I read an article about a panel discussion at the recent International Bar Association conference in Sydney, Australia focused on what happiness means for lawyers.
The speakers discussed how attorneys can measure their happiness in ways beyond the traditional yardsticks of money and job title and professional stature.
One such new measure is “self-actualization”. One panelist explained further:
“Self-actualization is about achieving your potential, becoming what you want to be, making something of yourself.
I encourage people to aspire to something, and sometimes when I ask lawyers: ‘What are your aspirations? What do your aspire to in your practice and in your career?’, sometimes they really give me a funny look because their practice is all about meeting other people’s expectations.
“They actually don’t have any aspirations of their own in their lives, and I think aspiration is a necessary ingredient for happiness and success.”
Looking back on when I was in the law as in-house counsel, I now realize that many of my aspirations were reactive … about just not messing up: not missing an important element in a licensing agreement, not missing a deadline, not missing a recent legal trend or regulation, not doubling over from anxiety.
And my proactive aspirations back then? They were mainly material, or ego based: Make a certain amount of money, live in a certain type of house, be part of the certain group or society or association, be perceived in a certain way.
I either aspired to do things for other people, or to try and impress other people.
And my aspirations now? They are way different.
- Alignment (with what I’m good and excel at)
- Courage (to push my comfort zone and pursue what is really meaningful and interesting for me)
- Providing value (by sincerely helping other people in the best way I can and being well compensated for it)
- Bliss (pure utter enjoyment in what I do each day)
If you too want to explore and identify your bliss, and feel (really, really, seriously feel) that now is the time to take this step, I’ve created free and paid-for services that can help you transition out of the law. Schedule a free time to speak directly with me here and I can suggest some actionable next steps for you.