It can be really hard to stay motivated in a law firm. The same for any professional career. So what did I do? I asked for and got a lot of advice. But none of it really stuck until one person had me write out why I wanted to be a business developer. Until then I had thought “well, I’m smart, I want to get to the next level, business development is the next level, so I am going to do that.” Focusing on that -what I would get- kept me going through some of the darker hours.
Usually when we think about passion, we think about a subject area that we find rivetingly interesting. Starting out in my career in the law, I decided that this was definitely not the right job for me. It just wasn’t interesting. I loved to learn new things, organize information, and help people. One day, not immediately, I realized how I could make that a part of my daily job. And that realizaction brought me one step closer to the job I have now, a job I love.
One of things that is really important to me is my freedom, and the day I realized that I could get my freedom by developing my own book of business was a terrific day. Some days our jobs can be really difficult, but knowing that when I reached success in my career it would come with freedom kept me going when times were hard.
After the first speech I gave (a flop), I sought help wherever I could find it to improve my speaking skills. I became a master at giving presentations. And one of the things I learned was how to use my voice -and read my audience. Those skills have served me well in lots of situations, not just giving speeches. Like, working with clients. One of the central things lawyers do.
It can be really tempting to focus on what you do wrong, not what you do right. I realized that if I focused on what I do well (read StrengthsFinder 2.0!), I could accomplish a lot more, feel better about myself, and . . . it brought me that much closer to the job I love.
If I can get into a state where time flies by, and that happens when I am at work, there is nothing better. Not only is the job one I love, but I do a better job and am happier. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studied this and wrote many books on the topic. It’s a real thing, and it really worked for me.
Lots of people have heard about the concept of a “board of directors.” When I first tried this, I thought about it as a very formal group. What worked better for me in the end, though, was to reach out to different people, at different times, who could give me help and support. There are more now than I can easily count, and they are all amazing helpful friends who I couldn’t imagine doing the job I love, without. You know who you are!
I saved the most important for last. Because it took me the longest to do! Finding a way to say “no” to all the things people ask us during the day, things that matter to them but not to us, is hard. Or worse, things that can derail us from our goals and what we need to get done. I figured out how to say no, and that has made creating -and keeping- the job I love possible.