What my daughter taught me about reducing my need for control

We attorneys have been taught to control as much of our external surroundings as possible. We (try so hard to) mitigate risk, forecast new revenue, identify issues.

But the only thing we can really, truly, fully control in our life is how we react to things. We can control how we feel and how we act and how we respond to external phenomena.

But we cannot control others … other people, other circumstances, other perceptions.

And to try and control these other things will only continue to frustrate us. And it’s this frustration that makes so many of us so afraid about the prospect of leaving the law. We know there are elements of this leave-the-law process that we cannot fully control.

So we don’t do it.

We convince (trick) ourselves to remain unhappy in a misaligned attorney job that is familiar to us, rather than explore opportunities that, while we can’t tightly control, have the potential for growth and purpose.

We have persuaded ourselves that we have no choice.

There is always something we can do

But it’s far from hopeless.

Again, we can really only control how we feel and how we act and how we respond.

I have done my best to internalize this message. And I’ve shared it with my children.

Yesterday, my ten year old daughter and I were walking to her after-school sewing class here in the neighborhood.

Daddy, she said, you know when you say that we can really only control how we react to things? I have another way of thinking about this. You can’t move the sun, but you can move your eyes.

She nailed it.

  • Are you worrying about what the mean partner thinks of you? Push that out of your mind and focus instead of a “non-law” job where people collaborate and have each other’s back.
  • Bored to tears about the law and don’t care about the subject matter? Push that out of your mind and think instead about a non-law job the mission of which you are committed to and believe in.
  • Anxious about the risks in making a life shift and leave your practice of the law? Push that out of your mind and visualize all of the support and like minded-communities out there who will help guide you as you change.

If you are ready to leave the law, if you’re ready to overcome your fears, if you’re ready to make this change real, schedule a free time to talk with me and I’ll show you the next steps.

And if you’re rolling your eyes at what I’ve written or not convinced that “non-law” jobs like this exist or insist on still controlling your environment, you can do any of three things: keep reading and mulling on these ideas, or schedule a free time to speak with me and let me show you what’s possible.

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