If you’re a long-time listener, you will be aware that I am very big on all things planning. I plan every day, week, month, and even my years. It’s so satisfying to think about plans and strategies for efficiency, results, or even a meltdown-free Sunday afternoon with my kids. So I’m taking a deep dive into planning on this episode.
If you want to change your practice, proper planning is going to be a key aspect of this work. And especially throughout the pandemic, we’ve been living in a very reactive way and settled into new routines. But things are changing and we’re entering a new normal, so if you want to break out of those ways of working, it’s going to take some strategic planning.
Whether you have goals around your health, your family, a side project, or your law practice, I invite you to tune in this week to discover how to start planning, so you can work towards those goals with more certainty. I’m sharing the six biggest benefits I see when it comes to planning, and hopefully, by the end of this episode, all of you will be as excited for the planning process as I am.
You’re listening to The Joyful Practice for Women Lawyers Podcast episode number 22.
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.
Hello my amazing friends and welcome back to the podcast. For those of you who are new to the podcast, welcome. My name is Paula Price. I’m a lawyer turned certified executive coach and the host of this podcast. Today I am excited to talk to you all about planning.
If you know me and you know my work then you may have gathered that I’m big, big, big on planning. All things planning. I plan every day. I plan my weeks. I plan my months. I’ve even started planning my years. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to come up with plans and to think about different strategies for plans, how to plan for efficiency, how to plan for results, how to plan for a Sunday afternoon for my kids where nobody has a meltdown. All of the things.
So today is going to be a special episode. I’m going to tell you about a series of webinars that I have coming up that I would love to invite you to. I also wanted to mention that I am excited to be presenting from my home office space. We just celebrated Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. One of the things that I am particularly thankful for apart from my amazing family and my friends is that I had a full day to paint the walls in my home office space.
If you’ve ever seen a webinar that I’ve done, you’ll probably notice that the walls are quite yellow. At least they used to be. Over the weekend I spent a full day doing all the things to paint the walls in this room. Now they are white.
Now, I have to admit. I was a little bit disappointed because I did my first Zoom call yesterday, and I realized they’re not truly white. That when you have the depth of the room in the Zoom call, there’s still this yellowness that you can see in the background. I’m working on it. I’m going to fix it. Right now I just feel so happy that this room is feeling like it’s undergoing a transformation.
If you know my work and if you’re listening to a coach, maybe transformation is something that is of interest to you. I know it’s something that is hugely of interest in me. It’s something that I’m going to be talking to you more about because there’s an opportunity for you coming up in the next few weeks to work with me to have your own transformation from the comfort of your own computer, your own office, whatever that looks like.
So we’re going to talk about planning. I’m going to jump in with six reasons why one might enjoy planning, why you can enjoy planning. I hope that by the end of this you are thinking about how you might start planning for some new goals or some changes that you’re trying to make in your practice.
So before we jump into the reasons about why I love planning, why you should love planning, is that I noticed in my practice that a lot of lawyers will come to me when they’re kind of hitting a rough patch in their practice. So it may be that things have been going along really smoothly and then all of a sudden something happens. Maybe there’s an event at work where they get a bad performance review, or they realize they’ve kind of hit a wall in terms of where they’re at. They want to get out of the organization they’re in, the law firm they’re in. They don’t like the style of practice.
So they come to me in a period where they’re looking for change. Usually it’s an improvement over where it is that they’ve been before. What I also see in my practice, although I don’t see it as often, is when lawyers come to me because they have a really clear goal.
So they’re already doing really well. They’re happy with the way their practice is running, but they’ve identified something that they want. They know that if they work with a coach and with me in particular that they will get to where they want to go maybe faster, maybe with more certainty, maybe with more support.
So, to me, what this is an opportunity to talk about is how planning can really help you make some positive changes, create some results that you really want in your practice. I wouldn’t just stop in your practice. I would actually go so far to say that this could apply in any area of your life. The tools that I teach as a coach aren’t strictly useful in the context of your practice as a lawyer. A lot of the tools and a lot of the techniques can also apply to other areas of your life.
