If you are one of the many talented, educated, capable, dedicated and otherwise high-achieving lawyers who is on the brink of retirement, you might have a strange mixture of excitement and trepidation. After all, this is the moment you have been working for your whole career – but everyone is asking what you will do next, and the nature of your current career may have left little time to ponder that question.
I have enormous respect and admiration for anyone who can thrive for decades in Big Law. I started my career there, and frankly, ten years was more than enough for me. I retired from my firm seeking a more balanced life, and although it was an exhilarating decision, I wish I’d had the insight to employ a transition coach as I embraced my new life.
Working in big law firms is excellent training when it comes to thinking on one’s feet, handling stress, multi-tasking, building confidence and otherwise testing one’s mettle within a structured and defined environment. It does not train one, however, for stepping into the unknown, finding one’s independent self-worth, valuing time more than money or cultivating talents not required for the execution of legal assignments. In fact, I found that the experience tends to create a fair amount of tunnel vision, and it can be difficult to define what success looks like outside of the big firm paradigm. Without some perspective and a game plan for the future, walking away can create feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, fear, insecurity and confusion.
This is where a good transition coach comes in. A good coach can quickly get you past the negative emotions I just described and into forward motion and genuine excitement. How? It is all about a new perspective and expanding possibilities. When was the last time you:
- Controlled your own time?
- Thought about what really makes you happy?
- Clarified what you really love about your work?
- Imagined the perfect day?
- Entertained entrepreneurial ideas?
- Set your own agenda?
Retirement is the opportunity to create a life composed of exactly what you want. If “exactly what you want” is a complete mystery, then don’t try to go it alone. Invest in a good coach to partner with you to get clear about the future and to get moving in the right direction. You are standing on the brink of an opportunity of a lifetime. Make the most of it.