I regularly speak to audiences of lawyers, accountants and consultants about the challenges of making partner. In my talks I often share the ten lessons that my clients have learnt along their journeys to make partner when they were on partnership track. In this blog post I am going to share the ninth lesson; the importance of looking after your health.
This isn’t where I preach at you
The professions are renown for sucking people up and spitting them out later, broken and burnt out. The long hours culture, high stress levels and the constant competition is enough to break most people. It’s a long and winding road to get to partner in any firm, particularly being on partnership track, and if you are going to make you will need to stay healthy along the way.
I could tell you now to eat your 5 fruit and vegetables a day and do 30 mins of brisk exercise a day. But I’m not going to. After all, you are an adult now!
The 3 buckets model
Imagine you have 3 buckets representing your career, relationship and self. You only have enough water to fill up one of the buckets. The water represents your focus and where you spend your time. When you were a student you probably had the water fairly evenly split between the 3 buckets. However, when you go into the world of work, its very common for ambitious professionals to almost empty their self bucket to put their focus in their career bucket.
But what happens when your self bucket is nearly empty? This is when you stop doing stuff which recharges your batteries and makes you feel good, i.e. stuff that builds your resilience. The net result of a near empty ‘self’ bucket is often low self-esteem, low immune system, and poor mental health. All the things you don’t need if you are going to be successful in your career, whether or not you are actually going for partner.
How do you fill up your ‘self’ bucket?
There are many ways to full up your ‘self’ bucket, for example:
- Set aside time every week to do something just for yourself that brings you pleasure
- Take your holidays and switch off from work when you do this
- Learn what helps you recharge your batteries, and aim to do a little bit of this every day
- Eat high quality food
- Prioritise getting a good night’s sleep
- Do some physical activity, even if it is just a walk, daily
One of the most common ways people on route to partner sabotage their success, particularly when they are on partnership track, is taking on too much at once. This just leads to stress and overwhelm. Therefore chunk up your career plan and aim to do a little bit every week rather than trying to do it all at once. After all Rome wasn’t built in a day.
There is no point making it to partner by making yourself stressed and unhealthy along the way. Pace yourself, particularly when you are on partnership track, and make time to recharge your batteries along the way.