For example, relationships that you have with family members or personal goals that you have for yourself like your health or a side project. So there’s lots of different ways you can think about coaching and planning. So when we go through the podcast today, I would just invite you to think about your goals on a broad level. Don’t limit yourself.
So before we jump in, I wanted to ask you when the last time was that you sat down and really took the time to reflect on what it is that you want. Not just what you want, but what you really want. For all of us, we’ve been living in this pandemic life for well over 18 months now. I think what we saw at the beginning of the pandemic was a very reactive state for everybody.
If you were working in an office, you were all of a sudden working from home. There was a lot more dependence on this remote work arrangement, going from in person meetings to Zoom calls. There was a number of transitions being made in terms of if you are parents, how your children were being schooled. They were at home. You were trying to juggle their calendars and your calendars. All things under one roof. It got a little bit crazy for so many of us. So those were changes that really were driven by external circumstances.
For many of you, you may still be living your life in a very reactive way. There may be a lot of uncertainty around where you are in terms of how you’re setting yourself up. For a lot of you, you may have settled into a brand new routine, which is no longer brand new. The new way of practicing, of working, may be something that is now really comfortable and familiar with you.
In all of that, I know because I’ve worked with clients who have come to me who have said, “It’s time now for me to refocus on what I want. I know that we’re transitioning back to the office in some shape or form that is more permanent than what we’ve been used to. I want to feel confident and ready and strategic about how I am returning to work.” So not meaning so much that they’ve had a break necessarily, but how are they going to integrate into the new normal.
So if this is something that is happening for you, if there’s a level of predictability that is going on that is a readjustment after the adjustment to pandemic life. You may be for the first time in a long time thinking about your goals in a way that is very much coming from within as opposed to being driven by external circumstances which are really beyond your control.
So I ask you to think about that. What do you want for your practice? What do you want for your life? If you look at yourself and you think about what you want to do, what kind of files you want to be working on, what kind of changes you might want to make in terms of your role within your organization. Where do you see yourself?
When you ask yourself these questions, really give yourself time to think about answers. If you have to, pause the recording and just give it some thought. Where do you want to be one year from now? Where do you want to be in three years? It’s a different question. Think about that. Where do you want to be five years from now? These are really powerful questions.
So I really invite you to think about what you want, what you truly want. Not what other people maybe suggest would be a good idea for you. Then you start to think yes, maybe that would be a great idea. Then you start to want it kind of want. I’m talking about the kind of wanting that comes from really thinking about who you are, what you value, and what would be amazing for you. We’re going to talk about it in the context of your legal practice, but, again, I encourage you to not limit yourself. Really think about it from all different areas or from all different perspectives in your own life.
So once you think about what it is that you want, once you have a goal, really the next step is to start thinking about what it looks like and to start planning for it. Now, here’s where I’m going to get up on my soapbox a little bit and talk about planning. The reason I want to talk about this, the reason that I think it’s so important is because I think so many of us and so many of you are denying yourself the opportunity to plan for any number of reasons. So I’m going to go through some of those reasons.
Number one, I think for many of us, for many of you, the reason that you’re not planning is because you don’t think you have the time to plan. Imagine your days are busy. You are scrambling from project to project. You report to work. You are busy throughout the course of your day. You might be able to grab a minute here and there to do something like grab lunch or have a conversation with a friend. Really there’s no time that is dedicated to you sitting down and making plans, especially plans for things that are not urgent.
So I think it’s Stephen Covey who has these four quadrants of what we might plan for or things we might do. There’s the goals that are urgent and important. Then there are the ones that are not urgent and not important. Then the other two that are urgent but not important, or not important and not urgent. So he divides things up into these four quadrants. We spend a lot of our time dealing with the urgent matters. So these are urgent and important and urgent and not important.
