A topic that’s been on my mind lately is your legacy. It’s a subject that comes up fairly often in my practice where my clients are thinking about what they want to accomplish in the long term. It’s also a conversation I love having with my friends, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about recently for my own practice.
The truth is we don’t spend enough time and energy thinking about our legacies on a day-to-day basis. The everyday hustle and bustle of life; kids yelling, getting dinner on the table, and staying on top of challenging or mundane tasks often get in the way, and we tell ourselves we just don’t have time for it. However, having a clear sense of your legacy is more important than you might think.
Tune in this week as I encourage you to use this podcast episode as a thinking playground where you imagine all the possibilities of your legacy. I’m showing you the power of having clarity around your legacy, and I’m also offering questions to help you prompt ideas for your legacy so you can give it the brain space it truly deserves.
If you enjoyed today’s show and don’t want to miss an episode, be sure to subscribe and follow the show. And if you haven’t already, please leave a rating and review! Your feedback will help me create a podcast that’s tailored to your needs and goes straight to the heart of what matters to you. Click here to learn how to subscribe, rate, and review.
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- What legacy means to me.
- Why we don’t spend enough time thinking about our legacies on a day-to-day basis.
- Where I see thinking about your legacy having the greatest impact.
- The detriments of not taking the time to consider what your legacy is.
- How having a clear sense of what your legacy is going to be serves as a guide in your everyday.
- The immediate challenges that may come up as you think about your legacy.
- Questions to help prompt ideas for your legacy.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- If you enjoyed today’s show and don’t want to miss an episode, be sure to subscribe and follow the show. And if you haven’t already, please leave a rating and review! Your feedback will help me create a podcast that’s tailored to your needs and goes straight to the heart of what matters to you. Click here to learn how to subscribe, rate, and review.
- Want to get in touch with me? You can do so by clicking here or reaching out to me on LinkedIn
- If you are interested in learning more about the work I do with lawyers, click here and send me a note, I would love to hear from you.
- Ep #35: The 4 Pillars of a Joyful Practice
- Ep #52: Strategic Career Planning with Beth Mountford
Full Episode Transcript:
You’re listening to The Joyful Practice for Women Lawyers Podcast episode number 54.
Welcome to The Joyful Practice for Women Lawyers Podcast. I’m your host Paula Price, lawyer turned certified executive coach. This podcast was created to empower women lawyers just like you to create a life and practice you love. Join me every week for a break from the hustle so we can focus on you, what you truly want, and how you can create it.
If you’re over the overwhelm, done with putting out fires, and ready to create a life and practice that brings you more joy, you’re in the right place. Ready for today’s episode? Let’s dive in.
Hi everybody. Paula here. Welcome back to the podcast. I hope all of you are having a fabulous week. I’m so excited to connect with you. I feel like it’s been a while since we had one of these podcast episodes where it was kind of in the nature of a fireside chat. We’ve had some amazing guests lately, and it’s nice to have an episode where it’s you and me. We get to just kind of chat and talk about something that has been on my mind recently that I think will really resonate with you.
That is the topic of your legacy. Now, legacy is a topic that comes up, I’d say not all the time, but fairly often in my coaching practice. The conversations that I have with lawyers about their work, about their goals, about what it is they want to accomplish in the long term. It’s something that comes up with friends. It’s something that I think about for my own practice.
Lately, I’ve really been looking at that 20 year window. What do I want in my practice? I ask my clients what do you want in your practice in 20 years? I invite you to think the same as we go through today’s episode.
Last week, I had a personal experience that really helped to crystallize what that legacy or what the term legacy meant to me. I was attending a funeral service for a friend’s father. He passed away before Christmas, and we were having a celebration of life. He was her wonderful, wonderful gentleman. The speeches at the celebration of life were just out of this world.
