Especially for lawyers, many of us love, love, love to be in our heads and not so much in our bodies. Exercise is usually one of the first things to go when the work demands really ratchet up. Lawyers also tend to bring their perfectionistic tendencies into their views on exercise. Shocking, right? If they can’t do a full hour of a complete and demanding workout, they won’t do one at all. This is one of they myriad ways that lawyers are brittle and not resilient. The all-or-nothing attitude leads to important but not urgent stuff simply not getting done.
Ten years ago, when September 11 became September 11, I felt that deep, shared national longing to find meaning in
Numbing out is our way of avoiding pain, but it has the unfortunate downside of numbing us to joy as well. When we numb out, we embrace less than our full humanity. We become less, sometimes far less, than our full selves. Wow, doesn’t that sound appealing.
“Who am I to think I deserve a fulfilling job?” That’s the wrong question. The question you should be asking is “Who am I to deny the world the talents I was given?”
Where you focus your thoughts determines where your energy flows. Give a gratitude list a whirl for a couple weeks, and see if your thoughts don’t zap your energy so much. Maybe you’ll gain enough positive juju to come up with a new career direction.
You can’t choose which emotions to numb—all of them decline. Becoming numb to pain also means you become numb to joy. Being cut off from your joy means you have no idea what direction to head when you decide you need out of the toxic environment of law.
I couldn’t see what career I wanted for, oh, years. And that’s because of all the things I knew. The alleged knowledge was blinding. The key to seeing the evidence of what your heart really wants is to stop using the knowledge lens.
Here’s the real tip-off that you’re faking law: Inconsistent performance. Yes, you can do the work. Sometimes. When you can summon up the mental stamina, the stars are in proper alignment, you have had enough sleep/food/time away from work/whatever.
It is simply pure joy to dwell for 45 minutes in possibilities while on a fun date with yourself. Planning for projects goes on in the deep recesses of your brain for quite a while afterwards, and will at some point spring forth. That’s what these dates do—they get your mental wheels turning, and give your brain something fun and stimulating to chew on, rather than the spit and vinegar your inner critic would choke you and your happiness on.
Let yourself go there, to that place you tell yourself you’re not allowed to visit. Put the physical manifestations of joy into your life, and see how the spark spreads fire and passion to your life.