Where we don’t tend to spend enough time is in the important and not urgent category. The type of planning that I’m talking about today really is in that category. These are things that easily slip by day to day. They’re not urgent. Nobody will really notice if you don’t do it from one day to the next. If you let that happen over time, you’ll lose out on your opportunity to plan deliberately to create the things that you want in your life. So if you find that you’re getting too caught up that you don’t have time, that can really hold you back from making plans that could really drive you forward.
Another reason that people don’t plan is because they don’t think it’s necessary. It may be that you’re in an organization that has a lockstep system. Maybe you’re an associate at a law firm. You’re a third year, and you know there’s a lockstep for the next five years until a magic number where all of a sudden, you’re either applying for partnership or you’re brought in or some other mechanism. So you feel like with the mechanism being in place that there’s no real drive, there’s no immediate motivation for you to do planning.
It could also be that you’re in a governmental organization or another organization that has a lot of hierarchy where you simply don’t think that your personal planning, your taking ownership for the plan for your career is necessary. It may also be that you feel like you don’t really have control anyways. If you were to plan that really none of this is within your control. Somebody else makes those decisions. So what’s the point? Why waste your time?
Another reason some people don’t plan is because they don’t think it’s realistic. I mean think about how many times you might imagine in your mind’s eye some different aspect of your practice. Maybe it’s transitioning into a completely different practice area. Maybe it’s transitioning into a completely different working environment. The thought crosses your mind, and you think, “No, forget it. That’s just not realistic. That’s just not for me.” You dismiss that idea before even giving it the light of day. So that’s another time where you might just dismiss planning altogether.
Another time that you might dismiss it is when you think it’s just too hard. Maybe you think about the whole idea of sitting down and creating a plan. Given your circumstances, given how busy you are, you just think this is way too much right now. I cannot take this on. I don’t know where to start. So you don’t do anything about it at all. Again, then your plan starts to drift and never really materializes.
Finally another reason why I think so many of us don’t plan, and maybe this is something you can relate to, is that you’re scared to plan. I’ve spoken to so many lawyers who have a plan B. It’s that plan that you kind of think about. If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would open a bakery. If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would have my own online business selling cookies. If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be doing X.
Or if I had my true dream job, I would start my own practice. I would leave the environment that I’m in right now, and I would create something that is going to make legal services more accessible to the people I want to serve. Whatever that might look like, the thing that might hold you back from putting pen to paper and creating a plan might be that fear of failing, of trying and failing and being judged. That can really hold you back. So these are all situations where you just might find yourself avoiding planning all together.
What I would invite you to think about, because I’m going to talk about the six benefits of planning. Before I get there, I would invite you to think about what would be different for you if you allowed yourself to plan. So take a moment and imagine where you work, for example. I don’t know while you’re listening to this podcast if you’re sitting in your office. My guess is that you’re probably driving or you’re walking somewhere. Maybe I’m part of your workout routine. I don’t know. I don’t know where you are right now.
I want you to imagine your workspace and how long you’ve been there. Maybe you’ve been there just a couple of years. Maybe you’ve been there for 10 years. I know when I was in private practice, I had the same office space for about a dozen years. I went to the same space. I sat in the same chair. I looked at the same monitor. I mean I think I probably got an upgrade at some point, but there was a lot of routine.
So I’d ask yourself to think about where you’re working from, what routines you have. Because it might be an indication of the last time perhaps that you really reevaluated what you’re doing, where you want to go, where you want to be. So think about what has changed since you entered that space. What about the photos on your wall? Are they new photos? Are they old photos?
What about the files that you have on your shelves? Think back to the files that you used to work on and think about the files that you have now. So maybe you started out and you were dealing with some relatively small dollar values. Maybe you were mostly junioring on files. Now you are the senior. You’re the go to. You’ve got much more complex matters. Maybe you’re working with different individuals in your team. Maybe there have been lawyers who have come and gone in your group and your organization. So really what has changed since you first started? Think about that.
