What does it mean to be a dropout? And more specifically, a BigLaw dropout?
If the term conjures up negative images of someone lazy, undisciplined and unmotivated, this episode will reframe those thoughts in an instant.
This week I talk about
- why being called a dropout is a badge of honour;
- how leaving BigLaw unleashed my long-suppressed creativity; and
- where the term 'the BigLaw dropout' originated.
Links related to this episode
Read The Rhyme of the BigLaw dropout
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Dropout is somebody with an immense amount of courage because they have seen where they are decided it's not where they want to be. And they have made the change, they've taken that leap into the unknown. So for me, Dropout is like a badge of honour.Rafa:
Your listening to the Triple C Project.Ryan Spence:
Welcome to The Triple C Project, the podcast that helps you gain clarity, bpost confidence and build courage, so you can live life lit! I'm your host, Ryan Spence, the biglaw dropout, life coach, author, speaker, lover of hoodies, hip hop, and big, hairy, audacious goals. If you're tired of living the life you think you should want and ready to start living the life you do want, this podcast will help you get from where you are, to where you really wanna be. So now we're friends, I invite you to grab a drink, take a seat and allow me to guide you towards living, a life that's lit! Hello, hello, welcome to episode eight of The Triple C Project. And I'm feeling a little bit proud of myself today. Because as I'm recording this on the 31st of March, I am about to go off on holiday in a few days. And so I've recorded three episodes this week. I've actually planned in advance which for someone like me, who is definitely a big creative ideas guy who I'm the sort of person who has an idea and posts it on social media within minutes, rather than having the content calendar everyone says that you should have. So recording three podcast episodes in a week and getting them all scheduled to cover the time I'm away is a, it's definitely a win for me. I'm becoming a almost a changed man in that sense. What's your what's your process like? Are you somebody who loves to get into the details and create strategies and systems? Or are you just someone who flows with the ideas that you have as when they come to you. Neither way's wrong, it just, they've both got their pros and cons, that's for sure. But anyway, as I'm recording this on the 31st of March, it's actually snowing here, which is madness. I mean snowing in March. We had blazing sunshine at the beginning of the week. And now we're sat here inside with the heating on and I've got my hoodie back on and I'm freezing, it's absolutely crazy. And it does make me even more wistful than than usual for for my former home of Singapore where it was always hot and always warm. But anyway, I digress. This is not the weather show. It's not the Weather Channel. So let's get started with today's show. But before we do, I want to give you a quick reminder that my book, The Triple C Method, gain clarity, boost confidence and build courage, so you can live life lit! is now available for preorder. If you head to iamryanspence.com/triplec, you can pre order there, find out some details about the book and get access to a free bonus mini course that I created specially for the book. So it's kind of like an introduction to The Triple C Method. Each of the three core modules cover the three pillars of The Triple C Method, clarity, confidence, and courage. And there's one actionable takeaway at the end of each module. And those exercises are exercises that I've done, and that I continue to do as I level up. So they're exercises you can keep coming back to, kind of like the gift that keeps on giving, if you will. So I'm really excited for you to get your hands on the course and start working through that. And then when you get hold of the book on the release date of the 26th of April, that will take you deeper into some of the concepts that we cover in the course. So go ahead, head to iamryanspence.com/triplec, preorder the book, get hold of the course and get yourself on the path towards living a life that's lit. Okay, let's get to the show. Today's topic, dropout, the word dropout. So, when I first started posting on Instagram, I referred to myself as the big law dropout. And that term actually came from a poem that I wrote shortly after I left BigLaw. So to take a step back. I used to work in the music business before my legal career. And I was always creative always writing writing songs writing magazine articles, writing raps, you know, I mean performing on stages, so creativity was very much a part of me but in my 11 years in BigLaw, I didn't realise it so much at the time. But as I left, I began to realise that lost parts of me had been sort of suppressed or kept down during my time in an attempt to fit the mould of kind of what was expected of being a lawyer in BigLaw, if you want to progress, you've kind of got to play the game, this was the message that was kind of put across to me, there's certain ways that you, you have to, you have to conduct yourself. I mean, for example, I was, I was told once that the way that I dressed was a bit too fashionable. And I might want to tone it down if I wanted to be taken seriously. So that just just gives you a sort of sense of some of the some of the things that were said and some of the some of the ways that people expected you to show up and to behave. So it's no surprise that when you're in that culture for long enough, and when you feel that this is where you're you have to be this is what you should be doing that you start to try to do what you can to fit into that environment. And as much as I would resist, I can definitely see looking back that there were parts where I kind of just let let certain certain things that I was into, or certain ways that I will show up, just just disappear, just get suppressed. And that's a long winded way of saying that creativity was one of them. And so actually, when I left, this whole creativity volcano that was inside of me started to erupt. And I couldn't stop writing, I was writing articles on medium. And I was also writing poems as well. And I wrote this poem about my time in