From Paralegal to Associate:  How to Maintain your Enthusiasm

The first few months into the legal profession are a whirlwind of emotions.  You are thrilled to have passed the BAR.  You are finally an attorney.  The pressure of doing a great job are mixed with the enthusiasm you feel for finally doing what took a few years to accomplish.  Then the months pass, and slowly be surely, the rush you get in those first few months dissipate.  The long hours are getting to you.  The mundanity of some of the tasks are getting you bored out of your mind.  How does one stay motivated and enthusiast?  How do you maintain work satisfaction?

Here are some tips to keep your passion for practicing law:

1.  Be Grateful.

I found that I can maintain a certain level of motivation when I appreciate how lucky I am to be able to do the job that I do.  I consciously remind myself that I am lucky to represent those who are unable to represent themselves.  It is important to realize the impact that you’re making.  Don’t be shy to also boost your confidence by sharing your wins with your friends and family.  Hearing them congratulate back will make you more appreciative of your job. 

2.  Stop the Negative Talk.

By constantly focusing on what’s wrong, you amplify the problems which then turns into a spiral of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.  I know at time it is hard not to complain and stay positive, but with practice it gets easier.  Whenever you feel like you are about to start complaining, stop, acknowledge the feelings you are feelings but just let them pass through you without letting your brain run with it.  Don’t fight the feelings in your body.  The goal is not to run away from the problems and the feelings, the goal is to just let them go through your body without getting to your mind.  This can be accomplished by doing few breathing exercises, go for a walk, listen to soothing music, treat yourself to a small break, etc.  Do more “caring” stuff for your body.  Finally, focus on your strengths rather than your weakness.  Recognize that no one can be the best at everything.

3.  Go with the Flow.

There are many things in the law practice that are out of our control.  Often the best thing to do is to surrender of what’s beyond our control and to just go with the flow.  By doing so, you will be more present and happy. 

4. Take a break.

Working as a lawyer, it may seem impossible to ever switch off but by taking quick breaks here and there, or just allowing yourself to enjoy your lunch break without your phone, might make a huge difference.  What’s equally as important when taking a break, is to remember to take time to care for your personal and social life.  Make time for friends and family.  Relationships enhance happiness.  And happiness in return enhance work satisfaction.

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