It was one of those afternoons where I just felt so inspired to hear about this man who I knew right? He was my friend’s father. I remember seeing him in his house. He was always so kind and so fun and so supportive. To hear his friends speak about him, I mean to hear his family speak about him, my friend, his daughter, to hear words his wife wrote about him, to have the chance to listen to what his friends were saying about him. It just really helps to crystallize who he was as a person and the impact that he had on others.
One of the speakers at the funeral was a gentleman who used to play on his baseball team. So he told the story about how—I mean it started out with a discussion about fastball, which apparently is different from baseball. If you were to ask me to explain the difference, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to really tell you what the difference is. But there was a team, and that team was one that my friend’s father and this gentleman who was speaking had been a part of for many years. Not just them, but many others.
As the gentleman was speaking about my friend’s father and talking about the team, what became apparent to me was that yes, they were there because of their love of baseball, their common interest in this sport. But really what was so significant was the connection, the community, the friendships, the bonds that formed between the men who are playing the sport. That is a community and a bond that has survived. It has survived those who are no longer with that team.
As I was listening to the stories of this team, as this concept really crystallized in my mind, what it helped me realize was that in my own professional work what I am truly trying to build here is a community, is the connection, the friendship, the support, the camaraderie, the relationships. The relationships between those of us, professional women, lawyers who are minded toward achieving something. Something really special and something unique within their professional work.
And doing that in a way that we are together and yet not necessarily together if that makes sense. I mean we’re kind of virtually connected. Hopefully in a future we’ll be even more integrated, but that we are able to carry or create a community that will do carry on long after I’m here to be a part of it.
So when I think of legacy, I now have an idea of what I’m building toward. What I would invite you to think about as we talk about the topic of legacy today is what it is that you are seeking to build in your practice that will be your legacy. I’ll help you with that. We’re going to talk a little bit more about legacy and what that means. We’re going to talk about why it’s important. I’m going to offer you some questions that you can ask yourself to help you really delineate what you want your legacy to be.
Hopefully, that’s something that will help you get started if you haven’t already started. If you’ve already been thinking about what your legacy is, if maybe you’re further down that road, hopefully this episode will really help you crystallize what it is that you want to create within your professional work.
So to start out, I just wanted to talk about legacy as a concept, as something that is truly important. I don’t think we necessarily think about what our legacy is going to be on a day to day basis. There’s a number of reasons for that. It may be a topic that just seems too far off in the future. I mean it could be 20 years down the road. I like to think well maybe it’s 35 years down the road if I decide to hang in there until I’m 80. Which is not, it’s not impossible, if I can, if I would like to. I mean I’d love that concept. I mean think about that for yourself. What if you loved your work so much that you wanted to keep doing it well into your 70s, into your 80s? Is that something that would be appealing to you? What would that look like? What would your work need to look like for you to feel that attached to it?
But it’s not a topic that we typically bring up at a dinner conversation or when we catch up with our friends over coffee or maybe with your partner. You get home, the kids are yelling, you’re more concerned about getting dinner on the table than what you’re going to leave behind in 20 years. So I want us to take this time to really focus on it and give it the space that I think it deserves.
Now, when you have a clearer sense of what your legacy is going to be, it can really serve as a guide to help you with the decisions that you’re making for the long term and also the decisions that you make for the short term. Where I see this having the greatest impact on your day to day is your ability to put the short term into focus. So when you’re not really grounded in terms of where it is that you want to go, the immediate challenges that show up can be really even more challenging.
So here are some examples. One is billable hours. As lawyers, I don’t bill by the hour in the same way that I used to. I still sometimes do bill by the hour. But in a law firm environment, for example, where you’ve got a target where you may feel like you’re being measured by the number of hours that you’re billing, when you’re maybe looking at a certain threshold that you must meet or you’re not going to be meeting the set target, I think what can happen is that we can wrap ourselves up in terms of our value and base it on a billable hour.