Once you’ve started thinking about what it is that’s changed outside you, think about what’s changed for you on a more personal level. I mean first of all, you’re maybe a few years older. So maybe you’ve gone from being single to being in a long term relationship. Maybe you’re married. Maybe you’ve gone from not being a parent to being a parent. Maybe you’ve been a parent of young children and now you’re the parent of older children and you find that you have more time, more flexibility. Maybe you have had other changes that have gone on in your life over those past few years.
So you might ask yourself how your goals may have shifted from the person that you were when you first set foot in that office to the person that you are today. How much conscious planning have you done recently? I’m not saying this by any stretch to be accusing you or making you feel badly.
This is one other thing on your to-do list that you’re not doing, and this is not an excuse to beat yourself up over this. This is really just an invitation to ask yourself when was the last time that you really chose a conscious plan and that you decided that you were going to go after a certain thing. So think about that.
Then think about what it is that you want to move towards. So as I sort of alluded to earlier, what if you were to look out a year from now? What would be a really amazing place for you to be in a year. Maybe it’s a health goal, for example. Maybe you found with the pandemic you fell off your health goals. A lot of people have been talking about that. A bit more isolated. Maybe you aren’t as active as you used to be.
I know when I transitioned from a real office to my home office, this was before the pandemic. I was surprised at how much exercise I was not getting because I wasn’t walking to work. I wasn’t walking up and down, walking to lunch, all these different places. It had a real impact on my own health. I had to make some changes to make adjustments for that. Maybe that’s something that happened for you. So now you’re thinking about, “Well a year from now I want to have more energy. I want to be more fit.”
Maybe it’s something that’s a little bit more related to your practice, right. Maybe it’s, “Okay, well I’ve been doing a certain type of file work. I really enjoy that type of work. There’s this other work that I have been doing traditionally. I think it’s time for me to find a junior who can do that work for me. I don’t need to do that anymore.” So think about what kind of changes you might want to make between now and one year from now.
Then maybe you take that exercise even further. What would you do three years from now? What’s the difference between a one year out and three years out? What’s the difference for you? Then take that exercise five years out. Depending on what comes up for you, it could be so much as wanting to have your own practice, your own office, your own firm.
It could be that you want to join a completely different organization. It might be that you want to start working in the non-profit sector. There are so many possibilities for you. I would just encourage you to start thinking expansively. Start thinking about those ideas because that’s what’s really going to get you started down that path of maybe getting ready to plan for those changes.
Before we move on to some of the benefits of planning, you can tell I’m dying to share them with you, is I would invite you to think about how you’re feeling more generally. So if you look at your life as a whole, you look at how things are going inside the office and outside the office. What’s happening in your personal life? How are your energy levels? When you arrive at the office, how do you feel? Are you excited to start your workday? Are you feeling lethargic and dreading your workday?
What about when the weekend’s roll around? Are you excited the weekend is upon you? Are you feeling like oh you’re just defeated, and this is your chance to spend some time alone? Are you excited to see friends? What does that look like for you?
Because what I’m inviting you and encouraging you to do is to start planning to create more in your practice, to create more joy, to create the things that you truly want. Maybe it’s building closer and better relationships withing your organization. Maybe it’s improving the connection that you have with your family. Really, it’s up to you, but I’m really encouraging you to think about what those things are. So I’m going to jump in now to reasons why planning is so important.
So the first of those is that planning gives you a fresh perspective. You’ve probably heard the quote by Albert Einstein that is something along the lines of, “The thinking that got you here is not the thinking that will get you there.” So it may be that the way that you’ve been thinking has been amazing to get you to your current position. Whether it’s your firm, whether it’s how you interact with your family.
If you want to reach the next level of whatever that is, you’re going to need to learn how to think differently. When you give yourself the time to plan, you start to think about the steps that you’re going to have to take. You’re also going to have the chance to think about how you’ll need to change your thinking in order to be able to execute on those steps.
