I have spent 11 years on my own in a solo ERISA practice and if you read anything since that time I started on my own, you will know that I still have a chip on my shoulder for the two years I worked at a mid-sized Long Island law firm. That chip on my shoulder is the size of Mount Rushmore.
I know my shortcomings in my life and not getting past that experience is one of them. I went there with the best of intentions and the best of myself in terms of trying to develop relationships with the partners there in building a big national practice. I hate failure and I failed there. There was probably nothing there that could have avoided that failure, but it’s a failure nonetheless. There have been other times in my life where I might have had similar resentment, but those were times where I wasn’t at my best (law school, for example).
I know it’s one of my shortcomings that can’t let go of that failure, that disappointment and I think the reason is that it created self-doubt in family and friends who thought I would fail in starting my own practice. “If Ary couldn’t get clients with that law firm behind him, how could he get clients on his own?,” I’m sure they thought that. I only succeeded in starting my own practice because I believed myself and that relationships I developed in the retirement plan business were more important than the name of the law firm behind me.
There is nothing wrong with having that chip on your shoulder as long as it’s not a big enough distraction. I use that chip as a badge of honor and a learning lesson for the people in the retirement plan business that I’m trying to help.