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Ask Friday! Superstars Edition by Cordell Parvin

For this week’s Ask Friday! we welcome guest poster, Cordell Parvin.  I’ve gotten to know Cordell through Twitter, and have been fortunate to see the excellent advice he has for lawyers through webinars and his upcoming video coaching series.

According to his website, “Cordell Parvin has practiced law for more than 36 years. He has developed a highly successful national construction law practice. During his career, Cordell has been a rainmaker and taught, mentored and coached young lawyers on their careers, work-life balance and rainmaking. Cordell also has been a Practice Group Leader and worked with other Practice Groups helping them to develop their business plans and strategies.”

Today’s Ask Friday! question is “What separates super achievers from achievers?”  Huge thanks to Cordell for guest posting this week!

“A few weeks ago I spoke to a group of first year lawyers during their orientation. As I neared completion of my presentation I asked for questions. One young lawyer asked a thought provoking question: “What is the difference between lawyers who are superstars compared to lawyers who are stars?”


“In my career I have been blessed to work with some really outstanding lawyers. I have also had the opportunity to witness differences between the super achieving lawyers and those successful lawyers who do not reach that status. Here’s my take on the differences.


  1. Stars became content with their achievement. Superstars are never content and are always striving to get better.
  2. Stars focus on what they already know. Superstars focus on what they do not know and are willing to reinvent themselves if the situation requires it. Stars do things that others enjoy doing. Superstars regularly do things that others do not enjoy doing.
  3. Stars are focused on the short term. Superstars are focused on the long term.
  4. Stars persist to a point and then give up. Superstars persist until they succeed.
  5. Stars are extrinsically motivated. Superstars are intrinsically motivated.
  6. Stars stay within their comfort zone. Superstars strive to become comfortable outside their comfort zone.
  7. Stars have set and achieved several goals. Superstars have set and achieved hundreds of goals and have confidence they will achieve more.
  8. Some Stars quit doing the things that got them to $1 Million. Superstars do those things and more.
  9. Some Stars do not pay attention to their health. Superstars know their health is essential to their success.
  10. Stars are not necessarily focused and as a result they do lots of things. Superstars are focused and do the most important things each and every day.
  11. Stars wait for their clients and potential clients to call them with a legal problem. Superstars anticipate their clients’ and potential clients’ legal problems, create a solution and call them.
  12. Stars are outstanding lawyers. Superstars are both outstanding lawyers and trusted advisors.
  13. Stars do not plan their non-billable time. Superstars think optimistically and plan their non-billable time purposely.
  14. Some Stars get to the point that they take clients for granted. Superstars have healthy paranoia and never take their clients for granted.
  15. Stars quit trying to attract new clients. Superstars view everyone they meet as a potential client.
  16. Stars become cautious, like a sports team with a lead playing not to lose. Superstars are always playing to win.
  17. Some Stars refuse to share credit with their colleagues. Superstars share credit and build their team as a result.
  18. Many Stars do not look for opportunities to add value for their clients with work the firm does outside their practice area. Superstars are looking for other work the firm can do that their clients will value.
  19. Some stars hoarded associates. Superstars help associates become successful in their own right.
  20. Some stars make it difficult for associates and young partners to work with them. Superstars are great mentors for associates and young partners.
  21. Some stars let any disappointment or setback cripple them. Superstars look at failing as part of becoming a better lawyer.
  22. Many Stars fail to keep up with technology changes. Superstars are on the cutting edge of changes in the profession.
  23. Stars are frequently extrinsically motivated and compare how they are doing with others. Superstars are intrinsically motivated and compare how they are doing with their own capability.
  24. Stars frequently cannot find time for client development when they are busy. Superstars “make” time for client development when they are busy.
  25. Stars think they do not need help from coaches or mentors. Superstars are always seeking new ideas and feedback from coaches and mentors.