Part II: Making the Transition
Last week I asked you to consider the standards of success you aspire to at work and life outside work. Below are seven strategies to help strengthen your ability to self-author. Remember – small changes build over time.
- Reflect on your own “stories” about what it means to be successful in work and life. Make a list of the standards you are aspiring toward in all aspects of your life.
- Test some of your “certainties” that arise from your list of “stories” about what it means to be successful by asking “Is that really true?” For example, if you believe you “have to” check email instantly, ask yourself, “Is that true?” Start with small experiments. What happens if you check email every 15 minutes, or every half hour? At home, do you “have to” make a gourmet meal from scratch, or will take-out do? You get the idea.
- Consider how influenced are you by external messages – are you always referencing what others do or think? (g., “What does the senior partner do?” “What does my family/friend think of what I am doing?” “What do all the other mothers do?”) Notice how you feel when you make a decision that is not in alignment with external messages.
- Identify your values. Make a list of your top values. When you notice the pull toward meeting external standards, practice centering on your value.
- Look for places and situations where you may have more choices than you think. Remember this lesson from the WLF Leadership Communication Workshop: every complaint is an unasked request. When you find yourself complaining about everything you have to do, ask yourself “What do I need?” Try to identify the request, and then make it.
- Change your language. Practice saying, “I choose to” rather than “I have to.” Language creates our reality.
- Talk to other women lawyers. One of the greatest challenges for women lawyers making the transition is the feeling of isolation that comes with making different choices. Talk to other women about the ways they are self-authoring. Use this WLF network for support or create your own.
Remember, you are not alone!