Your List for Success

One of the many toxic things about working in law is the notion that simply by hard work, you will succeed. This is a highly cherished notion, but it’s also rot.

Let’s tackle the notion of success. If you’re here, your definition of success is probably not achieving the corner office with the highest possible salary. (If that is your definition of success, you would be better off visiting greedyassociates).

If you had to define success, YOUR definition of success, what would it be? Mine goes something like this:

  • Doing work I enjoy, or even love;
  • Getting paid a fair rate for that work;
  • Treating people around me with kindness and compassion;
  • Raising a good, honest, thoughtful kid;
  • Being a blessing to someone often;
  • Teaching others how to help themselves;
  • Being true to who I am;
  • Exercising creativity as often as possible;
  • Being nice to someone who doesn’t “deserve” it.

Underpinning many lawyers’ notions of hard work is the premise that work is unpleasant, even torturous; yet by doing a lot of soul-deadening work, you will somehow be transformed into a success. In other words, you must suffer to succeed. And, if money is the entire measure of your success, there’s truth there.

Notice, though, how little money plays into my definition of success. That isn’t to say that money doesn’t matter to me, because I’m not a saint and I love my house and my daily espresso habit. And oh yes, the way I Zappos like it’s my job. But money doesn’t define who I am.

So put aside your mortgage worries, the kids’ private school tuition, and the kickass hi-def television aspirations — lawyerthink, in other words — for a moment, and think about the stuff that would make you feel alive, and grateful to have lived on this earth. What does that list look like?

I’ll bet it doesn’t have a corner office on it.

Jennifer Alvey is a recovering lawyer who coaches unhappy attorneys on getting what they truly want out of work and life. She offers discounted sample sessions so you can try out coaching and experience its unique power. Email Jennifer at to schedule yours today.

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