Letting Go of Perfection

A piece of advice that I try to live by is not to let perfection become the enemy of good. Growing up, I was a competitive, achievement-oriented, type-A perfectionist—if you speak with any of my friends or family, they will tell you that it is no surprise that I became a lawyer. Being the “Miranda” of my friend group was (and, I maintain, still is) a badge of honor. These qualities laid the groundwork for a hard-earned path to success; but they also created the recipe for potential burnout. To create a sustainable and ultimately, more successful legal practice, I have learned to let go of the idea of perfection.

I knew early on that litigation was the right fit for my skills: writing, public speaking, using a mix of logical and creative thinking, and being prone to the occasional flair for the dramatic. But I struggled with the fact that, especially in litigation, there is not always a clear right answer, failure will rear its head inevitably, and the demands of the job can be seemingly endless.

After practicing for a few years, and as I became more senior and took on more responsibility, I looked around and took stock of the people I admired and what qualities they had that I thought made them great lawyers. They uniformly had confidence in their decision-making, they knew how to prioritize, and they were comfortable with the unavoidable fact that there are always uncertainties. Seeing this drove me to become more practical and efficient in how I approached my work. I worked on learning how to delegate and in the process realized how much I enjoy mentoring. I learned to focus my energies on those tasks that truly matter over those that don’t add as much value.

I also strove to cultivate a well-balanced life. Being a lawyer is something I do that I am good at, but it is not the only thing. The year I made partner, an accomplishment of which I am incredibly proud, is the same year I got married, and I draw upon a huge well of support from my family. Balance, I’ve learned, brings perspective and confidence, which are two of the most important traits a professional—especially a professional woman—can have. Learning to let go of perfection, which does not exist, has helped me find balance and made me a far better lawyer and mentor.