How can we best achieve what we want in our lives? After much spiritual soul-searching, I believe it begins with aligning ourselves with what we want to do.
We all want work-life balance. We all want better, more fulfilling relationships. We all want to live healthfully. We all want financial abundance. How do we achieve all of these wants?
It is all a question of alignment: aligning yourself with what you want. If I align myself with health, that means I think about what it means to be healthy in all ways: what I eat, what I do, how I act. I put myself into the place of what a healthy person feels and does: would a healthy person eat a sleeve of cookies or a pint of ice cream? Most likely not. I imagine, in as vivid a way as I can, what it is like to be really healthy, and I make my decisions from that point of view.
Using the same process, if I align myself with the feelings and thought processes of a person who has work-life balance, would I work eighty hours a week? No, I would not. A person who has already achieved a work-life balance has managed their career in such a way as to avoid putting themselves into situations or jobs that would be at odds with want they want. They find careers that are fulfilling and work out a schedule for themselves that coexists with how they want to live their lives. They make decisions that are often difficult, but balancing (a law position that allows regular hours, but perhaps more moderate pay). Often, as lawyers, we take on positions that are pushing us beyond exhaustion.
It’s possible to create a new paradigm for attorneys. Who has made up the rule that lawyers must work long hours in order to achieve success? I’m not saying that an occasional case, and occasional overtime is an issue, but if you are consistently working beyond your capacity, ridiculous hours, stressed 100% of the time, and not enjoying any of it, then you are, most likely, not in alignment with what you want in your life. Success is multi-layered, and is not just about financial success. You will be a better lawyer by being able to think clearly, and by being well-rested and happy with your life. It’s about having a life where you can enjoy free time, family, friends, activities that bring you pleasure. If this is absent from your life, it is up to you to decide how you can change this. Eventually, a crack in the foundation of your life will occur—a relationship will fall apart, you begin to have health issues, you lose a case that you should have won but for mind fog from exhaustion and stress. Begin by putting yourself into the place where you act like a healthy person would act (healthy in a physical, mental and emotional state), and “feel” like a healthy person would “feel,” and begin making your decisions from that place.
Call to action: Focus on one aspect of your life, and see if it meets your expectations. If it doesn’t, what can you do to better align with what you want in that area? Most times, you will see that several areas are interconnected, and that’s okay. It’s better to look at and adjust one domino at a time, before one falls and crashes into the others. Leave your comments below about your small successes. Change happens one small step at a time!
Reprinted from February 10, 2016