A lawyer I coached once asked how I could possibly leave a secure, successful law practice in a large firm to go out on my own to coach, mentor, and help lawyers.
I told her that Nancy had asked me the very same question when I told her in 2004 that I planned to make the change.
It was a logical question for the lawyer and for Nancy given that my construction law practice was thriving, my clients were happy, my last trial resulted in a a great result. I loved practicing construction law and I loved my clients. I finally answered her question this way:
Coaching lawyers was the intersection of my talent, my passion and a need.
Simply put, I discovered when I worked with lawyers in my old law firm that helping those lawyers achieve success and fulfillment was the intersection of my passion and talent.
It also fulfilled a need. The lawyers I coached appreciated the help I gave them.
Finally, it was a new challenge. Long ago I discovered that I easily got bored doing things I had done many times before. While my law practice energized me, and I loved working with my favorite clients, I was even more energized by my efforts to help young lawyers and I felt I was making a greater contribution.
I can look back on that decision now. Had I continued practicing law I would have been far more financially secure than I am now. I didn’t make as much money as I had hoped I would make coaching lawyers. Even in my best years, I made only a fraction of what I made practicing law.
That said I doubt I would change anything. I worked with awesome young lawyers. Many of them are leading rainmakers or firm leaders now. Many share their success stories with me by email or handwritten notes. I discovered my passion when practicing law and later when coaching was helping others succeed…and having a feeling I had some part to play in their success.
What does my career change mean to you? I believe it is important to find your passion, talent and a client need. The lawyers I coach who are most successful have found that sweet spot. I saw a quote from the late Herman Cain. He said:
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you’ll be successful.” ~ Herman Cain
So naturally the question I ask is: Do you love what you do?