Another reason why planning is so great from this perspective is also that when you plan, you need to be precise. Once you start articulating a plan for yourself, once you start setting goals, you start really giving your brain instructions on what it should be looking for and how it’s going to help you create a path to get there.
So I’ve mentioned in earlier podcast episodes this idea of the reticular activating system. It’s a part of the way that your brain works. So when you learn a new word, for example, all of a sudden you might start seeing that word everywhere. If you learn of a new car, you buy a new car, all of a sudden, you’ll start seeing that car everywhere. That’s your brain’s way of recognizing something that you’ve designated as important.
So once you give yourself some instructions in your planning, you brain is going to start figure this out for you. This was a strategy that I used to engage at a conscious level when I used to write exams. Maybe you’ve tried this strategy as well. It’s when you look through the exam before you answer any of the questions, especially those long questions that often show up at the end of the exam. It gets your brain thinking without you even trying because it registers something as important.
So put your brain to work by creating a plan. It starts to put your brain to work for you without even having to think about it. Another reason that planning is so important is that it is like a physical rendering of your unconscious plans. I know this because I have sat down with clients who will say to me, they have this sort of vague idea of what they want to do. I’ll say, “Great. So let’s write down a plan.” They’ll go “Oh, no, no, no. Ui have no idea. It’s going to take way too long.”
We literally open up a word document, and we start having a conversation. Within sometimes minutes we’ve articulated a plan, something that the client didn’t even know was within them. It’s clear. It’s thought out. It’s ready. It just needs to be acted on.
So when you sit down and give yourself that time, you might be surprised to learn how far along you actually are towards creating something that’s going to be a goal for a you. It could be a big change. It could be a small change, but it’s something you already had within you. You just didn’t know it yet.
Finally another reason why planning is so good, it is going to help you achieve success. So you’ve probably heard that expression that failing to plan is planning to fail. You’ve probably heard, I think it’s Winston Churchill who is attributed to having said that. So of course you want to give yourself every chance of success by giving yourself every opportunity to make a plan, to write it down. When you do that, you increase the chances of your plan coming true by I think it’s a crazy number. But that’s really what’s going to happen for you.
So I’ve mentioned there were a number of benefits of planning. I’ve shared those with you. I’m sure there are more. Now we’re going to talk about six reasons why you should dare to plan.
The first is the reason that you should start really planning is so that you can stop being a movie extra and start being the leading lady in your own life. Now, I totally stole that from a movie. It’s called The Holiday. It’s a story about these two women who trade houses.
So Kate Winslet’s character in that movie goes from living in this small cottage in the countryside of England to this fabulous huge mansion in L.A. where she’s surrounded by all these movie types. She befriends this older gentleman. They have this conversation where he’s talking to her, and she’s talking about her life. She kind of plays this character who’s always kind of self-sacrificing and selling herself short. He talks about how she needs to become the leading lady in her own life. I just found that to be so impactful.
I think this is true for so many of you as well. When you think about all the people and all the demands that you have on your time and your energy. For instance, the billable hour. Think about how that ranks in terms of priority and your commitment to getting your billable hours done and completed for the year. Meeting your targets, doing the work that your clients have asked you to do, that your firm has asked you do to.
Think about the requests that your children may have of you. That you will always put them first. That you will not hesitate to make any sacrifice for them. Your friends, your family. Think about your home, where you live. I mean think about all of the things that you’re doing to make sure that your home is livable. At the end of all of that, what is left for you? So when you go to the trouble of making plans for yourself, you can actually make them from the perspective where you are the one who’s in charge.
So the second reason why I think it’s important to dare to plan is that you can stop gambling on the good will of others. I mentioned earlier that one of the reasons that some of us choose not to plan is that we feel like we are taking care of. What I want you to think about here is what that looks like in your organization, wherever it is that you work.
