Managing Self

The “right” path

Written by Denise Mortati

Things take the time they take. Don’t worry.
How many roads did St. Augustine follow before he became St. Augustine?
–Mary Oliver, poet

One of the most wonderful perks of being human is that we have the ability to make choices. We can make a choice, another choice, and we can even change our minds! Woo-hoo! We don’t give ourselves enough credit or appreciate this power we have, this latitude in decision-making. We stay locked onto one path as if it is the only one, when the truth is that we often need to try several paths, dozens, hundreds, before we find the right one. And there may even be many more than just one right path, all leading to good or great outcomes. Why limit ourselves?

My father worked for the same company for nearly fifty years. He was born around the time of the Great Depression and, in his view, having a steady, paying job was not something to be taken for granted. He saw younger co-workers come and go, often on to something better, but he lived by the old expression, “you know what you have; you don’t know what you’re going to get.” And so he stayed, until the day of his retirement. He didn’t see the possibilities, the options, the adventure of having a life filled with change. He was happy with his decision, I believe, but we have so many more alternatives now; it seems a shame to waste them, doesn’t it? Being on a lawyerly path doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the only path you will be on for your entire lifetime. You can choose other paths, in time, that may better suit your needs and wants. Or, possibly, you can stay on the path, but take an offshoot for a time that may offer more diverse experiences or excitement or challenge. Only you know what your heart is yearning for. Let’s be open to new experiences and opportunities—we may never know where our next path will lead, but learning and growing can only add to the complexity of who we are.

If you know the story of St. Augustine, he took many paths, some rather notorious and nefarious, but all led him to be the great man that he was. Our choices are before us, always waiting in the wings, waiting for us to take the leap. Let’s take the time to examine them, and discover whether they are blessings for us to experience, and paths for us to learn from.

Call to action: What path are you shying away from? What opportunity is waiting for you that you’ve so far ignored?


About the author

Denise Mortati

My legal coaching practice helps attorneys rediscover their passion and look forward every day to a fulfilling career. I do this through one-on-one, group and corporate coaching, using specialized techniques and practices that help to clarify goals and priorities, and balance work and personal time. I support clients in finding peace in their careers and within themselves. I’m also a practicing attorney in a solo practice, so I, too, am “walking the walk” with my clients! I feel that my life’s mission is to change the paradigm of what a law career is “supposed” to be. Contact me at or visit my website,

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