If Goldilocks went to law school

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You can’t blame us for feeling the stress of our jobs as attorneys. After all, we deal with other people’s problems all day long. Some problems have life or death consequences. Others hold us accountable for every word in a fifty page document. A single omission could cost millions.

There are unrelenting demands on our time and we are under tremendous pressure to perform. Some attorneys find it difficult to cope with the stress. We read about them in the back pages of our bar journals. Most attorneys find acceptable ways to handle the pressure, however, and some even thrive on it.

What about you? Do you have too much stress in your life?

When Goldilocks ate the first bowl of porridge, it was too hot. The second bowl was too cold. She found the third bowl was just right and “ate it all up.” I think stress is like that. Too much stress can lead to burn out. There are warning signs and ways to cope, but while there may be ways to handle the stress you have to ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” If not, it’s time to make some fundamental changes in what you’re doing.

If you have no stress in your life, however, if the porridge is too cold, it’s likely that you’re not growing. If you never try anything new, never get outside your comfort zone, at best your routine will become boring. At worst it will lead to stagnation and eventually, the death of your spirit.

Your challenge is to find a level of stress in your life that is “just right”. Not too hot, not too cold. You don’t need to read books or go to therapy to figure this out. All you have to do is regularly ask yourself a simple question: “Am I happy?”

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