“May you be with the Force.” – Alan Cohen
I have been craving the freedom of setting my own schedule and the ability to work from home for a very long time. My friends had been telling me I should practice as a solo attorney for some time, and I always brushed off the idea. My hesitation was rooted in the uncertain financial nature of self-employment and I felt safe in a larger organization.
After meeting with a colleague recently, I felt strongly guided to start my own law practice. My colleague and I discussed our working together on a contract basis. This arrangement meant that I would remain self-employed, but that she could give me a minimum amount of work each month because she was not yet ready to bring on a new employee. It was a win-win situation. We planned to meet in a couple of weeks to finalize the details.
Having a stream of work from my colleague gave me a feeling of financial stability, to the point that, within 48 hours after our meeting, I was making arrangements to start my own practice. I really didn’t think it could happen this soon and I was both focused and excited.
Imagine my surprise and disappointment when a couple of weeks later my colleague’s partner refused to sign on to the whole arrangement. She was only interested in bringing me on as an employee – the same situation I’d been dying to leave. Once again I would have no freedom. I would be spending all of my time on someone else’s work, marketing someone else’s practice, keeping to someone else’s schedule and running my part of someone else’s business – according to their management style. Was I interested in that arrangement? No chance!
I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I had thought my intuition was leading me to go out on my own and now, I felt completely disoriented. Since the work from my colleague was never going to materialize, had I misunderstood the guidance that self-employment was the right path for me?
What I learned is that how we picture plans unfolding is not always how they are meant to unfold. I could see that meeting this attorney was vital to the guidance that self-employment was the right path for me and I never would have taken that step if it wasn’t for her. However, the mistake I made was to assume that my self-employment was going to involve her for more than just inspiration. My guidance had only said, “You should go out on your own and all will be well.” What I heard was, “You should go out on your own and all will be well because your colleague is going to send you lots of work so you can feel secure about it all.” Those are two very different statements.
I believe the universe was trying to teach me a valuable lesson by having plans fall through with this colleague. It was trying to say. “Do you see how you keep thinking your security lies outside of yourself? Well, it doesn’t. Your security is YOU.” I had been clinging too tightly to the belief that others had a better ability than I to produce the work I need in order to sustain my practice. It was simply a lack of confidence. Silly me.
For a long time I had been feeling that I wanted freedom and autonomy. Assuming you have to be beholden to others for your security is the opposite of that. The universe was right when it lovingly smacked me upside the head and taught me a life lesson that I will not soon forget – being self-sufficient is the ultimate freedom.
Lesson learned! I continued to move forward and to seek out contract work from a variety of attorneys so that I would never feel reliant on only one source of work. I ran the numbers with my trusted CPA to verify that I had more than enough of my existing clients to sustain my practice. I continue to move forward, trusting in the guidance I had received while remaining open to what form it may take.
Important life guidance rarely takes a straight – or comfortable – path. It works that way because if our path in life was predictable, there would be no opportunity to learn any lessons in the process. I know that if business is slow I will need to keep the faith in the universe’s guidance that I am still in the right place.
We all get shoves from the universe at times and they can be painful in the moment. Having faith that you are being directed and remaining open as to where that may take you is the tough part. The shove I received from the universe in the form of what felt like a devastating setback has resulted in strengthening of my faith.