By Vicki Voisin, ACP
Throughout my career, I have immersed myself in learning.
Because I have always worked as a paralegal, I have primarily attended and spoken at law-related seminars. Lately I’ve become interested in time and space organization, so I’ve been learning a lot about that, too. I’ve discovered, though, that it is also important to take ample time to focus on personal development .
Why? Because it’s essential that you work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you do this, the job will take care of itself and your life will be successful.
Over the years, I have learned 3 steps for success that I want to share with you. I refer to these as my “a-has” because they have helped me focus on very important areas of my life and they have also helped me create a successful career.
1. You are the average of the five PEOPLE you hang around the most. This is a principle taught byJim Rohn, whom some call the father of personal development. A light bulb went off when I heard this. It made me realize that it’s necessary to surround myself with people I want to be like….people who are success oriented, who have vision, who have spirit and dedication.
The key is to make a concerted effort to be with people who think big and talk about great ideas, instead of the headlines of People Magazine, the price of gas (how depressing!), or how much they hate their jobs and their bosses. Attitudes and levels of thinking are contagious. Beware!
There are tons of great seminars offered both where you live and all around the country. You have no excuse not to get out there and surround yourself with people who have positive attitudes and like-minded goals.
2. Your ENVIRONMENT must support your goals. Your success depends more on your environment than you may realize so it’s imperative that you give yourself an environment that supports you at the level you want to attain, not the level you are at now. There are three areas of your environment that you should give your utmost attention:
- Your physical environment. Do you love your work space? Do you have enough room to work comfortably? Does this space encourage you to think? Are you surrounded by things that are beautiful and bring good memories, such an eye-catching piece of art?
We can’t all have a gorgeous view from our offices, or even a window, but we can create an environment that brings us peace and tranquility without spending a lot of money. Little touches like flowers, photos of friends, family or your recent vacation, even an interesting paperweight, can make you feel good.
- Your emotional environment. Do you get the support you need from your friends, family and co-workers? These people are not mind readers. It’s up to you to ask for what you need from them.
I have a great group of friends that I can bounce ideas off, ask for help with problem solving, and share my successes. Of course, sometimes I just need to vent! If your friends, family and co-workers can’t provide this, you may need to find a career coach or a support group that will.
- Your intellectual environment. It’s crucial that you feed your brain with new ideas and up-to-the-minute knowledge. Are you stimulating your brain every day? If not, you need to find a way to make this happen…to expose yourself to creative and innovative thinking that will stretch and increase your brain power. Again, seminars, teleclasses and books/audio programs are helpful. I really enjoy listening to these on my iPod so I can learn while I take a walk or when I travel…this makes a long drive, a lengthy wait in an airport, or my time on an airplane zip by. My personal favorite is downloading books to my iPod from my membership at www.audible.com. iTunes also has many podcasts and other programs available at little or no cost.
3. Your future is created by your habits. It only makes sense that your daily habits will create long-lasting effects in your life. The habits you establish today will determine the results you have tomorrow.
If you want to be healthy and in shape, you must have the habits of a person who is healthy and in shape. If you want to be a successful paralegal, you must have the habits of a successful paralegal. If you want to be a leader, you must have the habits of a leader. None of these things will happen tomorrow unless you establish habits today that will lead to the results you want.
Your challenge: Visualize YOUR tomorrow. What kind of person do you want to be? Where do you want your career to take you? Then decide: What new habit can you put into place now that will make your tomorrow what you want it to be? What can you do today to create a work environment that gives you joy? What will you do to surround yourself with people who will support you and who will be a positive influence? Ask yourself these questions now so that you can create habits for yourself today that will result in the tomorrow you want.
©2010 Vicki Voisin, Inc.
Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You can so long as you include this entire blurb with it: Vicki Voisin, “The Paralegal Mentor”, delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by achieving goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She publishes a weekly ezine titled Paralegal Strategies and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network. More information is available at www.paralegalmentor.com