The following is a guest post written by lawyer coach Gary Mitchell.
Are you at the wall? Have you been there for some time and don’t know how or where to proceed? Or have you just become familiar, maybe even comfortable with being stressed, overworked, and not fulfilled with your career, practice, or firm?
Unfortunately, being human, and by the way, you are human before you are a lawyer, like most of us, you will need to get to your breaking point before you make the decision to try to do things differently, or make changes. Very few people are proactive in this area.
The 1st step is awareness. Are you aware of how this ongoing stress is affecting every part of your life?
I see this far too often. Yes, being a lawyer, you are a high-achiever, hard-working, intelligent, and maybe even driven. But if you are honest with yourself, you will also note that you are not in the habit of asking for help. You are a DIY kind of person.
I have worked with two clients most recently that fit this description to a tee. One is approaching the end of their career, while the other is still in the early stages. But both are experiencing the same pain. A revolving door of staff and lawyers. Constantly picking up where their people have let them down. Working harder than anyone else at their firm. Money is not the issue. Clients are not the issue. The issue is they are not enjoying the fruits of their labor. They are treading water, and only coming up for air when it’s life or death. Yet they both continue to try and figure it out on their own, not asking for help. It baffles me. Do you want to continue living like this?
The 2nd step is acceptance. Accepting the fact that you cannot make the changes on your own. Accepting that to clear the fog, and have more fulfillment with your career, you will likely need to get some help. This one is especially hard for lawyers. You have been built up, put on a pedestal, and likely believe you are invincible. I go back to the human factor. You are human right? You are not invincible. You are smart. You are strong. You are resilient. But you ARE NOT invincible.
I go back to the title of this post. Where is your breaking point? When is or has the pain reached a point you can no longer take it? How far away are you from your wall? Only you can answer these questions. Only you can make the decision to stop this endless rat trap and take more control of your life and career.
The 3rd step is asking for help. This will be the hard one for you. Admitting you don’t know everything. Seek out the skills, experience, and approach or attitude that you feel you could benefit from. It’s like HR and building your team. Look at your strengths and focus on those. Get help in building a team around you to take care of the areas where you are less proficient-your weaknesses. Put a plan or people/structural map together.
The 4th step is into action. Then act on your plan. It’s all well and good to have a plan, and I have always been a fan, but unless you act on it, it’s worthless. Work with your team to execute your plan. Build benchmarks to help you stay focused. Take the wins and measure progress.
Your practice or firm will look remarkably different one year from now if you follow this advice. I have seen some amazing transformations in my 17 years working with lawyers and law firms.
Are you at your breaking point? Are you ready for a different way? Are you ready for better?
About the author:
Gary Mitchell- Entrepreneur Coach & Trainer
With 30 years of communications, political strategy, and entrepreneurial experience, Gary has tailored his coaching practice exclusively to lawyers since 2005. He has accumulated tremendous industry knowledge and insights. He specializes in helping lawyers adopt an entrepreneurial approach and mindset to the Business of Law. Three published books, and hundreds of articles later, Gary continues to educate lawyers on the importance of excelling in the business, not just the practice of law.
Gary can be reached at [email protected]
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