How not saying these two words can accelerate your dream career out of the law

 July 10, 2018

By  Casey Berman

I recently emailed with a fellow member of the Leave Law Behind Online Coaching Program who is at the exciting stage of identifying and then interviewing for careers out of the law.

She’s building momentum – some of these job descriptions are shaping up to be a fit with her Unique Genius … with her skills and strengths.

But as we reviewed many of these specific jobs, her fears and self-sabotage of the actual change required to leave the legal profession would still arise.

This manifested specifically through her saying “I don’t …“, as in:

  • I don’t think I want to do [“NON-LAW” JOB X] ”, or
  • “I don’t know much about [THIS ASPECT OF “NON-LAW” JOB X], so I guess I won’t pursue it” … and on and on.

Fear of change

Saying “I don’t” is a manifestation of our fear of change. It’s a way we think we protect ourselves from the unknown … but we are really just sabotaging our growth and development.

So she and I worked together on some new ways to re-phrase … or reposition … or rethink … saying “I don’t want to…” when she began to feel intimidated about her chances of leaving the legal profession and pursuing a new, alternative career.

They’ve begun to work so well, I wanted to share these below verbal devices with you, for you to use whenever you are exploring a “non-law” job you like, but feel self-sabotage creeping in. I hope you enjoy.

  • Let me make sure I understand exactly what’s being asked by [“NON-LAW” JOB X] before I say I don’t want to do it.
  • I need help understanding more about [“NON-LAW” JOB X], which I admit I currently feel I won’t like and can’t possibly do.
  • I’m nervous about being wrong (and not “perfect”) about [“NON-LAW” JOB X] and so therefore my default thought is that I think I won’t like it.
  • Let me find out more about [“NON-LAW” JOB X] before I say I can’t do it or don’t want to do it or definitely won’t be good at it.
  • I’m not certain about [“NON-LAW” JOB X] but let me find out more.
  • I’m confused about [“NON-LAW” JOB X] and if it fits with my Unique Genius, but that’s okay, because the more I learn about it, the more research I do, the more informational interviews I do, and the more help I get, my confusion will fade away and things will become more clear, I know this will happen.
  • A better comment than “I don’t like [“NON-LAW” JOB X]” could be “Okay, [“NON-LAW” JOB X], tell me more about yourself”.
  • Learning about [“NON-LAW” JOB X] is like a 5 step process in a tunnel, and I’m around step two right now, and that is fine, because I see the light at the end of this tunnel I’m in.
  • I feel confident I can get to know [“NON-LAW” JOB X] more and see if it sincerely aligns with my Unique Genius and what I’m good at.
  • I can tell you that [“NON-LAW” JOB X] doesn’t now jump out at me in a good way, it even makes me nervous initially, but I’m going to give [“NON-LAW” JOB X] its due and confidently learn more about it, to either cross it off my potential job list or to prioritize it as a job to explore further.
  • I just don’t know about [“NON-LAW” JOB X], I feel untethered, but that’s just fine, I feel confident I’ll soon become more clear on what [“NON-LAW” JOB X] entails and whether it aligns with the value I can bring.
  • I feel comfortable doing informational interviews with people about [“NON-LAW” JOB X] and learning more, and I won’t convince myself to feel stupid by asking them questions about [“NON-LAW” JOB X], because I know an informational interview is inherently a fact gathering exercise anyway.
  • In the past, in law school or as a young lawyer, when I didn’t know something about a topic, I remember the tools and tips and processes that worked for me to become more clear and educated. I’m going to use those same tools here as I ramp up my knowledge on [“NON-LAW” JOB X].
  • There is an element about [“NON-LAW” JOB X] that scares me (like “data” or “technology” or “working 24/7 virtually from home”) that I need to learn more about before I wholesale dismiss [“NON-LAW” JOB X] as a possibility for me.
  • I know I am putting all of this meaning into [“NON-LAW” JOB X]. It really has no meaning to it beyond the perception I’m placing on it. And right now I’m putting a meaning into [“NON-LAW” JOB X] that is driven by my fear and confusion and anxiety of the unknown. So, I’m going to take a step back, and refresh the meaning I put into [“NON-LAW” JOB X]. I’m going put no meaning into [“NON-LAW” JOB X] right now, and instead just be open and non-judgmental (as best I can, because being non judgmental is difficult and not exactly natural for me) to what [“NON-LAW” JOB X] calls for.

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