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The Friday Five

When the Fire Burns Low

By The Editors

When lawyers are firing on all cylinders, stoked by earning win after win, we say they have “a real fire in their belly.” (And we don’t mean indigestion!) You know the feeling — alight with the meaning of your work, your mental facilities are tuned permanently to “turbo.”

Then there are those other days.

Today, lawyers Mark Tamminga, Megan Zavieh, Julie Tolek, Josh Brown and Vedia Jones-Richardson tell us what they do when their get-up-and-go has got up and gone. How do you reignite the fire in your belly? Here’s what they told us.

Mark Tamminga: Sweat It Out

If it’s really bad — if the fire is nearly completely dead — I come home, put on a pair of light racing flats, head into the woods and run intervals. Yep. Intervals. I live right up against 2,000 hectares of mature Carolinian forest. Within a five-minute jog of the house, I have measured out a few single track loops. Complicated trails, with logs and rocks. And I just do repeats as fast as I can. When the terrain is complicated, and you’re running flat out, you can’t think about the rest of the world. All you have room for is breathing, footfall, arm swing and rhythm. After 45 minutes of that, I’m good as new.  

Mark Tamminga
Partner, Gowling WLG
Hamilton, Ontario CA

Megan Zavieh: Get Organized

When I find myself really dragging, I organize my physical space to clear the path for my creative juices to get flowing again. I file away loose papers, take care of small items that have been sitting on my desk for a while, and rewrite my active client list and tasks to do list. If that doesn’t do the trick, then I get out for a good run and come back to take stock of my work life and where all my cases and business development efforts stand. Then, if I can, I take the rest of the day off! I usually find I feel much better the next day.

Megan Zavieh
Alpharetta, GA

Julie Tolek: Put Things in Perspective

First, I call another attorney who might feel the same so we can piss and moan in solidarity. Then, I watch the movie “Legally Blonde.” (No joke, I watch it at least every few months). I step back from the practice and take a look at why I got into this industry and reflect on the parts of it that make me happy. I revisit my mission statement and write out my goals. I pick something about the practice that I really enjoy and do that for a few days. And I call friends who remind me of how awesome I am, how much I love what I do and how good I am at it!

Julie Tolek
Think Pink Law
Framingham, MA

Josh Brown: Contemplate

I think about the aspects of my practice that I really enjoy and my goals moving forward.  Thinking about these two simple things is quite powerful and allows me to refocus my energy and thoughts on things I enjoy and where I am headed to in the future.

Josh Brown
Law Office of Josh F Brown, LLC
Carmel, IN

Vedia Jones-Richardson: Get Creative!

I have a strong creative bent and therefore mundanity is a huge energy drain. So when I feel boredom coming on, I apply that same creative spirit toward seeing my practice from another angle. Making changes of any kind can often do the trick, but making major overhaul changes (or even just doing some strategic thinking about them!) is a real energy booster. I am not always able to get far enough with my ideas to develop them into an actionable plan before things pick up and I have to put them away, but I do like to store these ideas in a safe place for further development when there’s time (or when boredom strikes again!).

Vedia Jones-Richardson
Olive & Olive, PA
Durham, NC

What do YOU do when you’ve lost your mojo?

Tell us how you find motivation when things hit low ebb. Reply by email to the editors or in the comments below.

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