KeyParalegals talk about a lot of things related to career success: from networking to goal setting to education and, of course, ethics.

And yet one of the most often overlooked keys is knowing yourself!

Yes, that’s it – just know yourself. Sound simple? Many paralegals believe that once they have their education and a job, they will instantly change into a super productive, super successful paralegal. Reality is far different.

Reality is that they are still that same individual who:

  • struggles with getting their work done or whose work is so demanding they feel overwhelmed before they start;
  • feels so tired at certain times of the day that their work puts them to sleep;
  • never feels appreciated or valued, even though they do everything in their power to make everyone else happy and to meet their needs.

Humans are not perfect. Everyone has challenges. The key to success, both in your career and in your life, is to know what your challenges are and then work with them. For example:

  • If you procrastinate, then you need to adopt strategies to get yourself started on a project: use a timer; start anywhere in the project; be sure you have the information you need; gather all the supplies you will need; break the project into chunks and tackle one part at a time, etc.
  • If you are not as productive as you should be, decide when you have your highest energy and do your best work. If you are at your best in the morning, then that is when you want to focus your most difficult task.  If you’re at your best in the afternoon, do your most difficult tasks then. Save easy tasks (returning telephone calls, answering email) for the time of day when your energy is at a lower level;
  • If you are a people-pleaser who wants everyone to get along and be happy, decide at what point making everyone around you happy intrudes on your career aspirations and your emotional well-being.

You may have different challenges. Ask yourself what they are. Once you determine your challenges, take the necessary steps to overcome them.

Doesn’t this sound so simple and so basic? The reality is that many of us let our challenges stop us from career success.

Remember: This is your career and your life. Recognize your dreams and the challenges that keep them from coming true. Figure out how you can conquer those challenges and then design your career for optimal success.

How will you personalize, customize and optimize your career?


© 2012 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 setting 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 is the co-author of The Professional Paralegal: A Guide to Finding a Job and Career Success. Vicki publishes Paralegal Strategies, a weekly e-newsletter for paralegals, and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network.

More information is available at where subscribers receive Vicki’s 151 Tips for Your Career Success.