When contemplating February’s theme, the George Thorogood song, “Who Do You Love”, continued to run through my mind. Researching the lyrics, I realized the words themselves are more akin to a vagabond, yet still the chorus continues to echo in my mind.
Over the past several years, I have been introduced to the concept of finding our Why. Several sources from Simon Sinek to a recent webinar by Bill Prater, bring new light to our deeper purpose and drive. Each contends that we have a Why hardwired into each of us that begins at birth. As we progress through life we have different personal experiences, both positive and negative, which revolve around our personal why.
I recently had a discussion with a practice management consultant who reflected on the Why of many attorneys choosing their career path. The 2 primary reasons provided were:
- Desire to build wealth
- Desire to help others
As obvious as the desire to build wealth might appear, the most commonly mentioned reason was a desire to help others. Somehow in the rush of life we forget why we began or why we love to do what we do. If we don’t intentionally focus back to our why, who we love is lost in the noise. I don’t acknowledge this without my own daily challenges either, and win some days better than others.
If we want to organize our thoughts and focus further, we need to keep track. Who has never heard the saying, “You can manage what you don’t measure?” Much like any sporting event, we only realize who is winning of losing based on a score. The excitement comes from accounting for who is scoring, leading, excelling, etc. Do we keep score for ourselves? How would we do that if we wanted?
Revisiting the 2 primary reasons an attorney began their career, those with financial aspirations would need to keep score with a ledger, or some sort of net worth calculation. A myriad of sources abound for doing this personally or professionally. However, if we are focused on helping, what is the mechanism to keep score of those? Do we track those that we help? Do we resolve to a financial scorecard at the end of the year reflecting on the donations we mark as chartable in this season of filing taxes? Are these the Pro-bono cases or charitable organizations needing your professional support? Perhaps some of these are true, however, I would suggest that we need to personally recognize those we have helped, including those smaller tasks that might seem just chivalrous or mundane to some. From opening doors, offering a jacket to someone cold, to helping someone dig out from getting stuck in the snow that has recently inundated much of the US. These items are not done for some write off or deduction, nor something that is paid for by others. This is something that we are hardwired to do and to serve our fellow citizens and personal Why and at the same time.