Knowing your hard-wired aptitudes can assist you in the practice of law and in the decisions you make about your career. This morning I realized I had not yet posted for you an article I wrote a while back entitled "Lawyers Celebrate Your Strengths." It begins . . .
Have you ever shoved and squeezed and stuffed your feet into a pair of shoes that were the wrong size and yet you wore them for what seemed the right reasons? Maybe they were the only footwear available to you at the time and barefoot would not suit the situation. Perhaps they looked fashionable so you were willing to tolerate the misfit. Possibly someone gave them to you expecting your gratitude and pleasure, someone you chose not to disappoint. You wore the shoes. The blister developed. You threw the shoes away. The blister healed.
A misfit hurts; it hurts a lot. We have known that since we were children. In our fairy tales, we learned the importance of choosing the right fit. Goldilocks did not eat the porridge that was too hot for her or sleep in the bed that was too hard; she chose the meal and the resting place that were just right. No matter how they tried, the stepsisters could not jam their feet into Cinderella's slipper; her foot easily slid into it and she lived happily ever after.
And many childhood games are based on knowing how things fit together. We quickly learn that a jigsaw puzzle piece has only one place where its shape is welcome in the big picture. Ramming and jamming will not work. It makes an ugly mess and destroys the whole overarching scheme.
As adults, we more fully understand the pain of those things that do not fit and the elegance and ease of those that do.
Except for sometimes.
In our professional lives, some of us tolerate situations and ways of doing and being that are as much a mismatch as a tight shoe or scalding porridge. The resulting blisters injure our health, decrease our satisfaction, and defeat our chances for optimum success. Ill-fitting parts of practicing law do not have to be tolerated. They do not have to grind us down. And we do not have to wear the parts of our role that do not fit. Finding that just-right fit for us can be almost as easily discovered as measuring our foot to see what size shoe we need.