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Lessons Learned in 2013

Dec 31, 2013 | by Stacey Burke | Stacey E. Burke
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This year has been another year of incredible change for me, change that would trigger anxiety for almost anyone (control freak or not.) I changed jobs, changed office locations, changed homes, and learned a few lessons in the process that I felt were worth sharing in a rare, candid personal post to our blog’s followers.


  1. Your network is powerful and its power can change your life. One of the most important reasons to stay active on social networking sites is to maintain connections. I am an active user of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. I “collect people” that I have met through my travels, in my personal life, in my professional career, and even accept connections at times from folks I don’t know. This calendar year alone, my network has helped me gain speaking engagements, meet new clients, sign up my children for extracurricular activities, and redecorate portions of my new home.
  2. Make an effort to put yourself first. During my adult life, I have changed jobs, I have left relationships, and I have moved internationally; and, in some ways I have “left behind” people I care about. Our own individual personal growth and inner peace are ultimately gained at the expense of something else; the balance of our own lives inevitably shifts when we make choices favoring one thing over another. When you make a decision that is best for you, sometimes that comes at the cost of loyalty to someone or something else. Do it anyway. No one else will put you first in the same way that you can put yourself first.
  3. Trust your gut. This year I have agonized over several difficult decisions. Ultimately though, the anxiety I felt over making each tough decision was worse than pulling the trigger. If you are internally debating something you really know, deep down that you should do, just get over yourself and do it. Change your underperforming staff member to a new position. Fire your non-responsive web designer. Get out of an unhealthy relationship. Wasting unnecessary energy playing things out in our minds should be avoided in favor of making the tough decisions, and moving forward.
  4. Personal and professional life balance might be impossible.  I don’t know a single working mother that has told me they have the work/life balance figured out. While many may in fact have things handled expertly, none of us feels that we manage all areas of our lives sufficiently well. We working mothers need to cut ourselves some slack, realize the unique characteristics we bring to the table in a professional setting, and accept that perfection is an imaginary concept that prevents us from enjoying our real, beautiful, imperfect lives with our families.
  5. Being your own boss is scary but empowering. While I have had my own law firm since 2010, I have not worked within it on a full-time basis until this year. Like many young lawyers supporting their families, I was afraid to give up the security of a regular paycheck, benefits, and the guaranteed status that comes with working for an established law practice. I did it anyway, and I am a better person, a better marketer, and a better mother because of it.

As I head off on vacation for a week, I can only hope that your reflections on 2013 leave you feeling inspired, thoughtful, and self-aware. May we all have a happy, healthy, and successful 2014.

Sidebar stacey e burke About Stacey Burke

Stacey E. Burke is both an experienced trial lawyer and law firm business consultant. She works with lawyers and law firms around the world to improve their business development, marketing, and infrastructures.

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