5-Step Meltdown Prevention Process for Attorneys
In this interview, Tana Daughtrey shares how she helps attorneys who are stressed out and on the road to a meltdown regain their life and their passion for law.
Tana worked as a practicing attorney in Houston, Texas, for 38 years. For 31 of those years she worked in the Law Department for a Fortune 100 multi-national oil & gas company. Her passion to help other attorneys avoid burnout came when she was faced with her own health crisis and had to make drastic changes. The lessons she learned about a balanced life as an attorney make her the perfect attorney’s life coach.
Tana received her law degree from the University of Texas. She received her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Houston. Tana also trained as a mediator completing courses in Alternative Dispute Resolution. Over the years Tana has guided and mentored numerous individuals while working at her places of employment.
You may contact Tana at TanaDaughtrey220@gmail.com.
People often turn to attorneys when life throws a curveball. But where do attorneys turn when they need help? A growing number of them rely on life coach Tana Daughtry.
An attorney for 40 years, Tana eventually found herself in the same place many in her profession do: completely burned out from the 80-hour-plus workweeks and constant pressure. Unable to fight through the physical symptoms of burnout, she decided to pursue healing for herself and others in similar situations, devoting herself to the study of coaching as thoroughly as she did the law.
Tana completed four separate training courses in Life Coaching, earned a Master Certificate in Life Coaching from Grand Canyon University, and received a Certificate in Life Coaching from the Life Purpose Institute. She also attended a Catalyst Coaching course with John Kim and completed Martha Beck’s Life Coaching course. Today, she works almost exclusively with attorneys who find their current paths untenable—emotionally, physically, or both.
In her trademark five-step process,
- Clients start with the discovery stage, wherein Tana helps them focus on current and future needs. From finances to vacations, nearly every aspect of a client’s life (or desired life) makes up a piece of the puzzle.
- In the second step, opportunities, Tana works with clients on aspects of their lives that might be changeable. The objective? Lower both short- and long-term stress. Essentially, she says, she’s giving them permission to say “no” to some things and let others go—something most attorneys haven’t heard in years, if ever.
- Taking action on those opportunities comes in the next steps: strategize and implement. Here, the question becomes, What options are feasible? If taking a lengthy sabbatical is on the immediate wish list, for example, clients begin negotiating with their firms in these steps.
- Review is the final step. Tana assists clients in considering whether they’ve gone far enough. Are they happy? Are they more fulfilled than when they started?
What may begin as murky ideas or seemingly impossible wishes gradually become clearer and more realistic with each step.
The process, which can take around five months, has an end goal of improved mental and physical health, as well as a renewed sense of purpose and satisfaction.
And while Tana is a fan of traditional therapy, she maintains that her work is very different. “What I’ve done is develop a meltdown preventative process that’s forward-looking and come up with resolutions that can help alleviate the stress clients are feeling,” she says.
Tana knows all about that stress. It ruined her physical health and led to such extreme exhaustion that she no longer felt good about practicing law. She hopes to help her clients avoid such a fate. Acknowledging that some clients do wind up moving into other careers,
Tana says the aim is to work within the bounds of their current lives while making broad changes.
A common fear for potential clients is that their firms will fight any changes, and any attempts to modify their life will sabotage future opportunities. Tana admits that some of that fear may be well founded, but she’s found that most firms are starting to realize that lawyers are more effective if they have a better work-life balance. Nobody benefits, she stresses, from employees who ultimately suffer a breakdown.
Tana’s process includes guidance, suggestions, and even talking points for upper level conversations, but the client is in control throughout each step.
There’s no downside to working with a coach like her Tana says, but there are endless upsides. “Our bodies aren’t made to be under that kind of pressure for decades at a time,” she says. “At some point, they’ll have to face the effects, so they might as well do it on their own terms. Life could be so much better in four or five months—all they have to do is take that first step