Day 39 of theÂ 90 Days of AwesomeÂ is in the bank! What made today awesome? I feel satisfied with my work.
Today was one of those days where I felt like I was doing client work almost nonstop. I’m working on a few custom contracts and I had to consultations today. During one of my consultations, I felt like I was going on mile a minute talking about intellectual property and social media legal issues. I paused and asked my client if you understood what I was saying, and he said, â€œYes, this is exactly what we need.â€ I loved that. I love when I know what I do is making a difference in my clients’ lives.
As an existentialist, it is imperative that what I do creates significant tangible differences on others or my surroundings, because if it doesn’t, then why am I here? (Yes, these are real issues and thoughts that I grapple with on a regular basis.)
And can I say that my clients are freakin’ awesome? I love the how smart, creative, and diligent they are. The majority of them are in absolute joy to work for.
Day 23 of theÂ 90 Days of AwesomeÂ is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to help people!
For those of you who don’t know, I’m an existentialist – a big one. An essential part of who I am is based on the idea that what I do matters. It’s not an ego thing, but rather a why-am-I-here thing.
One of the things I love about being a lawyer is that I get help people in ways that they can’t help themselves. I love being able to tell clients, â€œWe can fix that,â€ or â€œWe can make that work.â€ I see my job as being an educator about the law as well as a problem solver because most people don’t know what their rights are, how to protect them, or their options for recourse are when there’s a problem.
I work on preventing problems in solving problems in my work, and lately I’ve been putting in a lot more work on the problem-solving side. I spent a good chunk of today drafting and revising a demand letter for one of my clients, and it felt really good to know that this document may bring my client the resolution he’s seeking. I am both pleased and proud of the work I did today.
One of the benefits and challenges of my work is that it’s not about me personally; it’s about using my skills and talents to achieve my clients’ desired results. So there are times that I have draft documents and negotiate on their behalf in ways that I don’t personally agree with, but are not legally wrong. On the flip side, it also means that it’s possible to have a cordial relationship with the opposing counsel when both sides are acting as zealous advocates for their clients without their egos getting in the way. Those tend to be the fastest and the easiest negotiations.
Some days I’m profoundly aware of the fact that I’m an existentialist. This is one of those days.
I’ve always had to look for the deeper meaning of things. I’m driven by the possibility that what I do makes a difference, that people or things are changed because of something I did. I need to know that what I do has an impact.
Some people have children, and through them they have an inherent legacy that will live on. I have no intention of procreating, so I’m left with the possibility that I will not know what my legacy is because we don’t always know when we make a difference.
In my professional life, I have to change jobs when it stops being meaningful. When I go too long without thinking, â€œThis is why I do what I do,â€ it’s time for me to move on. Before law school, I was a mental health therapist. There were days when I knew what I did mattered and other days where I felt like I was paid conversation. There have been instances where I’ve run into my past client since leaving the profession where they thanked me for the work I did when I thought I wasn’t doing anything.
My friend told me I should have outgrown this mind set when I finished college, and I’m sure it would make certain things easier. I accept that I am what I am and that it comes with the constant questioning and searching for meaning.
I’m not sure what brought on this self-reflection. Maybe it’s because a friend recently had a major heart attack or the fact that the anniversary of another friend’s death just passed. Both of these people were young and vibrant when they encountered unexpected medical emergencies, and one didn’t survive. Danielle Zeder reminded us at Ignite Phoenix #12 that the only guarantees in life are birth and death. We don’t know how much time we have in between and it’s important that we use that time well.
I feel lucky that I’m crafting the life I’ve always wanted. I have my own business, a basset hound who adores me, a singing voice that’s comparable to the angels, and a host of people in my life that I love and who love me. Sometimes I worry that I’m not doing enough to create my legacy, but then I have to step back and remember that that story will be someone else’s to tell. My job is in the here and now.