Life’s Challenges Can Lead to the Greatest Rewards

When starting out in the legal field, the idea of creating a successful career from scratch can be daunting. Having role models and mentors can provide a road map, but we each must find our own definition of success. To own the path and choices you have made is, I believe, the best way to foster feelings of accomplishment in what can be a long and demanding career. This is not an easy feat, but I believe it starts by setting expectations for yourself and your career and being open to changing those expectations as you mature and grow into your job as a lawyer. However, there are three pieces of advice that I have found to be universal and endlessly useful, no matter how many times I need to remind myself of them: 1) retain control on your time; 2) work with people you enjoy; and 3) find a job that you like more often than you do not.

Regardless of your definition of success, to become truly great at anything, whether it be a sport, a musical instrument, or a legal practice, takes time. The best piece of advice I was given early in my career was that no one else has ultimate control on my time and no one will set boundaries on my time for me. Creating my definition of success has meant attempting to strike a balance between what I want to be doing and what I need to be doing, continually working on a strategy to make that happen most of the time, and giving myself room to compromise, fail, and try again when work or life gets in the way of my carefully laid plans. That being said, finding a group of people that you enjoy working with can make all of the long hours less of a drain on your spirit. Work with people who respect you, who make you laugh, and who challenge you intellectually. Strive to build a career working for clients that value your work and your time. Whenever possible, find joy in the small accomplishments—they add up over a lifetime. A successful career, no matter how you define it, is built slowly over a long span of time but, in the end, it is the challenges in life that often lead to the greatest rewards.