Along the way to charting your own course, below are critical habits to be implemented as you stay focused on growing a fulfilling and prosperous career.
Ask for what you want. Women lawyers often grapple with asking for what they want professionally. Guaranteed if you do not ask, you will not receive. What holds you back may be a greater question to pose. What are you afraid of? Does the “perfection syndrome” wearily loom over you? Take a courageous step to answer these questions to move you in the right direction. Check out Women Don’t Ask an inspiring book by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever for additional resources.
Challenge the status quo. How many times have you been shut down with “this is the way we’ve always done it”; “no one’s ever done it that way before”, ad nauseum? Everything is negotiable. Start from that point and confidently state your case. Whether it is a prospective client company you attempt to originate on behalf of the firm or considering the terms of a new employer, remember, everything is negotiable.
Become your own advocate. All too often, women lawyers tenaciously advocate for their clients, their children and family, but not so much for themselves. The next time you need to speak up for yourself and are reluctant to do so, envision yourself as the client of you. Go ahead, just consider it.
Break out of your box. Building a prosperous book of business requires commitment, tenacity, and stepping back to frequently think outside of the box of how to leverage your growing network, your area of expertise and all resources available to you. Carve out some time for yourself, no distractions, no interruptions, on a regular basis to just “be”. This exercise is one of the most powerful when we allow ourselves to be creative, to envision what we truly want from our careers. Some find meditation a productive way to accomplish this state of being. Whatever works, do it. From these creative thoughts will materialize a marketing plan….not an anthology but rather a few concrete steps you can take on a regular basis to cultivate strong business relationships and build a strong reputation in your area(s) of expertise.
As women, we have always had to fight harder, be more resilient, and press more than some of our counterparts. While the professional landscape is creeping forward slowly, let us forge on to meet our professional goals.
I am often troubled to see that many women attorneys practicing in law firms either proactively decide (professional suicide) or decide by default (no action taken) that, as long as firm partners are feeding them work, they’re good. These intelligent women (and men as well) are fed the “don’t worry about bringing in new files” line by firm partners, or they are lulled into complacency as a result of the constant feeding at the trough of the few firm rainmakers. Either way, the long-term career prospects are dim unless these folks somehow have an “aha” moment and realize that increased earning potential and long-term job security is directly linked to developing and growing a healthy book of business of their own. Don’t let this be you.
To learn how to apply these principles and propel your practice forward, click the button below for a free download How women lawyers can create the career of their dreams by charting their own course. Do it today!