- In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. Theodore Roosevelt
Learn to Ice Skate
A lot of people just afraid to begin learning to ice skate.
I don’t know how and I could get hurt
Of course I know I can easily take ice skating lessons. But right now, ice skating is this murky, opaque, unclear place. It’s cold. There is the white glare. It’s inside. It’s fast. It hurts when you fall. And I have no idea how the balance or the form or the technique is supposed to work. I have no idea how you can skate so straight on this little thin blade. I imagine that I can easily tear my ACL or break my wrist.
And the same goes for leaving the law. For those of us hoping to leave the law, we don’t know how to take that first step. Leaving the law can be a dark place, where we don’t know what we’re doing. We don’t know the structure. We don’t know the tools. We don’t know the scripts. We don’t know the verbiage. We don’t know the non-legal world. And even if we feel that we’re not the best lawyer out there, at least if we remain a lawyer we still know our way around somewhat. Leaving the law can be learned, but it’s still a mystery for many of us.
Of course the people skating on the rink make it look so easy and effortless, but ice-skating is really hard. You need to keep your legs steady and keep your balance, be able to squat, ad be able to fall and get back up. It’s not easy. Like anything, becoming proficient (not perfect, just pretty good at it) takes a while. And it takes effort and discipline and dedication, even if I’m just going to do it as a hobby or to enjoy with my kids.
The same thing goes for looking for a new job and a career in line with our Unique Genius. Sure, we know that there is a structure and a well-thought-out plan and people who have done it before to serve as models, but let’s be honest, it all looks like it is so easy and logical and possible … for “them”, but not for us. For those of us who are still scared to leave the law, we don’t think it’s easy. And we feel we are so far behind. And we feel it’s so difficult to get motivated.
It takes time
I know that to really learn how to ice skate (and enjoy it and become pretty good at it) I’m going to have to carve out the time. I’m already pretty busy, so I’m kind of at a loss as to when I’m going to be able to find the time to take lessons.
And many of us also find it hard to really get any traction on thinking of leaving the law, much less exploring it and acting on it. We get slammed with work. We get a new deal or trial or matter that requires our full attention. And in the few hours where we’re not at our office, we’re thinking about work as we go to sleep or we’re trying to fit in a time to workout or see friends or spend time with the family. And so we ask ourselves how can we also take on all of the work required to leave the law?
Ice skating is still new to me. It’s no less cold. It’s still hard to fall on. I still have no idea what to expect.
But these are all not reasons to continue. I know one day I’ll learn and be pretty good at it.
I’m scared. But in clearly spelling out my fears, weighing what was really keeping me from moving forward and identifying a small babystep, I’m no longer paralyzed.
I’m suddenly motivated.
Just like you can be.