Just thinking about change can stress us lawyers out. We counsel clients to avoid risk, and we ourselves often also are inclined to avoid risk in our own lives.
And change is often equated as risk. And making a career change, or making a change like leaving the law (BigLaw or otherwise) . . . or just thinking about leaving the law can be considered a huge risk, creating high levels of anxiety. We may feel guilty even thinking about such a thing. We may want to keep this idea inside. We may not know where to go to find support and others who feel this way. We may not know where to begin. We may just feel overwhelmed, anxious and downright scared.
And these feelings are justified. There is no magic pill or easy way to leave the law behind and start a new path in life. It takes time and courage and hard work and luck and patience and self-analysis.
But it also takes a first step. A first-small-confidence-building-fun-inexpensive baby step to build momentum. I have discussed many of these steps with many of my clients, and three very easy, and also very motivating and instructive, steps are listed below for you to try:
1.The fun, cheap, can-do-it-right-now step: Reserve a domain name. Yup. Just go to Godaddy and for $10-$20 or so, you can get started leaving the law behind. Reserve yourname.com, yournameconsulting.com, or yournameadvisory.com. Reserve a domain that hearkens back to your hometown or a trip you took or something you really enjoy.
It’s a great first step, because it’s inexpensive, you see the results right away and there is so much you can easily build around it (a professional email address, a website, a blog, a social marketing platform . . . the list goes on).
2.The networking step: Meet with one (yes, just one) non-lawyer. Take a non-lawyer out to lunch or coffee. Reach out to or get connected to a CEO of a company. A COO of a company. A VP of business development. The head of a non-profit. Someone in entertainment. Someone in finance. Someone in a field you think you’d like. Someone who does something that you think you could do well at. Someone who does something that you think you would enjoy.
And this someone won’t care much about which law school you went to or which journal you wrote for or which case you just settled. Hopefully, he or she will tell you honestly about what they do and you can get a better feel for whether you like this industry. And if you two hit it off, hopefully you can get this person to recommend another person in this field for you to talk to. And then another. And another. And as your network grows over time . . . well I think you see where I’m going (if you don’t, email me).
3.The Unique Genius step: Ask yourself “What do people compliment me on? “This is the beginning of defining your Unique Genius, which is the collection of those skills and strengths that come so naturally to you, so effortlessly to you, that you don’t even think of them as a skill. It is upon these skills that you do so well that you will begin to base your post-lawyer life and career. It is with these strengths at which you excel that you will begin to create a life of confidence and self-worth.
Finding out what people compliment you on specifically points to your strengths. What do people say positively about you? Do you dress well? Are you full of good energy? Do you have a great smile? Are you the life of the party? Quiet? Are you dependable? Are you a self starter? Disciplined? Good listener? Detail oriented? Ambitious? Creative? Studious? Are you good at strategy? Can you work a room? Are you insightful? Can you speak well? Can you solve puzzles?
If you don’t know, meet with some close friends or family and tell them that you are not fishing for compliments, but rather that you’re very interested in having them list and explain some of your positive traits . . . so that you can actually internalize what it is you are good at and let this inform you as you leave law behind.
Of course there is much more to leaving law behind (financial analysis, planning for other streams of revenue, etc.) but you’d be surprise how easy it can be to get the ball rolling. And once you have that momentum . . . you’d be surprised of all the things you can do.
Contact me if you’re interested in exploring a one-to-one leave law behind coaching course.
Related posts you may find interesting
The Second Step in Leaving Law Behind – Cut Your Losses
How to remove the risk from leaving law behind
How a lost dog can teach you to leave law behind
What if you found out you were about to get laid off
The main reason why you are not leaving law behind right now