Whew! Today concludes our long series of posts about finding balance in your life. As you can see, it was a long journey for me. I wish I could say I’ve reached a happy balance in my life of things I want to do and things I have to do. I’ve made progress.
As you’re thinking about changing one life path for another, you are probably going to start to feel very afraid. You should. Change is a scary thing, especially when we’re radically altering our reality for something new.
But just because you’re afraid doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the change. Be smart and have a good plan and there’s nothing to fear except fear itself. Here are some of the fears I experienced and you can see how they’re really pretty inconsequential.
1. People will think I’m stupid if I give up a perfectly decent career as a lawyer.
Well, a lot of people thought I was pretty stupid for going to law school in the first place. After all, what do you call a lawyer at the bottom of the ocean? A good start (By the way, I notice these people sure came calling quick when they had a landlord tenant dispute or an injury on the job). Honestly, letting go of what people think about you is probably the best road to happiness I can think of. It’s your life. No one is better suited to live it than you are.
2. I might disappoint family or friends if I stop being a lawyer.
This is a pretty major one. My husband is proud of my career. My mom… good heavens. I think I may be the first lawyer in the family and certainly the first woman with a post-graduate degree. This is a big deal to her. I think growing your own successful business is as impressive (or more so) than toiling in some job to put huge bonuses in some douchebag VP’s pocket so he can buy a new BMW. And in the end, I know my family wants me to be happy more than they want to brag about “my daughter/wife the lawyer.”
3. I might fail and then I will be doomed to be a lawyer.
What if my attempts to break out of soul-deadening career prove that I am only suited for said soul-deadening career? Well, provided I’m smart about growth and I don’t take on additional debt to start my business, I could probably fail at 20 new business attempts before I’m officially doomed to be a lawyer for the rest of my days.
4. My identity is so closely identified with my education and career, I won’t know who I am without it.
This was the most significant one, actually. For so long I’ve always been associated with what I do or what I study that to turn loose of it would be to lose my identity. But my career isn’t really who I am, it’s what I do. Even now, I think my identity is slowly morphing over into Fitness Girl, which is also sort of weird.
It’s common to summarize people pithily (ie, the pretty one, the crazy redhead, the tall blonde, the activist, the nerd, the hipster), but when we allow our sense of self to become supplanted by those summaries, I think we need to reassess whether we’re living the life we want or playing some sort of role that somehow got assigned to us.
5. It will be humbling to not be a lawyer anymore.
It can be kinda exhilarating to be a lawyer. I spent three years learning how to rip the spine of someone’s argument out through their throat and watch them twitch as I grind their logic into the dirt with the heel of my shoe. It’s not nice, but it can be gratifying from time to time when the victim has been especially irksome (or works for the state of Massachusetts). People respect you as a lawyer. They listen to you, even when they’re, like 40 years older than you are. People can’t take advantage of you or your family as easily. It’s a powerful feeling.
My calling in fitness is also a powerful feeling, but for different reasons. People don’t respect me because I’m mean or smart or because I can crush people with my words. They like and respect me for being motivating. Kind. For building people up instead of doing the ripping, grinding and crushing thing. So, obviously, being a lawyer brings out the very worst in my personality while working in fitness brings out the best.
Did you miss the other parts of this series? Check out Part I (recognizing something’s wrong), Part II (finding hope that you can change your life), Part III (figuring out your passion) and Part IV (making a business out of your passion).
See you later today to talk about Passion and Energy and we’ll wind up this discussion!