I ran into a friend (and Leave Law Behind reader last week), and he asked me why I had taken him off of this email list. I said I had done no such thing, and that I just hadn’t sent out a blog post in a while.
It is always nice to hear about someone looking forward to your emails, and his comment got me thinking as to why I had taken this break from writing and emailing a post over the past few weeks. After some reflection, two reasons came up.
I have fortunately had a lot of good work – a new client, some great projects, some travel. My attention has been focused on this new business.
And, to be honest, I also did not feel that I was producing good blog content. I didn’t really like what I was writing. I felt like the draft posts were forced and just not that helpful. I felt stumped, and a bit unmoored. So I stopped for a while. I closed the Word doc in which I compile these drafts, made a note to come back in a week or two, and I focused on other things.
I knew I wouldn’t leave for long, because I feel better when I post blogs to Leave Law Behind. It’s like a message that needs to be told. And this is good, because it pushes me out of my comfort zone, it keeps me from getting lazy, it keeps me in touch with the audience and with the community and it enables me to put new ideas together.
But when the responsibilities and tasks of life add up, sometimes you have to cut. And no matter what conflicting messages our go-on-all-cylinders-but-still-smell-the-roses society tells you (“sleep more!”, “sleep less!”, “be more productive!”, “learn to relax!”, “read this book!”, “download this app!”, “disconnect!”, “spend time with your family!”, “always be closing!”) sometimes you have to take a break, and shift focus. Sometimes you need to prioritize. And it’s essential that you recognize where and when you are at your best, where and when you are needed.
This happened with my regular email blogging. And it also happens when you embark on leaving the law. Like the seasons, we can get caught up in the Spring of potential new job and lifestyle ideas and the Summer of passion filled conversations and informational interviews, but inevitably a Fall will approach and slow things down a bit. And then the Winter phase will arrive and stop us dead (or close to dead) in our tracks. This Winter phase can last a day, two days, a week or a month. Or longer. We can feel stumped, depressed, aimless.
And it’s important to not let these personal Winter seasons get us too down, and to realize it’s just that: A season, a phase, a stage. And it will pass. And we will learn from them.
As you leave law behind, you’ll encounter many Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter stages (also called “ups and downs” or “peaks and valleys” or “life”) and the ones who successfully leave the law aren’t those who expend energy trying to avoid the Winters (as that’s impossible) or let the Winters beat them down, but rather make sure they see it through to the next Spring.