We all know that billable hours are not created equal. There are some billable hours where you are doing the work that is really creating the most impact. So maybe it’s when you’re making your arguments in chambers, maybe it’s when you sign off on that big deal that has been in the works for multiple months. Some of your billable hours may feel like they are less impactful, right? Maybe it’s the drudgery of getting a file ready. I shouldn’t call it drudgery. I mean it could be really exciting. But what I’m trying to say here is that the billable hour is a unit of measurement, but the value associated with it can be so different.
I think what can happen is when we aren’t clear on where we’re going in the long run, the weight, and the value that we place on our billable hours can become disproportionate in terms of how we see ourselves. So that’s one area where if you knew what you wanted to be or where you wanted to be in 20 years, what would you make of the billable hour today? How would that put it into perspective?
Another area is perfectionism. Not wanting to act on something unless you can do it perfectly. Would you hold yourself back based on perfectionism if you knew that you were able to take imperfect action and in the long run, eventually bill your way to where it is you want to go? Working hard enough.
Sometimes I think we all feel compelled to prove that we are good lawyers, that we’re worthy lawyers because we’re putting in the time, we’re putting in the hours. That, again, can skew where we place our value. If we’re to look at this 20 years out and to look backwards, what is it that’s going to have value? Is it the number of hours that you’ve worked? Is it how hard you’ve worked? Is it the effort that you’ve made? Or is it something else? Is it the impact that you create? Is it where you focus your energy? Is it how you choose to spend your time? Is it putting in some self-care so that you can be healthy and sustain what it is you’re doing for that period of time?
Other areas where you might get caught up is external milestones. So if you’re constantly looking to the external milestones to feel like you’re accomplishing, to feel like you’re bringing value, what you may do is lose sight of where the value, your own value, and where that’s truly coming from. I’ve talked about that in previous podcast episodes.
So much of what I encourage all of you to do is to think about what you value and to base the way that you see yourself based on that internal compass rather than putting into the hands of others, into the eyes of others, into the judgment of others whether or not what you’ve done is good or whether or not it’s bad.
So again, when you know okay, well here’s where I’m going, here’s the direction I’m aiming for 20 years from now. When you get that immediate feedback that may not be feedback that you love, maybe it’s something that makes you question am I good at doing this? Or did I do that right? Or am I on the right track? You know internally whether or not you’re on the right track. You can contextualize whatever it is that’s happening in relation to that greater goal.
Another area where you might find yourself getting caught up is, is everybody around you happy, right? I mean we might be so intent on pleasing everybody around us in the moment that we lose sight of what it is that we’re trying to achieve in the long run. So when we’re able to really have clarity over what that long term goal is, again, we’re much better able to navigate the relationships that we have today so that we are able to end up in service of the greater goal.
Then finally, going back to that piece of external milestones is that sense of validation. So, again, if we can feel validated by knowing that what we’re doing is in service of what we truly think is important, that is in alignment with our values, that is getting us closer to that vision that we have a creating that legacy then we don’t need to rely quite as much on others to make us feel whole.
So those are some of the ways that having a clearer sense of what your legacy is can help you navigate the choppy waters that you may be experiencing the short term because you know that you’re on your way to somewhere that you really want to go in the long term.
So having a long term focus helps to serve as a guide. It really truly is that North Star. It helps you when you’re making decisions, when you need a compass against which to decide is this decision going to get me closer to where I want to go or not?
It doesn’t have to be a straight line. I’ve talked about this on a podcast before about the zigzags that you might experience on your journey to getting to where it is you want to be. I mean you could be going in the wrong direction 90% of the time, but as long as you keep course correcting, as long as you know where it is that you want to go then you’ll continue to move toward that goal.
It can be motivating for making decisions. I mean think about it. If you were to know today that your legacy in 20 years is going to be something that is compelling to you, that pulls you forward, that you just cannot wait to build, it helps supply the motivation that you may be needing to get through some of the day to day tasks.
Even when you love your job, there may be elements of your job that you just don’t want to do. Maybe it’s billing. Maybe it’s paperwork. Maybe it’s answering your emails when really what you want to do is go home and cuddle with your kids or have dinner. Those tasks, the ones that seem really challenging, they make it so much easier to get motivated when you know that they’re part of the bigger picture.
