NOTE: this post was originally offered on my non-commercial blog (www.enjoyingtheride.net), which at the time of this posting is still up and running (but may not be in the future).
For the past month, I’ve promised to share what I’m up to with you. And it’s finally time for that. As most of you know, I’m a lawyer. I’ve practiced law for over 18 years (the past 13 of them with the same firm). And I’ve chosen to leave my legal career behind. For coaching. I’ve received quite a few questions about my choice. Most of them boil down to two main questions. Why? How did I get here? I’ll try to give you those answers today.
As you’ve likely gathered by now, I’ve struggled with my purpose and place in this world ever since my cancer battle. When I initially recovered, I worked hard to get back to normal. But I soon discovered that I couldn’t go back to who I was before the cancer. Cancer had changed me somehow. And I needed to figure out exactly what that meant. So, I went into a self-discovery mode. Self-discovery that is still ongoing.
An interesting side note: I’ve learned that self-discovery is something that I want to be doing always. Because it means that I’m always growing. And I want to do that forever. Stagnation in life scares me more than fear of the unknown.
So, after several years of trying to figure out my “new normal”, I realized how cancer had changed me. Cancer didn’t change who I am, but it did change my purpose in life.
My cancer journey was empowering in many ways. I know that may sound strange to you. But it’s true. Others empowered me through their unselfish service to me and my family. Their acts of kindness. Their words. Their prayers. Their presence. They lifted me up and gave me emotional, spiritual, and physical strength. And it empowered me to live more fully. With complete presence and love of life. Especially when times were difficult.
This forged within me a need to serve others. And empower them. Coaching seemed like a perfect fit.
Throughout my legal career, I’ve always loved mentoring. Truth be told, I haven’t mentored in the traditional sense. It always seemed to me that most mentoring was done wrong. It was more about the mentor than the mentee. And it consisted primarily of telling the mentee what worked for the mentor in the hopes that the mentee would learn to do the same for themselves.
But no two people are the same. They don’t have the same values, needs or priorities – even when they’re in the same career. And their families (and family structure) are also different. So, I helped my mentees to discover what would work for them based on their values and their priorities (not mine). And that seemed to work best of all.
Honestly, I didn’t realize I was coaching them. I thought of it as a different way of mentoring. But as I went through my self-discovery process and analyzed what I loved about mentoring, I realized that I had been coaching my mentees. Which led me to research what coaching was all about. I talked to several coaches and did a lot of on-line research (the lawyer in me will never die). And coaching felt right.
So, I enrolled in a coaching school and took classes on the side. All while managing a busy law practice. It was crazy, but I loved it. I didn’t want to jump too fast – I dipped my toes into the water to see if coaching was a fit for me. And I discovered that it is a perfect fit. Because I’m a coach at heart.
For whatever reason, I’ve wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was a kid. I have no idea why. No one in my family was a lawyer. But it’s something that I wanted badly. So, I went to law school and graduated with honors. I got a job in a big firm and started practicing. In all honesty, I didn’t love practicing law at first. However, I learned over time that much of that was my fault. I realized that I could build my practice in a way that best served me – based on who I am and my priorities. That is when I started to love my career.
But I knew I didn’t want to be a lawyer forever. For whatever reason, I always knew in the back of my head that I wasn’t meant to practice law until retirement. That there was something else I should be doing. And now it’s time for that something else.
So, although I’m a bit scared, I’m moving forward onto a new path. A path where I can (hopefully) empower others through my service to them. Because I believe with all my heart that each of us has greatness within us. And that we each deserve to live a passionate, purposeful life full of joy. More importantly, I believe we each have the answers to get us to that life. Even if we’re unaware. Sometimes all we need is someone who’s willing to serve us in a way that empowers us to find those answers and act upon them.
My coaching practice will (initially) focus on helping busy professionals have thriving lives. That means a career that they love AND a personal life that supports them (and that they have enough time for). Through my life experiences and my mentoring of busy attorneys, I’ve learned that it is possible to find this. But it only comes when we define success by our own standards (not the world’s) and when we learn to make choices that align with our needs, values, and priorities. All too often, many of us lose sight of who we are and get lost in what we think we’re supposed to do (not what we need to do for ourselves).
My goal is to help my clients realign themselves with who they are and get comfortable with how to make decisions that align with their “who”. So that they no longer need me. Because they’ll trust themselves, will have confidence in their ability to know what’s right for them, and will act accordingly. Without regret, guilt or worry.
I’m currently working on my website and all the behind-the-scenes administrative stuff that needs to get done for my clients to receive impeccable service. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about them. I’ll be done and will launch my new business website in a few weeks. Of course, I’ll let you know once I launch. In the meantime, should you have any questions or want to talk you can always reach out to me.
What will happen to this blog? I’ll be continuing it. I plan to move it to my new website and away from this site at some point in the future. It’s too much work to keep two separate websites. I’m not quite sure when that will happen. Please know that, regardless of where my blog is, it will still be the same blog. I like what it is and want it to continue. For now, I’ll be posting every other week. I know that’s reduced from what I started doing, but I’m stretched a bit thin right now – so please forgive me. I’ll get back to blogging weekly as soon as I can.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. But, if I’ve learned anything throughout my life, it’s that life brings with it many changes. Nothing is static. And I may as well move forward on this new path with curiosity. So that I can learn everything that I’m meant to while on it. And that’s what will make it worthwhile – no matter what happens.
So, now that you know what I’m up to, how I got here and why I’m making the change, I’ve got a question for you to answer below. Is there anything that’s been pulling you in a different direction that you haven’t been listening to? If so, I want to know: (a) what it is; and (b) why you’re not listening. When talking to people about my recent change, many people have commented that they wish they had the courage to also make a change. If you’re one of these people, I want to hear from you in the comments below.
Until next time…