To ask yourself what you would do if you had a client who came to you and said, “I’m this relationship with this business partner of mine. The way we’ve set it up is I’m going to do all this work. I’m going to invest a lot of time. I’m going to invest a lot of my money. We don’t have a written agreement. We don’t even really have a spoken agreement. I know that this person is going to take care of me when our business gets off the ground and it’s successful.”
Now, I come to this from a litigators background. So I just see doom and gloom and disaster on the other side of this. Maybe a solicitor would see this differently. Maybe there’s more promise and hope here. I don’t know.
If that’s the strategy that you have for yourself, if you are going to be contributing and showing up and really doing everything in your power to serve the greater good without any concrete certainty of what you are going to achieve by the end of it, then I would invite you to simply ask yourself if you’re comfortable with that situation being what it is.
It’s not to say that you need to leave your job. It’s not to say that people in your organization don’t have your best interest at heart, but the reality is they may not be able to provide what you really want. There may be an economic downturn. There may be a reorganization within the institution. It may be that the think that you think that you’re striving towards isn’t going to be there. There’s not going to be that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If you’re banking on that, you might be disappointed.
So what I would encourage you to do is to think about, “Okay, let’s say that were to happen. What would I want to do between now and then so that I can build up my skills, so that I can build up my relationships, so that I can build up my own value so that if that were to happen, I could make a transition that would be beneficial to me. So that, I think, is one of the reasons that I would recommend planning. To retrieve the ownership and direction of your growth so that you have more say and you have more control over the direction of your career a few years down the road.
Now another example or another reason why I think you should dare to plan is so that you can stop hiding your head in the sand. Last week I talked about pep talks. Actually it was two weeks ago. I talked about pep talks and how there may be times where you need a pep talk. One of those times was maybe when you want to stick your head in the sand. You just kind of want to ignore what’s going on around you. So maybe that’s the reason. You just don’t really want to have to think about it. So you don’t make plans.
Here’s the thing. I would highly encourage you to do that because if you don’t make a deliberate choice, if you don’t create a plan, you’re really left with the default of whatever just happens to go your way. My kids, they play a game. It’s called would you rather. Usually it’s like would you rather eat a can of worms or would you rather eat a can of slugs. It’s usually some sort of you can do this, you can do that, and you have to pick one or the other.
So the question here is let’s say that you’re in an organization that is lockstep. There are certain categorical roles that you could fill. You look at that, and then you think about what you really want. You think about what you really want. You think about the kind of responsibility that you want, the kind of files you want to be working on, the nature of the law that you want to be working in.
Let’s say you realize that that actually is not possible where you are. You might choose to ignore that for some time because it’s inconvenient to have to get up and move somewhere else. The reality is at some point, you’re going to have to face the music that the thing that you truly want to do isn’t possible where you are and you’re going to have to leave.
The question is do you want to get out in front of that? Do you want to go and be ahead of that and be strategic and find the place that is a good fit for you? Or would you rather just ignore it and wait and see what happens? So it’s a game. It’s would you rather. If you’re going to the trouble of playing that game and you can actually then plan for yourself what that’s going to look like, you have a lot more control over the outcome.
So the next reason that I think you should dare to plan is that it helps you to get outside of yourself and to challenge some of your limiting beliefs. So you may think that there are things that are just not available to you because it’s not realistic. It doesn’t exist.
So one of those things might be you can’t have it all. Or you can’t have it all or you can’t have it all. Or you can have it all, but you can’t have it all at once. Maybe there’s no such thing as a happy lawyer. There’s no such thing as a lawyer who has work/life balance. There’s no such thing as a lawyer who spends five years as a litigator and then becomes a solicitor. There’s no such thing as a lawyer who is a solicitor for five years and then becomes a litigator. There’s no such thing as a litigator who goes inhouse.
I mean there’s all sorts of things that you might be telling yourself that you’ve heard from somebody else. They may have experienced this thing to be true, and you’ve adopted that belief. So what I would be encouraging you to do is to think about what it is that you truly want and to start making a plan for that. Because you’re going to start to see pretty quickly whether or not you have limiting beliefs like that.
