My entire career has been dedicated to defending indigent criminal defendants. When I started out over twenty years ago I was no different from most new criminal defense attorneys, I was going to set the world on fire! I was going to make a difference in the lives of every client I represented. I was going to turn them around and set their lives in the right direction or so I thought. While I feel good about the work I’ve done and hopefully made a difference, I haven’t quite set the world on fire as I originally thought because after-all I’m only one person.
I know about trying to achieve a satisfying work and family balance because of my own intimate experience. My first transition was adjusting to life as a single mom when my marriage ended, and I relocated from the West Coast to what I’ll call the Southeast Coast with my four (4) year old daughter.
However, the journey ultimately leading me to become a life coach began after my daughter and I relocated five (5) years later for a second time, this time to the Deep
South. Within a year of getting us settled, I was fortunate to meet my soul-mate so my personal life was glorious because amazingly we immediately clicked as a new family unit, but I was struggling in my job. The practice of criminal law in the Deep South is profoundly different from how it is practiced on either coast. In both states I was at the top of my game. I was recognized for my ability to successfully advocate on behalf of my clients. My accomplishments were validated by accolades and promotion.
When I arrived at my office on the Southeast Coast my transition had been seamless because I had 10 years’ experience as a trial attorney. My skill and experience were immediately recognized so I moved up the ranks quickly, and within two years I was promoted to the Major Crimes Division which handled murder and high-profile cases. The Deep South on the other hand was a different story. I found myself on the outside of the fraternal network of criminal lawyers which afforded me little opportunity to demonstrate my advocacy and trial skills. I was experiencing a regression in my career that ate at my value as an attorney. Additionally, I was immediately labeled “an outsider” and treated accordingly. Although I had successfully practiced for fifteen (15) years in two other states, having single handedly tried over 100 cases, my skill and accomplishments were of no significance. Since I’m in the Deep South where cowboy hats and boots reign supreme, the scene that always comes to mind is that of a small town in the wild west. The town’s Sheriff is standing out on the dusty road that runs through the middle of the town and he’s confronting “The Stranger” that has just moved into town. The Sheriff walks up to the Stranger with his thumbs hooked into his gun belt and says “We don’t know you, and we don’t like your kind around here.” Well that was my daily work life, in addition to the stress of an already demanding career of a criminal defense attorney. All I was trying to do was my job which was to fight on behalf my clients, it was demoralizing. I understand that my woes as an attorney may not resonate with you, but you can probably understand getting a job or promotion because of your education, skill and experience. But when you arrive everyone there treats you like you don’t belong and that you can’t possibly know the job because you’re from somewhere else even though you have knowledge and experience.
Needless to say, I was miserable. Getting up and going to work was a constant battle and my unhappiness spilled over into my personal life. My health took a turn for the worse because my doctor told me I was headed for a stroke or worse and that’s when I realized I needed help. When you add in the stress of balancing work and family, I was struggling to keep my head above water. To be honest, I was drowning so when I finally reached out for help that was the first step. I successfully learned tools to handle my stress, and I changed my perspective which helped me gain focus, clarity, and inner peace.
I was put on the path to healing which led me to become a Certified Life Coach. By sharing my experience, it is my hope that I can help you successfully balance work and family, and show you how to nurture and honor yourself daily.
Essentially, I’ve been training to be a life coach for over 20 years in my work as a criminal defense attorney, but I didn’t know it. How you say? I was taught the holistic approach of practicing law when I started out practicing in California, meaning I was taught how to care about my client as an entire individual and not just the case. Therefore, I’ve always dealt with the criminal case and on a smaller scale the other issues going on in my client’s life. So, in essence I’ve also been coaching my clients all along by dealing out kindness, support, understanding, tough love, and practical advice.