I love hearing from lawyers I have coached, especially when they are doing well. Years ago, I received an email from Jodi McDougall, a Seattle lawyer I coached at the time. She said:

Jodi McDougall 2


What did Jodi mean when she said she was “seriously in the zone?” It is a term more often used to describe athletes, musicians and artists. I describe being in the zone in my e-book “Strategy for Your Career and Your Life.”

As you will see from my e-book, being in the zone is when you are so involved in what you are doing and the experience is so enjoyable that nothing else seems to matter. You love doing it for the sheer joy of doing it.

Think back when you were a child. When you were playing, you were likely in the zone because you were absorbed in what you were doing at the time. You were intrinsically motivated.

As you grew up you likely began to focus on extrinsic motivation, including rewards from doing something and the approval of parents, teachers and others. As a young lawyer, you may still be driven by extrinsic motivations, salary, bonus, promotion and approval of senior lawyers.

Did you ever see Chariots of Fire? Just listening to the theme music and watching makes me think of being in the zone.

How you can get back in the zone?  Set some goals that challenge you and keep track of how you are doing. Focus on what you are working on and try to eliminate distractions. Identify 1-3 things you can do to gain control of your career, your life and your future. If you do those three things, you will feel like Jodi.