Finding Your Motivation to Drive Forward

There are two kinds of lawyers. (Actually, there are a lot more than two, but work with me here, okay?)

One kind of lawyer is “drawn to” something.

The other kind of lawyer is “pushing away” from something.

Here’s what I mean.

Let's do this in reverse order.

“Pushing Away” Lawyers

Pushing away lawyers have identified all the negatives about what they do. They’ve discovered the pain points, and they’re striving to eliminate the parts of their work that make them miserable.

Some of the pushing away lawyers are in larger firms.

  • They’re annoyed about their lack of control.
  • They don’t like having to meet requirements imposed by others.
  • They don’t like the clients dumped on them.
  • They don’t like their lack of choice about fees, staff, etc.

They’ve got a long list of complaints.

Some of the pushing away lawyers are in smaller firms or on their own.

  • They’re annoyed by things like the clients, the staff, the business management responsibilities, and sometimes the marketing.
  • They find dealing with many of the day-to-day responsibilities frustrating. They don’t want to talk to a copier vendor, a client who is upset, or a receptionist seeking a raise.

The pushing away lawyers see a future with all of the annoyances eliminated. They’re working to fashion a day filled with the stuff they like after eliminating the stuff they don’t want to do.

Shift gears with me, and let's look next at the “drawn to” lawyers. They’re different.

“Drawn To” Lawyers

The drawn to lawyers are jazzed by something about their practice.

  • It might be appearing in court.
  • It might be networking.
  • It might be writing.
  • For some, it’s technology.

The Differences Between Pushing Away and Drawn To Lawyers

There’s some element that pulls them strongly. They have a powerful urge to do that thing that calls to them.

I’ve met quite a few lawyers who fall into each camp. They’re starkly different. They’re like night and day different.

The pushing away lawyers are tired. They’re worn out by the things they’re trying to eliminate.

The drawn to lawyers stand in stark contrast to their brethren. The drawn to lawyers are energized. They’re excited about that thing that’s pulling them in.

The energy differential is astounding.

Chicken or egg? I don’t know. I can’t say. However, I can tell you that there is a substantial, intangible value to being in the drawn to camp. That’s where you want to be if you have the choice.

Do you have a choice? Can you change who you are and what drives you? Again, beats me.

What I do know is that the drawn to lawyers are killing it. They’re waking up early. They can’t wait to get to work. They’re ready to do more and more and more of the thing they love.

The pushing away lawyers, on the other hand, are struggling. They’re whiny, complaining, and aggravated, and they're trying to figure out how to do less. They want a break.

The drawn to lawyers have lightning crackling in their eyes. The pushing away lawyers are covered by a dark cloud.

If you’re finding yourself pushing away from your work, then it’s time to consider joining the other camp. It’s time to find something that pulls you forward—something that flips you from pushing away to drawn to.

Of course, I lack the expertise to turn you around. However, I can offer a quick story that might be useful.

The Power of Perspective

Back in college, I took an art history course at Miami-Dade Community College. It was a summer school course because my parents had a rule providing that I could either go to school in the summer (and they’d give me money), or I could get a job. I went home to Miami and immediately signed up for Art History 101 and Sailing 101 (that was a physical education credit—HA!).

I had no interest in art. In fact, I had spent a great deal of my childhood being dragged to art shows by my parents. I believed that the Coconut Grove Art Show was some form of torture.

I picked the art history class for two reasons (neither of which was about the enjoyment of art): (1) it was offered at a good time of day, and (2) it met a humanities requirement at my school. I expected to hate it and, for the first week, I was right.

Slides, slides, slides: sitting in the dark with some dude droning on about art.

Then something weird happened.

I started understanding something about art. I was suddenly able to identify periods and techniques. The stuff was sneaking into my brain.

What was really weird was that the more I learned about the art, the more interesting it became. The next thing I knew, I was paying attention to art even when I wasn’t in the classroom.

I got an A in the course. I was finding myself “drawn to” art rather than “pushing away” from art. That was totally unexpected.

Now, I’m not suggesting that I turned into a huge art fan. But even years later, when visiting art galleries, I pay attention and find myself engaged. I walked through the State Hermitage museum a few years ago and actually got excited.

Somehow, learning about art sparked an interest. I wonder whether my pushing away from art was rooted in ignorance. I wonder whether my pushing away was simply that I hadn’t found the interesting hooks yet that would help me become drawn to the topic.

Again, I don’t pretend to understand what it takes to shift from pushing away to drawn to, but I am an expert on the powerful impact of each perspective. The drawn to folks have a powerful internal engine that propels them down the road at a quicker pace. You want to find that engine if it’s within you.

Are you pushing away from something or being drawn toward something? Can you shift to something more positive?

Can you find something that draws you in?

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