Why the Steep Hill May Be Your Best Choice

The best piece of advice I’ve received is that making small, ordinary choices consistently, and letting those choices compound over time, can lead to great outcomes (provided you are making the right choices!). In a world where immediate gratification is just around the corner, consistently making the gritty choice without any immediate results to show for it is hard. Luckily, the second-best piece of advice I’ve received–—to stop negotiating with myself once I’ve thought through a decision—helps me adhere to the first. I try to incorporate these words of wisdom on a daily basis in my career and my day-to-day life.

For example, to get home every day I can either walk up a steep hill or take a different route with a gentle incline. I live in Texas and it’s very hot a lot of the time, so if I were to think about it for longer than two seconds, I would take the easier route. Any benefits from trudging up the steep hill are all but invisible. However, I know that over many months or, more likely, years, that routine daily effort will help keep my heart and my brain (my most valuable asset in the career I have chosen) healthy as I age. So every day I take the steep hill home, without stopping to think about whether I want to or not, because I know that time is on my side.

I am fortunate to work on many complex and challenging M&A transactions. Sometimes my days are very exciting—counseling successful founders and entrepreneurs through tricky legal situations, bargaining for significant protections for a client, and of course, the rush of successfully closing an important transaction.

But, more often, most of my time as a legal practitioner and advocate is spent taking the steep hill day in and day out in preparation for future success: analyzing a long contract when the rest of the household has gone to sleep; hours in solitude drafting and redrafting complex fine points to precision; poring over what some may consider inconsequential details (not always the case); line-by-line analysis of a contract in preparation for a Monday morning negotiation; and bleary-eyed late nights and early mornings alongside my team in the days leading to a deal closing ensuring that nothing falls between the cracks. The results are not always immediate. However, compounded over years, I believe that making these small choices on a consistent basis leads to professional excellence and strong advocacy.