Does this sounds familiar?
When I started my law practice, there wasn’t much going on. Having enough free time was the least of my worries. Work only affected my social life when I complained to my then-girlfriend – and now wife – that I didn’t have enough business.
But things got tricky when my practice started to grow and I couldn’t fit my work into the standard work week. Weekdays were focused on client work, so I had to spend the occasional weeknight on administrative tasks – billing, compliance, marketing and all the other non-billable tasks that lawyers have to do to stay in business.
Then, the occasional night became a couple of nights a week. Then every night. Then I started filling up the weekend.
Fortunately, I didn’t have any kids yet. Unfortunately, I had the party to celebrate the opening of my first office the day after I proposed to my wife.
I may as well have said, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you, but for now, I’m going to spend my life at the office.”
Nothing says pre-marital bliss like getting home too late for dinner, and eating by yourself in front of the TV.
When I actually had a conversation with my wife, it was all about the pressures of work. What will I bill next month? Can I get a mortgage? Lenders like the certainty that W-2 employees bring to the table. Solo business owners... are a question mark.
I was turned down for my first mortgage for just that reason. Income too uncertain.
The financial pressure of having a new law firm spills over to your family life. Will you have enough money to buy a house, save for your children’s education, or buy a car? When you need to dip into your rainy day fund, will it even be there?
Most lawyers assume that’s just how it is. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
How One Practice Alchemy Member Gained Control of His Time
When I first spoke with one of our Practice Alchemy members, he talked about going to his son’s football game physically, but being somewhere else mentally. He was glued to his phone, waiting for a client disaster to strike.
That was his tipping point.
That day, he saw an email from us, which started him down the path to fixing the problem. The result? Since he’s been following our program, he's taken control of his time, his calendar and his communication. And his firm is growing.
Last time we spoke, he was taking his family to his summer house on the island for a long, unplugged weekend.
I first met him nine months ago. That’s a major leap in a very short amount of time. And every attorney is capable of making a similar leap. Whether they will, their choice.
When You Stop Paying Your Dues is Your Call
Lawyers can’t just assume their ship will come in one day and change their lives. It doesn’t happen that way.
Do you really think there’s a big, life-changing client out there who will eventually fall into your lap? That you'll wake up one day and the world will be different?
You have to take control and make your ship come in.
You have to change your relationship with your law firm to make your relationships at home work. Stop being a slave to your clients and jumping when they say “jump.”
Be a real business owner. Set the rules of engagement.
When you do this, you’re not on-call 24/7. You can actually be present when you’re with your family. You can be home by six for dinner, and take unplugged vacations.
It’s not about the fallacy of work-life balance. It’s about the relationship.
Your relationship with your law firm determines what types of relationships you’ll have at home. And the only person who can change your relationship with your law firm is you.