“If you want happiness for an hour—take a nap. If you want happiness for a day—go fishing. If you want happiness for a month—get married. If you want happiness for a year—inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime—help others.”
– Chinese proverb
I received an email from a reader last week. The subject line read “Thank you”. She wrote in to tell me that ever since law school she knew the law wasn’t for her. She did not enjoy law school, but nonetheless still finished. And she has been miserable in her few years practicing. She did not like the work of being a lawyer and she and her boss did not connect in a meaningful way.
So she just quit. Gave notice. Gone.
And she spent that day reading Leave Law Behind and it has calmed her down and let her know she wasn’t alone and made her feel like a real live person again and she wanted to thank me for that.
I have received many emails like this over the years. It makes my day when I hear of how this blog has helped people, of how this blog has made a difference. I get this great, awesome feeling when I know that my experience and our experience and our collective support can let each one of us dissatisfied or unhappy attorneys know that everything is all right and we are not alone. Knowing that this blog help others is a large part of why I continue to write.
And as we all know, we dissatisfied attorneys need a lot of help. We battle with a lot. Proving ourselves as worthy. Suffering anxiety and depression. Dealing with financial stress. Carrying the weight of fiduciary duties. Hiding that we’re unhappy. Dampening our social skills in order to function within the often-isolated work routine of the law. Feeling our life is passing by us. Not reaching our potential. Not knowing where to start to leave the law.
And all these feelings do is mask the abundance and prosperity and opportunity currently in our lives. They sabotage our confidence and our ability to create and get up to speed with who we really are.
We need to realize that there are not many other classes of professionals out in the world with our collective set of smarts, dependability and leadership. We can really make a difference in the world.
So … what about you? How can you help? What skills do you have and enjoy doing that someone needs?
What’s keeping you?
Nothing really. It’s easier than you think. And essential that you do so.
Helping is really just another way of saying “adding value”. When you help others you help yourself by showing what value you bring to the world.
Take a small step. Write a blog. Volunteer. Do pro bono work. Do a pod cast. Plan an event. Commit to a cause. Sketch out (not actually write, just sketch out) that outline of the novel you have in your mind. Do three informational interviews with non-lawyers. Spend some quality time doing Unique Genius exercises. Redo your resume and apply for a non-law job. Believe that you are worthy of success and happiness and satisfaction for no other reason than that you want it. Mentor someone.
One of the best ways to begin to leave the law is to focus on helping someone. Is to focus on adding value.
All of the rest (money, lifestyle, satisfaction, confidence, courage) will follow.
The world is waiting for you.