This past week, I completed something extraordinary. Well, for me anyway.

A few months ago, a friend of mine had urged me to join her team for Mudderella, a 5ish-mile mud run for women featuring about 11 to 13 obstacles that focused not only on your strength and capabilities but working with others to reach the finish line. I reluctantly joined, mostly because I haven’t seen this particular friend in years but I wanted to challenge myself.

I didn’t train much for the event other than the occasional yoga or water aerobics class, so when the day of reckoning arrived I was a bit nervous about completing. Not only did the obstacles that required me to pull myself up I found daunting, but I was concerned just running/walking the five miles. Fortunately, I had a great team of ladies who had my back. When I had trouble making up an angled wall, I felt a bunch of hands beneath me, pushing me up. When I had to jump from a considerable height into an inflatable mattress, there were dozens of voices cheering me on. And within a couple of hours, I crossed the finish line with my team, eager to drink my celebratory beer and take a shower.

What Mudderella taught me is that you need to have a good team, otherwise you’re never going to succeed. There was no possible way that I could have completed that course on my own. Without my teammates, I would have given up on the first obstacle when I couldn’t make it over the wall. Without knowing that people were there to lend a hand, I would have just left after the first mile, cursing and feeling depressed.

This is a lesson any law firm should keep in mind. When it comes to business, you need a team behind you to push you over that wall. Your staff is the most important aspect of your law firm – they will cheer at your successes and help you get over your losses. Many of us are so wrapped up in our own work that we forget we’re all in it together — the law firm’s successes equals your team’s successes.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your staff is the best that it possibly could be:

  • Encourage your team. Did Nancy help a client get paperwork from the doctor? Make sure you tell her what a great job she’s doing. Even just a small compliment can go far.
  • Don’t ignore a helping hand. You may be able to do it on your own, but having someone lighten the load will not only help you in the long run but make you a better lawyer.
  • Don’t forget to push someone up the wall. Is one of your co-workers having a tough time with a task? Don’t let him/her flounder. Offer to help.
  • Celebrate at the finish line. If you win a big case that the rest of the staff helped on, make sure to give credit where credit’s due. And beer, beer helps too.

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