A few years ago, I was asked to be on a panel with a few high profile figures from the Leeds legal community at a Law Society conference on Diversity and Inclusion, representing the Women Solicitors’ Network (formerly the Women Lawyer’s Division). I asked myself for a long time, why had they asked me? Would anyone be interested in what I had to say?

During the event, one the senior partners (also on the panel) gave some really sound advice in relation to how to progress in a legal career. Have confidence, don’t keep looking over your shoulder all the time, and stay in your own lane and it’s very much something I’ve adopted in my own legal career as time has progressed but equally, it’s something I struggled with throughout the early stages of my career.

So what does that advice mean? Law firms, particularly mid-sized and larger law firms encourage an environment of competition. Which of the trainee solicitors will secure a newly qualified position? Which of the junior lawyers will be promoted to Associate, Associate to Senior Associate, Senior Associate to Partner. It’s easy to get carried away with “Achieving” the next level.

So,What Does this Have to do with confidence?

Being in your own lane, is the perfect antidote to a lack of confidence. Working out, however tricky that may be (that’s where coaching can come in to help) what your lane looks like, why you’ve chosen it and then going for it, all out, encourages you to stop looking over your shoulder at what everyone else is doing and be proud of you, and your achievements, which in turn can help build trust in yourself and confidence.

Now, to be clear, by saying go all out, I don’t mean working 70 hour weeks, burning out or compromising your life, but instead, quite the opposite.  Work out, what is most important to you and then set your own goals around that.  It may be, that partnership does not fit with the other aims you have for your life, but flexibility over your work times, environment, holidays might, or vice versa. The important thing here to note is that confidence comes from living a life on your terms, and everyone’s terms of reference are different and as I always say, that is good. Diversity builds a great team and a great firm!

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

As anyone who has spent a little too long on social media can testify to, comparing your life to what you think other people’s lives are like, is likely to make you feel pretty miserable. Instead, stay in your own lane and focus on what brings you joy. Take comfort in the knowledge that it doesn’t have to be like everyone else’s. Try not to do that thing where you compare your career to other people who you went to Law School, University or know from the school run.  Instead, try to focus on understanding what makes you happy.

Often it is the simple things that bring us the most joy. If you need help understanding what is motivating you and how you can work on your confidence, Send me a Whatapp or Email to get started.

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"With 24 years of experience as a solicitor, coach, teacher and mentor, I can help you find confidence to discover and create a legal career that feels authentic and matches your values. I also help organisations to create actionable plans to create diverse and truly inclusive work places”

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