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Want Career Advice? Look Within First

Most likely, we are all familiar with Robert Frost’s famous opening stanza:

            “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

            And sorry I could not travel both

            And be one traveler, long I stood

            And looked down one as far as I could

            To where it bent in the undergrowth.”

And most likely, we have been confronted by analysis paralysis at one point or another in our lives. It oftentimes casts a shadow on the plethora of career advice received from various sources – fellow students, professors, seasoned attorneys, mentors who all have something worthwhile to say. But there is a point at which the back-and-forth cost-benefit, plus-and-minus tally marking and mulling over a decision become downright inefficient.

Indecision and the risk of analysis paralysis become poignantly accentuated in law school, where the pressure to walk along a certain route – internship-wise, career-wise, life-wise, you name it – can rob us of the one thing that matters most: Intuition.

In my own personal confrontation with indecision when deciding what the next best step for my career would be, I searched and perhaps even exhausted all imaginable sources of advice as I set up informational interviews and engaged in some (okay, maybe a lot of) LinkedIn profile stalking. It’s all about networking and making the ‘right’ decisions and being at the right place at the right time, I thought as I justified hours of anxiety. It came as a surprise, then, that my efforts to make an informed decision got me even farther away from making a decision in the first place.

And then, as a last resort an hour before having to respond to a decision deadline, I turned to Google. There I found a neatly-packaged reminder by way of Tim Ferriss: “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.”  

Allow a moment to let that sink in.

Law is a profession that allows for a lot of second-guessing. It is also one that can easily muddle decisions for someone already predisposed to over-analyzing in the oddest of ways (Buying a yoga mat, for instance? Let the 30+ minutes of researching the best mat out there ensue; traveling cross-country for an internship? Two-minute decision).

And so, the career advice you should seek out – first and foremost – is the one tucked in your gut rather than one located in an email message or a coffee interview. If a pending decision does not sit well with you, be impulsive and move away: no looking back, just onward. Don’t accept things for prestige. The flip side to that is, of course, don’t sell yourself short. 

Embrace uncertainty. Embrace your intuition. Only then will you be able to embrace your career decisions and, above all, life itself. 

 

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