I went through most of my career thinking that everyone else enjoyed their legal career as much as I did. Later in my career I could see my initial belief was not true. I could see it in the eyes of many young lawyers.

At that point I began reading articles about how unhappy lawyers are. You can find many articles and studies on the subject. Here is just one: The Depressed Lawyer. Take a look at the article because you will find some practical advice that might help avoid the problem.

As you may know, after reading the articles and surveys I wrote a book: Say Ciao to Chow Mein: Conquering Career Burnout. It is available both as a hard copy and electronically on your Kindle, Nook or iPad.

Why was I always upbeat about my work? Looking back now, I think I always had an answer to the “why” question.

Someone once asked Albert Einstein “if you could ask God one question, what would it be?” He first replied he would ask God how the Universe began. After reflection, he said he would ask God why the universe began, because then he would know the meaning of his own life.

Perhaps the most powerful discussion on life purpose can be found in Viktor Frankl‘s book: Man’s Search for Meaning, which was dictated in nine days and sold nine million copies before the Vienna psychiatrist’s death in 1997.

In trying to examine his own life purpose after losing his entire family, including his wife, in the Holocaust, Frankl left a legacy for all:

Everyone has his own specific motivation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment and demand fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.

I see Frankel also emphasizing the why question.

More recently, Dr. Rick Warren wrote in the best selling book The Purpose Driven Life that he once got lost in the mountains and stopped to ask for directions back to his campsite. He was told, “You can’t get there from here. You must start from the other side of the mountain.”

This didn’t mean his goal was impossible. It meant that no goal is possible if you focus on the starting point. You need to be able to see past whatever’s blocking your path, real or imagined mountains and view the endpoint. If you keep your sight focused on your goal, you will find your way under, over or through any obstacles in your way.

It’s vital, then, to use your vision wisely to set your sights on the goal you truly wish to achieve. If your vision ends at your annual review, at your monthly hours billed report or at your last paycheck, your success may end there as well. If you apply your vision to your purpose, the end is limited only by your view of the horizon.

One final quote from Purpose Driven Life:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others.