What you need, and what is fantastically hard for driven professionals like lawyers, is to simply let your mind wander with some ideas that are not calculated to solve a problem. To ponder without an agenda. To allow yourself to simply be, in all your unproductive glory. Walking is a great way to get to this state.
The opportunity to simply let our minds drift sounds so unimportant, doesn’t it? But it is vital. A mind without a project to obsess over, a problem to solve, a stimulus to respond to, has the time it needs to process. Unstructured time is how we digest some of our lives. With the constant barrage of screens, we have more mental food to digest, and thus an even higher need for mental wandering.
Sometimes, signature strengths help clients see themselves in a whole new light. One client, who had worked in a big law firm and then in an attorney general’s office, found that “creativity” was one of his top, or signature, strengths. At first, he thought, “but I’m not artistic!” When he read the description of creativity, though, his world changed in an instant.
He realized that opening a business aimed at an emerging type of health and wellness was highly creative, and went off to do just that.
I view following our interests and joys as giving the Universe more material and opportunities to work some seeming magic in our lives. If you stay really firmly in your narrow rut of to-do lists, it is just harder for those coincidences—which aren’t really coincidences at all—to happen.
In many ways, my life recently has felt like I’m right back in the corporate and legal world overload. But this time, I’m handling it better than ever before. I chalk this up to 3 or 4 practices I’ve adopted in the last few years: Meditate. Work Less. Sleep. Have Fun. Yes, simple, But simple isn’t always easy. Do it anyway.
You’re taking a huge risk by not following your calling. You are risking that you will survive, physically and mentally, in good enough shape to one day be able to follow your heart’s desires. Considering the high rates of depression, addiction, suicide, and chronic illness among lawyers, that’s a pretty damned risky path, too.
If you suspect you may have depression—even if you think it’s just because you work in a hellhole, and you will be FINE once you leave—go ahead and get help. Because unless you’ve got a job offer in hand, you’re going to be there for at least a couple more months. And take it from me, those “couple more months” often translate suddenly into 6 months or 9 months or a year, between workload and inertia. That’s a long time to be depressed, untreated, and miserable.