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What did you learn in 2021?

So much happened in 2021. I started the year enrolling in a coaching certification program. I’m not quite done yet but it’s been such a learning and growth experience for me. I’m ending the year in isolation due to covid. After nearly two years of a pandemic, it finally caught me. The timing couldn’t be better, though. The end of the year is such a great time for reflection. It doesn’t hurt that I’m getting multiple out of office messages at work too. People are taking time to themselves, enjoying vacation, and hopefully reflecting too!

At the end of the year, I like to ask myself what I learned about myself? How have I grown? This year, more than any other, I have really identified who I am and what I want to do in my life. 

Let’s start at the top. I’ve done an honest assessment of my values. I’ve learned that the most important things to me are independence, adventure, and service to others. I’m stepping into a fully virtual firm so that I can travel and work from anywhere! I now offer career coaching services to colleagues and young professionals trying to create more fulfillment in their work lives. I’m a certified circuit civil mediator so I can help litigators and their clients find peace through resolution. Everything in work and life will be aligned with my values and it feels great. 

Reflection isn’t always positive though. I’ve learned some great things about me but I’ve also recognized opportunities for growth. My people pleasing and perfectionist tendencies have occasionally gotten the best of me. I really learned how to say “no”, to create healthy boundaries, and to choose myself first this year. My closest friends have respected my boundaries. My clients have done the same.

I think I’m most proud of using my voice this year. I started this blog and I’ve been more vocal about problems I see in the legal industry. I want lawyers and young professionals to know that it doesn’t have to be the same as it has been in the past. That the days of overwork and constant availability are done. It is about prioritizing your personal time first and then scheduling work. It’s not the other way around. I will continue to speak on these topics, to encourage better balance and more “me” time. Through coaching, I hope to help other busy professionals find better rhythm in their lives too. 

It has been a very, very weird year and at the same time has really emphasized what is most important to all of us. Time has become my most valuable asset. How I spend my time and who I spend it with are the most important decisions I make daily. I will no longer spend hours commuting to an office. I will not say “yes” to an invitation when I really do not want to go or I am too tired to attend. I will consistently evaluate my day and how I want to spend it. I will schedule things that I want to do and enjoy doing along with things I need to get done. My days will forever forward be customized by me. 

What did you learn about yourself in 2021? My virtual door is always open if you’re ready to do more exploration into who you are, your values, and what would ultimately make you happy. I hope we talk soon.