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The Fear of Failure: Effects on a Solo Attorney

Posted by Jim on February 22, 2017
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Many emotions are involved when starting and running a solo practice including anger, surprise, and pride. However, the most difficult emotion to deal with as a solo is fear- fear of the unknown, fear of what might happen or might not happen. What it all boils down to is fear of failure.

While all solos are doing something for themselves, they risk a lot going out on their own: money, reputations, and sometimes even their relationships.

Fear of failure is unpleasant and has proven to be a real stress on most solos’ careers.

Fear of failure can be a motivational killer.

The primary root of fear is uncertainty.

When you’re a solo, this uncertainty can lie in a lot of areas: paying the bills next month, getting more clients, keeping current clients happy, and asking yourself whether you can really do this.

Constantly worrying about these things and being afraid of this uncertainty is extremely draining, and it can kill the motivation needed to keep pushing your practices forward.

The thought of taking the easy road out can make you feel worse.

Sometimes thinking about just giving it all up and going back to work for someone else seems like the thing to do. On the surface it seems so much easier to put in your 9-6 and walk away with your paycheck every week. No more uncertainty and a lot less stress.

But this isn’t the answer. Instead of feeling better, you could likely feel like you failed. Failed those who believed in you, including your family and your clients. You worked so hard to get your practice going, and it doesn’t seem fair to give up on it now because things got hard. Knowing that you still had potential to do more could haunt you.

It’s hard giving up the “solo” identity.

The funny thing about being solos is not only are solos fiercely independent, but they are also rebels in a sense.

It’s great to be in charge of your own schedule and be able to choose the clients you represent. You’ve worked hard to build a brand and a reputation in the legal community. It would be disconcerting to give someone else control of your brand.

Ask yourself this: “Am I honestly doing everything possible to grow my business?”

If the answer is “no”, consider this: if you work harder than anyone else, if you do everything you possibly can do to succeed, it will be impossible for you to fail.

While many fears, concerns, and worries lurk in the back of your mind as a solo, you should no longer fear failure if you simply do not allow yourself to fail.

There are many benefits to working for yourself, but there are also many scary negatives. However, the same can be said for working for someone else.

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