Rule No. 6: “There” Is No Better Than “Here”

“THERE” IS NO BETTER THAN ”HERE”

When your “there” has become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here”.

INTERVIEW  WITH  YOURSELF  - WHO  ARE  YOU?

The following exercise is to clarify to yourself why you are where you are and where you intend to be.  It will also be of great assistance when your firm asks for your professional goals.

There are 365 days in the average year.  You are worth taking one out of 365 to think, dream and decide what you would like to create for yourself.  The first step is to make an appointment with yourself and to keep it.  Set aside the time now.  If this were a project for a client, you would find the time.  Honor your time and your life – no phones, interruptions and a closed door.  Allow yourself to dream.

There are 1,440 minutes in a 24 hour day and there are 288 five (5) minute periods.  No matter how we twist and turn, that is the time each of us has.

As you look this interview over, you may have some questions.  There are three columns.  The first column has a question with a lot of space around it.  The second column is titled “Now” and the third is “One Year”.  For those of you who feel more comfortable with an example, sorry.  This is deliberately left out.  Each one of you is an individual and will come up with a very clear, personal view of yourself – your unique circumstances.   You are writers and I have left you room to write in as much space as you wish.  Some of you are active attorneys, others retired and keeping their bar membership on active status.  Some of you are beginning and others have been doing this so long, the answers will appear as non-applicable and maybe dull.  Put ‘em in anyway.  Absolutely no one but you need see this interview.  There are no correct answers – it is simply a way in to talk to yourself.  At the end are blank sheets for anything that comes up you feel got missed.  While possibly self-evident, the “Now” and “One Year” columns are for what is and what you would like.  Later there is a section that helps you to summarize what you learn in this section.

WHO ARE YOU NOW ONE YEAR
Are you practicing law?
What kind?
What do you see yourself doing in one year?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
Are you with the same firm, in the same office?
Is your case list larger or shorter?  Do your cases interest you?
Are you doing more writing or Court appearances?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
Are your clients still the same ones?  Do you want to increase or downsize your client list?
Is your practice the same, or have you branched
out?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
What committees are you a member of [inside the firm or outside].
When do you become a partner?
If a partner, is the firm performing to your expectation?  How? If not, why not?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
If your life was written as a musical, what would it be?   Only one?  Several?  Opera or Gilbert & Sullivan?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
Do you admire, enjoy, appreciate the other attorneys in your firm?  Do you trust them?  If not, why not? Who do you esteem and why?
Are you admired, enjoyed, appreciated, respected, esteemed by your firm?  Are you trusted?  Why?
WHO ARE YOU NOW ONE YEAR
What is your reputation?   What is it based on?  Is it accurate?   Limited?
Do you want more responsibility or less?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
Where do you live?  Do you want a different environment?   Why did you choose that area?

Did it meet your expectations?   Does it still match who you are or will become?

How much time do you spend in the office?  How much time do you spend traveling?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
How many of your weekends are spent at the office?  How many are truly necessary?  Do you need or want “weekends” – what if your “weekend” occurred in the middle of the week?  Options….
Do you work more  effectively  at home, in the car, on the boat, at the office, or ?

Where are you doing your work now?  Where would you be most effective?

WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
How many days of the year are you free of commitments and able to do whatever strikes you as fun, exciting, calming, relaxing, wonderful, different, new?
Are you practicing in the same city, do you want a smaller town or larger city?  Why?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
If there is an activity you enjoy, such as pottery, music, writing, acting, painting, surfing, swimming, sailing, skiing, flying, languages, golf, math, Renaissance poetry, – how much time do you spend at this activity?  As much as you want?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
When and what was your most recent adventure?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
Where is your mate in the schematic of your life? Does he/ she know you?   When was the last time you learned something new about your mate?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
Where are your children in the schematic design of your life?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
What is it about those relationships that create their importance to you?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
Did you include sleeping late, picnics in the mountains, hiking in the Himalayas, spelunking in the caves of the Casbah?  Jacuzzi tubs and massage? A glass of wine, watching the sun set?
What was the last new thing you learned?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
When are you most content?
When do you feel good about yourself?
WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
What are you doing when you are so absorbed that hours have flown by and you weren’t aware of the time?
What makes you smile?

WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
When was the last time you truly laughed?
When was the last time you felt something?  What was it?
Who did I last spend time with that I enjoyed?
WHO ARE YOU NOW ONE YEAR
When was the last time I had a good day at work?
What have you learned that meant something? How did you do that?
Who did I last spend time with that I enjoyed?

WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
 Where are your friends in the schematic design of your life?  Who do you call when you have good news?  Bad news?  Something to celebrate or need commiseration?  Who calls you and why?
 If your life were a film, and all the people characters, including yourself, would you stay ’til the end?  How would it be rated?  A comedy?  A tragedy?  A success story? Scary?  Thrilling?  Boring?  Satisfying?  PG?

WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR
 If your life was told as a myth, who are you?

WHO ARE YOU

NOW

ONE YEAR

Now, take a break.  That’s right.  Put the pen down, shut down the computer.

WALK AWAY.  Close the door on your way out.  For at least one hour, do something unexpected.   Remember, this was a day set aside for your interests.  Do something physical, not mental, nor emotional.  Allow your desires to ferment.

When you come back, the same boundaries apply.  No interruptions, no phones, a closed door.  While you were gone, did other ideas come to the surface?  Extra blank squares were included.  Use them.

The next part is strictly for those of you who insist on even more clarity.

Beginning at the first question, on the right side margin, take a different colored pen, rate each on a scale of 1 to 10, 1-5 being the most favored, most delightful, and 6- 10 being the things you most dislike.  Go with your gut reaction on this, you may end up with 37 3′s and 14 10′s.  The purpose of this exercise is to clear the sludge out of your life and release some buoyancy back into the mundane.

Fresh piece of paper  - number  1-10 – itemize using hash marks, i.e., ////, total up what you love, mildly like, and loathe  about your life.

By this time, you should have a very clear picture of who you are and the areas in your life that need fresh air breathed into them.

To be continued… Rule No. 7 coming up next.

Note: This is part of the AWOL Manual, “When to Lay the Weapons Down,” copyrighted 1995, renewed 2008

14 thoughts on “Rule No. 6: “There” Is No Better Than “Here”

  1. Hunt, This was/is extremely insightful. I have read many (hell all of the ones you have published so far) “rules.” And as you know I have had some difficulty getting past the fact that they are written for lawyers, and to some degree written as a way for a lawyer to feel better about themselves and their careers. Having been retired for some time now, it is hard to imagine how I can apply this at this point in my life, but I managed to put my brain on ignore and looked at the questions as I would have at the point in my career before it took off, and after phase I of my career. My answers were as unique as the timeframes I put the questions. I don’t know what I would have done, or the direction of my career would have taken, had I taken this simple test at those points in my life. You know from the 1000s of words we have shared, that I am not much for “what if’s”, and that I am not much for changing history for fear of the impact that change has on now and the future. But I have come to the conclusion had this test been given to me at those points in my life, the resulting changes (if any) would have been part of the grand plan that has been designed for me. I also would to think that I would have recognized the need for whatever change came as a result. I also know several people who should have taken this test 20 years ago, and adopted the necessary changes to improve their life and the impact they have on others. Thank you Hunt for this series of posts. — Bill

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    • Bill, as always, thank you for your honesty and the thought you give to my posts and to your responses. I am pleased that you feel this one might apply more broadly than to attorneys. :)

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      • Hunt, in retrospect, any of the essays on the “Rules” can be applied to any walk of life at anytime. It was my bias that prevented me from seeing this. But even old dogs can learn new tricks. Take care, Bill

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  2. Looking at this as as an anyone-analysis, I do believe this can be applied to other careers (as you suggested earlier). As Bill mentions, retirement work with this questionnaire for ME as I don’t aspire to anything other than improving like a fine wine. However, this is a wonderful tool to analyse and regroup.
    I had many changes in my career and found myself in situations where I knew nothing, worked in the background to learn and pretended to know what I was supposed to do. Got me through a lot of bad years. :-D I worked with pro and con columns.

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    • Well, I did work for one that said it did, EG… many years after I’d written this. I am not sure if you’ve read the earlier posts from the beginning of publishing this manual. They can all be found under the category on the right labelled AWOL. This was to question what a company doesn’t on an individual level, especially because at the time it was rare to even consider such a thing as life balance and/or job satisfaction (1994-1996). It became much more prevalent later with various self-help books. :) Ahead of the curve, perhaps. :)

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