For a long time, I was so anxious to play music with others, anyone, that I took every opportunity to play, no matter who they were, whatever combination of instruments, wherever they wanted to play. I thought that, at worst, it helped me get my name out there. And that it gave me more experience.
But an odd thing happened after several sessions. I started to notice that when I played with other musicians that were below my skill level, I didn’t play as well. My playing was uninspired and listless. I was just going through the motions and not really engaged. It was not the same when I played with people better than I am. Somehow, my playing was elevated. I rose to the occasion and drew on skills and subtleties in my playing that I didn’t realize I had in me. I was more inspired and it showed.
In the same way, projects and clients have the same affect on us. They can sap your inspiration and motivation or they can fuel your imagination and energize you. Sometimes you have to do routine work to pay the bills. But don’t let it consume your practice. Always keep room in your schedule to do the work that inspires you. Focus on the work you want to do, not the work you have to do. You’ll be a much happier and, it also happens to follow, a much more successful lawyer. The more of your practice you can keep working on the types of issues that challenge you, the happier a lawyer you will be.