The Lawyer’s Escape Pod
A New Paradigm for Success

A New Paradigm for Success

July 5, 2022

This week I share my thoughts on how we can buck the system and define success on our own terms. I think the new paradigm of success is centered on you being self-actualized and of true service, rather than being the best rule follower out there.

I also shared some wise, if salty, words from my mom. 

It would be her birthday today. 

I recently came across a submission she made to her alumni magazine for her 25th reunion. Parts made me cry. Parts made me smile. And parts made me think I really would have enjoyed her. At 11, she was still just “mom” - not a whole person with interesting world views…

Anyway - here she is wrapping up her entry to the alumni magazine with a mic drop challenge to traditional success:

“I suppose that in conclusion, I should mention how essential my Wellesley experience was in shaping my life. Actually, I don’t think it was. I went through the four years longing to be out, and I’m sure I wasn’t taking advantage of all the intellectual possibilities. But I have learned that there are a lot of smart, achieving people in the world who didn’t go to Wellesley or anyplace like it and I get worn down by the self-congratulating, ‘aren’t we all great, we went to Wellesley’ attitude that comes through so oppressively in the pages of the alumna magazine.”

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Connect with Megan!

Daydreams to Designs Private Podcast: https://bit.ly/daydreamstodesigns

Employee to Entrepreneur Quiz: https://bit.ly/employeetoentrepreneurtype

Schedule a Catalyst Call: https://megansmiley.com/schedule-a-call

Website: https://www.megansmiley.com/

Kristen Gyolai combines law and entrepreneurship

Kristen Gyolai combines law and entrepreneurship

June 21, 2022

Kristen Gyolai is the owner of The Law Office of Kristen Gyolai & Lure of Law. She started her career at a high-volume law firm. She enjoyed the practice of law but 5 years in, she was feeling burnt out and needed a change. After considering her options, she ultimately decided to start her own law firm. That has proven to be exactly the right fit for her. She is now also the founder of Lure of Law, where she helps show other attorneys how possible it is to start their own firm.

 

In this episode we discuss:

 

  • Kristen realized that traditional law practice wasn’t the lifestyle she wanted to live
  • She didn’t hate practice, but hated the system
  • How Kristen decided to start her own firm
  • Running the business and doing the legal work on her own didn’t worry her, but the fear of not finding clients and failing weighed heavily on her
  • She decided she wanted this enough to fail trying
  • There are some unknowns, but you can trust yourself to learn and figure things out
  • Kristen tells us how she found her first clients
  • There’s a growing trend of starting solo practices

 

Connect with Kristen!

Kristen Gyolai Website: https://kristengyolai.com/

Lure of Law Website: https://lureoflaw.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lureoflaw/

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Connect with Megan!

Daydreams to Designs Private Podcast: https://bit.ly/daydreamstodesigns

Employee to Entrepreneur Quiz: https://bit.ly/employeetoentrepreneurtype

Schedule a Catalyst Call: https://megansmiley.com/schedule-a-call

Website: https://www.megansmiley.com/

Lauren Kay teaches us about Human Design and creating a portfolio career

Lauren Kay teaches us about Human Design and creating a portfolio career

June 7, 2022

Lauren Kay is the host of the Legally Different Podcast, a Human Design expert, and a lawyer practicing on her terms. Lauren tells us about her journey of quitting the law in search of something more fulfilling. She identified freedom as her top value, and with that as a guiding principle, has been able to construct a portfolio career. She consults as a lawyer, which allows her to work the hours she wants from wherever she chooses. And she has been able to lean into her other interests, starting her podcast and Human Design business.

 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • That Lauren followed her intuition to quit and travel
  • How Lauren thought there was only one way to practice law, and it wasn’t for her
  • The confusion of disconnecting from the label and identity of “lawyer”
  • Lauren’s realization that freedom was her top value, and how that helped her create and follow aligned opportunities 
  • Finding legal work on a consulting basis
  • How Lauren’s personal growth journey led her to understand her interests and purpose more
  • Human Design basics

Connect with Lauren!

