Designing the perfect legal career

In Steven Covey’s, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” habit 2 is, “Begin with the end in mind“. Determine your destination before you begin so you wind up where you want to go. Covey says, “If your ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster.”

So, where do you want to go in your career?

I assume you want to be successful. Well, what does success look like for you?

Take some time today to answer this question:

“If my practice/career/job were perfect in every way, what would it look like?”

Write down your answer. Here are some additional questions to help you clarify your “destination”:

  • Where would you be living?
  • Who would you work for?
  • What kind of office would you have or would you work from home?
  • How many hours would you work?
  • What services would you offer?
  • How much would you charge?
  • How much would you earn per month or per year?
  • What kinds of clients would you work with?
  • How many people would you employ?
  • What systems or tools would you use?
  • What makes you different from other attorneys?

Once you’ve got something on paper, take a step back and look at what you wrote. Did you write what you think you should be doing based on where you are right now or did you turn on your dream machine and “go for it”?

Forget logic for a few minutes. Quiet the adult in you and let the little kid speak. Ask your inner genie to grant you three wishes.

No rules. No restrictions. No responsibilities. What does your perfect career (or life) look like?

It’s your career, after all, your journey. Where do you want to wind up?

Instead of setting goals this year. . .

goal settingDo you like setting goals? I never have, although I’ve set plenty of them. I been a goal-setter for most of my life. I’ve studied goal setting, trained and written articles on goal setting, and know quite about the right and wrong ways to go about it.

After all, goal setting is a key to success, isn’t it? “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will know when you get there?”–that sort of thing. So every year, I set aside time to write my goals for the coming year.

But I never liked it.

I never liked the chore of crafting the right goal. Too many variables.

I never liked the deadlines for reaching those goals. Too much pressure.

And I never liked not reaching my goals. Too much disappointment.

Looking back at decades of goal setting, I can honestly say that formal goal setting has not helped me achieve more, or made my life any better. It’s only made me anxious.

That’s not to say I don’t have goals, I do. I know what I want and I like thinking about it and working towards it. I like achieving those goals and setting new ones. No, goals are a good thing and I’m not giving up on them. What I am questioning is the efficacy of the formal goal setting process.

I know many people who have been successful using a formal process. Maybe they’re built differently. Maybe they thrive when the pressure is on and the days are counting down. Me? Not so much.

So instead of setting formal goals this coming year, with specific details and deadlines and metrics and such, I’m going to be much more relaxed about everything. I know what I want to do this year, or at least the direction I want to go, and I’m going to put one foot in front of the other and keep walking in that direction.

How will I know when I get there? I don’t know, I might not, and that’s just fine. Because the goal really isn’t the point. What’s important is being happy, and as long as there is a smile on my face, I know I’m doing  just fine.

How to achieve your New Year’s Resolution in 59 Seconds

[mc src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGt_4hRGUnQ” type=”youtube”]How to achieve your New Year’s resolution in 59 seconds[/mc]

Are you pursuing your dreams like Paul Potts did?

[mc src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k08yxu57NA&eurl=http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=4249573&feature=player_embedded” type=”youtube”/]