Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paralegals: Are You Stuck in the "Someday" Trap?

When opportunities come your way, do you say, "I'll do that when I have time!"?

When you consider your career goals, do you usually think, "I'll get around to that sometime in the future!"?

When the sticky notes and piles of papers and files accumulate in your office, do you usually think, "I can't be bothered with that so I'll ignore the clutter for now!"?

You may be stuck in the 'someday' trap!

The 'someday' trap brings your goals to a standstill. It plays havoc with your future. It kills productivity. It causes procrastination. If you allow yourself to let 'someday' be a part of your thinking it will be very difficult to move your career forward and reach your life goals.
  • Someday you'll sit for a certification exam.
  • Someday you'll move to that area of the law that really interests you.
  • Someday you'll join your local association, join a committee and run for office.
  • Someday you'll attend a national convention.
  • Someday you'll take a few continuing education courses.
  • Someday you'll present a CLE course.
  • Someday you'll write an article for a professional journal.
Someday...someday...someday. Stop! Someday is NOT a day of the week. How about a new way of thinking? How about having 'someday' be today?

Here are some simple suggestions for turning 'someday thinking' into 'today thinking'

List your top 5 short term goals. What you want to accomplish in the next 90 days? Examine those goals to determine the steps you'll take to reach them. Once you've done this, schedule the steps on your calendar. Treat these as appointments so that they really do get done.

List your long term goals. Once you've determined your short term goals, use the same process to determine and accomplish your long term goals (say in the next 3-5 years), and your really long term goals...what do you want to accomplish in your lifetime. As you're doing this, don't hesitate to dream and to think big. Do not limit yourself.

For all these goals, make an appointment in your calendar to get each step done and don't let the 'someday trap' stop you.

You can't do everything at once, of course, so you'll have to make choices. Choose to do the things that are important to you and your goals and let the other things go.

When you change your thinking to 'today' instead of 'someday' you're not only going to feel better about yourself, but you'll move your career in the right direction: forward.

Imagine seizing opportunities when they come your way. Imagine your office without clutter and piles. Imagine being able to find documents when you need them. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment as you reach your goals. When you imagine that it feels wonderful, right?

Actress Camryn Manheim said it best:
"Waiting, waiting, waiting. All my life, I've been waiting for my life to begin, as if somehow my life was ahead of me, and that someday I would arrive at it."
You can't wait for your life to begin or for your paralegal career to be what you want it to be. You have to operate on the premise that you can't wait for someday to make changes. You have to take steps today to make those changes.

What are you waiting for? You have the ability to transform your career and your life beginning today. It's up to you to make that happen and to stop waiting for someday.

What changes will you make? How will you make those changes?

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