We can see it. We can feel it. It’s so close.

 August 30, 2013

By  Casey Berman

For those of us unhappy with our current practice of the law, we don’t really like what we see and feel.

We currently see ourselves as a person not matching the potential we set out to meet. We see others moving ahead of us. We see no way out.

We currently feel pain and frustration. We feel guilt and a lack of direction and loneliness. We feel envious and low and lacking structure and confidence.

But in this one life we have, it helps to see and feel not only our current situation, but what we want our future to be. Visualization is not just reserved for New Age gurus and professional athletes. Normal people like us, normal attorneys who have so much potential but just find ourselves in a rut or a bit unfocused, can see and feel the shape of the future we aspire to for our life. Let’s focus on three specific areas:

Money. For many of us, we are concerned about money. We of course need to pay our bills and support (or plan for) a family and continue to pay off our loans … and on and on and on. One of the main reasons we stay in our current legal job, no matter how much we don’t like it, is for the money. We need that financial security.

But we can also visualize a financial future that is less anxious. Imagine money coming in from a salary from a job that you really enjoy, that aligns with your Unique Genius. Visualize a bank account with sufficient savings that will let you weather the next recession. Feel (really feel) the confidence and validation and sense of self-worth that accompanies a healthy financial situation. Feel the pleasure that comes from being able to afford your kids’ education and summer camps and vacations. Feel the weightlessness that comes from visualizing paying off your student loans.

Think a lot about money, in a good way. In an abundant way. In a self-confident way.

Work. For many of us, we don’t really like our work as attorneys. We don’t feel motivated or mentored by our senior partners. We don’t feel driven or excited about the work product we produce. We don’t feel we can positively collaborate with our co-workers. We don’t feel we’re all that good at being a lawyer.

So visualize a job and a role that is in line with your strengths. While this job will have its stressful moments, learning curves and tight deadlines, this job is what you want to do. See how it requires a skill set that comes naturally to you, that you excel at, that you will only grow and develop and refine further. Take the time to understand how it feels to get complimented for your work. Feel what it’s like to be viewed as a leader in the area. Visualize what it’s like to talk about what you do, think about what you do, and really enjoy what you do.

If you’re someone who likes to collaborate and loves teams, maybe it’s a project management role at a professional services business, serving Fortune 500 clients. If you’re a schmoozer who likes to be out there and enjoys sales, maybe it’s a business development role for a technology company that lets you meet people, create partnerships, drum up business and close deals. If you’re the quiet type who likes to stay in the background, maybe it’s a content creation role at a life sciences company where you do copy writing or technical writing for important marketing and customer experience documents that serve as the content platform for the company’s entire customer experience strategy. Contact me and tell me what your perfect role would look like. Don’t spare any details – write and write and write.

Lifestyle. And for many of us, we can’t stand the toll of being a lawyer. The grind is wearing on us, and we’re seeing the physical and mental effects and we don’t like it. We either have to commute too far, fight too much traffic, spend too many long hours in the office, spend too many Friday nights or weekends in the office, or spend too much time away from our families.

So, see yourself differently. See yourself working from home more often. See yourself in a cool office somewhere with lots of natural light and plants and an open floor plan with music playing and nice people walking around. See yourself wearing whatever clothes you want. See yourself leaving the office to meet people for lunch and coffee whenever you want. See yourself taking a run during lunch or a nice workout at 5pm. See yourself at a company happy hour on a Friday at 4pm. See yourself at a dinner with your spouse and children.

Feel what it’s like to have no work on the weekends. Feel what it’s like to not have that Sunday night anxiety. Feel what it’s like to not dread Mondays. Feel what it’s like to enjoy Tuesdays. Really feel it.

See yourself as this motivated, compelling, confident, engaging person who doesn’t have all the answers or guarantees but who does have the requisite courage and energy. Feel your future as one of security and growth and fulfillment and satisfaction.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

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