Mindset Matters: Adopt a Growth Mindset for Legal Success

4 min read

Here’s what you should know about the importance of a strong mindset in legal work.

Oftentimes, lawyers think of professional and business growth in terms of billings and other concrete, observable outcomes. But what often gets overlooked is the behind-the-scenes mental work that directly contributes to those outcomes. Quite simply, legal success is often the direct result of one’s mental fortitude and one’s ability to call upon all of one’s mental resources when solving problems and addressing challenges. Legal work, after all, happens inside the human mind. And the nature of that mind will often influence whether that legal work happens quickly and accurately, or whether it happens slowly and with mistakes – which can influence things like promotions.

So how can you advance your career through the power of a growth mindset? Here’s what you need to know.

Fixed vs Growth Mindset: What’s the Difference?

In work settings, professionals like lawyers can have one of two mindsets: They can approach work with a fixed mindset, or with a growth mindset.

American psychologist and Stanford professor Carol Dweck developed the theory of fixed versus growth mindset after 30 years of study in educational psychology. Dweck coined the terms after observing how certain children succeed in academic settings when others fail.

A fixed mindset is a mindset wherein you believe your intelligence, skill, and abilities are fixed. You have a set amount of mental endurance, a set amount of intelligence, and a set amount of skill. Under the fixed mindset, you were born with certain skills and lack certain other skills – and it’s exceedingly difficult to learn a new skill you weren’t born with.

In contrast, a growth mindset is one where skills and intelligence are flexible and can grow over time. Under a growth mindset, you can train yourself to have more mental endurance, more intelligence, and more skill. You can train yourself to develop new skills and abilities. Simply put, you can learn.

Everyone has one of these two mindsets, whether they’re conscious of it or not. And the type of mindset you have will determine how you handle challenges at work.

Benefits of a Growth Mindset in Law

In the legal industry, adopting a growth mindset is critical to both personal and professional development. Legal professionals with a growth mindset experience a wide array of benefits, including an increased capacity for learning new things, a better ability to adapt to changing situations, and more resiliency in the face of challenges. By adopting a growth mindset, you’ll find yourself better able to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the legal industry.

Legal professionals with a growth mindset are also better-equipped to bounce back from failure and to continuously improve their skills. Furthermore, those with a growth mindset are far more successful at adopting emerging technologies like generative artificial intelligence

Technology has radically changed the practice of law in a very short amount of time, and it will continue to do so over the coming decades. Legal professionals who can’t keep up with technology are likely to find themselves outmatched by more tech-savvy peers. When you approach new technology with a growth mindset, you approach it from the perspective that you are capable of learning new things and mastering new technologies you haven’t used before. And when you approach new technology with the mindset that mastering it is just a matter of practice, you’ll be more committed to practicing using that new technology – which means you’ll develop new technological skills you didn’t have before.

Legal professionals regularly encounter new challenges they haven’t come across before. And through a combination of hard work, mentorship, and ingenuity, they conquer those challenges. Mastering new technology is no different from learning how to carry out a corporate merger or update a will. Tech savviness is learnable – just like you learned how to fill out a tax form, for instance, you can learn to use emerging technologies like Appara. It’s simply a matter of choosing to have a growth mindset. By adopting a growth mindset now, you can prime yourself to stay up-to-date with legaltech evolutions as they develop and maintain your competitive edge.

How to Adopt a Growth Mindset

Changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset isn’t impossible, but it can be challenging if you’ve never worked on your mindset before. Key to changing your mindset is getting out of your comfort zone. Do something every day that makes you uncomfortable, whether that’s taking the lead on a new project at the firm, or going out to a comedy club and delivering a stand-up routine. Over time, the things that were once uncomfortable, will become second nature. 

You’ll also want to cultivate your self-awareness. The more self-awareness you can practice, the more you’ll be able to look for growth opportunities. One easy way to start developing more self-awareness is to start a meditation habit. You can use apps like Headspace and Insight Timer to cultivate a meditation habit that increases your self-awareness.

Finally, be on the lookout for opportunities to challenge yourself – both at work and in your personal life. The more challenges you’re able to take on and successfully overcome, the more you’ll come to see yourself as flexible and able to grow. For instance, if you’ve been putting off trying new technology, perhaps give a new digital entity management and document automation solution a spin.

Cultivating a growth mindset is a great way to increase your level of satisfaction at work, prepare yourself to handle challenges in the office, and level up your legal career. The more chances you can find to get out of a fixed mindset and into a growth mindset, the more opportunities you’ll find in your professional life.

Part of managing personal and professional growth is ensuring your technology can keep up with you. That’s where Appara comes in. Book your demo of Appara today to unlock your FREE trial and discover how much more efficient your practice could be.

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