My business partner, and fellow former attorney, Adam Ouellette teaches in the Leave Law Behind Career Coaching Program how to “not be attached to outcomes” – about “letting go and moving on” and how to “surrender” in life.
His teachings drive me crazy!
Not because they are wrong. But because I have had such difficulty in understanding what he means and how to apply them to my life.
I have always viewed these Zen type ideas of “letting go” and “surrendering” as being weak, something none of us attorneys want to be. What am I supposed to do, let the world walk all over me? Am I just supposed to give in to everybody and everything?
According to him, not really. As I’ve begun to understand these concepts better, I’ve realized that what you are supposed to do is to just give up the fight. And in doing that, you become strong and empowered.
Counter-intuitive, I know this “Letting Go and Moving On” idea. But it also begs the question: What exactly am I fighting that I need to surrender to and give up?
It turns out that you are likely fighting with your current professional situation. Why? Because it probably doesn’t measure up to an idealized version of life you have had in mind for yourself.
Professionally as a lawyer, you may have always envisioned you’d have much more money by now.
You envisioned you’d be more successful with a better title.
You envisioned you would be more interesting.
You envisioned you’d have a better legacy.
You envisioned you’d be happy.
And maybe you didn’t achieve some of these things you envisioned.
Maybe your current reality as a practicing lawyer hasn’t lived up to the reality you’ve always wanted. You feel attacked and want to protect yourself. So, you keep hoping for and asking for and praying to the Universe or Nature or God or Karma for one, specific type of success … as a lawyer: You keep hoping for that partnership offer to come in, you keep hoping to pay off your student debt, you keep hoping to win the big settlement,and you keep perpetuating the idea that the only way you can be happy and satisfied and successful and reach your potential in life is if these specific things happen in the specific way you have in mind.
I’m asking you to stop this. To stop putting so much energy and time into creating and perpetuating negative and non-beneficial thoughts and beliefs and inner struggles. To give up that fight. Through this “Letting Go and Moving On” idea, I’m asking you to accept and be aware of your life no matter what is happening in your career at that moment.
It doesn’t mean you cannot take steps to improve your career, or other parts of your life that you may be unsatisfied with. But it does mean to stop resisting and fighting what you don’t like, or maybe can’t control, at a particular moment.
It means vowing to really want to be happy and joyful and blissful and your ideal self, without having to have that happiness and joy and bliss arrive to you in some certain, specific way, i.e. like achieving a level of perceived success as an attorney.
It means being open to success and happiness and joy and contentment and riches arriving to you in any form.
It means to stop fighting what happened in the past. So you went to law school and maybe you shouldn’t have. So you took on a lot of law school debt and maybe you shouldn’t have. So you are knee deep in an attorney job at a firm you don’t like.
It’s all okay. There is no need to judge yourself. There is no need to keep envisioning what you should be. Instead, just enjoy who you are.
And if you’re fed up with practicing law and looking for a way out, we have created a whole course to help. Click here to learn more.
And for more information about how to leave the law, click here to read our guide on Alternative Careers for Lawyers.[This post originally appeared on Above the Law’s Career Center on January 10, 2019.]