As many of you know, there is a structure to leaving the law: First, get your finances in order; second, get over your need to continue doing law for the sake of doing law; third, explore your Unique Genius; fourth, continue to face and mitigate your ongoing fears; and fifth, get out there and meet people and have coffees and create opportunities.
But sometimes even this structure can be daunting. Great Casey, thanks for outline, you may say, but what I really need is to just get started in some way. You just need to build some momentum, any momentum. You just need to move forward and see some results. You just need some way to get started.
That is where baby steps come in. The “baby step” is the basis of leaving law behind. The baby step is so essential because leaving the law can be so difficult and overpowering and murky. Leaving the law takes internal exploration, courageous action, and consistent follow up. It involves battling self-doubt, experimenting with ideas and creating opportunities. It takes a lot of time. It can be overwhelming. It becomes a second job.
With that in mind, the baby step is a simple, easy-to-do action or task one can take to begin this process. It makes the overwhelming less daunting. It makes the scary less fearsome. It makes the opaque more tangible. It builds confidence and shows quick results and grows our courage.
Here are 20 baby steps. Do just one or do some. Do the ones that come naturally to you. This list has been added to and grown by readers over the years, and please let us know any other baby step ideas you may have, either in the comments below or contact me directly. But whatever you do, if you want to leave law behind, take a baby step.
- Reserve your name at godaddy.com (e.g. www.YOURNAME.com). Just do it. Who knows what type of website you will build in the future.
- Volunteer. Anywhere.
- Even with your busy schedule, take a class. Acting. Speaking. Writing. Art.
- Be inspired daily by the Notes from the Universe.
- Read some of my favorite blogs, about life, business, leaving law, lifestyles, thinking differently and slowing down: Seth Godin, Lawyers With Depression, The Art of Nonconformity, I Will Teach You to be Rich, Think Traffic and Zen Habits.
- Keep a notebook, Word doc or use Evernote to track business ideas, story ideas, or other ideas. Get them down on paper. Even the silly ones.
- Get help. Contact me or some other coaches and mentors who focus on attorneys like you. Some of my favorites are Jennifer Alvey (based in Nashville), Katie Slater (in Houston) and Kate Neville (In Washington DC). All work with clients nationwide.
- Create a group on Facebook, become a thought leader on Twitter or Google +. Make your voice heard about something you’re passionate about and enjoy . . . and guess what? Others will listen. And don’t worry about making money. Just focus on publishing about what you enjoy and what helps others.
- Go to a Meetup. Some will be a waste of time, but others will be valuable.
- Start a blog about anything – make it public, make it private, whatever. Give away free information and help people.
- Write a guest post for Leave Law Behind (contact me).
- Guest post on other blogs with large audiences.
- Write a book.
- Hire a resume writer (LLB recommends Brian Munger at Resume Phenom) to update your resume . . . for non legal jobs. Position your resume for something in Business Development, In-House, Sales, Marketing, Operations, Teaching. You name it.
- Start doing something for free.
- Ask your close family and friends “What am I good at?”, “What do I do well that others may find difficult?”, “What traits have you always associated with me?” Drill down on these answers, explore the meaning, begin to find your Unique Genius (and write them a thank you note or buy them a gift for their honesty and time).
- Begin conducting informational interviews. Reach out to and grow your network. Begin telling others what you’d like to do . . . and let the power of your connections create great opportunities for you.
- Get your finances in order, so you have a solid idea what your money situation is like (and how this will impact, or be impacted by, your potential leaving of the law).
- Help people
- Envision what is it is like to be a success and happy and self-fulfilled. Take that time to repel the demon voice from your mind and to really enjoy some thoughts of yourself happy and no longer stuck. Begin to visualize what it is like to not be frustrated. Begin to realize what it is like to be motivated to do your work. Begin to realize what it is like to have a healthy, robust, positive sense of self. Get excited again and force yourself to feel good butterflies. Remember what is like to feel positive anticipation.
Go ahead. Try one of the above. Or another you think of. Then try another. You’ll become hooked.