By Dierdra Howard • April 02, 2017•Writers in Residence, Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
I will grow and flourish where I am planted, while keeping my vision towards my goals.
It has been a long time coming, but spring has finally sprung! As we shake off winter doldrums, we are reminded that this is the season for growth, rebirth and renewal. Often in the legal field, the focus is on the next step, rather than our current station. Whether it’s a second-year associateship, securing your first position after graduation, a big promotion, or deciding upon a career change, our vision all too often is forward. It is vital that we remember each stage is important and it is often the journey, not the destination that shapes us. Yes, identifying future goals is an essential element of success, but it is just as imperative that we learn to flourish where we are planted.
In my late twenties, I wanted to transition from local government to work in the federal sector. Despite the significant experience I gained litigating cases before federal courts, the federal employment options in my hometown were very limited. My only viable options were competing for the few positions in my local market, or moving my life to a city with more opportunities. Not wanting to uproot, I was left feeling miserable and stuck. I was fortunate enough to have a colleague who was able to shift my focus towards the positive. He reminded me of the importance of the work I was currently performing and encouraged me to glean as much as I could from my existing position in preparation for the future. When I really looked at the career I had before me instead of focusing upon what was beyond my grasp, my attitude changed and I was able to view my current status as an opportunity. By shifting my focus to my present position, I actively sought growth opportunities such as special projects and complex cases, which made my resume far more competitive than it previously had been. Additionally, living in the moment helped me to develop a new appreciation and enthusiasm for my position, making for a more rewarding career experience. When the time came to compete for the few federal positions in my hometown, I had a developed resume and a sense of optimism which made me a far more desirable candidate, ultimately leading to my hire. As a result of this experience, I have never forgotten the importance of truly being present.
Shifting your focus to succeeding where you are, rather than obsessing over where you want to go, is a part of the preparation you need for the future. Take the time to be fully present in your current position. Reap all the benefits and opportunities presently available to you, rather than turning your entire focus towards what is ahead. No flower can bloom without strong roots.
Actively seek opportunities to improve your skills where you are currently. Whether that be taking a training course, finding a mentor or attending a workshop or conference, flourishing where you are planted is essential to preparing for future success.
Look for opportunities to develop and improve upon your existing fitness routine. That may be taking a new route while walking during lunch, sharing your workout with a friend or improving your form.
Asana of the Month:
Tree Pose (Vriksasana): This standing posture roots you at your base, yet allows your arms to flourish into the future. Stand straight with your feet hip width apart and your hands at your sides. Place your left foot on your inner calf or upper thigh (not on the knee). Once your right leg is stable, raise your hands above your head in whatever type of tree you like. Hold for three breaths and repeat on the opposite side.