At the time of this writing, I am weeks away from walking away from a six-figure career. The last few years have been my most successful ever. I am good at what I do. And I am miserable doing it.
The weight of the responsibility of doing good work – the gravity of the consequences when, even the best work, results in a horrible outcome for your client…. it’s just too much. Some spend their lives bearing this burden. But the good criminal defense attorneys, the GREAT ones…it comes at a cost.
For over ten years, I have built my solo law practice and have grown my profitability every single year. I don’t say this to toot my own horn – but simply to explain why leaving my practice is of significance and perhaps, also, be a source of encouragement for others who feel trapped in their current careers.
To continue my law practice, to continue serving my clients, would almost guarantee our family would reach our financial goals within about half the time that we have projected, and far in advance of the retirement age of most of the country – before we turn 50. We would be debt free. We could retire comfortably. We could do other work without regard for how much income it brought to our household – volunteer – complete passion projects. How amazing would that be?
It WOULD certainly be an accomplishment. But the cost…. it’s just not an expense I am willing to justify anymore. I am sure there are some who would look at this decision and think that I am crazy…irresponsible even. And maybe it’s true. In fact, it’s quite likely.
But the decision has not been made without serious contemplation. A weighing of consequences and risks. Introspection. An inventory of the needs of our family – both financially and emotionally. Input from our children, the Bigs, and the Littles. But primarily – I reflected on my own mental health. Taking an honest, brutally honest, look at who I have become and who I wanted to be, not only for myself but for the people I love.
We have been given this amazing opportunity to raise, not only our oldest children but now – we are mom and dad to the most precious gifts, our Littles. They were never part of our plan. They were not a consideration when I became a lawyer fifteen years ago. Life is funny like that, right? You think you know your life…
In a matter of two years, everything we thought we knew about our future was turned on its head. It was an amazing turn of events and it was the beginning of the realization that our wants and our needs as a family were now different. Not just the needs of our family as a unit – but my own. Who I was as a mom. Who I was as a professional. Who I WANTED to be.
I wanted to be a better mother in my forties than I was in my twenties and thirties. But not only a mother – a better friend. A better business owner. If I wanted to be all of these things, it meant I needed to make some changes. I did not know exactly what that meant at the time, so I went about the business of figuring it out. The entire process took several years. If my story is resonating with you, don’t be discouraged – this process will hopefully not take as long for you as it did me. My wish – is that memorializing this process will help you in your journey to discovering where you want to be, who you want to be and crafting a plan to get there.
I am in the beginning stages of career transition as a Realtor. I also Blog and am launching a podcast, House of FI, in the very near future. My income is uncertain. I have no real safety-net. But I AM certain – deep within my bones and throughout my spirit, that I will not fail. I will succeed.
Have I always felt this much conviction? No. Fear has, at moments, been debilitating. It has been a process. A process I am now sharing with you.
In the next several weeks, we will be walking through the steps of making a career change. The first step I recommend for any change is MINDSET.
If you are not willing to engage in a positive change in mindset – chances are very high that you will fail. Your mind is your most powerful asset. And we become who we believe we are. Thoughts are things.
But how do we change them…
Put your phone down. It should not be the first thing you see in the morning. Looking at your phone makes your thought processes reactionary. You respond to the images and words you see.
Don’t look at your email for the same reasons. It can all wait.
Read. Read EVERY day. A minimum of 15 minutes. At the beginning of the day. How you begin your day matters. If you are not sure what to read – I have started a list of my favorite books. Each has impacted my life in a significant way. You can find them here.
If you simply can’t find 10-15 minutes to read in a quiet spot, then get an audiobook. Listen during your morning commute. As you work-out. While taking a bath. But do it. It’s Non-negotiable.
Make daily affirmations and/or motivational videos/audio’s part of your morning routine as well.
I used to think affirmations were silly. But then I changed my mindset. I began exploring affirmation APP’s and recordings on YouTube. I ended up finding a book written by Florence Scovil Shinn, written in the early 1900’s. It’s full of timeless affirmations and real-life experiences. It finally clicked for me. I wrote down several affirmations that spoke to me, I recorded them on my iPhone and saved them to my notes. They are just a few minutes long, but I listen to them every day. Some are merely affirmations of gratitude. Saying thank you for life, health…family. Expressing gratitude is one of the best ways to build positive thoughts.
I have come to realize and believe, wholeheartedly, the affirmations I speak into my life every day have contributed to my success and over-all well-being. When I speak positive words out of my mouth, they travel to my ears, then continue to my brain. My whole body. I FEEL BETTER. I FEEL empowered. I am more determined. The negative feelings and fear leave me. I walk taller. I speak more confidently.
So, give it a try. (I find it works best when I put my headphones on and listen while I walk or work out.)
To Recap, your first step…. work on your mindset.
Flood your body and mind with positive and encouraging words every day in the form of books, motivational recordings and/or positive affirmations. Make it a habit.
Now that we have gotten your mind in the right place, we can move forward to discovering your “WHY”.