BigLaw. And obviously, you can't condense an 11 year career into a two minute poem. But it definitely hits on certain aspects of things that I had seen, and I had experienced. And that poem became titled The Rhyme of the BigLaw dropout. And I don't really know where that came from, it's just like this flash of inspiration. But it's a term that stuck. And the reason why it stuck for me is predominantly looking at the word dropout. So words have meanings, obviously, and words have power. And you can use those words to wield a certain amount of power. And we've seen, there are many words out there that we use in harmful, derogatory sinister ways in the past. And the people who they will use the gates have effectively reclaimed them to take the sting out of them to take the power out of them. And for me with the word dropout, dropout always has this negative connotation. You talk about college dropouts, or, in my case, the university dropout, and dropouts are looked upon as people who failed people who have no ambition who have no motivation, no discipline. And I wanted to challenge that notion. Leaving BigLaw, I had seen other people leave BigLaw throughout my career. And yes, some people were supportive, and particularly when people went to do completely different things, some people would look on in awe and wish that they could do the same. But there was definitely a faction, an underbelly of comments of people not being able to hack it. And that's why they were leaving, they couldn't stay the pace, they were never going to make partner, they were never going to do what they need to do to succeed in that arena. And I didn't like that, then. And I like it less now. And I actually look at it differently. And I look at people who decide to leave situations that aren't serving them as the people with the courage, because they, rather than stay in the comfort zone, and rather than worry about what other people will say about their decision or what they will think they just go ahead and do it anyway. Because they're living for themselves. They're not living for other people. And that's how I look at the term dropout. A Dropout is somebody with an immense amount of courage, because they have seen where they are decided it's not where they want to be. And they have made the change. They've taken that leap into the unknown. So for me, Dropout is like a badge of honour. It means that someone has been somewhere figured out it wasn't for them, and has found their own path is looking to create a life that is in alignment with the person who they are with where they want to be with what they want to achieve. And so The Rhyme of the BigLaw dropout, I guess kind of came out of that and if It's a little tongue in cheek. But if you read between the lines, there is definitely truth in each of the lines that are in there. And if we ever meet in person, sit down over drink, you can ask me some questions, I'll explain to you some of the stories behind some of the lies that are in the poem. So that's dropout. That's the BigLaw dropout. And when I started to use the term as a hashtag on Instagram, when I first started posting, as after I left BigLaw, it resonated with a lot of people. And people would say, to me, that's a really cool term, I can definitely relate to that. And so I kept it and it stuck. And you'll notice it's in the intro, I still refer to myself as the BigLaw dropout. So I'm going to share the poem where this term came from, because I mean, to just talk about it and not share it with you is, will be a little bit lame. So I'm going to give you a reading of the poem, The Rhyme of the BigLaw dropout. And I'd love to hear from you. What you think of when you hear the term dropout? What the term the BigLaw dropout meant to you the first time you heard it, what you thought about that. And I'd also like to hear whether there's any parts of the poem where you're like, I get that, or I can experience that, or that really resonate with you. Because I think, if you've been in BigLaw, yes, but even if you're, you're not in BigLaw, but elsewhere in the in the corporate world, there's probably elements of this, which you can see yourself in which you've experienced. And so I'd really love to hear about that. And let me know if you if you refer to yourself as a dropout, if that's something which you would also wear as a badge of honour. Okay, I'm going to leave that for today. I'm going to go ahead and read to you the poem. And I will see you next week for another episode of The Triple C Project. The Rhyme of the BigLaw dropout, written by Ryan Spence. They say you don't know what you've got till it's gone. But I know now that what I had was wrong. What I didn't know then. But I realise now, for so long a part of myself was kept down. Be yourself. They would always say, but being yourself, just wasn't the way. Working from home. Not sure about that. Although you work hard. We're worried you're slack. But when you're on holiday, do keep an eye on the emails and phone calls. I'm sure you won't mind. Do take your laptop? No, just in case, something comes in that really can't wait. Your well being of course, we really do care. But still check your phone. If not, we'll go spare. Your office presence has not been consistent. We should sit down and discuss your commitment. The hours you bill are king in our game, we really should change that. But still all the same. Can't hit the numbers well sorry, you're out. Yeah clients like you. But that counts for nowt. Goodwill may be cheap, but the price is too high that you ask us to pay for a friendly goodbye. We know what we said. But our mind has been changed. Now so long. Don't come to this office. Again. Thanks for tuning in to The Triple C Project. If you like the show, don't keep it to yourself. Tell a friend and tell me too by leaving a review. To get more tips, tools, strategies to help you get from where you are to where you really wanna be. Head to iamryanspence.com and download my free confidence journal. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram. I'm at iam_ryanspence and you'll be the first to know about the release of my upcoming book The Triple C Method. But for now, the only thing that I have left to say is, stop living a life of lethargy, and start living life lit!