Monday, September 28, 2009

Three Success Rules To Shape Your Paralegal Career

During my entire career, I have immersed myself in learning. Because I have always worked as a paralegal, I have mostly attended and spoken at law-related seminars. Lately, though, I’ve been interested in time organization so I’ve been learning a lot about that, too.

I’ve found, however, that it is also important to take ample time to read all kinds of books, attend a variety of seminars, and listen to audio programs on personal development.Why?Because it is important that you work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you do this, your life will be successful.

Over the years, I have learned three rules for success that I want to share with you. I refer to these as my "a-has" because they help me focus on important areas of my life and also because these guidelines have helped me create a successful career.

1. You are the average of the five PEOPLE you hang around the most. This is a principle taught by Jim Rohn, whom some call the 'father of personal development.' When I first heard this statement, I realized that it’s necessary to surround myself with people I want to be like....people who are success oriented, who have vision, who have spirit.

It is very important to make a concerted effort to be with people who think big and talk about great ideas, instead of the headlines in People Magazine, the price of gas (how depressing!), or how much they hate their jobs and their bosses. These attitudes and level of thinking are contagious. Beware!

There are many great seminars offered both where you live and all around the country. You have no excuse not to get out there and surround yourself with people who have positive attitudes and like-minded goals.

2. Your ENVIRONMENT must support your goals. Your success depends more on your environment than you may realize, but it's extremely important that you give yourself an environment that supports you at the level you want to BE AT, not the level you are at NOW. There are three areas of your environment that you should give your utmost attention:

Your physical environment. Do you love your work space? Do you have enough room to work and plan? Does this space encourage you to think? Are you surrounded by things that are beautiful and that bring good memories, such as a beautiful piece of art?

We can’t all have a gorgeous view from our offices, or even a window, but we can create an environment that brings us peace and tranquility without spending a lot of money. Little touches like flowers, photos of friends, family or your recent vacation, and even interesting paperweight can make you feel good.

Your emotional environment. Do you get the support you need from your friends, family and co-workers? These people are not mind readers. It is up to YOU to ask for what you need from them.

I have a great group of friends that I can bounce ideas off, ask for help with problem solving, and share my successes. Of course, sometimes I just need to vent! If your friends, family and co-workers cannot provide this, you may need to find a career coach or a support group that will help you.

Your intellectual environment. It is very important to feed your brain with new ideas and up-to-the-minute knowledge. Are you stimulating your brain every day? If not, you should attend a seminar, take a teleclass, or buy some new books or audio programs.

I so enjoy listening to these on my Ipod so I can learn while I take a walk or when I travel...this makes a long drive, a lengthy wait in an airport, or my time on an airplane zip by. My personal favorite is downloading books to my Ipod from my membership at Itunes also has many podcasts and other programs available at no cost.

One particularly good podcast, if I do say so myself, is The Paralegal Voice that I co-host with Lynne DeVenny on Legal Talk Network. This podcast is produced for and about paralegals. More information is available at or you can subscribe through iTunes. Again, this is a free resource that will enhance your paralegal career.

3. Your HABITS create your future. It only makes sense that your daily habits will create long-lasting effects in your life. The habits you adopt today will determine the results you get tomorrow.

If you want to be healthy and in shape, you must have the habits of a person who is healthy and in shape. If you want to be a successful paralegal, you must have the habits of a successful paralegal. If you want to be a leader, you must have the habits of a leader. None of these things will happen tomorrow unless you establish habits today that will lead to the results you want.

Your challenge: Visualize YOUR tomorrow. What kind of person do you want to be? Where do you want your career to take you? Then decide: What new habit can YOU put into place NOW that will make YOUR tomorrow what you want it to be? What can you do today to create a work environment that pleases you? What will you do to surround yourself with people who will support you and also be a positive influence? Ask yourself these questions now so that you can create habits for yourself today that will result in the tomorrow you want.

©2009 Vicki Voisin, Inc. Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You can, so long as you include this entire blurb with it: Vicki Voisin, "The Paralegal Mentor", delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by achieving goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She publishes a bi-weekly ezine titled Strategies for Paralegals Seeking Excellence. More information is available at


The Goodwill Fangirl said...

Excellent post, Vicki, and one that everyone, not just paralegal, would benefit from reading. Of course, *YOU* are one of the positive people I look to for support and inspiration.

Wheel of Justice Advice for Career Seekers said...

This hit the spot for me. Thank you!

Paralegal Mentor said...

Thanks, Lynne...I'm so enjoying working with you on the Paralegal Voice. Your energy and enthusiasm continue to amaze me!