Having a legacy, a view of what you want your legacy to be gives meaning to, as I mentioned, the more mundane aspects of your work. It also helps to channel your inner wisdom. So I think within all of us, we’ve got the negative self-talk and we’ve also got that inner sage. Depending on who’s explaining this concept, they’ll use different terminology.
But within each of us, we have that inner wisdom. We really know ultimately what is best for us. When you have that vision, that 20 year out, 30 year out vision, when you know where you want to go, I think it makes it a lot more accessible to tap into that wisdom.
You can look at yourself. I do this sometimes as a mental exercise. Paula Price 20 years into the future. How would she respond to this situation? What would she tell me, 20 year previous Paula, what would she tell me to do?
So we’re talking about the reasons why it matters to have a legacy, to be clear about what your legacy is. As we do this, I’d invite you to think about how often you’re thinking about yourself in the future. What is the version of you five years down the road? 10 years? 20 years? 25 years? I mean it really depends where you’re at in your career and where you want to go. Who do you see yourself being? What kind of impact do you want to make?
Now, if I had to guess, I would say that many of you probably aren’t going out with your friends on a weekend and talking about what your vision is, what your legacy is going to be. Maybe you are, maybe you’re not. I confess that if you were to spend time with me probably at some point, I would start asking you questions of this nature because that’s kind of where my mind goes. I’m kind of obsessed with it.
I’ve had a lot of conversations lately, as I mentioned, with clients, with friends, and with myself, frankly. There’s a distinction between those who have got a clear sense of where they’re going and those who haven’t quite yet decided on what that’s going to be.
So people who know when you talk to them, they know. It’s like they have a fire in their belly. It may be that you have as your goal, you want to become a judge. I’ve spoken with clients about this. I’ve spoken with lawyers about this who have that vision of themselves, and it’s a compelling one for them. Or maybe you have as a legacy some element of community building or profile building for women professionals in your industry. I’ve seen that too. Again, it’s that fire in the belly. That wanting to reach back and support the women who are behind you in your organization and help to bring them up.
It may also mean that what you’re looking at is creating a very specific impact within a specific segment of the population. So it may be that you’re working in a nonprofit. You’re serving an underrepresented group of people, and you want to change the way the system works for them. These are some examples that come to mind for me, but the most important example is the one that you think of for yourself. What is that impact that you want to make? What is it that you want to accomplish? What is going to light that fire in your belly when you start thinking about your professional work?
Now, conversely, when I’m speaking with somebody who hasn’t turned their mind to that, where they do not have a clear picture of what that’s going to be, there’s almost like a turn. It’s like they’re trying to figure it out. Until they figure it out, the path forward seems a bit muddled. They don’t know quite how to go. It may be such that they’re at the initial stages.
I mean when you’re first starting out in your career, you may be in that experimentation mode. You may simply be trying to navigate how things even work in the first place. You’re trying and testing and trying to figure out what direction you want to go in. You may be thinking one day at a time. You may not yet be in a position to even think a year out or let alone 20 years out.
This came up in conversation with Beth Mountford in the podcast episode that we recorded together about strategic career planning. She talked about looking out one year, three year, five years, which is an exercise that I’ve done myself. It’s an exercise I do with clients. I mean sometimes just getting that perspective in itself can be really helpful. When you’re able to take that and extend it even further, it has this profound ability to shift the way you see the immediate future in a way that makes things easier.
So the more you have a clear sense of purpose, the more you’ll have that feeling of moving forward. It makes it easier to get out of stuckness. You may feel much less confused about where you’re going. You’ll feel less uncertainty. Ultimately you will feel more powerful and in control of where it is you’re going.
If you haven’t thought about what it is that you want to do, I really encourage you to use this podcast episode as a thinking playground, right? Just imagine what the possibilities are for you. Allow yourself to start just brainstorming ideas and what that could look like and what impact that will have on how you run your practice day to day.
