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Don’t wait until you’re in practice to practice


It’s the ages-old issue – who am I and what should I be doing with my time?

For the youth, I should be having fun. I will work later.

For the high school student, I can work later. I should have fun now.

For the college student, I will be employed later. I should have fun now.

For the newly hired, I will have my own demands later. I should have fun now.

For the newly married, we will have a family later. We should have fun now.

For the new parents, we will buckle down, later. We will have fun now.

Do you see where this is going? Our endless cycle to put off until later what is perceived as difficult is tainted with the perspective that we can’t have fun, later. Or to have fun now is marred with the fact that we can’t have fun and do the work at the same time.

No doubt you’ve had your share of challenging circumstances and no doubt you’ve had your share of fun. What if you focused on having fun with a challenge? Would it make committing time to the challenge that much more bearable?

Today, let’s shift our mindset to having fun with a challenge. Instead of saying, “crap, this is gonna suck,” take on a scientific viewpoint more like, “Hmph. I wonder what will happen if I do this?” Instead of saying, “I’m no good at…” say, “Today I will be good at…” Instead of saying “I’m not ready to …” say, “Here’s what I am ready for…” Instead of asking, “Why me?” ask “Why not me?”

A subtle shift in our mindset sets the tone for the day. Just like we have been used to wanting only the fun, we can get used to opening our perspective and practicing a positive mindset even when it involves some form of challenge.

For the law student, practicing as though we have our own career practice, before we get hired, before we graduate, even before we see ourselves as capable is a subtle mind shift that gets our creative, our responsible and our adventurous muscles moving.

For the associate or partner wanting more business, practicing as though we have the book of business we want, before we do, even before we are really “out there”, helps us get out of our own way, to be more decisive, to speak with authority and to relate effectively.

Do we need guidance on techniques? Of course we do! But all the guidance in the world falls short if our mindset is critical and negative.

Don’t wait until you are given permission to take action on your beliefs about yourself. Do it today. Practice being the one who is ready, capable, experimental and adventurous. Put this into practice today and you’ll see your own career practice taking shape.

Merri Bame Merri Bame is a self-proclaimed introvert and practicing extrovert. Through her site, Breaking Down Barriers, she helps lawyers and other introvert speakers discover their communication strengths and break down barriers to use them for business development, leadership and influence.