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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Finding your Sweet Spot in your Legal Career

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If you’re aiming for a legal career that you actually enjoy (which I highly recommend you do) then one thing is certain: it might take a while to figure out how you’re going to enjoy it.

OK so you’ve graduated, you found a job (hooray) and the keys to your shiny new legal career are jangling around in your pocket. Naturally, you’re very excited.

But how do you drive it, this new career?

Because so far, you’re used to struggling around in the old rented Jalopi that you were provided for the duration of your law school education.

And now things are different – you’re a lawyer!

But then, one day you wake up and you find some bird poo on your car career.

And later, some scratches appear on the doors and bonnet.

And over time, you realise that your career has lost its shine – and you’re wondering whether or not it’s really the career you want to keep.

You Need to Find your Sweet Spot… But What’s That?

[clickToTweet tweet=”What’s in your career right now that is steering you away from your sweet spot?” quote=”What’s in your career right now that is steering you away from your sweet spot?”]

Prepare to be shocked: you’re not great at everything.

Shocking, right?

Finding your sweet spot involves a little imagination trip for a minute.  It’s a career that looks something like that:

If you’ve bought into the rhetoric that you need to hate your life if you want to be a lawyer, then this probably sounds like a tough sell.

But it’s not.

In fact, it’s actually pretty simple to achieve.

Simple.

Not easy.

What’s your Picture?

Start with my list above if you like – but start to refine it.

What’s it look like for you?

What size firm are you in? What are your colleagues like?

What practice area are you devoted to? What kind of clients?

What opportunities are you looking for, and which are you happy to turn away?

After all – if you can’t actually say what you want, then how the heck are you supposed to get it?

Next – Create some Margin

In order to start accelerating your career towards the sweet spot, you need some margin to do it.

That means you need to shed some dead weight.

What’s in your career right now that takes time, effort, money or emotional energy which is either steering you away from your sweet spot, or not moving you towards it?

This is the part that’s simple.

But hard.

Last – Build Momentum

This is a marathon, and you’re still learning to move your legs in the right way.

But take steps.

Make decisions.

Test them, refine, and tweak as you go.

You’ll start building momentum in your career. You’ll feel positive, and you’ll be energized along the way.

Because all of a sudden, what you’re going to realise is that:

  1. you’re no longer drifting aimlessly to a destination that you haven’t chosen;
  2. you’ve articulated a clear set of goals that you actually care about;
  3. those goals are positive and helpful for your career; and
  4. you’re making decisions that are propelling you in the right direction.

Rinse and Repeat

People change (even lawyers).

That means that the things you care about now might change, and so your sweet spot will change too.

That’s fine.

Just rinse and repeat – it’s an ongoing process, not a once-off deal. Keep articulating your spot. Keep saying no. Keep building momentum.

So Now – Where’s your Sweet Spot?

Take a minute now and write it down – in the comments below, on a notepad, or in your phone.

But make it real, specific, meaningful, and honest.

And then start the process.

Happy Lawyering!

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