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Nicole Black


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Lesson 6

You Decide What It Means to Be Successful

“Everyone wants to be a “success.” But what does that mean, and who decides what constitutes success? The answer isn’t as complicated as it might seem. You define success, no one else.

It is so important for young attorneys – especially women – to acknowledge and embrace this concept. Don’t let anyone else define success for you. Allowing others to do so is a mistake and one that has the potential to drastically affect your sense of self-worth for years to come.

This was a lesson I learned the hard way in 2003, when I left the law firm where I worked as an associate. I’d been there for nearly four years – after another four years working for the public defender’s office – even though I’d never envisioned myself in a law firm. And yet there I was.

But, it wasn’t the right fit for me. I wasn’t happy. I felt trapped, claustro-phobic. I couldn’t put my finger on it, although I knew that work-life balance had something to do with it. But that wasn’t the sole problem.”

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“My hope is that this book will empower women lawyers to bring their whole selves to their work, to their loved ones, and to their lives.” from the Introduction, by Nora Riva Bergman

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