When I became an attorney and opened my own practice, people (or the “white-men-over-50-club,” as I call them) said things to me like: “You’ll never get a job at a top-tier firm because you have a ‘heartbreak’ GPA.”
“Who would want to hire someone with a shabby little law office?
I expect to see a lobby and receptionist when I go to an attorney.”
“What do you mean you are going to work virtually and just rent meeting space when you need it? Clients aren’t going to like that!”
It turns out, all of them were wrong. About me. About my career. And about my clients.
Having spoken with numerous attorneys and other solo professionals over the years, particularly women professionals, I know now I was not alone, though it felt like it at the time. It’s not uncommon for naysayers to try to get in your head and undermine your confidence. In fact, often, it’s the people who are supposed to care about you the most who seem to support you the least. It would be easy to let other people define your career and your life path for you—to go along to get along, to march to another’s drumbeat of expectations—but that’s not me, and I suspect it’s not you, either. At least, it’s not who we want to be.
I am curious, when was the last time you disconnected yourself from the busyness of your life and thought deeply about what you truly want? To get clarity on whether or not you are on a path, you chose for yourself, or one someone else chose for you? Do you remember? If you did, did you make a plan and take action on your desires, or did you just put them in a box high on a shelf with a mental note to pull them down again when you “have more time” or “more money” or “buy-in” from others?
Today, I encourage you to give your deepest desires some space. I am inviting you to get honest with yourself. It is time to flesh out what you want v. what you are doing routinely, day after day. Ask yourself: Am I functioning on automatic, or am I acting with the intention to fulfill my purpose here on this planet for my highest and best good?
You see, the one thing you need to do if you want to create a high-impact, high-revenue-generating practice is to act in alignment with your own core values. Though others might tell you differently, there is no right or wrong business model…except for the one that drives you crazy, the one that makes you fall out of love with being a business owner, and the one that keeps you running on fumes, second-guessing yourself and financially strapped. That kind of business model is simply not sustainable or desirable.
The good news is you get to choose. You don’t have to create a big firm with your name on your door with 100 people working for you in order for you to have prestige, a healthy bank account, and freedom. But you can if you want to.
You also can choose a lifestyle business and still cultivate a team to support you and work from the comfort of your home or anywhere.
Building a practice of your dreams is about getting crystal clear on your core values, defining for yourself what you want your business and your life to look like, and then putting the mechanisms in place to help you achieve it.
- You get to choose what is right for you and how you want to manage your practice, personal life and anything that might impact your well-being.
- Your personal growth and professional growth are a series of decisions. And if you don’t make them for yourself, someone else will make them for you.
- Just because other people have an opinion or emotion about your choices does not make them right.
- Don’t lie awake at night fretting over other people’s upset. They have the freedom to choose just as freely as you do.
- What you choose now may not be what you want in the future, and that’s okay.
- You can choose to reinvent yourself anytime, without anyone else’s permission.
- No matter what you choose, there are people out there who will support you. Maybe it will be the ones you expect to support you. Maybe not.
- Your business and your life will be much better if you focus on what brings you joy and fulfillment on a deeper level.
- You deserve to create a life and business you will love every day, not just at some distant point in the future when everything finally all “works out.”
- You can choose to focus on judgment, worry, and fear or you could focus on all that is possible.
- Focusing on all that is possible is way more productive. (What if that was your “reality?”)
- Even if your decisions don’t yield the results you expected, they will still be the right decisions for you at that time. How do I know? Because I know the power, we have to make all our decisions right for us.
- You don’t have to focus on enjoying the journey if you don’t want to, but it’s much more fun that way.
Your homework for this week is: Get clear on your core values (write them down), and then assess whether they are reflected in your business and your life. Also, assess whether the people in your life (your team, your clients and your significant others) share these values. If you are functioning out of alignment with your core values, consider what changes need to be made to shift you back on the right path for you.