As lawyers and law students, we have welcomed the problems of others. We are protectors, guides, counselors, and trusted allies. It is easy to feel the pressure of responsibility and delight of successfully advocating for someone else’s needs.
However, to be our best selves, we must remember that in order to serve others, we must first take care of ourselves. If we burn out, become overly pessimistic, or even jaded, then we cannot provide the type of representation we owe our clients.
“Steps to Building a Sustainable Career” by Judith Gordon addresses a common problem faced by professionals in the legal field – burn out. Everyone is so busy trying to meet “expectations” imposed by colleagues, students, supervisors, and even ourselves that we neglect our own self-care, which is far from a sustainable practice for a successful career.
Gordon’s article addresses the dissatisfaction of new and seasoned attorneys with the practice of law. Legal reasoning may not be the best kind of mindset to evaluate future sustainable careers. Therefore, the following fundamentals may help:
- Find Your Why: Research confirms that when our core values and our work are not aligned, our well-being plummets.
- Emphasis on self-reflection and purpose
- Manage Your Energy: Even when we love our work, if demands exceed our energy, we are left feeling exhausted, with little left over for ourselves or others.
- Consider mental, emotional, and physical health demands to continue your practice as your best self
- Find Your People: Humans join tribes. We’re designed to connect. Law practice is often an isolating experience, even in the largest firms.
- Finding the right fit for the workplace means more than finding the perfect kind of law to practice. It also means finding the appropriate work culture.
- Do You, Today: Much of the stress we experience is self-generated by anticipating the future or ruminating about the past.
- Move with intention and purpose
The main takeaway is illustrated here: “Finally, as Dolly Parton said, ‘Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.'”
For more information, read the full article found here.