The antidote to feeling overwhelmed

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed by trying to make it to the gym a few times a week or trying to get the kids out of the house to school in the morning or returning phone calls from college friends or managing multiple brief deadlines or . . . or . . .

So it can be extremely overwhelmingly to even consider completely leaving law behind, or even leaving the firm behind or just modifying how you practice law.  The long term goals, the time it will take, the discipline and courage needed, the urge to procrastinate, the obstacles to overcome . . . makes you tired and overwhelmed just thinking about it.

This is where babysteps come in.  Babysteps are the antidote to being overwhelmed.  I am very happy that my good friend Aaron Ross, founder of Pebblestorm (“Make Money Through Enjoyment”) has reintroduced this trusted (but oft ignored) practice of taking one step at a time.  Don’t let the seemingly gargantuan tasks of leaving law, or recreating your practice as you’d like it to actually be, paralyze you:  You don’t need to get everything done tomorrow. 

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I feel bad

I went to law school and I wish I hadn’t.

I have thought that before.  I wonder how many others have as well.

But it really does no good to feel badly about our decision to go to law school and choose law as a career.  What’s done is done.  We are now . . . right now . . . yup, right now . . . living our own life movies.  We are the star in the movie called our lives and the audience is watching, has paid a ticket to watch, and is on the edge of its seat to see what we do next, how we face our challenges and come out ahead and be cool, or rich, or happier, or more free, or . . .

Nor does it help to think of what you could have done differently.  It’s 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 – do I apply to law school . . . or apply for that sales job at that little tech company Yahoo or Google? (or for more recent graduates, YouTube, Twitter or Zynga).  I can’t, and I won’t, beat myself up (anymore) over the fact that I chose to go to Hastings because it was closer to my house .

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The coolest thing

What was the coolest thing you did today?  Close a multi million dollar deal?  Score a huge new client?  Make partner?  Have your picture in the paper?

If any of the above happened to anyone in the last few days, please let me know, as I’d love to just hear the story.

For the rest of us, who didn’t have an outsized business success or make a bucket load of cash or party with their favorite celebrity recently, the art is in finding coolness in your normal day activities.

Like your commute – you may drive or bus through a particularly nice or interesting part of the City that tourists flock to but you take for granted.
Or your work – you may have written that last document in no time on a cool looking, lightweight netbook that you later sent to your Dropbox folder and accessed even later on your iPhone for a quick review while ferrying home on the Bay.

Or your down time – maybe you had a nice drink at a cool bar wearing your favorite suit and tie or outfit and just felt like a bad ass.

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