Now if you have thought about it, as I mentioned, and this is an exercise you’ve already done, I would invite you to revisit all of it. Decide for yourself is this truly what I want? It may be that what you decide is absolutely. This is the path I’m on. In which case, that is wonderful. This is almost like a rekindling of that fire. If it’s not, maybe it’s an opportunity to rekindle and to recalibrate so that you are moving in the direction of creating a legacy that really sets you up for success in the sense that you’ll want to move toward it and push toward it every day.
So what is a legacy? We’ve been talking about it. But what do I really mean by that? I looked at some of the dictionary online definitions of legacy. To be honest, I didn’t really love any of them. Most of them are talking about legacy in the sense of what you would bequeath to your heirs were you to pass away through your will. That’s not really the legacy that I’m talking about today.
So I cobbled together a few fragments of definitions. To me what legacy means is the lasting impact that you are going to leave on the world within your professional life is what we’re talking about today. But it can also be what’s happening in your personal life. Your legacy is a gift to a future generation. So it’s something that you leave behind to somebody and to people maybe, a community that you may never even meet, but it lives on apart from you.
It is the culmination of your creativity and your effort. It’s the connection between you and the future that is born out of your willingness to create something from within you that you intend to ultimately let go and carry on into the future for the benefit of others.
Now, I had a lovely conversation with my dear friend Amanda about legacy just the other day. She offered a definition that I hadn’t really thought of. She didn’t frame it as a definition as such, but we were talking about legacy. She said, “Well, it’s easy, in your case, to know what your legacy is.” I said is it? I don’t know. She said, “Well, you have the benefit of helping people. Your profession is one of helping people. So your legacy is everybody that you’ve helped along the way.”
I love that definition. I thought it was a new way of looking at legacy, one that I hadn’t really thought of before. I’d always considered legacy to be something that happens at the end of your career. But what she said was so true, right? Your legacy is not just what you’ve left after 20/30 years. You’re building your legacy every day that you commit to your work and every day that you create an impact.
So I would invite all of you to consider that as well. What is the legacy that you’re leaving in terms of the day to day? Who are you helping? Who’s lives are impacted for the better as a result of having interacted with you? That may be through your work as a lawyer. Maybe it’s the clients who you go to trial for. Maybe it’s the clients who you’re helping to resolve their disputes, maybe it’s clients where you’re stitching together agreements that are going to help them in their family life or in their business life. Those may all be impact that you are creating, legacy that you’re building day to day.
It can also be the relationships that you’re building within your organization. It can be the way that you’re helping a more junior lawyer to advance, to learn skills, to gain competence so that they in turn can go and help others. So I would invite you to be really mindful of all the ways in which you are creating a legacy through your work. Not just that legacy that we’re going to aim towards, strive toward 20 years down the road, but the one that you’re producing day to day.
While we’re on the topic of legacy, I would love to share with you the concept that crystallized for me as I’ve been thinking more carefully about legacy. I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast episode that what I saw for my own legacy was a version of this baseball team, right? This community that was tied together through a common interest and one that lives on well past me. It’s something that I want to build and create and fuel and love and ultimately allow to take on a life of its own and eventually let go.
That community is one that I think you are already a part of just by being here today, by listening to this podcast episode, by listening to other podcasts episodes, and entering into the fold of this work that I’m doing and sharing with you. I believe that we are all part of a community of professional women who are dedicated to creating a real impact in the world.
I think some of the common elements that tie us all together is number one a sense of purpose. I think for so many of us having a clear purpose in the work that we do and wanting to have purpose. I think for so many of us our work is way more than a job. It’s not just something that we do to check in and check out. It is work that inspires us at a very deep level where we are committed to creating impact. I know that through coaching lawyers and asking them what is it that drew you to this work? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it. It’s I want to help people.