Here’s an example. I live in Vancouver. In Vancouver, it rains a good portion of the year. We have these summers that can be spectacular. We had that this year. I’m looking outside the window right now. It’s overcast. It’s gray. It’s raining. Now if I spend enough months in the overcast skies of Vancouver, not that I’m complaining, I begin to see only that.
What can be really eye opening is hopping in an airplane, which I haven’t done in a long time. But this used to be something I would do. Fly to a sunnier destination. Even though it was cloudy in Vancouver, it might be sunny in California, for example.
So you might be in an environment, for example, like a big law firm. That’s what you know. You’ve been told that that is the only place where you can practice the type of law that you’re practicing, where you’re going to have access to the type of clients that you have and the colleagues that you have and the compensation that you have. So you rule out all other options.
What I can tell you, because I actually used to think like that, is that there are other ways of practicing that can have you in contact with the same caliber of clients. Where you can be with the same caliber of colleagues, and where you can find compensation that is competitive if not greater than. So there’s all these different places where you can find it, but you might be so conditioned to thinking that things only happen a certain way that you may not see that for yourself.
So what I invite you to do is when you do start that plan, you’ll start to see pretty quickly where you have those limiting beliefs. Where you think things are a certain way. It’s an opportunity for you to start challenging those thoughts, to start looking for examples of individuals who prove that thought to be wrong.
So we’ve got two more. The next reason, number five, that you should plan, that you should dare to sit down and make a plan, is that you will actually feel less overwhelmed. So yes, it can be really overwhelming to sit down and try to carve out time to go and create these plans for yourself. I get that. Once you actually sit down and start making a plan, what you might find is that it’s not as difficult or challenging or overwhelming as you thought it was going to be.
What you might find is that when you start committing your thoughts to writing and you start putting them in bullet form that each of those tasks isn’t as large as you thought it was. Maybe you start to have ideas of who could help you along the way. Maybe you start breaking those tasks into smaller items. You see that each of those tasks individually actually isn’t that hard. Maybe instead of taking on a big risky move, there are some small little bit sized tests to run to see if you’re on the right track.
So just by sitting down and planning, that can really help you clear your mind. And it can really help you see the challenge that you have or the goals that you have in a much more objective way that just isn’t as daunting as you thought it was.
Finally, the reason that I would encourage you to sit down and make a plan is that it can increase your confidence. Sometimes you think the plan is scary. If you are sitting on a dream, for example. Something that you really, really want to do. You won’t even admit to yourself, let alone anybody else, that it’s what you truly want.
Chances are the reason you’re not wanting to make that admission is because it’s scary. It brings up fear. It could be that you’re afraid that you’ll try something, and you’ll fail, and people will judge you. They’ll say, “Well, of course it wasn’t going to work out. She never should have tried that.” It may be that you are afraid of what will happen if you leave where you are right now. Maybe there are people who would depend on you to be where you are, and you would be letting them down. There’s all sorts of reasons.
If you do take that step and start to plan, you might find that your confidence really starts to build. We talked about this would you rather game. This really brings up a choice for you. If you’re choosing not to go ahead and plan for something because you’re afraid of failing, then you’re adopting a very unempowering stance. Really you’re saying, “I’d rather drift and not make a decision than to make a decision and take the risk that my decision will not result in the outcome that I’m seeking.”
So, again, it’s what choice do you want to make here? What if you were to choose to take the path where you make a decision and you adopt the risk? Maybe you are successful. Maybe you fail. Again, I don’t believe in failure. I believe you learn. So imagine you do that, but then you learn from that mistake, if that’s what you want to call it, and you move forward, closer to the direction of what you want versus allowing yourself to drift along somebody else’s path.
So here what I’m trying to emphasize is that to the contrary while fear may be holding you back from making a plan, it could be that making a plan and acting on that plan are exactly what you need to build your confidence so that you can move forward.
