In our busy day-to-day lives, rarely do we consider what we want to be doing a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now.
But that contemplation is so very helpful in deciding our actions in the present moment. For example, if I want to retire in style, then I need to be saving now in order to do so.
Obviously, at some point, we did have and carried out a plan. After all, we are lawyers! We went to law school, and that did take some prior thought. We recognized that our grades needed to be at a certain level in order to be accepted into school; perhaps we took a prep course for the LSATs. And maybe another prep course for the bar exam! All of this training and education persists. Most states have continuing education requirements that have to be met annually. Just another item to add to our already hectic schedule!
But, in our careers, we are so busy working with clients, keeping up to date with our education, and just generally trying to have a life, we don’t normally think about whether our career suits us, whether our current employer is the right fit, whether we are happy doing what we are doing every day. But this kind of thoughtfulness can only lead to more joy in our lives. Daydreaming, letting our minds wander, imagining our ideal career, job or employer, can bring clarity about what makes us happy and forces us to look at what we are doing now and if it is serving us for these longer-term goals. It is hard to find time, to not be distracted, but this is truly the best way to find peace in our lives and in our careers.
What do you see your life looking like in five years? Are you still working as an attorney, at XYZ Law Firm? How does this make you feel? If the answer is “wonderful,” then you’ve done a great job at preparing for your goals. If the answer is “miserable,” what actions can you start taking today to change that inevitable outcome? Think in snippets of time: one month, one year, etc., and make manageable changes and choices over the course of time. Each tiny, baby step will move you closer to “wonderful”!
Call to Action: Turn off your phone for a period of time each week. Start with just an hour or two—no checking emails, or returning phone calls. I promise that everyone will survive, including you! Eventually, the goal is to disconnect for the entire day. Use this time to recharge and rejuvenate doing things you love: reconnect with yourself! Read, contemplate, daydream, imagine, write. Let thoughts flow to you; reflect about what you love to do, how you like to spend your time, what you see yourself doing in a year, five years, ten years. Write everything down, even the ideas and dreams that you think are stupid. The greatest ideas, inventions, discoveries, and the happiest lives, all formed from small, seemingly inconsequential thoughts, and a trust in oneself that allowed movement forward with grace and compassion. As always, let me know your results in the comments below.
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