Many of us have problems. Issues. Troubling tasks we should meet head on.
One of the biggest problems for many of us is the ever increasing dissatisfaction we have with the practice of the law. The hours are just too much. The career path is unclear. The work is boring. The work is too combative. The drive for more and more billable hours is too demanding.
The barriers to solving these problems
But we run into so many barriers when we even think about leaving the law.
We’re stuck. We don’t know what to do. We don’t know where to start. We are in such control in our professional lives. We provide rock solid advice to our clients each day, but when it comes to ourselves … we sometimes feel helpless. And we don’t like that feeling.
We’re ashamed. We feel guilty that we want to leave law. We don’t want to tell anyone that we want to leave. We fear they’ll say, For god’s sake, you’re an attorney! You make a lot of money and have a cush white collar job. Stop complaining.
We feel all alone. We don’t know how or where to open up. We can’t tell our other attorney friends, because they may belittle us or the word may get out and that could wreck our job security.
We don’t want to take a risk. We’re risk averse by nature. And our job is to find ways to mitigate our clients’ risks. How can we then turn around and really assess risks for ourselves? No, we just avoid them.
And these problems gain weight and burden us and prevent us from really changing our situation.
Listen to your problems for a source of energy and direction
When you feel a pain in your body, it’s your body telling you that something is wrong and you need to go to the doctor or take medicine or rest or go through therapy. When your young child cries, it’s her way of telling you something is wrong and you need to give her food or soothe her to sleep or change her diaper. When the red light flashes on your car dashboard, it’s your car’s way of telling you that something is wrong and that you need to check under the hood or take it in to the dealership or replace a part.
Day in and day out, we listen to what our life’s problems and issues are telling us, we recognize that something is wrong, and, most often than not, we find a way to solve them.
So when your body, mind and soul tell you that practicing law is not for you, it’s their way of telling you that something is wrong and that it’s time to understand yourself better, prepare yourself for change and explore alternatives. We need to listen to that voice.
But instead, when it comes to this life change, we often don’t. Or we hear it, but we don’t listen to it seriously. Or we hear it, but we use our energy not to solve the problem, but rather to ignore the problem. Or we hear it, but we just make excuses for why we won’t pursue it. We begin to feel stuck, we feel ashamed, we feel alone, we feel risk averse. And so the problem grows and festers and becomes apparently insurmountable.
But what if that didn’t need to happen? What if we could view this problem (this nagging, deep seated loathing for the law) instead as a source of energy and direction in our lives? What if this dissatisfaction with the practice of law could turn out to be one of the positive, constructive forces of energy that could really compel you to do something? Maybe this problem is not just a problem but also a voice telling you what to do, telling you what is right for you to do.
Maybe this problem only remains a problem if you refuse to listen to it.