Avoiding Burnout

As a family law practitioner in North Carolina and a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous since July 8, 2007, the practice of law has presented many challenges for me. One of the most difficult challenges that I have faced has been trying to find a good balance in life.

In the early days of my recovery, I was motivated by fear of rejection, failure, and lack of self-esteem. Making poor decisions based on fear, I decided to put my career goals above everything else, oftentimes neglecting my personal life altogether. As a result, I was completely miserable. If I was to overcome my exhaustion and fatigue, I knew something had to change.

Today, I recognize the importance of striving for a good balance in life. Through my recovery program, I have learned that as counterintuitive as it may seem, by seeking personal happiness, I am actually becoming a better lawyer, and a stronger, more compassionate advocate.

Three years ago, I decided to put this principle into practice by increasing my annual vacation time from two weeks to three weeks per year and the extra vacation time was fantastic. When I returned, I was pleased to find that the affairs of my law office were in good working order and I was well rested and ready to get to work. The next year, I pushed the envelope even further extending my annual vacation time to four weeks (or one week per quarter). Taking time away from my law practice has drastically improved my quality of life; and surprisingly, my income has continued to increase every year. If you believe this approach might work for you, then you may want to challenge yourself in 2014.