Goals & Planning Random Wisdom Reflection & Mindfulness

Engage in some lawn chair thinking this summer

There’s a lot of talk about goal setting in the new year but there is no better time for really thinking about strengths and goals then while relaxed and unplugged in the summer sunshine with the blue sky above.

This summer why not engage in some quality lawn chair thinking?  Sit back, enjoy some sunshine and with a cold drink in hand allow yourself to contemplate. Start by exploring your strengths.  What have you got going for you? How are you making the most of your strengths in your professional life? Here are some of my favourite strength questions:

  • What do you consider to be your greatest abilities and talents?
  • How are you employing these gifts at this time?  How could you make the most of them?
  • Where do you find yourself most often wanting to help or be of assistance to others?  What are the things that you are most motivated to do?
  • What would your closest friends say are your top ten strengths?
  • How are you/could you put those strengths to work in your practice?

Next, move on to some goal setting.  What is it you want to make happen in your legal practice?  Do you want to grow your practice?  Bring in new clients?  Move your practice to another firm or in-house?  Here are some questions to lead you in your lawn chair pondering:

  • What would count as a really big professional win for you?  This question is a way to explore some of what motivates you at the office.  One client once told me “having a patent client make a huge amount of money from their invention”.  Another client told me “winning the lottery and never having to come back here” which just said loud and clear that a career transition was called for!
  • Looking forward five years what do you want to be doing?  This question gives you a chance to think beyond the next twelve months.
  • Who are your preferred clients? It’s always good to explore who are the clients you most enjoy working with.  What is it about them?  How can you get more clients like them?
  • What are the opportunities right now you are not taking advantage of?  This question is a helpful reminder about the opportunities around you.

And the best questions are quite simply:

  • What do you enjoy most about your legal practice?  And the converse, what do you least enjoy? What percentage of your time at work is spent, on a weekly basis, doing what you most enjoy and conversely least enjoy?

These get to the heart of what lightens your life and what weighs you down.  Ultimately whether you are on a job hunt or in a secure position in a law firm, the question always comes down to: “how can you get more of the good stuff on your plate and the bad stuff off?”  When you move out of your comfortable summer seat and into action what can you do to make your work life more enjoyable?

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at allison@shiftworks.ca or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.