“But it’s so competitive…” 

So this first post is going to be like that first class back after the long summer holiday. You’re not going to have to do much with your brain, and I’m just going to be impressed you’ve turned up at all. In future posts I’ll include activities (as though my site is an awful textbook). But for now just sit back…relax…and let it wash over you….

I want to talk to you about your mindset.

When I talk to future-future-trainees (i.e. you terribly talented people who have not yet located the Training Contract with your name on it) I hear certain phrases crop up. And my least favourite is “but it’s so competitive.” It’s usually used in relation to some vacation scheme or Training Contract, or even just a legal career in general.

Let me show you where this phrase comes from.

This is Steve.

assessment days vacation scheme application help motivation for law competency questions interview law
Picture used to illustrate Steve: is not actually Steve.

Steve’s a nice guy but he doesn’t really have his sh*t together. Though saying that, he has done well in school, has a part time job and looks fairly convincing in a suit.

Steve wrote an entirely average application form. He made a handful of common errors and submitted it last minute. He then wrote 15 more applications like this- which wasn’t that impressive really as he only spent an hour on each.

Then, Steve gets rejected from all 16 of them. Steve goes and complains to his friend James. But, rather than being self-critical and really looking at his applications, he puts the blame beyond himself and says *deep deep sigh* “It’s just so competitive.”

James looks at Steve, with his good grades, his job and his ok suit and thinks “Well, if it’s so competitive that amazing-Steve (he has a crush on Steve) couldn’t get an interview, what hope have I got?”

And then James uses the phrase to justify why he didn’t really try because he thought he would fail.

This is all wrong.

You have 100% control over whether you are successful or not.

And more importantly, you are not competing against anyone else.

Think of it like this:

assessment days vacation scheme application help motivation for law competency questions interview law
This is how you feel when you compete against other candidates.

You are a professional runner. You need to win races.

When you’re training for these races, you’re not trying to beat anyone’s time but your own. I’ll tell you why – if you try to be faster than the winner of last week’s race, you might win next week’s race – or there might be someone faster than that!

Whereas, if you try to constantly improve upon your own time, getting faster and faster, learning from your mistakes, focusing on improving and developing – you will, eventually, win. And you can take comfort in the fact that this is inevitable. And you can stop comparing yourself to everyone else.

When the doubts start creeping in, when your friend Steve starts telling you that there are 1 million less training contracts going this year and there’s no hope for anyone because they’re like gold-dust– you’re going to take a deep breath, look him in the eye and say…

“That’s fine. I only need one.”

This phrase was the bedrock of my confidence when I was applying,

The firm I will join offers 60 training contracts a year. That is 59 more than you need, and that is just one of thousands of firms.

You only need one.

You don’t need to win every race.

You just need to, eventually, win one.

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