In this week’s edition of Things I Wish I Knew, New York attorney Joleena Louis shares the steps that helped her find greater career satisfaction as a solo lawyer.
I recently had a networking meeting with an accountant and at the end, he said: “Wow, you really love what you do!” It’s true. I love what I do and I’m very passionate about it.
I spend a lot of time talking to entrepreneurs, and I’ve learned that the people who are most successful are also extremely passionate about what they do.
Being passionate about what you do leads to career satisfaction, keeps you motivated, and your enthusiasm about your own work will help you market your practice. This is particularly necessary for a solo to be successful since the daily grind of both working on and in your business can make it difficult to stay excited and motivated all the time.
I’ve found that if you want work to be more than a job, then you have to find meaning in what you do. When I find my enthusiasm for my work waning, here is what I do to get back on track:
Remind Yourself of Your “Why”
My “Why” was the driving force behind starting my own practice. I wanted the freedom to guide my clients through the most difficult time in their life while making them feel like their case is my main priority.
I have my Why written down so I can pull it out and remind myself when I start to feel my motivation fading.
Think About Your Client
One of the main reasons I work in family law is that I feel like I can really make a difference in my client’s lives. Helping someone begin (or continue) to have a meaningful relationship with their children always motivates me to keep going. It gives my work meaning.
Take a long hard look at your clients. If you are not motivated by wanting to help them, maybe you should consider working with a different type of client or a different practice area altogether.
Take Plenty of Time Away From Work
A way to keep your passion and career satisfaction high is to have plenty of time away from work. Solo’s often experience burnout since our practices can easily take over our lives. Just like you schedule everything else, it’s important to schedule time away from the office and completely disconnect from work.
Even if it’s just a weekend or a few days, having that time away will allow you to return to work refreshed and motivated.
One of the things that gives me the most career satisfaction is the challenging nature of my work.
I’m challenged by the work itself – solving my client’s problems in the most effective way possible. And I’m challenged by the goals I set for myself and my business.
Focus On Small Wins
Finally, remember that the small wins matter. The small wins are what keep you going. It’s easy to lose motivation when things are not going your way at the moment, but finding little things that are working will help you stay positive and keep moving forward.
As solo attorneys, we have an advantage over attorneys who work for others. We have the power to shape our careers and the flexibility to integrate our work into our lives in the manner that works best for us. More than anyone else, we have the ability to make our careers into something that we can be passionate about and bring us satisfaction.