There may have come a time for many of us this weekend where we got that nervous feeling in our stomachs or felt our nerves get rattled or became generally unsure for some unknown reason.
It was likely anxiety. The anticipation of something bad. The fear or dread that something will not go right.
There is a lot that makes us anxious. The fear of losing our job. Disappointing our clients or boss. Feeling that we are not good at our job. Being saddled with projects or work that forces us to be away from our kids and families and fun events. Getting old and missing out on our perceived window of potential.
And for many of us unhappy with our current practice of the law, a lot of this anxiety comes from being bored. From being uninterested in our work. From wanting to do something different. Wishing for more. Feeling we’re just missing out on what we really should be doing.
While it can be a long process, here are a few steps to take in battling that boredom and reducing that anxiety:
1. Issue spot: That’s what we’re good at, right? Now turn it on yourself – what is the real issue that is causing you to be anxious? The source of our general anxious haze we find ourselves in can often be pinpointed to one source. Finding that issue (admitting you want to leave the law, fear of failure, feeling too old, wishing for something else, whatever) is the first step in resolving it.
2. Really determine what you’re good at: You may know what you’re interested in (old movies, fantasy football, CrossFit, wine and food, Sudoku) but you may not have really explored what you are good at. You may not have taken the time to catalogue your strengths, your skills and what you really enjoy doing. Even if they are “soft” skills, or strengths you’re not sure you could make money from, write them down.
You may like to public speak. Or be a deal maker. Or herd cats. Or dig into the details. Or bring parties to an agreement. Or be a sounding board. Or be a trusted advisor. Or launch new ideas. The second step in beating the anxiety of boredom is exploring what comes naturally to you . . . what you find not boring.
3. Do something, anything, with what you’re good at: When you find what you are good at, or have a general idea of what it is, then explore what you can do with it. It doesn’t mean making money with it right away. As a matter of fact, don’t think about money: attempting to monetize a skill can immediately introduce too much pressure. Instead, try and match your strength with a need people have. Find how your skill set can help people. Find others with the same skill set. Find like minded communities that find your skill set valuable. They are out there. And once you have built up a following and a need . . . the personal satisfaction and money will come.
And it will replace the boredom and anxiety.