At almost every stage in life, most people have a certain vision of where they wish to be at a certain future point and try to work their way towards getting there. These life goals keep everyone trucking along, and provide a great incentive to work hard along the way. Entering a profession and later growing and developing a solid career within that profession is one such milestone. Very often, however, many find themselves saddened by their current set of circumstances because there is a disconnect between where they feel they ought to be and where they actually are at that point in their lives. This leaves them unfulfilled, and questioning why. After all, they deserve it, don’t they? They’ve worked hard, they think they’ve done what they were supposed to do, so the problem can’t be on their end. The blame lies with external factors. In reality, this defense mechanism can only impede them on their journey towards achieving those same goals because it doesn’t call for an honest self-assessment that reveals the value they bring to the table. Many people forget that in order to receive anything, they have to provide something in return. Very few things are truly free. This naturally means that in order to feel entitled to something you have to justify this entitlement by providing somewhat equal value from your end. Otherwise, what exactly justifies your objective?
Although this equation applies universally, the most common examples include dating and finding a job. In dating, when a man or woman has certain expectations about a significant other but never seems to find that person, very rarely do they look to themselves to understand why. Yet, that’s precisely where they should look. Are their expectations justified in light of the value they would bring to this desired other? Very often you find people wishing they had a certain someone that fits a certain checklist, but they themselves do not meet similar criteria. In what way, then, can this wanted other be attracted enough to them for them to succeed in keeping this person if they do indeed find them? This is why an honest self-assessment is crucial to success. Without knowing and understanding your own value, you cannot realistically set proper goals. In turn, you may often find yourself wondering why you have not succeeded as you had planned. Obtaining employment in any given field and moving up the ladder going forward is another great example of this disconnect in action. When looking for a job, ask yourself one question: what do you bring to the table? What value or potential future value can you justify to any given employer in order for them to pick you as the right candidate for the job? Many people simply focus on the employer, and dream about how great it would be to work for them. Little or no time is spent, even during an interview, discussing how they bring the type of value the employer wants to add to the roster. The same can be said for promotions once already on the job. Many people simply do what they have to do, very rarely do they go above and beyond. After time passes, they’re left wondering why they are always stuck in the same place as others move up. The answer is simple: they are not increasing their value to the employer, so there is no justification for a change from their current position.
Fortunately, once you understand this equation, control of your circumstances is in your hands. If your value is not up to par with your expectations, you have two options. Either you lower your expectations, or you increase your value. Considering there’s no reason why you shouldn’t want to achieve what you’ve already wanted, increasing your value is your best bet. As an example, the legal job market currently cannot fit in anywhere close to the number of law graduates the law schools are producing. Unfortunately, only a little over half of law graduates have the potential of obtaining legal employment upon graduation. What does this mean? Because competition is intense, and the value necessary to obtain legal employment has risen, the only thing law students can do is grow their value to legal employers. This means they need to keep their grades high, they need to gain as much practical experience as possible during law school, and they need to network as much as possible to grow their opportunity base. The alternative, of course, is unemployment or underemployment. Law graduates that have already finished law school must do the same thing, at least with respect to gaining practical experience and networking. Soliciting part-time contract work is another opportunity. Either way, growing this value in order to be able to sell yourself is the key to landing on the right side of the law graduate fence. It certainly is no guarantee, but it increases your chances. And that is in your control. This same logic applies to any goal you’re looking to achieve. Remember, you must first understand your own value. Only then can you see what you need to do to make that disconnect disappear.