So let me begin by saying I’m just as guilty as the next professional of forgetting how important these truths are but I can say with the utmost certainty that these five truths can push even the best attorney/professional to be the best version of themselves
1. Wake up!
As a professional your time is the stock that you trade to others. So why wouldn’t you wake up in order to add as much stock to sell as possible. An early morning is essential in keeping a calm, clear head throughout the day. Its obvious that in the morning you will have free time to yourself, but what few people understand is that the whole work day is affected by how you wake up. If you wake up rushing because you slept in, you will be hasty throughout the day. However, wake up with enough time to prepare your clothing, shower, eat, and maybe even meditate or do some yoga, and you will spend your entire day with an unmatched peace. You should spend the same amount of time between the morning and when you start work, that you spend after work, before you sleep.
One thing I struggle with is my sleep schedule but I can see an incredible difference in my productivity through out the day whenever my sleep schedule is appropriately aligned.
Furthermore, don’t set an alarm for multiple times, set multiple alarms for one time. This will help with your mornings. In a day where your phone, your alexa or google device, your watch and even your television can set an alarm, you have plenty of annoying morning calls to choose from. This is because when that time comes in the morning, no matter how early, you will be forced to move around and wake up enough to begin your day. Breakfast is important. That’s just a simple fact.
Create this sleep schedule because it will honestly change your life. there is absolutely no reason for you to be up past 12 unless you’re working and honestly you should start mentally shutting down at 8 pm max.
2. Call a friend or family at least once a day
A lawyer’s job is mentally, emotionally, and physically draining… Well if you’re doing it right that is. The pressure we put on ourselves is massive and that’s OK. We are supposed to be everyone’s go to, that’s what we get paid for. Every good lawyer needs at least one person that they can see, or call, or sit down with and de-stress at the end of the day. It can be your mom, your dad, best friend, or spouse. Whomever it is, enjoy their company once a day and always be grateful for them.
This may not be essential to being a lawyer. I mean sure, I know a ton of “loner lawyers”. However, a lawyer who bottles up the emotion will find themselves more and more angry, or bitter. Its best to just get the stress off your shoulders. So talk to someone, and if no one is there find Lawyers concerned for lawyers. It’s a organization that is meant to help with point number two. I’ve used them. They’re great.
3. Be Ethical
I know that is broad, but really….be ethical! The best way to solve your problems is to never allow them to form. You would always rather prevent than react. Go to those ethics CLE’s, actually pay attention, and implement those ethics rules they taught you in PR class. A good lawyer never puts himself in the eyes of the cross hairs.
Why should a client trust you with their life if your careless with your own?
Better yet, why would a client trust your knowledge of laws relevant to them, if you don’t know the law of layering relevant to you?!
And listen don’t just be ethical, be a good person. Consciously do at least one good thing a day that would make people say “oh that lawyers not bad”. Start making lawyers “super heroes that will save the day”, and no longer the cash hungry sharks as portrayed in today’s world. Trust me money will come but what’s more important than money is kindness.
4. Take pride in your work.
Think of your firm as your village. Especially if you own the place. I don’t care where you work or with whom you work, take pride in your job. I mean for Christ’s sake You’re a lawyer! That’s a big deal. Children dream of one day becoming you. As an attorney you are given special powers and privileges. This is a big deal. You’re a big deal. Act like it.
Don’t go to work with scruff when you know you have a client visiting. Don’t go to your boss and tell them that you “cant even”. You better even! He hired you to even!
Furthermore, don’t you dare treat any coworker at your firm as anything less than family. If you plan on working for a place for longer than two years, it is your duty to treat it like a second home. All its inhabitants are family or potential family. You don’t have to love them, although you should, but you do have to grow with them, rely on them, help them, and be around them for a significant portion of your life. Treat all your co workers with the utmost respect, and if they don’t reciprocate the feeling, send them this article I’m sure it’ll change their mind.
Take pride in your work, fight for your village with everything you got and remember, a lawyer who isn’t passionate about his work is just some one with a license. Any competent driver can get a license to drive, but only the exceptional drive race cars. Don’t just be another lawyer be an exceptional one! A lawyer who protects his clients and represents his firm, is a true counselor at law. Be more than your law degree.
5. You should be learning until your eyes close for good.
I have met some incredible attorneys out there who have practiced for thirty some years and guess what…. they still learn something new EVERYDAY! If you think you’re going to work hard for ten years and learn what you can then just sit back and do nothing for the rest of your life you are either delusional or shallow with your dreams and ambitions. Lets be honest with each other for a second, no matter how old you are you should strive to be an exceptional student of life. Until, the day you die you should strive for more knowledge. You need to constantly be growing, constantly be learning and moving forward. If you cannot renew your self love for learning than you will eventually become obsolete. The world wont stop evolving and if you do you will find yourself out of place in the world.
And don’t give me that crap of “I am who I am, I cant grow from this”. If the moon can renew itself once a month you can renew yourself in order to facilitate personal growth.
These truths may be obvious, but it is important to never forget them. It is your duty to build your legacy. you can be a run of the mill attorney or you can be an architect of the law. Master your craft, and don’t settle for good enough when exceptional is knocking on your door.
Wishing you all the absolute best,