We are all winging it

Of course some are better at it than others, because they’ve been improvising longer at that particular job or role than you have.  But they still are making some of it up as they go along.

One fear of leaving the law is that we will find ourselves not being of service to anyone.  We fear that we won’t be able to help anyone in something other than the practice of the law.

And that’s true . . . initially.  Of course, to begin with, we’ll be starting over.  But you are more than just a lawyer.  You are analytic and disciplined and reliable and trustworthy and intelligent.  Give yourself a little more time in a new field or space and you’ll also be flexible and broad-minded and influential.

You’ll wonder why you every thought you could limit yourself to the law.

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If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting

It cuts both ways.

If you are dynamic and interested and motivated and courageous and helpful, continue to build and develop and grow and share and stay the course.

If you are anxious and frustrated and complacent and fearful and deskbound, you have two choices:  To use today to go deeper and to find purpose and self-expression.  Or to continue to exist on the surface of your professional identity.

You know how the latter will turn out.  Just look at what you did today.

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Why you are really not (just) a lawyer

That is our job or maybe it’s our career path.  But being a lawyer is really just a label, not an identity.  It’s easy to confuse the two.

We like this label because it’s a nice, convenient way for us to tell a story about ourselves, one that we can accept and impress others.  It’s a nice, convenient way to avoid going deep and finding what we enjoy doing, what skills we are really good at, what we really want to do with ourselves.  To do so would be productive and satisfying and refreshing . . . but first would require hard work, admitting mistakes and defining ourselves in a different (initially uncomfortable) way.

And that’s the beauty of leaving law behind.  We can define ourselves in a different, likely more accurate and motivational way.  That is different than labeling.  It’s deeper.

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The fifth step in leaving the law behind: Keep motivating yourself

As Zig Ziglar says, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last.  Well, neither does bathing – that’s why recommend it daily”

To leave law behind, and to continue to grow and develop in the way you want, you have to continuously find motivation in this hectic world of ours.  Some easy ways to do so are:

1.      Say thank you.  Out loud, out the window, in your head, as a whisper, wherever.  Being thankful, anactually saying it out loud, reminds us of all we do have and can do, even when we feel daunted or down or uninspired.

2.      Realize that you are your own startup.  Even while you hold down your current job, when you think of yourself less like a cog in a wheel, less like a dispensable associate, less like just an employee, less like just another guy, and more like a CEO of a start-up business (you), a growing entity with your own financial statements and R&D Department and Executive Team, you realize that every company (very company!) has to start small and that you’re right on track.

3.      Write a manifesto.  While a fancy sounding word, all this means is taking a public step to tell the world what you are about and what is important to you. 

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The fourth step in leaving the law behind: Plan

To leave law behind, you need to plan.  Plan, structure, blueprint, prepare.  Following your passion, doing what you love, leaping and the net will appear – all nice, and true and ideal and possible . . . with lots of planning.

When planning to leave the law, focus on four main questions:

1.    Why am I doing this? Again, let’s make sure you are being true to yourself and not fooling yourself and really exploring leaving law for the right reasons.  And not because you may find yourself in a bad patch or because it seems all of your friends have gone in-house lately or because you feel it’s no longer cool to be a lawyer.  The critical thinking must continue.

2.    Who am I doing this with? Talk to others.  To those that this decision would affect.  It’s your life and your passion and your goals of course, but they may be shared by others, or others may be affected by them.

3.    What resources am I doing this with? Besides health issues, there is no anxiety more difficult, gut wrenching or harder to take than that related to money .

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