I read my horoscope this morning and here’s what it said: “Letting nature take its course is not advised. Passivity will bring unfavorable results. Take charge of your destiny.” You needn’t be a Virgo (as I am) to see the good sense in that.
Successful Lawyers Take Responsibility for Their Own Happiness
Lawyers with the most successful and satisfying legal careers proactively seek out ways to enhance and integrate both their work and personal lives. So what kinds of things does that entail? Here are some characteristics commonly shared by happy and successful attorneys, along with suggestions for developing your own path to satisfaction.
- They enjoy practicing law. Tip: Find an area of practice that you enjoy, and an organization that matches your values. Seek out opportunities to continue to learn and grow.
- They hone time management skills to maximize the same 24 hours all of us have in a day. Tip: Find a time management system that really works for you. While different systems work for different people, the most important strategy is to schedule your priorities, whether that means allocating time to finish a brief, meet with a client, or watch your son’s soccer game in the afternoon. If you don’t block out the time, it slips away. Begin each day with a plan, remembering to leave in some time for those unplanned interruptions.
- They have interests outside of law. Tip: Interests outside of work re-energize you for work. All work and no play not only makes you dull, but it also leads to burnout. If you don’t any have extracurricular activities, find one outside of your work interests and commit to engaging in it regularly.
- They develop meaningful relationships with others. Tip: Relationships are essential to success in work and, even more important, success in life. Take time to seek out and nurture the value in relationships with colleagues, clients, staff, family and friends. And when you’re with others, really listen to what is being said to you. Listening is essential to forming and maintaining good relationships.
- They serve as mentors and teachers. Tip: Mentoring and teaching others can be a great lift, owing to the personal satisfaction you’ll get from watching others develop with your help. If you’re a solo or otherwise don’t have someone in your workplace you can mentor, check with your law school to see if it has a mentoring program pairing alums with current students or recent grads.
- They actively manage their lives and careers. Tip: Like the daily horoscope says, passivity will bring unfavorable results! Consider what you want from your career and personal life in the next year or two. Yes, these things may change, but having no goals at all will likely lead you down a path that is not your own. Create specific action steps and an accompanying timeline that will help you meet your goals.
Remember, your bottom line here is to have a satisfying and successful life in the law. It’s worth the effort.
Illustration © ImageZoo.