it existed in the first place. We, as a society, afforded conversing, communicating, and connecting a certain importance. Arguably, at one time, these actions were once held sacred. Conversations were intimate, semi-private activities that deserved shelter, light, and a writing surface, all of which phone booths provided.
At the time they existed there perhaps was nothing particularly special about phone booths. They were commonplace. However, it is clear, in retrospect, that phone booths actually were luxurious and lovely fixtures. Like so many other customs and accoutrements that were once worthy additions to our lives, we have moved away from phone booths in favor of a cheaper, less labor-intensive, and inferior option.
And where have we ended up? Doing something that not too long ago would have been horrifying – making personal calls from public restrooms. How the mighty have fallen!
Now this brings us to your legal practice. If you want to improve your performance or accelerate your success, it would be worthwhile for you to identify your personal phone booth – the practice, custom or gesture that you have abandoned out of necessity, cost, laziness, speed or lack of resources.
Have you given up making eye contact with your colleagues during conversations in favor of catching up on email? Perhaps you have replaced dedicating time upfront to building trust with new clients with a quick less personal intake process? Have you gotten in the habit of sending a celebratory email to your team instead of taking them out for lunch after the “big win?”
How well have your sacrifices and shortcuts served you? Are you getting the type of clients you want? Making the type of money for which you aspire? Doing the work that ignites your passion? The fact is that not everything we eliminate, give up, or move away from is progress. Who knows? Maybe it’s time for you to bring back the thank you note, face-to-face meetings, or the quaint concept of the family dinner?
Don’t be shy! Here’s your chance to weigh in. What have you given up that might be worth reintroducing? How might you use it to differentiate yourself from your competitors? Why did you give it up in the first place? Alternatively, are you holding onto something that is actually holding you back? Tell us how you really feel in the comments below.