You guys are so lovely -- thanks for all of your encouragement yesterday, it did me a world of good. Given this, I figure I might as well share with you the leap that I'm considering taking. But first, a bit of backstory.
So, it's no secret that I'm a licensed attorney, although I haven't practiced in coming up on 4 years now. Still, I maintain my license (I think of it as my safety net), which means that every year, I take 15 hours of continuing legal education ("CLE"), 3 hours of which are ethics and professional responsibility. For the most part, I take the courses online (if you follow me on Twitter, you've likely seen me live-tweeting some of what I've learned), but I've also occasionally taken in-person courses. My dirty little secret: I actually like taking the courses, even despite the fact that they're often dryly presented, in soulless conference rooms. I like them because it's one of the few times in my life that I get to stay in touch with the legal world. Besides, every and all attorney jokes to the contrary, I believe law to be, at its core, an honourable profession. Lawyers help enact laws pertaining to and protecting civil rights. Most of us who became lawyers held Atticus Finch as our model. And I'm proud to say that there are very few lawyers I know who I don't trust implicitly and completely, and that's the truth.
This all said, I'm sort of amazed at how few lawyers I meet who really enjoy what they do. Inevitably, when someone asks me where I practice, and I respond that I don't, a wistful look comes across his face. "Lucky," they say, almost whispering, leaving me feeling a bit sad and guilty. I frequently am asked "how did you manage to escape?" and "you don't miss it, do you?" And the truth is that while I don't miss the culture around practicing law, I do miss being around law. Paradoxical, right?
To make matters more complicated, two of my most recent CLE courses were around stress management and the rules of professional responsibility around "fitness to practice." And in both of those courses, it was confirmed: lawyers are currently the most addicted, depressed and suicidal professionals in the United States.
How horrifying is that?
So here I am, writing books and holding online courses on discovering what your superpowers are and maximizing how often you practice them, and members of my previous profession, who I believe got into the profession for all the right reasons, are suffering.
Which led me to think: what if I created a retreat for lawyers, one which, instead of being all about legal policies and procedures, was more about remembering why we entered the profession in the first place, and figuring out how our superpowers can help us craft our careers so that allow us to do what it is that lights us up? And what if I could do it in a way that allowed for a lot of downtime, a lot of connecting with others in the profession in a casual but beautiful setting, and -- here's the perk -- allowed us to pick up a few CLE credits along the way?
Which brings me to my big (scary) project: Lime Retreats. I'm still in the very beginning stages of planning, and I know I won't be able to pull it off until 2013, but early feedback seems to indicate that it's a good idea. As for why I chose the name "lime" -- aside from the fact that it's the main ingredient in my favourite Trinidadian beverage, in Trinidad, the word "lime" has an additional meaning: it means "to hang out," or "spend time with." So you lime with your friends one afternoon on the patio, to watch the sun go down and have a rum punch. Or you go over to your buddy's house for a lime -- you know, have barbecue, play cards, that sort of thing.
It's the vibe that I really hope that these Lime Retreats have.
If you're a lawyer, and this sounds interesting to you, please click here and fill out the little form so that I can let you know when all the details are available. If you're not a lawyer, but you have a friend who is (and for whom this idea sounds like something they'd be interested in), please consider forwarding this link to them.
And of course, I'll happily accept any luck you want to send my way. More as things develop!
Incidentally, if you're not a lawyer, and this sounds like something you'd like to do, my Path Finder online course might be just the thing. Registration ends tomorrow, Wednesday, August 22nd -- and I'd love to have you. Click here to learn more!