For many of us, our lives leading up to our legal practice were filled with myriad accomplishments. With grit, tenacity, and commitment, we had lived a life full of successes. What I find with many of my clients is that the patterning that created our early success doesn’t “fit” within the legal world. In fact, that grit and tenacity is exactly what drives many of us right back out of the legal world. That focus and tenacity is destroying us.
Early in our professional lives, we are driven to accomplish. We work hard to fill our resumes and hit all the markers that are going to get us where we need to go. Our focus and commitment to checking all the boxes propels us forward on our journey. But then we get there and we can’t turn it off. That drive to accomplish and check things off the list keeps us grinding and pushing even harder.
The problem is that we have new task masters and those masters will take as much as we are willing to give, even to our own detriment.
Constantly pushing and striving and achieving without hesitation is part of what got us all to where we are. For many of us, once we land there, we start to realize that the same grit that got us there is going to kill us if we don’t find another way. During those years of pushing, we are often fueled by beliefs like–
I’ve got to keep doing, I’ve got to keep accomplishing things, I need to focus and do what they tell me to do.
While historically, that tenacity yielded great results, we often get to a place where that approach no longer serves us. In fact, it often does the opposite.
I see so many women who carry that grit and tenacity into their first job and they find themselves pushing, striving, and going nonstop until they completely fall apart. They have finally reached a place in their lives where, they have to start reining in their own drive lest they run themselves off the road for good.
Your profession will take as much as you are willing to give. If we allow our grit and tenacity to answer that call, we will end up giving everything we have (and then some).
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It’s during this phase of our professional lives, that we have to rein in our grit and find a better way. We must no longer be driven by the belief that we have to keep accomplishing and pushing so hard. We have to start rethinking what we are willing to give and reconsidering what we want to motivate us.
This realization can be incredibly jarring and painful.
Who am I if I’m not someone who’s constantly giving her all? If I’m not pushing for another accomplishment, what does that mean?
When we are used to focusing externally on the pursuit of the dream, we often disconnect from our true selves and the evolution of our desires. When we get to this place where grit must be replaced with something else, it’s an opportunity for us to spend some time evaluating who we really want to be during this chapter of our lives. That exploration is foreign to many of us and, for that reason, many of us ignore that call for deeper understanding and just keep pushing forward, running the same patterns. And we all know how that plays out.
When you realize that you are giving more than you want to and your historical pattern of pushing harder and harder no longer serves you, it is a calling to re-evaluate your motivations and reconsider how you want to show up during this next season of your life. This will likely require you to learn some new skills (e.g., time management, boundaries, flexing your “no” muscle).