It seems that there is always something to worry or be anxious about for us lawyers. We worry about whether we’re on track with our billables. We worry about making a mistake and being exposed for malpractice. We worry that we really don’t know that much and we’ll be revealed as the fraud that we think we are. We’re anxious about that letter we just received from the State Bar. We’re anxious when they have the regular partner meetings. We’re anxious about how a client feels about us.
As attorneys we often have feelings of stress and nerves and apprehension flowing through our mind and bodies. We bring it home to our spouses and we complain to our friends and it lingers during our vacations and we think about it a lot.
Now, we can’t blame the practice of law in general for every not-so-good emotion and thought we have, but it is safe to say that many of us lawyers who yearn to leave law behind suffer from a great deal of anxiety that is directly caused by our jobs. For many of us lawyers, our default position is to be stressed.
And we become so used to this stress that we can actually feel stressed and worried when we’re for a moment not stressed and worried. When we’re reasonably at peace … well, then, something must be wrong or will go wrong soon. And the vicious cycle continues.
That can change. When you properly leave law behind, when you do the work to explore what you are good at, when you take the time to think of jobs and opportunities that align with these skills and strengths, and when you build the courage to pound the pavement and get out there to research alternatives and find the right like-minded people and land or create that new opportunity at which you can really excel, your default emotional position will change. You will find out, as strange as this may sound, that for most of your time in this new life phase you actually begin to feel confident. And satisfied. And curious. And at peace. And with free time. And while no existence is free of stress, you will now possess the greater self-assuredness to manage and deal with that worry and anxiety whenever it does rear its head.
Leaving the law behind is more than finding out what you are good at. It’s more than finding that great job.
It’s about finding a different set of thoughts and feelings to regularly flow through you.