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Jax Daily Record Monday, Feb. 8, 201612:00 PM EST

Bar Bulletin: Belated resolution of accepting help and supporting colleagues

by: Katie Dearing

Every year this seems to happen. 2016, this is the year.

This is the year I am going to set lofty goals and meet them.

This is the year I am going to follow through with my New Year’s resolutions.

And here it is, February already and I haven’t set my goals for the year, exercised enough, found work-life balance or raised my expectations for myself.

How did that happen?

This got me thinking. Perhaps we are being too hard on ourselves. Perhaps we need to think small.

Each of us works hard, sometimes too hard. Each of us has obligations — work, family, society. Some we put on ourselves and, far too often, they are put on us by others.

For some people, dreaming big is good. But it is not for everyone and it is not for everyone all the time.

Some years ago I attended a panel discussion featuring highly successful female general counsels of several Fortune 500 companies.

Each had a family and each revealed they worked part time at one point in their careers because they realized they couldn’t do it all, at least not all at once.

Working part time may not be the answer, but certainly there are times in all our lives when we need to focus on what is already on our plate.

Work to meet the goals we have already set. Get rid of some that are no longer important. Narrow our focus in order to find a better path.

As I write this article, Lent is upon us. As many of you know, Lent is a season of the Christian year where Christians focus on simple living, prayer and fasting in order to grow closer to God.

The idea is to engage in acts of spiritual self-discipline, to abstain from pleasurable activities and instead use the time and energy usually spent in those activities to focus, to help and to start again.

With that in mind, I am working each day to think small, to focus on the challenges I already have in my life and to try to do better, even if it is in small ways.

What I continue to find is meeting the challenges of our already complex and busy practice is more fulfilling together.

This has been so evident in my involvement with the JBA’s Solo Practitioner/Small Firm Committee.

When I first opened my firm, I joined the committee. I continue to be amazed at the open, honest and supportive nature of this group and its members.

They share information, providers, office management ideas, referrals and generally root for each other’s successes, not just their own.

So, my belated resolution for 2016 is to be more like the other members of this committee, to accept help when I need it, to help others and to genuinely support my colleagues in all their endeavors.

I hope you’ll join me.

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