I was recently asked how I achieve balance in my life. It is constant work, as it is far too easy to let work and cases overwhelm your waking hours. It’s too easy to forget to stop and take care of yourself and family. After awhile, most folks who work in family law get burnt out. Our economy has tanked and it seems we are all working harder for less. Here are a few practice tips I’ve developed that keep me sane despite the stresses of dealing with high conflict issue resolution and litigation and all else life has to offer:
Be ethical. An attorney who has no credibility cannot be effective.
Be professional. Even if you don’t like your opposing counsel, you can still be professional.
These two concepts allow me to sleep at night. If you are a “pleaser” you chose the wrong occupation as we are in an adversary system that sometimes will not allow you to “please” all involved (or at times, anyone). So long as you go about doing your business in an ethical and professional manner, treat others as you wish to be treated in similar circumstances, you will find yourself “grounded”. This makes for good competent lawyer’ing.
Your family is a reflection of you, and you do get out of it what you put into your family. Much like a garden, the way your family grows is directly connected to the amount of time you devote to them. Family time can be stressful and sometimes a trial seems less stressful. But ignore your family and you will find yourself to be half a person. Ignore a garden and it will become thorny and overgrown, full of weeks and pests; don’t let this happen with your family. Indulge your family with your time and love and you will help create a warm place that nurtures everyone and gives you untold satisfaction and happiness.
For years I neglected my physical health. Not that I abused my body, I just did not maintain it with proper exercise. You will be surprised at the mental and physical strength you have if you break a sweat three times a week. It took awhile for me to find an exercise I enjoy on a regular basis. What worked for me? Yoga! Whatever it is, find some form of exercise you can tolerate and START SWEATING!
Find a cause and champion it. Do something that matters. Leave a mark. Whether it is an activity in the section, church, charitable organization or even your family, make a difference. Volunteer anywhere – you won’t find a lack of volunteer opportunities out there. This is also something you can do with your family that creates an amazing learning experience and environment for everyone.
Learn a hobby. Become a master at something. Make the world a better place!
These are some thoughts that work for me and I hope they will work for you.