JW Way Fundamental #27: Don’t take yourself too seriously “Maintain a healthy perspective on your work and professional life. There are more important things going on in the world than your daily challenges. And remember to have fun. Fun renews our spirit, keeps us energized, and helps us think more clearly. “
This fundamental has a number of different components. First and very important is that you enjoy your career. As much as I love to travel and do lots of great things, I always look forward to coming back to work and I believe most people sense that. I have great relationships with coworkers. I enjoy helping clients solve their legal challenges and I still have a thirst for learning new things!
Enjoying your work makes you more successful. Clients can tell when an employee is passionate about their work and we are all attracted to someone that has enthusiasm and excitement. We want to do business with happy people. An unhappy employee is rarely at their best.
The second component is keeping things in perspective and not taking oneself too seriously. What we do is important work and it often has a significant impact on our clients’ lives. It is often difficult and stressful with many time deadlines beyond our control. Mistakes can be extremely embarrassing and sometimes have significant economic consequences.
Because of this, it is even more important that we enjoy our work and constantly remind ourselves to put the “stress de jour” in perspective. I often ask myself, “is this a real deadline or just when someone would like to have something finished”. It is important for our mental health that we take a step back and think about how much something really matters. It is easy to get caught up in everything is a rush, and every project will make or break the case. Often, it is neither.
The third component is that numerous studies have shown that smiling and laughing creates a beneficial chemical reaction in your brain. It actually makes you feel better. When you feel better you are more energized and productive. People are more likely to want to do business with you.
Consider all of the aspects of your job that you really enjoy–helping others, learning something new, drafting a great document, spending time with coworkers or the satisfaction of doing a great job for a client. Keep your work balanced by maintaining a healthy perspective on what you do and most importantly, how you do it. It is different for everyone, but the key is figuring out what you really enjoy about your career, focus on those attributes, and keep things in perspective.