In my last article on this topic, is self love possible for lawyers, I shared with you how I had internalized the hatred that most people have for lawyers and was self-critical, judgmental and difficult to work for as a result. If you haven’t read it yet, get caught up here.
In that article, I shared that I was considering a coach to help me because I was stuck in a pattern in which I had done everything right — top law school, top law firm, married with kids — and yet, miserably unhappy.
And, despite the 6-figure pay check, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to afford to hire a coach who could help me create something different.
Today, I am no longer self-critical, judgmental or hard to work with.
Instead, I’m compassionate (to myself and others), and forgiving. And, yes, I love being a lawyer.
It never would have happened if I hadn’t overcome my fears and said yes to working with that coach, all those years ago.
You see, as soon as we started working together, she asked me when was the last time I had gotten a haircut, when was the last time I had gone to the dentist, gotten a pedicure, or exercised.
I was pissed! After making the very big decision to hire her as my coach to help me like my work as a lawyer, I couldn’t understand why she was asking me about my personal life, and specifically about things I considered wholly unimportant. And sure I didn’t have the money for, even if I did think they were important.
I almost fired her.
But, fortunately, I listened. And what I heard shocked me. She told me that until I learned how to engage in self care (and invest in it), I would never be happy with my life, whether I remained a lawyer or not.
I had to be willing to put my needs for self-care first, before my kids, before my husband, before my work. Because until then, I would never be happy. And, she convinced me to give it a try by promising me that if I did, I would make more money.
I didn’t really believe her one-hundred percent, but I was willing to give it a try.
And, lo and behold, it changed everything.
I went to the dentist, got a haircut, got my first pedicure, and joined the gym near my office and began waking up an hour before work to hit the gym (and miss traffic in the process).
Slowly but surely I noticed, I was happier. And, my concerns over not having enough money for those things were misplaced. It was easier to pretend to myself that I didn’t have the money, when the truth was that I didn’t think those things were important.
I find that happens often for people. We always have the money for the things that are important to us. Especially us, lawyers, professionals who have a highly valuable service to provide to people who need it. If we want to earn the money to do what we feel is important, we can.
But to make those choices, it requires you to understand what’s truly important.
And, first and foremost, what’s important is your self-care. Because when you care for yourself, the mean, critical, judgmental one inside begins to relax and then you can hear a clearer voice that is there to guide you.
When that happened to me, the voice I heard helped me to see that I would never be satisfied or fulfilled working at the big, prestigious law firm. And I began to hear the whispers that told me what I really needed to do was start my own firm. The idea of that was terrifying. I had gone to law school because I wanted the security of the 6-figure paycheck and a career path I could count on. I didn’t want the insecurity of being an entrepreneur.
And yet that voice was persistent. She said “you can work close to home.” She said “you can make your own schedule.” She said “you can make a real difference in your clients’ lives.” But, only if you go out on your own.
Within a year, I made the leap. Even though I was sure I didn’t have the money to do it. Remember, I was the working mom with a stay at home dad, and the sole income earner. We didn’t have any backup plan or savings in the bank.
But what I did have is that I had seen a colleague of mine, a woman a few years ahead of me in law school, who was doing it successfully. And some part of me knew that if she could do it, I could do it.
And I wanted it badly.
So I did. With very little guidance, and not much more than that voice inside of me that, thanks to the little bit of self-care I made the time for, and the investment I made in that coach who was supporting me, I started my own law practice.
And within three years, I had built it into a million dollar a year revenue generating law practice with a brand new law business model that I created to truly and satisfyingly serve the people in my community who had not been getting served by traditional lawyers up until then.
I’m sharing the details of how I built that law practice from scratch into a million dollar a year revenue generating business serving families and small business owners in my community, in an entirely new way, in this video series, because if you are ready to love your life as a lawyer and have a law practice that makes a real impact in people’s lives, I want you to follow in my footsteps and shortcut your time and financial investment substantially by not reinventing the wheel. I’ve done the testing for you. I’ve learned the lessons the hard way so you don’t have to. And I’m sharing all the details with you.