What if the worst thing could turn out to be a blessing? That’s a nice thought, huh? That’s what happens when I set out to design a law practice to fit your life
The Energizer Bunny
If I could slow down for a moment and catch my breath life would be great. I wished that a lot. I’ve been working since I was 13 and put myself through college and law school expenses (scholarship covered tuition only). Working feels great and I definitely know how to do it. That’s a common trait I find among my fellow lawyers. We are grinders. I still feel proud about that, even as I’m learning how to really slow down.
Sometimes the gift is under the shit
I got my wish but not exactly how I wanted it. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Eight brain lesions that caused very freaky symptoms like painful hair, full body itches and a year of vertigo. That gave me a ton of time to catch my breath.
And overhaul my personality. Good bye yelling and anger. Hello new coping mechanisms. Being a mediator meant I knew what to do and say to have productive conversations. Doing that was another story. But I learned because my continued good health depends on it.
My career also got an overhaul. MS is unpredictable. A bad day can be just around the corner so I had to make accommodations for that in terms of when and how I worked. I needed to do less and work fewer hours.
I began to inventory my work, looking for things that could be automated (I love software and tools). I used technology to stay connected and contribute instead of traveling so much. I stopped doing conflict work. There were enough puzzles to solve at home.
Life got quieter. I kinda learned to ask for help
Hello. I’m still a lawyer at heart. And, Rome wasn’t built in a day. We will learn this skill together. I decided to write this post two recent incidents.
One, Brian Burkard invited me on his podcast and did an amazingly thorough research job. He learned about my MS and asked if I’d talk about it during the interview. I did but didn’t get to say what I wanted (hard to find the words on the spot)
I consider my diagnosis a big gift from the Universe because it saved my life. Yes, having the limitations of MS sucks but not as much as NO life. (Ten years earlier my doctor advised me I wouldn’t see fall if I didn’t change my ways) I have a much better relationship with my kids because I had to stop yelling, start listening and be vulnerable with them.
I discovered a softer, happier me when I put competition on the back burner. You don’t have to compete when your work is unique to you. I’ve met several other lawyer coaches lately and we all have a different flavor. I’m not worried about anyone copying my stuff because you can’t copy my Dinaness.
I moved away from consulting and 1 to 1 coaching to creating products and services. Teaching in a communal style allows me to still contribute without the stress load. I love communal learning; my students have great ideas and everyone comes away enriched.
Two, I discovered Michelle Morgan-Coole, another attorney who has molded her work to fit the life she has now. Michelle has grit. Read how she handled her diagnosed and created a specialized, part-time practice that benefits her community and her firm. What I totally love is the concept of ‘low bono’. Read her story
I’ll be a guest speaker at Law Firm Suites this September. Hope I get to say hi!