Three Questions About Your Law Firm and Your Life

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Where are you right now, in your career and in your life?

Are you where you thought you would be?

Does your law practice, your business, enhance your life or detract from it?

One cold winter morning ten years ago I was not focused on those three questions.  I was not focused on anything.  I was flat on my back, strapped to a wooden board on a gurney. I stared at the ceiling, counting the tiles that passed by as the paramedics and doctor pushed me faster and faster down a seemingly endless hallway.  Everything below my shoulders was numb.

My mind was making up for the lack of motion in my body.  It was racing with blistering speed. I was not thinking about all the things I would not be able to do if the feeling did not return.  I was thinking about my priorities.  I was thinking specifically about all the family things, all the life things I had put off because I thought my work and my life could not coexist. 
It is amazing how your life can change in a split second.

Earlier that morning I made a choice to drop off a file at a client’s office instead of meeting my wife for lunch.  I could have sent a messenger with the file.  I could have emailed the documents.  I could have done several different things, but the client demanded I bring the file personally so he could review the work and give me immediate feedback.

I walked at a brisk pace as I stepped off the curb with the rest of the pedestrians crossing with the light, in the crosswalk.  I was not on my mobile phone. I was not distracted.  I was thinking about crossing the street.

When the Yellow Cab hit me time stood still.  I could see the horror on the faces of the other pedestrians as I flew 24 feet 7 inches and hit the ground with a sickening thud.  I remember hearing the commotion as a group of Good Samaritans chased down the cab driver and pulled him out of the cab.  I also remember the kind woman who asked me if she could call someone as they loaded me into the ambulance.

Back in the hospital my focus changed when the ceiling tiles gave way to a long metal tube into which I was carefully loaded by six hospital staffers.  The only thing louder than the annoying hum of the equipment was the sound of my thoughts.  Thoughts of things I had yet to do.  Things I had put off.  Quality time I had not spent with people in my life that really mattered.

Things worked out for me after that day…in more ways than one.

By the grace of God I suffered no lasting injuries from that accident.  But it served as a wake-up call.  I made the decision that from that day forward my work was going to be something that enabled my life. I was going to be passionate about every aspect of my work and I was going to delegate things I did not enjoy.  I was only going to accept clients who energized me and I was not going to let anyone dictate the terms under which I would operate.  I would take time to do things that were important both for my clients and my family. And I would make those two previously competing forces live in harmony in my life.

Ten years later it is still a work in progress.  But it is a process I am enjoying, each and every single day.

My call to action to you is a simple one:  Ask yourself these three questions:

Where are you right now, in your career and in your life?

Are you where you thought you would be?

Does your law practice, your business, enhance your life or detract from it?

If you are unhappy with the answers, do something about it. Don’t wait for a dramatic event to be the catalyst.  Make changes immediately.

Do not wait for tomorrow as tomorrow is guaranteed to no one.