The antidote to feeling overwhelmed

 May 26, 2010

By  Casey Berman

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed by trying to make it to the gym a few times a week or trying to get the kids out of the house to school in the morning or returning phone calls from college friends or managing multiple brief deadlines or . . . or . . .

So it can be extremely overwhelmingly to even consider completely leaving law behind, or even leaving the firm behind or just modifying how you practice law.  The long term goals, the time it will take, the discipline and courage needed, the urge to procrastinate, the obstacles to overcome . . . makes you tired and overwhelmed just thinking about it.

This is where babysteps come in.  Babysteps are the antidote to being overwhelmed.  I am very happy that my good friend Aaron Ross, founder of Pebblestorm (“Make Money Through Enjoyment”) has reintroduced this trusted (but oft ignored) practice of taking one step at a time.  Don’t let the seemingly gargantuan tasks of leaving law, or recreating your practice as you’d like it to actually be, paralyze you:  You don’t need to get everything done tomorrow.  And don’t fret if you are not sure where exactly you might be going:  You’ll soon realize that babysteps build on one another – you won’t know at all what step 2 is until you have completed step 1.  You won’t know how to approach step 3 until you feel good about what you’ve done at step 2.

Taking babysteps lets you focus on one task in temporary isolation of any other, gain confidence from completing this task and then helps you determine what the next tasks should be.

My (non lawyer) sister Jae Berman is a perfect example of taking babysteps to a rewarding career.  After graduating college, she turned down a career in management consulting to pursue a (very) rudimentary but burgeoning interest in health and nutrition.  She had no idea where this was going to take her, and she took one step at a time – taking yoga class, learning Pilates, becoming a certified instructor, going to grad school, pounding the pavement for internships and a job – and now she is the Registered Dietitian at the San Francisco Bay Club, spokesperson for Vitamin Water, popchips and Attune Bar, started her own site and appears regularly on ABC 7’s View From the Bay (she was on today show – click here to watch!).  Besides being a proud brother, I am in awe of how she took one babystep at a time – 9 years of babysteps.  She says “Every step, in and of itself, has a purpose and is an integral part of your plan.”

Every thousand mile journey begins with a first step.  When will you take it?

I’d love to hear from you. Please comment on the blog or email me at casey [at] leavelawbehind [dot] com.

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