Legally Different Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/legally-different/id1536355826

Book a Human Design Session: https://calendly.com/legallydifferent/human-design-foundational-1-hour?back=1&month=2022-06

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/legallydifferent/

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Connect with Megan!

Daydreams to Designs Private Podcast: https://bit.ly/daydreamstodesigns

Employee to Entrepreneur Quiz: https://bit.ly/employeetoentrepreneurtype

Schedule a Catalyst Call: https://megansmiley.com/schedule-a-call

Website: https://www.megansmiley.com/

Mary Adkins leaves BigLaw litigation to become a novelist

Mary Adkins leaves BigLaw litigation to become a novelist

May 24, 2022

Mary Adkins is a former BigLaw litigator turned writer. She is author of the novels When You Read This (Indie Next Pick, “Best Book of 2019” by Good Housekeeping and Real Simple), Privilege (Today.com “Best Summer Read,” New York Post “Best Book of the Week”), and Palm Beach (recently named one of the New York Post’s “Best Books of 2021”). Her books have been published in 13 countries, and her essays and reporting have appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, and more. She is also a writing coach and founder of The Book Incubator, a 12-month program to write, revise, and pitch your novel or memoir. 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Getting into law to make a positive impact, but then taking a BigLaw job
  • Feeling misaligned with your work, and coming to not care about it at all
  • Prioritizing taking writing classes even with a crazy schedule
  • Taking a bridge job to allow the time and space to pursue more writing
  • Realizing that a lot of the roadblocks to making a change aren’t as immovable as we tell ourselves they are
  • How to build a writing career
  • How the Enneagram plays out for lawyers and writers 

 

Connect with Mary:

 

Website: https://maryadkinswriter.com/

 

Apply to The Book Incubator: https://www.thebookincubator.com/apply-novel-writing-program

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adkinsmary/

 

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Connect with Megan!

 

Daydreams to Designs Private Podcast: https://bit.ly/daydreamstodesigns

 

Employee to Entrepreneur Quiz: https://bit.ly/employeetoentrepreneurtype

 

Schedule a Catalyst Call: https://megansmiley.com/schedule-a-call

 

Website: https://www.megansmiley.com/

From partner to entrepreneur: Embracing your second act

From partner to entrepreneur: Embracing your second act

April 26, 2022

Erika Cole built a thriving, very specialized law practice advising churches and other faith-based organizations. After running her own firm, she merged her practice and became a partner at a larger firm. She enjoyed the work. And from the outside, all the boxes of success were checked. But, something in her told Erika that this chapter was complete. She was ready for a new challenge. And she was ready for an even greater degree of freedom and flexibility. Leveraging the specialization she’d developed, she’s now serving a similar audience as she had in practice, but from a new angle. She runs a conference, hosts the Church Law podcast, and has launched a 6-week course for burned-out pastors.

I had the pleasure of having Erika in a program I ran last summer, and seeing the leap she’s made in less than a year is really inspiring. Not surprising to me (as you’ll hear), but definitely inspiring. 

For anyone questioning whether you’re too deep into practice to leave now, or if there’s really time for a second act - this episode is for you.

 

Connect with Erika:

Website: https://www.erikacole.com/

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Connect with Megan!

 

Daydreams to Designs Private Podcast: https://bit.ly/daydreamstodesigns

 

Schedule a Catalyst Call: https://megansmiley.com/schedule-a-call

 

Website: https://www.megansmiley.com/

A holistic approach to designing your career

A holistic approach to designing your career

April 5, 2022

Elena Deutsch is the founder and CEO of WILL (Women Interested in Leaving Law). With a background in executive and leadership coaching, Elena guides women through the process of discovering what they want, leveraging their strengths, and researching inspiring new possibilities. In this episode, Elena and I dive into our shared appreciation for a heart-centered approach to career planning. For so many people, their career dissatisfaction is not simply a question of finding a new job. It’s about taking a huge step back and really examining who you are and what you want.

