Are You in the Legal Career Matrix?

Do any of the following descriptions fit you or sound like someone you know?

  • You're a new lawyer with no bad performance reviews—but are still slow.
  • You're a mid-career lawyer whose peers are getting progressively more challenging assignments with key partners—but you're not.
  • You're a senior attorney working long hours—but won't make partner.

Those folks are stuck in the legal career Matrix!  Are you?  Want to get out?

 Don't stay in the career Matrix, take the red pill from Morpheus!!

Don't stay in the career Matrix, take the red pill from Morpheus!!

How does someone end up in the Matrix?  You end up there if you only focus on:

  1. Working very hard;
  2. Becoming a better lawyer; and
  3. Doing good work.

Make the 3 moves above and you'll be fine...until you're not.  Happier Better Nation I'm not going to let that happen to you.  Friends don't let friends stay in the Matrix.

Here's your 7 Step Road-map to get out of or avoid the Legal Career Matrix:

  1. Focus on the three moves above, AND
  2. Have a vision for your career & seek out assignments that advance that vision;
  3. Promote and build a strong personal brand;
  4. Establish strategic working relationships inside and outside of the firm;
  5. Practice self-care:  Take vacations and mini-breaks, practice mindfulness/yoga/meditation, and seek counseling when needed;
  6. Cultivate mentors AND sponsors at the firm;
  7. Exercise regularly, eat healthy & get sleep (like Arianna Huffington told us)!

Sooo...are you in the real world or in the Matrix?  Are you making the 7 moves I've laid out above? If not, and you're in the Legal Career Matrix, consider me your Morpheus with the red pill, I can help get you out of there!

- Calvin

3 Counterintuitive Goal Hacks

I know you.  You've already read a ton of articles about achieving your goals this year. You already know they have to be goals not resolutions because 80% of all resolutions fail by February.  It's been drilled in you that your goals need to be "S.M.A.R.T." and that you need to write them down and post them somewhere.  Maybe you even bought a new planner, downloaded an app or made a vision board.

But every year you initially soar and then fail.

 I believe that I can...whoops!

I believe that I can...whoops!

I've been there.  So this year let's try something different.  I do believe you have to set SMART goals and write them down, but that's not enough.  Here are 3 counterintutive hacks to help you achieve your 2018 goals:

  • Add a "Feeling" to Your Goal
  • Set 3-Month Goals not Annual Goals
  • Have a Super Simple Plan to Achieve the Goal
  1. Add a "Feeling" to Your Goal
    • Include in your goal the feeling you want to have when you succeed.  So instead of just "I want to be a comprehensively-fit 185 lbs by March 31, 2018" make your goal "I want to be a comprehensively-fit 185 lbs by March 31, 2018 so I can feel healthy, vibrant and strong."  This is another version of knowing your "why" like Simon Sinek urges us to do in one of the most watched TED Talks of all time.  Reminding yourself of how you want to feel as part of your goal keeps the "why" front and center when you need to inspire yourself to keep pushing through.  This "why" also helps you in evaluating your results.  What if you reach the goal but don't feel how you wanted to feel?  Time to change the goal!
  2. Set 3-Month Goals not Annual Goals
    • Make it a sprint not a marathon.  It's easier to blow off the things you need to do to achieve a goal when the finish line is many, many months away.  But when your goal has a three-month deadline, you know that what you do this month, this week and hell, TODAY directly affects your success.  So instead of 2018 goals have quarterly goals.  Notice how in the health-related uh, hypothetical above the goal is three months from the beginning of the year (i.e. a first quarter goal) rather than a 2018 goal.  Evaluate progress and set new goals at the end of each 3-month period. 
  3. Have a Super Simple Plan to Achieve the Goal
    • Dumb it down for success.  Pick 1 -3 things you are going to do weekly to achieve the goal, and that's it. As lawyers we looove to make sh*t complicated.  Instead, dumb it down for success.  I totally took this concept from one of my favorite books of all time - The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.  In the example above, the simple plan could be to do two HIIT workouts & one yoga workout a week, and get 7 hours a sleep a night.  You can also have a daily simple thing you do, like "always take the stairs."

That's it!  Those 3 hacks alone will help you succeed.  Have you used any of these before? Do you use any of these now?  Have they helped?  If you try one, let me know (3 months from now) :-) how you do!

*Two Bonus Goal Hacks*

  1. Bonus:  Have a one-word mantra that you repeat daily.  It's one word that embodies your intention and theme for the next three months.  My current one-word mantra is "Execute." It's written on my vision board & I say it daily. My previous one-word mantra was "Stabilize."
  2. Double Bonus: Add "Or something better" at the end of your goal.  Help the universe conspire with you to achieve your goals.  Our beliefs about what we can handle and achieve are often limited by what we think, rather than reality.  Adding "or something better" to the end of your goal reminds your brain daily to subconsciously seek even better or higher goals, and instructs the universe to help you see and achieve them.  Accordingly, the goal above becomes:  "I want to be a comprehensively-fit 185 lbs by March 31, 2018, so I can feel healthy, vibrant and strong...or something better." 

That's enough!  Now I know reading this blog wasn't one of your goals so go on and get back to work!!  :-)

-- Calvin