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Firm for the Culture | Yep, I Almost Got Fired.
Did I tell you about how I almost got fired? | I am what an Intellectual Property Attorney looks like.
For my non-legal eagles, a federal clerkship is one of the most prestigious and competitive opportunities you can snag after graduating from law school.
If you land one of these coveted roles, you gain a unique opportunity to essentially ghost write for a judge appointed by the President of the United States.
Acting a proxy for your federal judge, you wield tremendous power, not only in helping to resolve cases before the federal courts, but also in shaping legal jurisprudence for years to come.
So yeah, kind of a big deal.
In fact, so much of a big deal that my alma mater, Berkeley Law School, wrote an article about me and whatnot, and I got the obligatory “your parents must be so proud of you” responses from many (as if my immigrant parents knew what a clerkship was).
But I digress…
The not so distant memory of almost getting fired came back up during a recent Linkedin Live I had with my friend and colleague Don Macaulay, a former Corporate Law attorney and the Founder of Barbri Law Preview, a program that helps pre-law students learn the substantive skills they need to succeed in law school.
I remembered the hard conversation I had with my judge after turning in yet another draft judicial order late, the seemingly inevitable result of my imposter syndrome becoming so bad that it paralyzed me intellectually.
My judge, instead of firing me on the spot, gave me a few days to decide if I wanted to remain a federal law clerk.
While she put the decision squarely in my hands, she noted if I was going to stay, I needed to step up my game and become the person she believed me to be.
Yep, a Coach Carter moment if there ever was one.
Well, during a recent interview with Don, he recounted that before he CRUSHED law school, he was at risk of failing college.
As with Don, past failures do not have to predict your future in your business building journey.
Okay, so you’re recommitted.
But what does the meandering and sometimes arduous road from failure to fortuitous success look like?
In this post, we’re going to talk about just how you “bounce back” from failure - a learnable skill that’s needed to navigate the rollercoaster that is entrepreneurship.
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Dive into the exciting world of creating revenue generating social impact through trademark and copyright license agreements.
In this upcoming session, we’re going to delve into the realm of IP, discuss its relevance to organizational impact, and explore methods to maximize your IP’s potential.
Through real-life examples of powerful, high-revenue generating brands in the social impact space, you’ll be inspired to dream big and consider innovative ways to leverage their own trademarks and other forms of IP.
Whether you’re an established social entrepreneur or just getting started, this session will provide invaluable insights to transform your approach to IP management.
So what does the long and winding road from perceived failure look like, and how do you navigate it to get back on track for your purpose?
Here are three tips that may help:
One of the biggest barriers to succeeding in my federal clerkship was my ego.
In entrepreneurship, our egos can set us up for failure by stopping us from admitting we don’t quite know how to navigate our new landscape.
Maybe you’re in the same place with your entrepreneurial journey.
You don’t know the difference between an LLC and Corporation
You don’t understand the myriad tax and financial terms being thrown your way
You don’t know what to prioritize as you engage your entrepreneurial journey
Start at one place, one point, one lesson at a time with a trusted advisor and engage the journey from there.
You’ll get closer to becoming the more knowledgeable entrepreneur you seek to be if you take this journey one step at a time.
When I recommitted to my federal clerkship, I recommitted to late nights and early mornings in an effort to get back on track.
For several weekends during my clerkship, I woke up bright and early to review legal documents and to break down legal argument structures in an effort to train my brain to quickly identify and craft similarly strong arguments.
In the end it paid off, I honed my skills and became a better lawyer and writer.
Perhaps you’re in a similar space; now that your trusted advisor or coach showed you the preliminary stages, it’s time for you to dig deep.
Becoming a master of your craft is going to take some deep work.
Don’t be afraid to dig deep in order to stand out.
When I shared my own story of bouncing back from failure, one of the questions I was recently asked was whether I thought I was losing myself.
“Yes," I answered.
But I was also gaining so much more.
You see, I was becoming the version of myself I prayed for, and to be that person, I had to learn to get comfortable with seeing a new “me” that looked different than who I was before.
As I’ve learned on this journey to purpose, you’re going to inevitably change when you seek to become a better version of yourself.
You’ll become more disciplined in circumstances that, in the past, would’ve thrown you for a loop.
You’ll become more grounded in your vision when, in the past, you would’ve questioned your place in the industry you’re navigating.
You’ll gain a level of experience in space that, in the past, you were barely a novice in.
Sometimes, reintroducing yourself to yourself is the way to fulfilling your God-given purpose.
In the end, I successfully completed my two year clerkship.
I finished all of my assignments.
I passed the hardest state bar in the country.
I learned to engage the intricacies of the federal judiciary.
And I also got an offer to work at the top litigation firm in the country.
The biggest success, however?
Getting sworn in by my judge after I decided to not quit in my career as an attorney.
In this season, you may feel like the odds are stacked against you.
You may feel like quitting.
But I share this with you as I say this to myself.
Keep going. God is working.
We at Firm for the Culture are here to guide, support, and walk alongside you every step of the way.
How did you overcome a recent setback in your journey?
Share in the comments below!
And when you’re ready to protect your unique contribution to the culture, including protecting the bold brand you’re building, reach out to us.
Thanks for reading.
See you next time.