Oklahoma Bar Journal

From the Executive Director | How To Know if You Are on the Right Track

By Janet Johnson

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            I begin each day with a choice: whether I get up with my first alarm – also known as the “ambitious alarm” – which is set for the person I want to be, or whether I get up with the safety alarm, which is set for the person I know I really am. Then the real struggle begins. Do I press snooze once or not at all? It is a slippery slope and often occurs on Mondays. Once I have made the commitment to get up and start my day, another struggle hits me. Do I have time to stop for a coffee and breakfast, or do I make the more prudent choice of making a cup at home? When I consider that the day begins with decision-making, it is no wonder decision fatigue sets in early and often and can result in an overwhelming sense of disorganization.

            With so many happenings in our daily lives, it is hard to find time for reflection and self-evaluation. However, the more I work to keep my promises to myself from February, where I discussed a Sunday-through-Friday view and setting clear priorities, I find that it might be easier and more innate than I think. When I stop to reflect, I realize end-of-the-week Janet is proud of first-of-the-week Janet.

            It really is the simple things: action items handled, follow-ups complete, email inbox more manageable and calls returned. This is a satisfying feeling. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, and that is because I have accepted that it is okay to do one thing at a time. This acceptance is me realizing my limits and capabilities. As a result, it assures me that I am on the right track.

            The right track is different for everyone. For me, it is recognizing when I am confident enough to stand firm and when I need to compromise. Additionally, it is relying on that circle of influence to assist and guide as needed. In the legal profession, it can often seem taboo to ask for help. I could go into several theories on why that is, but I will spare you my hypotheses. Instead, I will present a challenge: I challenge us all to reflect and ask for help and assistance when we feel it is needed. This realization is another sign that a person is on the right track.

            I write this article in hopes that it furthers the accountability I was seeking in February. I am a work in progress – it is called the practice of law for a reason. Coming to terms with my time and abilities is true growth, and I am convinced that this is proof I am on the right path. Thus, my March mantra is stay confident, stay the course, and you will find the right path.

To contact Executive Director Johnson, email her at janetj@okbar.org.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 94 Vol 3 (March 2023)