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Tricky Lawyer Talk

In the spirit of Halloween, it seems right to go through some very common tricky lawyer talk. The things that we say to ourselves to make it “okay” that we’re losing personal time and have no boundaries. We’ve all been there. You’re tired after a long week and just want to go home, sit on the couch, and not think about a thing but your coworkers are still in the office so you feel pressure. You feel pressure to be the last person in the office or at least not the first to leave. So you don’t. Despite your exhaustion, you stay for hours longer than you should just to get in those last few billable hours. 

So often you tell yourself you have to do something because the office culture suggests that it’s necessary. Or maybe the entire organization does the same thing. Maybe the profession sets its own expectations that you are constantly trying to meet. It pops up all the time. You’re on vacation and you tell yourself you have to check your email because if there’s an emergency, you’re the only ones that can handle it. You give yourself permission to rest only when you’re done drafting a pleading or when you’ve accomplished a particular goal. 

Here’s the truth: you are getting in your own way of living your best life. You’re allowing everyone else’s ideas about the practice of law affect how you do it. You’re not living on your own terms but instead according to those that came before you or your peers in the workplace. Do you advise all your clients to approach their cases in the same way? I certainly hope not. Every case is different. Every person is different. 

When you’re working late at the office because everyone else is, do an honest evaluation of how you’re feeling. Are you tired? Are you burnt out from the week? Have you spent any time with yourself or your family? Who are you honoring by staying late? Yourself or someone else? When you’re having these thoughts, consider your priorities and what you’re saying to everyone else in your life. 

The only thing in your control is how you respond. You have to make the conscious decision to choose yourself over your work. To choose rest over productivity when you desperately need it. To be present when you’re on vacation or taking time off. To recognize that your value comes when you are fulfilled, rested, and happy. This requires you to create healthy boundaries and live a life of self compassion. Choose treat instead of trick. 

It is no easy task to create boundaries when you’re used to following the status quo but it is so important. If you want to live on your own terms, you have to learn to say “no”. You have to learn to prioritize. You have to get comfortable choosing yourself every damn day. Once you get used to it, you’ll never look back.

If you’re ready to work on that “no” muscle, let’s talk. Coaching is the perfect space to create boundaries, work on confidence, and to customize your lawyer life.