Inspired To Do More
Ten years ago I found myself searching for inspiration. Some may call it “burnout”. . .I myself have even called it that. But you do not need to be burnt out to want to do something different, which is what I wanted. Burnout carries a negative connotation but is often used when you’ve done a job for 20 years and suddenly reach the point of not wanting to do it any longer. Isn’t twenty years in the same position enough? Is there a requirement that you do the same job forever? Does it matter what we call it when you reach the point of being done? The fact is that I no longer wanted to practice litigation in the law firm that I built. I was tired of sitting in an office reading statutes and drafting answers to pleadings. I was over listening to the same answers to the same questions in depositions. I was exhausted of the arguing and the games that came with the territory. I didn’t want to plan one week vacations around my litigation calendar any longer. I wanted more adventures and I wanted to be able to do them anytime I wanted. Perhaps it was burnt out. . .but years later after “recovering”, I have no desire to go back to that life. I was inspired to be more, a lot more actually. Although at the time I had no idea what that more included, I knew that I needed to start right away. But instead of starting right away, I spent years of being stuck and trying to figure out the more. What was I qualified to do? Most litigators feel they are qualified to do only a few things, mostly because we cannot see the possibilities. I had practiced litigation for 20 years and I had no idea about the next act. I looked at the paths of my litigator friends into other law firms or judicial positions, and I knew that wasn’t for me.
Want to know what I did ultimately? I decided to start a food business. I hadn’t anticipated doing that, rather I kind of fell into it. I had a hobby and I had started to sell my products. It grew into a business and then I decided to take a break from the law to see if I could grow it. I mean if it didn’t work, I still had a law degree to fall back on. I was passionate about growing a new type of business, and I felt that it could lead to something more. I had no idea what I was doing—-I just did it. Then I realized something very important: it doesn’t matter WHAT you do, because you can teach yourself anything. Rather, what matters is who you want to be. We put these limits on ourselves because of our resume and it’s ridiculous actually. We let our resume define us. What matters is that if you want to change your life, you TAKE ACTION to become the person you want to be, not let what you do define you. If you don’t take action then you will find yourself in the same position you are at now in ten years, twenty years, thirty years—-until it’s just too late. I didn’t want to regret not doing something different, not doing more.
The journey has not been easy. It was pretty difficult actually. While I did learn how to start a different type of business, I had no idea how to grow it. It wasn’t until I found my own mentor and a tribe of like-minded people that I really took my business to the next level. Then, when I wanted to do more again, my tribe of entrepreneurs supported me and allowed me to think bigger than I ever have.
Are you inspired to do more too? Remember, it’s not about what you do but rather who you want to be and how you want to live your life. Do you want more time with family, to work from home, to travel? Maybe you want to build a business around a passion or a hobby? Perhaps you are a professional who simply wants your own practice so that you can decide when to cross time off your calendar and work from home when you want? What is your dream?