Follow Your Dream or It Just Might Kill You (Part 1)

July 24, 2014 4:58 PM

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Follow Your Dream or It Just Might Kill You (Part 1)

In 2005, I was a criminal defense lawyer in Springfield, Missouri. I spent nearly 20 years defending people accused of the most serious crimes imaginable. I developed a reputation for winning, for aggressive cross-examination, and most of all the dedicated work of "leaving no stone unturned." I loved the courtroom and everything that surrounded it. I loved the minutia: what many would call boring but what I called the difference between the death penalty and a not guilty verdict. I reveled in learning new things about DNA testing, blood spatter, gun shot residue or carpet fiber analysis. I didn't really think about the money, but I made a lot of it. I came to the realization, however, that if I did not find a new career that this one would probably kill me. And not even so much from the myriad of death threats, although those were certainly shocking). I began to stop loving it and ultimately could feel it's toll in my body -- specifically in my chest.

After a nice stay in the hospital, my doctor explained that my chest hurting was not a heart condition. (Note to lawyers: if you tell your doctor that your chest hurts he/she will put you in the hospital.) Not a heart problem, he said; but I should talk to a psychologist. So I did that. While the la...

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