Written on the 11 September 2015 by Paris Faint


SECURING a partnership is often seen as the be-all-end-all of career goals for budding practitioners.

However after achieving that goal, becoming a veteran partner and realising there is nowhere left to climb beyond the ranks, how do lawyers maintain a healthy progressive mindset when there's no real career progression left to achieve?

According to Cullens Partner Brad Postma (pictured), maintaining this A-game that most people spend their working lives trying to reach is not without its own set of challenges. 

"When you master what you're doing, even though it's still mentally challenging, the work becomes a bit same-old," he says.

"Most elite professionals are so immersed in the day-to-day that they can never really push themselves beyond that limit."

Postma, author of the online article Can You Teach an Old Patent Attorney New Tricks, was beginning to feel the pinch of what he calls a partnership 'stagnation,' where top professionals who have reached their career goals start to feel tired with or unchallenged by their jobs.

"I live for challenges like any high-performing attorney, but now that I am here, at the peak of my career, what is my actual challenge?" Postma asks.

"Early on in the job you are consistently tested, but it's when you get to that partnership level and beyond the continuum starts to set in."

In an effort to pull himself out of the routine he was falling into, Postma consulted elite business coach Stuart Barnett who stressed the importance of staying motivated and finding ways to continually move beyond the comfort zone.

"I was heading towards stagnation, but Stuart pushed me beyond normal thought patterns and the day-to-day complacency that was setting in," says Postma.

"The key things I took away from my session with Stuart were firstly the importance of breaking the work continuum.

"It's imperative because it gives you time for self-reflection, and also to take your leave and devote some time to other parts of your life. Without reflection, you end up blissfully sleepwalking into a real problem."

With a fresh outlook, Postma aims to help others realise that each person regardless of position in life deals with similar stress when it comes to their careers, and there are always methods to keep motivated.

"The point of my article was mostly to show my juniors that every one of us grapples with our career issues, and there's no shame in trying to remedy them."

To read more about Postma's experience with Barnett, click here.

Author: Paris Faint





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