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My Mountain to Climb
Balancing Work, Family, and Faith Is an Uphill Battle
Did you know that Aug. 1 is National Mountain Climbing Day? While there aren’t any mountains in Florida — the highest point in our state is Britton Hill, a measly 345 feet — the holiday still resonated with me. For those of you who have climbed a real mountain, you know that reaching the summit doesn’t come without a lot of preparation, planning, and proper execution. For those of us who haven’t climbed literal mountains but have instead scaled our own personal ones, the same discipline applies. Balancing work, family, and faith is my own uphill battle, and, to be honest, keeping my priorities straight feels like climbing a mountain every single day. I can say with 100% certainty that most lawyers hate their jobs. Statistics show 70% of attorneys are unhappy with their current state of affairs — a portion that seems crazy to me. Fortunately, I’m not one of them, but the satisfaction I take in my work didn’t come without a great deal of planning and balancing. Imagine me as a juggler with many balls in the air. I spend a lot of time practicing to ensure I never drop a ball and always be there for my family as a husband and father, my staff as a leader, and my clients as an attorney. I tend to be a workaholic, so it’s always tricky to balance that urge with family life. One of the most difficult things I learned as a young attorney was how to say no. After I was married, I had to change gears from the workaholic lawyer to the supportive, present husband I wanted to be. Then
when Alyssa and Nicholas were born, I had to shift gears again to become a father. That meant learning to turn down cases even when I wanted them. I had to be honest with clients and tell them I couldn’t commit the time their cases required, then offer to put them in touch with another attorney who could. In the end, I think both sides benefited from those tough decisions. My kids always come first, so I’m happiest when I incorporate family time into my work. For example, when Dellutri Law Group volunteered at the Midwest Food Bank, I was able to bring my kids along, turning a request for business help into a family event. What really suffers when I’m balancing my priorities is personal time. To combat that, I get up very early each morning while the rest of the world is asleep. I spend that time reading the Bible, inspirational stories, or business books in order to put my day into perspective. I often squeeze in a bit of work, too — my clients are used to getting emails from me as early as 3 or 4 a.m. If I don’t take some time each morning for reflection, it throws my whole day out of balance. Worse, my wife can tell immediately I’m out of whack! In addition to embracing the power of “no,” I’ve found it’s vital to delegate tasks and trust my colleagues to handle them. Clear communication has also been key to keeping everyone happy, and I make a point to never make excuses when I mess up. If you’re trying to find your own balance,
–Carmen Dellutri After over 20 years of practicing law, I’ve learned there’s no way to avoid climbing mountains. Instead, the most important thing you can do is remember to revel in the climb. Getting to the top is great, but guess what? All you’ll see when you reach it is tomorrow’s mountain. So, you might as well enjoy the journey. those same habits could work for you. With only 24 hours in the day, it’s vital to prioritize. I think of my schedule in terms of the Jar of Life: While it might look full when it’s loaded with my top priorities of work and family (think of them as large rocks), it isn’t. There’s still room to fill the cracks with my spiritual development (pebbles) and even fit in personal time (sand).
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