So for all of you, and for all of us, we are committed to helping people. The purpose, the way that we do that is different. But I invite all of you to really get clear and grounded on what it is that your purpose is. Because I know that it’s deep within you. I know that it’s a very significant part of the professional work that you’re all doing.
Another element that I think we all have in common is a sense of distinction. I love the word distinction because, to me, it embodies excellence, but excellence in the way that is unique to the individual who exhibits it.
When you think about the awards that are given out, you often hear here’s the award for the Woman of Distinction or the Man of Distinction. When have you ever heard anybody get an award for the sameness? Right? It just doesn’t ever happen. Like same isn’t what gets recognized. Yet, I think for many of us, we are out there trying to fit ourselves as round pegs into square holes or square pegs into round holes. We’re looking at other people’s definitions of success or excellence or what is good and what is valid. By doing so, we are depriving ourselves of the opportunity to lean into that which is uniquely ours to create and exhibit as professionals.
So I know for all of you that distinction is a key element to your professional work. It is really leaning into the strengths that you have, the purpose that you’re serving, and finding a way to do that that is distinctly yours. I can’t tell you how much I love that concept. And how working with my clients, this is something that I think is so important to focus on. It’s not necessarily easy to go off on that route.
I received a beautiful email from a friend recently who was talking about some of the recent podcast episodes with different practitioners who have gone out and kind of gone off the beaten path relative to what may be considered a traditional legal career. None of them would be what you would consider to be the standard, right? The standard of what you would expect. They’re all unique and distinct. I would invite all of you to think about in your heart of hearts what that most distinctly you version is, and how you will use that to really live out and live into the legacy that you want to create.
The third piece that I think we all share, of course, is a commitment to joy. I’ve talked about joy and a joyful practice in previous podcast episodes. It’s not often something that we aspire to as a professional goal. I think we aspire to excellence. I think we aspire to accomplishment, to winning cases and serving our clients. How often do we say I want to have more joy in my practice? I mean maybe you do because you’ve been attracted to the title of this podcast, but do we ever really set that out as a career goal for ourselves?
I would suggest that we do. The reason is that when we have joy as a component of our work, it fuels the work that we do. It is what keeps us going and putting one foot in front of the other even when it gets hard, even when we feel like giving up, even when people may say oh, that idea not so great, and you do it anyways. I’ve talked before about joy and what that means to me.
To me, that really means having a practice that is based on having a mindset, one that is a growth mindset, that is oriented toward learning and developing and growing. It’s alignment. Choosing in alignment with your values and being clear about what it is you’re wanting to accomplish and lining up your decision so that they all fit. With that comes ease, right? It’s that ease of doing work that resonates with you.
The third part of a joyful practice, there are four elements, is that how to. So learning the skills that you need to get to where you want to be. Then finally growth. Having an opportunity to continue to learn, to continue to grow, to continue to be challenged in your work. When we put those three pieces together, when we put together purpose, and we put together distinction, and we put together joy, that is really the formula for what binds us together within our community.
As we build out this community, I’m inspired and excited to see what kind of an impact that makes. What kind of impact we can make when we’re able to turn to each other for support and inspiration and ideas. What does that mean for the work that we’re all going to do in the world? So stay tuned, my friends, we’ve got 20 years together at least. So let’s see what we can accomplish between now and then.
Now I promised you some questions so that you can start thinking about or further start thinking about what it is that you want to develop as your legacy. So starting out is, here’s an easy one. Who do you admire, right? What about them do you admire? So this could be a lawyer that you work with in your office, it could be Oprah, it could be a political figure, it could be a family member. It’s whoever you look to and say, “That person, they’ve got something that I really admire.” Think about what that is? What are their strengths? What are their character strengths? What have they done that you admire?
Another question that you can ask yourself, and by the way, you can write these questions down. You could pause the recording, and you can write the question down. You’re also welcome to go to the show notes. There’s a transcript that accompanies each of these podcast episodes. So you can go to the transcript and find the section with these questions and just copy them out that way.
