3 New Year’s Stories

new years graphic.jpgMy New Year’s tradition is a day of complimentary mini-coaching for my clients. I love to catch up with my girls! It’s the most inspiring and energizing way I can imagine to launch myself into the new year.

Today was no different. And three of my clients’ updates were so terrific that I want to share them with you here. I hope they help you to envision the full range of your career advancement options for 2012.

So here are three New Year’s stories. All of them from lawyers, coincidentally . . .

Story no. 1. Julie.
After a two-year transition period, Julie is set to hang out her own shingle in January, after a number of dissatisfying years working for Big Law. She spent those transitional years considering each and every one of her options. Nothing impulsive. Now she is about to launch her own law practice, with an initial client already lined up. I admire both her patience (it’s hard to stick around in a job that’s lost all its appeal) and persistence (she never sunk back into “the devil you know” thinking). Julie did the work, and the work has paid off. I know she’ll be outlandishly successful as her own boss–on her own terms.

Story no. 2. Tina.
Little over a year ago, as Big Law was feeling the worst of the recession, Tina was let go from her law firm. She had been utterly miserable with the firm, and she had already explored her other options, entrepreneurial ones in particular. In order to make ends meet, Tina landed some temporary contract work with another law firm, and when that project was over, the firm kept her on for another one. And when she received a job offer in the public sector, the firm couldn’t bear to see her leave. She joined the firm full-time. Tina’s voice these days is full of joy. She tells me how wonderful it is to work with people who appreciate her talent, and tell her so. Often. Barely a year later, she has been made partner! Tina reminds us all that, just because your current situation isn’t ideal, or satisfactory, or bearable, it doesn’t mean that it’s your only option. There are as many corporate cultures out there as there are corporations. It’s all about the fit, and don’t settle for an uncomfortable fit. I know Tina won’t, ever again.

Story no. 3. Sharon.

Sharon is an incredibly talented lawyer, acknowledged by her peers, working at a boutique firm. Unfortunately, her bosses don’t often acknowledge her talent and success, and there’s a fair amount of dysfunction there. After a pretty brutal episode several months ago, Sharon spent an extended period “on the road,” visiting clients. They held up to her a different mirror than the one she sees in the office. Today she sounded self-possessed, ready to let go of the firm drama. “I want to be fearless again,” she declared. And then she added (never having lost her sense of humor), “somewhere between fearless and foolish.” Sharon realizes that she can reclaim her power by focusing on what she does control–building her book of business and continuing to deliver excellent service to her clients. By shifting her focus and her attitude, Sharon has unilaterally changed her environment.

Wishing you success in 2012–on your own terms!

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