Why I Do What I Do

I had a long to do list.

I had work to finish up before the end of the year.

I had shopping, wrapping, cooking, and cleaning to do before Christmas Eve.

I wanted to plan and strategize for next year.

Last Friday morning, I had let my to-do list get the best of me, and I started to melt down.  The house still wasn’t 100% decorated.  Boxes were everywhere.  I hadn’t bought a single present for my husband (whose 44 birthday is the day after Christmas.)  Work deadlines were looming.  My 5 year old was home, sick with the stomach bug that is going around her school.

Tears and anger started to overflow.  And then my Mom called.  I hadn’t been on the computer at all that day.  I hadn’t checked my emails or twitter.  I hadn’t heard the news about the small elementary school in Connecticut.

In a split second, I found clarity in an all-too-powerful jolt of reality.  It’s the type of clarity that only comes out of the blue in ways you least expect.

A little voice in my head said, “Stop and remember why you are doing this.”

Then my daughter’s little face appeared, and she said, “Mommy, you need a cuddle.”  And we cuddled for the rest of the day.  We played games and made puzzles.  We put out our snow village, and I watched as her little face lit up when we turned the lights on.  We cuddled so much that I spent Monday in bed with the stomach bug.

I went to law school to become a lawyer, the only career I ever wanted.  I chose to be in solo practice to become the Mom I want to be.

I am working in this solo practice because I want to be with my daughter when she needs me.  So I can chaperone her field trips.  Pick her up early so we can go shopping for Daddy’s birthday present.  Be at her school in less than 15 minutes, when they call to say that she’s sick, please come pick her up.  No guilt.  No explanations.

I also want to be a role model for her.  I want to show her that it is possible for moms (and dads) to have fulfilling careers while being great parents.  I want her to see that it’s not always easy, but it is worth it.

I want her to see that I have dreams that I am working to bring into reality.  Carl Jung once said: “The greatest influence on a child is the un-lived dream of the parent.”  I want her to know that her Mommy has dreams and goals and that it’s OK for her to have them too.

Do I believe in my business?  Absolutely!  Do I want to make money?  You bet.  Do I want to help my clients succeed in their businesses?  Of course.

But that’s not what drives me to make my business succeed.  It’s not what keeps me going when things get a little scary.

My daughter is my why.

Being in solo practice is not easy for me.  I struggle to get clients.  Getting paid for the work I do has been a challenge at times.  I am not the most organized or disciplined person.  I feel lonely and scared some days.  Even 14 years after graduating from law school, I still question my own abilities.

But none of that stops me from moving my business forward.  Why?  Because I know why I am in this business, pushing forward, living and working on my own terms.  I know I am on the right track.

As for that to-do list…My house is decorated.  A cleaning crew will be coming by on Thursday to spruce up the place.  I’ve delegated some of the cooking to family members.  I still have work and shopping to do.  But I have perspective, therefore I have peace of mind.

May you find peace in these last few days of 2012.  See you again in 2013!

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

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4 comments on “Why I Do What I Do

  • Kelli: Great input. I took a very extended route back the legal industry – firm practice to corporate counsel to entrepreneur to solo legal industry consultant. Over the last few days while traveling back and forth for the holidays, I was working on my 2013 business plan. Even though it’s a grind to “plan” for one, I found that I was getting more and more jazzed about the possibilities for the year. I was remember Why I Do What I Do!


    • Glad to hear that you’re excited for 2013. (I am too!) I love my year-end planning sessions. Everything is possible.

  • Great post Kelli – I’ve been in solo practice for 30 years. We all know it has ups and downs and it is TOUGH. When I take a good look at what the biggest upside has been, it is that I have always had the flexibility to be the best Dad I could be. That’s a trump card over a lot of problems, and well worth any downsides.

    Have a happy and an healthy New Year!!

    • Thanks for the comment Barry. I love hearing from someone who has lived to tell the tale. Life is a series of tradeoffs. So long as you know what you want and keep going after it, it’s all good. I wouldn’t trade my “upside” for anything right now.

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