So that, my friends, is what I have for you in terms of planning. So the top six reasons why I would encourage you to make a plan. I’ll just go through those again. Number one, to stop being a movie extra and to start being the leading lady in your own life. Number two is to stop gambling on the good will of others, and to create a plan where you know that you get to create the results. You are in control of the outcomes.
Number three is to stop hiding your head in the sand. So stop drifting, stop letting other people call the shots. Decide to take action. That may mean that you’re realizing that the place that you’re in, the organization that you’re in may not have the opportunities that you want. But that you’re going to be decisive about what you want, and then assess whether or not you can do that where you are or if you need to do something else.
Number four is to get outside yourself. When you start making plans, you’ll start to be confronted with some of the beliefs that you have that may or may not be true. So this might be your opportunity to start taking down some of those walls.
Number five is that when you have your plan, you will feel less overwhelmed. So all of a sudden, you’ll be able to take action. Maybe it’s small action at first, but it will break the problem down or it will break the goal down into something that is a lot more bite sized and actionable. Finally, you’ll feel more confident. As you create a plan, as you uptake back control. Even if you’re not successful right away, you get to the be the one who is calling the shots. You’re the one who is taking responsibility.
Spouse you don’t need to jump into planning all by yourself. As you know, I work with lawyers. I am a coach. I can help you individually with any of these challenges that you find yourself facing. If that’s something that interests you, I would encourage you to reach out to me either by email or on LinkedIn. I’m always excited to hear from you.
What I would also offer you, and I really encourage you to take me up on this, is that I’m doing a series of free webinars. There’s going to be three of them all together. The first webinar will be on Friday October 22nd. That’s two days after this particular podcast episode will go live. You can register by going to the homepage for this particular podcast episode. Again, that’s episode number 22. There will be links for this webinar. You can also go to my website uplevellawyercoaching.com and click on webinars. That uplevellawyercoaching.com and go to webinars.
There are three webinars altogether. The first is all about reimagining your practice. That’s when we’re really going to be doing a deep dive into the planning. So if that’s something that you’re interested in, I highly encourage you to sign up and to join me for that webinar. It would mean so much to me to be able to work with you more closely. I think you would really be amazing at how much you can accomplish when you put your mind to some of this work, even just for an hour.
The second webinar is on November 12th. That webinar is going to be all about decluttering your desk, decluttering your calendar, decluttering your habits so that you can really clear the decks and pave way for you to take action towards your goals.
The third webinar is going to be on Friday December 3rd. That webinar is all about amplifying your impact. What we’re going to do there is we’re going to look at some of the common roadblocks that people have when it comes to taking action. A lot of that could be procrastination, perfectionism, or fear. Some of the things that we talked about today. It’s those almost invisible tripwires that hold you back from taking action on the plan that you create for yourself.
So I would encourage you to sign up to join me. I would love to spend that time with you. So please go ahead and do that. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. I so appreciate all of you who are tuning into this podcast and joining me every week. I just love seeing you there. I see the numbers. I don’t see your faces in particular. It really is so wonderful when I see that you’re listening. I receive feedback from you on LinkedIn or by iTunes.
So I would encourage you to please, if you like this podcast, to rate and review the podcast. When you do that, it helps the algorithm for the podcast so other people who are interested in this topic can find it. If you listen to this podcast and you find that something resonates with you, I would invite you to share it with a friend. Send the episode over by text message, send it in an email. Just let them know, “This is a podcast I’m listening to. I think this might resonate with you.” That would be amazing.
If you sign up for my webinar then invite a friend to come with you. You would have an automatic accountability partner. Somebody who can help you reach the goal that you decide to set for yourself. Also it’s an opportunity for us to start really forming a community of likeminded individuals who can really come together and support each other.
So that’s what I have for you this week everybody. It has been such a pleasure. I’m so glad that you tuned in. I hope to see you virtual at least on October 22nd. Bye for now everybody.
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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.