 

In today’s episode, we discuss:

  • How we define a heart-centered approach (to a job search or entrepreneurship)
  • How this approach leads to more alignment and purpose
  • Making internally informed decisions, rather than having your plans be externally dictated
  • How to explore your creative or off-the-beaten-path interests
  • How your lawyer brain gets in the way
  • The mindset shifts people need to make to approach their career this way
  • The Great Resignation 
  • The importance of community and support

 

Find Elena:

Elena’s website: https://womeninterestedinleavinglaw.com/ 

Book a Consultation with Elena: https://will-online.teachable.com/a/aff_0d5ngvx3/external?affcode=97439_ds-nv8nb

Free Gift: High Five Miracle Morning Checklist

https://womeninterestedinleavinglaw.com/high-5-miracle-morning/

FREE Masterclass: How to Leave (big) Law with Ease:  https://womeninterestedinleavinglaw.com/leave-with-ease/

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Connect with Megan!

Daydreams to Designs Private Podcast: https://bit.ly/daydreamstodesigns

Schedule a Catalyst Call: https://megansmiley.com/schedule-a-call

Website: https://www.megansmiley.com/

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Books referenced:

William Ury, The Power of a Positive No

Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

It’s ok to be an accidental entrepreneur

It’s ok to be an accidental entrepreneur

March 29, 2022

I never would have guessed that I'd end up being an entrepreneur. I had some long-standing stories around how I just wasn't naturally built for it. I think so many of us have a certain idea of who built for entrepreneurial success and who isn't. But, there are different types of entrepreneurs and different kinds of businesses. So don't count yourself out just yet. 

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Connect with Megan!

Daydreams to Designs Private Podcast: https://bit.ly/daydreamstodesigns

Schedule a Catalyst Call: https://megansmiley.com/schedule-a-call

Website: https://www.megansmiley.com/

Jessica Medina shows us it’s possible to unlock the golden handcuffs

Jessica Medina shows us it’s possible to unlock the golden handcuffs

March 22, 2022

Jessica Medina is a former big law litigator and SEC investigator who is now an accredited financial counselor. She specifically helps big law attorneys who need a financial plan in place to allow them the freedom to explore new career options. Jessica also reassures us that it's possible to create a financial plan that supports a transition to entrepreneurship. Even if you have student loans!

 

In this episode, Jessica talks about:

  • What exactly a financial advisor is, compared to other financial professionals
  • There’s no shame if you’re not on top of your finances (that’s the case for a lot of people)
  • The process Jessica takes her clients through
  • Strategies for people with student loans
  • How to plan specifically when you’re considering entrepreneurship 
  • It’s possible to plan, even when there are unknowns
  • FIRE movement planning
  • How much house you can afford

You can find Jessica at:

Craft Your Exit Plan Cheatsheet: https://www.jessicamedinallc.com/exit 
 
 
 

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Connect with Megan!

Daydreams to Designs Private Podcast: https://bit.ly/daydreamstodesigns

Schedule a Catalyst Call: https://megansmiley.com/schedule-a-call

Website: https://www.megansmiley.com/

A powerful self-coaching question

A powerful self-coaching question

March 15, 2022

The #1 thing that is limiting your career options is your assumption that all of your thoughts are true. In this episode I talk you through how to question the reasons you dismiss certain options, like entrepreneurship.

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Connect with Megan!

Daydreams to Designs Private Podcast: https://bit.ly/daydreamstodesigns

Schedule a Catalyst Call: https://megansmiley.com/schedule-a-call

Website: https://www.megansmiley.com/

How do you define success?

How do you define success?

March 8, 2022

In this episode, I question our historical definitions for success and challenge you to create a new, more personalized definition for yourself.

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Connect with Megan!

Daydreams to Designs Private Podcast: https://bit.ly/daydreamstodesigns

Schedule a Catalyst Call: https://megansmiley.com/schedule-a-call

Website: https://www.megansmiley.com/

 

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