I was reading a new book to my son tonight, “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig.” I picked it out mainly because he adores the Three Little Pigs fairy tale, and I figured it would be in the same vein, but with a more sympathetic view of the wolves.
Oh, how marvelously wrong I was. I’ll give you the plot summary.
Little wolves set out to build a house for themselves. They start with bricks. Enter Big Bad Pig, who can’t blow the house down. So he quickly fetches a sledgehammer and knocks it straight down. House #2, concrete. BBP, pneumatic drill. House #3, barbed wire, iron bars, armor plates, heavy metal padlocks, Plexiglass and some reinforced steel chains. BBP, dynamite. Finally, the wolves say, “Something must be wrong with our building materials. We have to try something different. But what?”
And then, a flamingo comes along pushing a wheelbarrow full of . . . flowers.
I’m pretty sure I appreciated this story a lot more than my son.
I’m not going to spoil the ending, save to say it is a fantastic lesson about how useless an arms race is.
And what does this possibly have to do with alternative legal careers? Only everything.
Lawyers, and indeed our whole culture, is steeped in the idea that we must fight fire with fire. Opposing counsel sends out third party subpoenas? We send out even more. Didn’t get the job you wanted? It must be lack of credentials, so you need to go get more.
Please, reconsider. It is possible to become an artist without going to art school, a journalist without going to J-school, a spiritual leader without going to divinity school, an executive without getting an MBA. Of course, if you want to become an MD or a CPA, you are going to need that specialized schooling, for credentialing. But unless you absolutely need a credential to be in a field, you can probably find a way to get to that new career without another expensive stamp on your passport. The stamp is an external validation that you’re qualified.
What you really need to succeed in your new endeavor, though, is internal validation. Internal validation is deceptively simple: do what it is you want to do. Make art, write articles that include interviews, get in touch with your Creator, seek out opportunities that require more than legal acumen.
What do you think you could do this week that would give you some of that internal validation? Drop me a comment and let me know.