The road to becoming a lawyer had its challenges but it was the Bar Exam, waiting for me at the end of three years of law school that had me facing some inner weaknesses which were so profoundly overcome with the help of a professional coach.
After All the Work of Law School, Was I Not Going to be a Lawyer After All?
Law school graduates have plenty of warning that a Bar Exam is no cakewalk. By the time I had taken a Bar Exam more than once in one state, while trying to make ends meet, and staring at a $125K loan repayment plan, I was in great despair over whether I would ever be a practicing attorney. I was working again as a law clerk, paralegal, and instructor at a court reporting school, and thinking:
“I didn’t have to go to law school for these jobs.”
It was while I was going through Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey in a small group at church, trying to tackle the debt load, that I was introduced to a life coach who offered to help me study for the bar. Did I mention that she was a retired physical therapist by profession?
In reflection, I had two career goals: Teacher and Lawyer. The first came easily but occurred second in time. With degrees in English and Biology, it might seem clear, but it just was not. I bounced around after college from job to job as a paralegal, administrative assistant, and several other support roles.
“As a paralegal, I kept thinking I could do MORE.”
I experienced some health issues along the way and after those were resolved, I felt strong and motivated to apply to law school at age 37. Law school itself can be fully understood and vicariously experienced in the reading of ONE L by Scott Turow.
Needless to say, I graduated from law school which as I was soon to find out, was only the beginning of more inner testing.
The Professional Coach Forced Me to Deal with the Real Issues
It was August and the Bar Exam was in February of the following year. We met every week, and as I remember, we didn’t talk about Bar Exam content so much as we talked about my fear of failure, insecurities, frustrations, past hurts, and the like.
If I had $5 for every time she kept me from quitting my day job, which she assured me would put me in a worse situation than the hole I was in, I would be a millionaire.
If I had given her $5 for every time I yelled at her and cried over issues she addressed, she would be a millionaire, although I think she was anyway. She was only a few years older than I was.
I Was Lonely, in a Job I Hated, and the Obstacle Before Me Felt Insurmountable
I was lonely, in a non-legal job I detested, and came home every evening to my desk in the middle of the living room with 100 pounds of bar study materials that I was re-using, hoping they would be sufficient for Bar Exam passage in another state, where I had decided it was time to move (My dad had recently had a stroke).
One specific meeting I remember she had me read aloud from Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. Almost 25 years later, I still remember that as part of my Bar Exam study curriculum!
I’m still puzzled by how it all worked, except to say, God was showing me through my professional coach that our hurdles and roadblocks are often not the things themselves, but rather, me/myself!
I never want to go through that experience again, even with an angelic being for a professional life coach.
That two-to-three month waiting period for Bar Exam results was nearly as painful as the study marathon, but when I saw PASS, the rest of the story is history.
“Professional coaches are life-givers, and I am forever grateful to mine.”