But the next question is, what do you want to be an example of? So I mentioned I had a number of guests recently on my podcast. All the guests I’ve had on have been incredible. So what is it about them that you admire? The reason it’s important to be an example of something, I think, is that it helps other people have the courage to be an example themselves.
It goes back to that quote, that Marianne Williamson quote about how by having the courage to be great—and I’m totally butchering it, I’m getting all the words wrong. But by basically pursuing what it is you want and by being excellent at what you do, you are implicitly giving permission to other people to go out and do the same. So what do you want to be an example of?
Another question is what lights you up? When you’re doing your work, whether it’s the work that you’re getting paid to do or other work, what lights you up? What gets you into that state of flow where time really does feel like it’s just passing you by? What is it that you would do for free?
Now I was sharing with somebody earlier today. When I was a lawyer, I very rarely would go and seek out cases to read purely for interest. Every once in a while I have done that. I still do that but it’s not often. Versus the work that I do now where I have an insatiable thirst for all things coaching and the brain and professional development and personal development, habit formation, all of it. Marketing, entrepreneurship. I mean all the things that I love, I can’t get enough of.
So you might ask yourself, what is it in your practice that you really can’t get enough of that you would do for free, that you do do for free, where you just almost feel like you don’t have enough time to learn all the things that you want to learn. That’s a pretty good indication of where you might want to channel your energies and what might lead up to the legacy that you’re creating.
On that note, I would also invite you to think about what gets you viscerally excited, right? I mean we all have that feeling sometimes. We’re just like oh, I can’t wait to do that. It’s like you feel it in your bones. That’s the feeling that you want to go for. Because if you’re going to be looking at a goal that’s 20 years out, 30 years out, maybe it’s longer, you need to have that fuel to sustain you. That is where the fuel is going to come from.
Another question that you might ask yourself is what makes you angry. This is a tough one. But what polarizes you one way or the other is indicative of what matters to you most? Interestingly, when I asked myself this question, the answer that I came up with was negative self-talk.
Part of my mission, I’m not sure exactly how I’ll fit this in, but it is to eradicate negative self-talk. I think it is one of the most toxic things. I say this from working with clients. I say this from being inside my own mind. It’s this counterproductive voice that sometimes just doesn’t help at all. Where does it come from? How do we manage it so that we’re able to move forward and do what we want without wasting our time, without wasting our time beating ourselves up?
So if I have a soapbox to stand on, that is probably it. That’s probably the thing that kind of irks me the most. I’m sure there are other things that make me angry, but that was the first one that came to mind for me. So you might think about what it is that makes you angry. What does that mean for how you want to shape your practice, how you want to build your legacy so that you are fueled by potentially this desire to wipe out or eradicate or fight against something that you feel really strongly about?
Another question you can ask yourself is what part of your work do you want to do first? So when you walk into your day, what motivates you? I’ll be honest usually it’s deadline driven. Whatever has a filing date attached to it usually gets top priority. But next to that, I’ve started to actually tackle my to do list based on what makes me feel the most anxious.
I’ve had a pretty full plate lately, and which is a wonderful thing. How do I decide what to do first? Sometimes it is truly which item on my bullet list do I feel like I need to do first? I feel like I need to do first. I’m repeating myself because I am trying to emphasize what do I feel like doing.
Often, it’s the thing on my list where I feel like there’s a connection between me and somebody else. I want to make sure that I’m preserving that relationship. So I’m very relationship driven, which suggests to me that by wanting to build a community, I’m probably on the right track. Because I’m trying to connect people. I’m trying to build relationships, not just my relationship, but the relationships that others are having as well.
Another question, what feels easy to you? I love that question. What I would want to point out here is that sometimes what comes easily to you might not seem like a strength or a gift or a talent because it comes easily to you. Yet for other people, it’s a real challenge. So let’s not discount something just because it’s easy.
A couple more questions. What impact do you want to make in your career? So you might ask yourself who do you want to help most? What would your best case scenario look like? These are all questions that would really inform that impact. That best case scenario.
