So you’ve decided to make a move – or maybe you’ve already made it. Now what?

by Darlene Tonelli, August 28, 2018.

This is the sixth part of our eight part series on finding happiness and freedom in the legal profession. We hope we have inspired you to think about why you may feel stuck in your current position and how it’s possible to change the story in your head that keeps you there.

Last week we talked about how important it is to write down your new story. Before that, we worked through the process of uncovering your old story– fear of change, loss of income, etc. – and budgeted time to assess whether what you were telling yourself was actually true.

Now we need to talk about one more stage in this process.

What you’ll find once you make a change

Accepting that you’re stuck and need a new direction is not easy. Finding a new position that brings you satisfaction and pays the bills is also not easy – but definitely not as hard as you think.

So what happens when you fully turn your mind to moving in a new direction? Say you’ve opened your own small firm or you’ve decided to work solo from your home or from a shared workspace. Or perhaps you’ve moved from Big Firm to in-house.

Whatever choice you have made, congratulations! You are now where you should be, or at least you’re well on your way. Hopefully, you feel less weight on your shoulders and on your heart. But this doesn’t mean life is suddenly magically transformed. There are two factors we still need to discuss:

  1. There is an expression, “wherever you go, there you are.” We need to talk this one through so you can minimize its effect on your transition; and
  2. Doing what is best for you doesn’t mean everyone around you will support your decision – and it doesn’t mean that everything suddenly works out.

We’ll talk about point 2 in next week’s post.

Wherever you go, there you are.

To truly make a change in your external circumstances that improves your happiness, you have to make a few changes internally. This conscious decision we’re advocating has to be about pursuing what is RIGHT for you, not about escaping what is wrong. Said another way, it’s better to move toward something, not away from something.

If you believe the problem in your current job is something outside yourself that you cannot control, like a bad boss or office politics, there’s no guarantee you won’t find one or both when you switch careers. It’s the input (the boss’s) and the reaction (yours) that combine to create the problem. Being aware of this is step one to NOT repeating this in your new role.

The difficulties you had at your old job will not magically disappear – and some of them, especially if you’ve gone into business for yourself, may even increase. However, in a dream job, it’s much easier to be in the mindset of wanting to fix those patterns so you can succeed in the position you were born to be in. Now it’s WORTH IT! If you apply the same level of intensity to being happy as you do to other aspects of your life, you are more likely to achieve it.

It is amazing how working hard for yourself feels so much better than working hard for someone else, if you’ve gone into business on your own – or with a partner. And if you’re not on your own, well, there are always the stresses of a new job, with new co-workers and a learning curve, but this too just feels better because YOU decided this is the challenge you want to face. YOU decided you no longer wanted to be stuck and now you are not. This is life changing.

When you make positive decisions and act on them, you are willing to accept less money (initially) or a smaller office or perhaps no office at all. The things that may have brought you happiness before just don’t mean as much now. Suddenly really getting to know a client or securing a deal for your new company is much more fulfilling than the gratification that used to come from catered lunches. You’ll find a lot of new happiness where you are now. A different, deeper happiness. And in the end, that’s what most of us strive for!

Next week, we’ll talk about the second factor we mentioned above – unplugging from the need for approval from others. As promised, each week we’re introducing actionable steps to get “unstuck” in your career as a professional.

We welcome your input at any time. Find us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram

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