What’s keeping us from leaving the law?
I know, I know … we have a lot to do. We’re not sure where to start. We don’t want to tell anyone we’re unhappy. We don’t know of any jobs that pay as much as we make now. We don’t know who outside of the law would hire us. We have no time. It’s a lot of work.
These, and many others, are the hurdles we face to not take action to leave the law. We have the motivation and the desire and the aspiration to leave … but not the drive to actually act.
We feel this way because we view leaving the law as a chore. An obligation. A necessary evil. Something not fun. Something we have to do.
But it becomes a lot easier to act when we look at leaving not as “we have to” but rather as “we get to”.
Thinking that “we get to” leave the law means it’s an opportunity to change our life. It means we can regain a level of control over what we do day to day in a way we have not experienced in a long time. It means we can take the time to, for one of the first times in a while, look inward and find who we are.
It means we are thankful for where we are in life, notwithstanding all we may not like about life.
Here are three things we all can do right now to align with this idea that all of the hard work it takes to leave the law is actually something we “get” to do, and not something we “have” to do:
1. Say it. Write it. Say “I have the opportunity right now to leave the law” out loud. Write “I have the opportunity right now to leave the law” in ink on a piece of paper.
Read it. Hear it. See and listen to what we have written and the commitment we have made to ourselves. Just start here with making this statement a part of our life.
And by saying this, we will have gratitude for our position in life, and when we have gratitude for where we are in life (meaning even with all we don’t like, we can still sincerely say “thank you!” for where we are) then we focus more on what we have in life and less on what we feel is lacking. And when we focus on what we have in life, we get more in our life.
2. Make leaving a regular event to look forward to. The main way to get better at writing is to sit down and write. The main way to get better at basketball is to play basketball. The main way to build a relationship with our children is to be present in mind and body with our children.
And so goes it with leaving the law. The main way to get better at leaving the law is to focus some time on leaving the law.
Make it an event for us. Put it on our calendar.
Carve out 30 minutes in the car during the commute. Take 20 minutes before bed (right after that last work email). Spend 15 minutes during our work out. Or spend a full hour when we have to come into the office on Sunday.
Look forward to it. Make it an event. [Schedule it on your calendar and email me a picture at firstname.lastname@example.org. The first two readers that do get a free 30 minute mentoring call with me.]
3. Take action … one step at a time. Once leaving the law becomes an event on our calendar, let’s take that time to take action.
We can’t do it all at once. We don’t understand a semester’s worth of Torts all at once. We don’t bring in a client, research their case, write a brief, litigate it, and settle it all at once.
These all take time. We take baby steps along the way. We learn. We let things digest. We build momentum.
And the same goes with leaving the law. Let’s take one step at a time.
- Forecast our money situation and see what we can, and cannot do, financially.
- Address our identity as a lawyer and explore whether this is an obstacle to leaving the law.
- Explore our Unique Genius and become very comfortable with our skills and strengths and to which non-legal jobs our skill set can add the most value.
- Get out there – set up informational interviews with people in the non-legal roles we think we’d like to explore, and learn more about them and find potential opportunities.
- List the nagging fears that we still have about leaving, and work to overcome them.
- Throughout it all, train our mind to become more courageous, confident, authentic, sincere, in-tune, dynamic, strong, and happy.
One we focus on what we have, we begin to concentrate less on what we are lacking.
And when we focus on what we have, we begin to realize that we now have a unique opportunity to change our life.
And once we realize we have a unique opportunity to change our lives, leaving the law becomes something we want to do, not something we feel we have to do.
And when it becomes something we want to do, we make the time. We make the effort. We do the work.