Defining success

Dear legal profession, Am I really superhuman? You’ve made me believe that I am. I didn’t know I had it in me. I’m so grateful for your guidance and enlightenment. You always push me to give my best. You made me realise that I can in fact work more hours in a day, a week, a year, than most people on the planet. I know that I am resilient.  You’ve shown me that.

I know we don’t like to speak of it. We wouldn’t want to give the recipe away. But just between you and me, we both know the method to my madness success.

It starts out with a solid four hours of sleep. I take those four hours and mix in 5 cups of black coffee (while staring diligently at my computer screen); 15 hours of slouching before a computer screen; a lunchtime salad; an afternoon chocolate bar; six minutes of healthy screaming, stomping, throwing, or uncontrollable sobbing; one large takeout dinner; two or three glasses of wine (to quiet the helpful reminders of “What about this?” and “You still have to do that!”); one thirty second email to my mom (to apologize for not returning her call and to promise to call soon); a quick glance at my running shoes with a half-hearted promise of “tomorrow”; a midnight snack; one hour of bedtime heart palpitations beating to the tune of the tomorrow’s to-do list; and four hours of to-do list filled dreams (waking once to helpfully respond to an urgent 3:00 a.m. email), before grudgingly eagerly jumping awake to the sound of my alarm to face the next exhausting exciting day.

You expect more from me than I offered, more than I knew I even had to offer. And some days it is more than I can offer. I slip up. I miss something. I fail. I beat myself up… But I work harder. I promise that it wont happen again. And sometimes I succeed. I get a compliment. I get a thank you. I win. And it makes me proud that I can bring it.

But something I’ve been wondering lately is: Why do you define success in this way? Why do I define success in this way? (I don’t think I always did) Could it be possible that we are wrong? That we are missing something fundamental? That we need to…change?

Yours truly,

JD