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Lawyer Wellness

Webinar Recap: Three Things I Wish I Realised When I Was 20, Not 40.

Clarissa Rayward recently joined us to share her learnings of what life has been like, and how it differed from her original expectations of being a lawyer.

Earlier this month, Clarissa Rayward, Director of the Brisbane Family Law Centre aka The Happy Family Lawyer, joined us virtually for our lawyer wellness webinar series. During this webinar, Clarissa shared the three key things she wish she knew in her twenties; and not in her forties.

It is a reminder that when we are not in our twenties, the best thing about being older is becoming more comfortable and confident with who we are. There are so many life experiences that have made other tasks and situations easier than ever before. However, there are still those moments when no matter how hard we try, certain things still rattle us. 

Here are Clarissa’s top three learnings:

1. No matter how hard you try, not everyone will like you.

Every once in a while, we have to remind ourselves that the minute you stand up and share your thoughts, the minute you express a belief or a view, there’s a strong chance there will be people who don’t always believe the same thing. Most of the time this is not a problem, but sometimes that’s hard to deal with. Particularly when at the core of all of us, we’re human beings who are biologically designed to be part of communities, groups, friendships and relationships - we want to be liked! But, we have to remember that not everyone is going to like us all of the time. The more you go out into the world and do something differently, the greater the chance you will come across the people who, for whatever reason, don’t like what you are about.

2. Just be you – it really is enough.

Learning to accept that not everyone’s going to like us is a big part of accepting that we are who we are, and being yourself is so much easier than trying to be anything else. Being yourself is enough, but sometimes it can be tough.

“I wish I’d realised 20 years ago that being me with all my perks, quirks, and creativity is what was really going to make the biggest difference in the world around me, and I wished I’d embraced that so much earlier in my life,” says Clarissa.

Today, remind yourself to embrace that now. The strength that you have, the challenges you’ve been through matter, and making decisions that are consistent with your plan.

3. Dream Big

Ask yourself, “what is the worst that could happen?” and deal with the challenges as it comes. The world is full of people who’ll happily tell you why something can’t be done. They’ll actively go out of their way to show you that your dreams, the bigger they are, are entirely unachievable. And then you find some people will sit by your side, listen to your ideas, smile along with you and support you all the way. Clarissa is an advocate for this final learning. If you have a dream, believe you can achieve it, and some people will happily support and help you achieve your goals. There’ll be plenty of people telling you along the way why you can’t, why you shouldn’t and how crazy your idea is, but in many respects, that’s half the fun. We all wish to realise that much earlier in our lives that most of the stuff that really matters comes out of those dreams and that nothing, no success or failure, is ever wasted.

Bonus Tip: Say ‘Yes’ (work it out later) and say ‘No’ too.

Saying yes to requests from bosses, colleagues, clients, and others can make you feel important but can be a prescription for burnout. The only way to be sustainably successful is to get good at saying no in a way that makes people feel respected and to say yes only when your reasoning is sound and if you have the capacity.


About Clarissa Rayward

Clarissa Rayward is a Divorce Lawyer and the Owner of Brisbane Family Law Centre. Over the past 14 years, Clarissa has worked with thousands of families during separation and divorce.  She specialises in assisting her clients to experience a dignified divorce - staying away from the Court process and finding sustainable agreements for the future.  Clarissa tackles the challenging issue of unhappiness in the legal profession through her writing and weekly Podcast ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’ where she interviews lawyers who have found a way to maintain a successful career in the law while not giving up their life outside of their career.

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