An Open Letter to You

Dear Attorney:

I’ve been there too.

You worked hard to get to where you are. You secured a good job and have been giving it your all. But for some reason, you don’t feel like you belong. Or, you don’t feel like you are doing anything right. Or, you seem to be doing everything right, yet something feels off.

While this may apply to any profession, I’m talking directly to attorneys.

When I started out on my journey as an attorney, I was full of hope, determination and passion. I thought I had all the tools I needed to become a really good attorney. I had a job at a great firm, some great mentors, great colleagues, and lots of resources. I passed the Bar, I could do anything.

Then, reality set in. 

But first, I digress for one moment. This letter is not in any way shape or form bad mouthing the legal profession. The legal profession is wonderful and necessary. Lawyers are some of the smartest, most insightful, most capable people I know. This letter is an open invitation to any attorney who feels like he or she isn’t ‘enough’ for this profession. This letter is an open invitation to any attorney who truly does love the law, yet doesn’t understand why he or she isn’t thriving in it. This letter is an open invitation to any attorney who is contemplating quitting the law altogether.

Back to reality.

I had a lot of tools, yet I still felt lost. For me personally, my journey has taken me to a place where I firmly know that the traditional practice of law isn’t for me. But, it most definitely may be for you.

So how will you know this?

Well, you take matters into your own hands. You give yourself the best chance to give practicing law a go, and you begin to open yourself up to the tools and resources that law school and law firms don’t teach you about.

What I’ve come to understand as I reflect back on ten years as an attorney and two years as a coach is that we need to take care of our whole self, not just the lawyer part. In order to be the best darn attorney you can be, you need to learn how to care for and love yourself up, especially when you have a demanding and challenging role such as this.

You’re losing me, Gabriela.

Let me paint you a picture. When I practiced law, I was up early, grabbing coffee before work. Maybe I had time for breakfast, maybe I didn’t. Donuts sat on the center island because it’s always someone’s birthday. If the billable hour allows, I go for lunch, usually something quick. Or, I go to a big heavy lunch with colleagues or clients. By 3pm, I’m crashing, time for more sugar and more coffee. Happy hour after work or skip dinner to keep working. By the time I get home I’m extremely wound up, can’t let go of the day, and pop a melatonin to get some kind of sleep. I have dreams that freak me out because I’m anxious about my clients, my work, deadlines, you name it.

The next day, the cycle repeats itself. Days turn into weeks, which turn into months, which turn into years. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was letting the profession dictate my life.

Doubt creeps in, anxiety about your abilities can build. You’re not sure how you got on this hamster wheel, but there you are. And, you don’t know how to get off. Student loans and rent have you feeling like you simply can’t quit your job. You think about your clients, how will they survive? And your reputation? What will happen to that? The pressure starts to mount and inevitably you start to fall, and fall hard.

You’re a good lawyer. But somehow, you got lost under all the pressure.

You want to quit. That adds more pressure. Law school was a waste. Now you want to get a degree in teaching. The thought of spending more money feels like even more pressure. When does it all end?

I’m smiling because my heart is racing as the anxiety mounts in me, and because the me of today knows a different way.

And that’s what I desire to share with you.

There is a different way. It may not be the traditional way, and I know for a fact that most schools and employers don’t teach what I’m about to share with you (although I must say that some are changing their ways, and that’s amazing!).

But, there is a way to allow you to really find out if the traditional practice of law is for you. And here’s how you can go about taking care of your whole self so you can lessen or eliminate unnecessary stressors so you can truly give the practice of law a go.

Gabriela’s Toolbox for Lawyers who are Struggling:

  1. Breathe | The breath is the single most powerful tool for calming a racing heart and mind. It is scientifically proven that taking deep, intentional breaths will help you feel calmer and more focused. Now, breathe.
  2. Nature | Connecting with nature is extremely grounding. Remember that scene in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere takes his shoes and socks off at the park? That’s what I’m talking about. Connect to something bigger than yourself and watch some of the tension melt away.
  3. Water | Stay hydrated. Your brain and your body won’t work as well (foggy brain, anyone?) if it’s dehydrated. Drink up!
  4. You Time | Perhaps this looks like a long shower, or a drive by the lake. Or maybe it’s a long vacation or a 20 minute meditation. Whatever it is, carve out some time just for YOU. (Your client’s will survive.)
  5. Daily Inspiration | Small reminders that you are on the right track, are doing a good job, and are simply a good human being can really make a difference in your day. Here’s my gift to you, a daily reminder that you are where you are meant to be and life is amazing.
  6. High Vibration | So this one requires a little more explanation, but the gist is that we are all energetic beings. When we are constantly around “negative” energy by way of people fighting against each other (inherent in the practice of law), we can absorb this negative energy. And in turn, it makes us feel like crap, in other words, not like ourselves. The first step is simply being aware of this. Knowing that you may be absorbing the tension of your clients or the anxiety of your boss is important. Then, play around with some tools that can help you increase your vibration (a/k/a makes you feel good) and release the negative energy of others.

A Few High Vibration Tools:

  1. Kundalini Yoga | This lineage of yoga is so powerful for aligning your mind, body and spirit. My mentor and the lovely soul who introduced me to Kundalini loves this teacher. By getting your heart and mind in sync, you can say bye bye bye to unnecessary stress and tension. (Hehe, did you see what I did there?)
  2. Meditation / Chanting | By way of Kundalini Yoga, I have found a beautiful way to meditate and/or chant. Here is one of my favorite mantras to listen to. And here’s the best part, you don’t have to do a thing. All you have to do is sit and listen. I know you can do it!
  3. A Tribe | You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You may not have too much control over who you are clients and/or colleagues are, and that’s ok. Simply  being aware of this theory means that you can take action to counter any negative effects (by using these tools) and by surrounding yourself with people who are in that higher vibrational state that you desire to be in. Another great way to find that Tribe is through a mastermind group, whether it’s other lawyers or yogis or somewhere in between, surround yourself with others who desire to take meaningful action in their lives and watch your life change, too.
  4. Essential Oils | All natural, super potent, and clean products. Essential Oils are high vibrational tools (see image) which can help elevate your vibration and (bonus!) that of anyone around you. Because your body chemistry is unique, you’ll want to explore which oils work for you. Let me suggest some that I believe will help attorneys (and their clients): Cheer, Motivate, Tangerine, Balance, Cedarwood, and Vetiver. Diffusing them is a great (and non-intrusive) way of using them! These are game changers, I love them, and you can get some here. (Or e-mail me!)

Phew! That’s a lot! (Yes, and each piece is so worth it!)

Friends, I share this with you because I want you to THRIVE in your chosen career. You went to law school for a reason. Why not give yourself the absolute best chance of understanding if this is truly the career for you?

If you could lessen or eliminate unnecessary stressors that are getting in the way of truly experiencing the practice of law as it’s best, would you do it? (And, no excuses because now you know!) <3

Let me know if I can help. I’m here to support you in any way possible. And those oils? If you want a sample, send me your address and I’ll get those to you.