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What you must do before you quit and go solo

In my time as a solo lawyer, I’ve talked to lots of young lawyers and new solos on how to succeed and maintain inner peace in this often dog-eat-dog profession.

Some of them are dying to start their own practice, but they’re so worked up about what they don’t like about their current gig that they can’t get started with the new solo gig.

I launched my own practice in October 2010, around the same time I gave notice to a former employer. Whether you’re taking the leap into entrepreneurship or interviewing with other potential employers, this is the advice I have: get peace and clarity before you give notice.

  • Look deep into yourself and know why you want to peace out of this job. Are you running toward a vision of your career, and this next job or new business is going to be aligned with that vision? Or are running from something? Clues that you are running away include feeling under-appreciated, unfulfilled, angry or prone to complaining. Spend some time writing it down and get really clear.

  • Once you know what your true motivations are, now you can form a vision. List out everything that you learned and gained from the old job that will be useful in the next job or your new business. Even if it feels strange, find a few reasons to be thankful for the old job that you're about to leave.

  • After that, you'll be feeling a little more peaceful, and so focused on your next steps that your announcement that you're leaving will be fueled by positive energy and you won't be likely to burn the bridge. You never want to burn a bridge (or be the first one to light a match), because your old supervisor and colleagues may be your first source of new client referrals or you may run into them in court or business dealings. 

  • Like my grandmother used to say, "kill them with kindness." No matter what "they" did to you, or what jerks they are, if you can set a tone of professionalism and grace in your notice, it will pre-pave better interactions with these people from here on out. And you'll be so busy shining in your new gig that before long, they won't rattle you anymore.

  • Not only does this process make for a smooth transition within you and around you, it will help you get up to speed in your new job or business because you have spent quality time on your positive vision for it.

If you want help and encouragement on your solo practice journey, I can help you. Check out my Coaching page to learn more.


Image credit: The Graphics Fairy / public domain clip art

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