I currently use the methods which I learned through reading The 5 am club, I have always preferred working first thing in the morning and having some sort of unofficial routine going on, but reading the book helped me stick to a routine and to table out exactly what I need to do from the moment I wake up. My current daily habits include: working out for the first 30min – 1hr of my morning, jumping into the shower and having breakfast while listening to a podcast. I then spend 90mins doing work which I believe will help me master my craft – being an attorney. Once the 90mins of world-class work is complete I then move on to a to-do list that is comprised of everything else that needs to be done for the day ahead. Mastering a routine is a little habit which has helped me build a better, more disciplined version of myself (even during lockdown).
The work that I do is mainly research-based, I constantly have to know various areas of the law which may be beneficial for women to know as I run a platform which its main objective is to empower women through legal education. A successful day definitely comprises of collecting that information, reading it and summarising it into an easy to understand format for women/the public.
When I first started my legal consulting company I found myself in a situation which set the company back close to R30,000. It was very difficult paying off that debt because my company did not have clients at the time and I had no savings to my name as I had used that for the starting costs of my business. The set back really taught me to be aware of compliance-related issues that exist in each industry. This later allowed me to also assist clients in making decisions which comply with their specific industry regulations. Over and above that I am disciplined with my finances and if a moment like that ever presents itself I will be financially prepared.
Hmm, this is a difficult one because the podcast that I host weekly has really enabled me to meet an array of inspirational women (especially Black women) in the legal industry. Each of their accomplishments and career trajectories has been a huge inspiration and motivation for me to keep doing what I love. The legal profession needs more vocal and competent women and I have learned so much from each of my guests who have different backgrounds but have become trailblazers in the profession.
Both have played such an important role. In the legal profession one never really stops learning, there is always a certificate for this or an exam for that. In addition, the law is ever-changing so it is important to stay ahead of the curve. I cannot deny the importance of experience either. It is always a blessing to learn the art of drafting or public speaking from a seasoned professional.
LOL, for the most part, this is a myth but honestly – when I am into something I am all in for that duration. I am fortunate to be self-employed so I tend to have a little bit of flexibility, or rather, I am able to decide when to work and when to play. On a busy day I really put my head down and immerse myself into my work and clients’, and when a particular task is complete I equally focus on myself, my children and my husband. As with anything else though, this requires discipline and sometimes I have to set boundaries that past a certain time I do not pick up any work or on public holidays I rest.
One really needs a thick skin in the profession, especially when starting out as those are the most vulnerable years, I would encourage people to be able to communicate effectively and also have the ability to resolve conflicts within their working environment. It really also helps to be able to manage one’s time effectively, especially those who want a career in litigation.
I find that Black women are undermined in general. There is no industry or social setting where Black women are not undermined. I remember when I first started out in corporate I was extremely aggrieved by the fact that I had spent days on end putting together a legal opinion for my then boss, when the time came to meet with the client and later appear in court, my colleague (who was less qualified than me) was given the opportunity to run with the matter. The most obvious forms of being undermined are based on race and gender and there are so many more experiences that stand out for me, I just shared the first one because it had caught me off-guard as a new enthusiastic candidate attorney.
Where to find Tebello:
Instagram & Twitter: @sister_in_law_
Podcast: Sisters in Conversation
Youtube: Tebello Motshwane