Katie McKenna delves into what we’re all made of.
In my case, I must be chocolate. In all honesty, our reality is driven by what we consume daily and I’m not just talking about carbs and protein. Naturally, lawyers are trained to be risk adverse and see potential issues, problems and horrors awaiting in every transaction.
We take action to mitigate these risks and concerns obviously but it doesn’t fully escape our attention and we are always watching our own (and our clients backs) for the potential for financial, reputational, time consuming and miscellaneous damage causing monsters.
With this heavy burden hanging over us, it’s not a massive surprise that a lot of us can feel a bit down/low/negative.
We are what we consume, and we spend our professional lives gorging on a varied range of problems. Yes, we are very skilled at solving them, contracting for the possibility of same and offering practical solutions but how do we as a profession, see the positive again.
Feed your body
We work hard and when in court, at our desks, or knee deep in a massive client issue, we can forget to eat at all let alone take the time necessary to make a proper nutritious and fortifying meal. Water is such a vital part of our internal functions, but rarely do we hydrate using anything other than coffee. If you do anything after reading this, have a glass of water!
It’s not just about calorie intake, it’s about feeding our bodies with movement and proper rest. You should make time to go for that walk, work it all out at the gym or go to bed early! It might feel counter intuitive with a deadline hanging over you, but it can make you feel so much better. If we neglect our basic needs, our performance will not be the best it could be.
Feed your mind
When we deal predominantly with worse case scenarios, our brains naturally operate from a rather negative place. For example, when you think about buying a new car, all you can see from then on is that make and model car everywhere you go. Your brain will never make you a liar. So, if you believe the world is full of horrible people, all you will see are the actions of horrible people whilst all the kind and good-hearted deeds go unnoticed. Gratitude is a really easy way to rewire your thoughts – just think of five things that you appreciate on a regular basis. You will be amazed at how this simple practice can change your mindset away from one of negativity.
Feed your soul
When was the last time you did something good for yourself? This has been a hard time of uncertainty and we all need to make time for ourselves, to rest and relax and enjoy life when we can. When did you last take a moment to truly listen to what you need and appreciate how far you have come. We also feed our souls when we help others. We help people professionally day to day, but we can help without using our legal skills too. Looking for inspiration here? Try getting more involved in your local area and the causes that are active therein. You could reignite your passion for tennis, volunteer to help your local Brownie or scout troop or get involved in projects to create positive change.
Feed your career
This is not just about progressing up the ladder, it’s about creating a career and reputation that brings you joy and fortifies your purpose in life. It’s about widening your own knowledge and experience. So many in our profession are consumed with the here and now that we rarely find time to fully consider what we want.
For example, when was the last time you properly thought about where you want to be in five years? What steps, training or action needs to be completed to achieve this? Research it and make a plan.
Have you taken time to think about how you can utilise your skills out with the law? There are so many valuable non-executive director, trustee and board positions than can widen your skillset and knowledge. In a similar vein, have you considered how your experience can help the next generation of solicitors or how you can benefit from same? There are some excellent mentoring schemes in place that are always calling out for willing participants.
This is just food for thought. Hopefully, by binging on all the delicious and good stuff in life we can stop worrying about impact the reality of our professional lives can have.