Then finally, what will you want to have built in 20 years time? So those are the questions. I invite you to go back, listen to the recording again, write them down, and really take your time answering those questions. Because if you take that time, if you really sat down. Even if you ask yourself just one of these questions and set a timer for five minutes, you’ll be amazed at what you come up with.
Again, you’re going to be channeling your inner wisdom. That voice of knowing that comes from the version of you that is 20 years out that has already accomplished what it is that we’re talking about today. So you want to focus in on that energy and make decisions from that place as opposed to the decisions that you may be making in the moment where you’re really just trying to catch up day to day. This means that you probably will need to set aside some time. You may need to book some time in your calendar to really give some thought to this because chances are this time will not carve out itself.
Now, when you do this work, when you go about setting up your legacy, that thing that you want to create throughout the course of your career, it will be so much easier for you to navigate the day to day because you’ll know where it is that you’re heading. You’ll know what it is that you’re building.
Now, to do this, you will need to have discipline. You’ll have to have the discipline to set aside the time. Now you can do that on your own. You may set up a date with a friend. You may set up a date with a coach, someone like me, to hold that time for you, to create the conversation, to create the space for you to work through this.
You’re going to need to have the discipline to then answer these questions really thoughtfully and think about what it is that you want. These questions, I can tell you, are not easy for everybody. Sometimes it can feel quite depleting to go through them.
Another skill that you’ll need is openness. You’ll need to be open to the possibilities of different options that are out there for you. You’ll need to be honest with yourself. What is it that you really want? This isn’t what you think you want or what other people want for you. This is really being honest and answering the question from within. What is it that you want to create?
The result, if you do it, will be a renewed love for your work because you can now put into context what it is you’re doing and why you’re doing it. It’s a deeper sense of purpose. Getting really clear about why it is you’re doing what you’re doing, what meaning that carries to you, the confidence to distinguish yourself from the pack. So once you decide on that goal and you realize it’s going to require that you lean into strengths and to set yourself apart, it may give you the courage to then act in that way even if it means that you’re going against the grain sometimes.
Finally, the result is that you’ll have more joy in your practice. You’ll take more pleasure even in the most mundane tasks because you’re able to understand how all the pieces fit together. All of this because you’re anchored by the vision of what it is that you are building.
So, my friends, we have talked today about legacy. We’ve talked about why it matters. I invite you to really do that deep work. To think about where it is that you’re heading and what kind of legacy you seek to build, whether it’s 20 years out, 30 years out, or even something a little bit shorter term, five years out. I would encourage you to ask yourself these questions and to really live into them, and to then see what impact that has on how you see your day to day, how you manage the stressful are inconvenient or mundane situations that come up in the short term knowing where you’re headed in the long term.
So with that, I am going to wrap up our chat for today. It has been such a pleasure. Thank you again for joining me. Please, as always, feel free to reach out. You can find me on LinkedIn. You can find me on my websites. You can find me and lots of places. So just send me a note and let me know that you would like to connect. I love to do that.
Of course, if you are enjoying the show, please give it a rating and review wherever it is that you download your podcast. That would be so much appreciated. As I’ve mentioned in the past, it will help us to continue to grow this community. Thank you so much, and I look forward to seeing you again next week. Bye for now.
If you enjoyed today’s show and don’t want to miss an episode, subscribe, and follow the show wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you haven’t already, please leave a rating and review. Your feedback will help me create a podcast that’s tailored to your needs and goes straight to the heart of what matters to you. For instructions on how to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast, visit www.thejoyfulpractice.com/podcastlaunch. See you next time.
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Joyful Practice for Women Lawyers podcast. If you want more information, visit www.thejoyfulpractice.com. See you next week.
Enjoy the Show?
- Don’t miss an episode, follow the podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or RSS.
- Leave me a review in Apple Podcasts.
- Join the conversation by leaving a comment below!