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Success is an inside job: Janice Quigg

Toronto lawyer, life and business strategist, mediator and author Janice Quigg is on a mission to help lawyers and other high-octane professionals lead exceptional lives by reaching beyond external markers of success.  

For Quigg, also a commercial litigator with Glaholt LLP, a construction law firm, it’s not about achieving perfection, at least not in the conventional sense.

“Exceptional means feeling successful on the inside as well as externally. Many people in the legal profession achieve external success — great job, lovely home — but struggle with the internal,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

One of Quigg’s firsthand lessons is to be intentional in one’s choices.

“I’ve made certain decisions in my life,” she says. “I’ve selected firms where I’ve been able to carve out more of a balance. I’ve had a high degree of job satisfaction in these boutique firms, and time for a very satisfying family life.”

But research indicates Quigg may be the exception to the rule in her profession.

“As a group, lawyers are notoriously unhappy,” she says. “I’d really like to help them create a balance in their lives where they’re really happy.”

Quigg recently interviewed Barbara Corcoran, of ABC’s Shark Tank, and related with the real-estate entrepreneur’s strategy for achieving work-life balance.  

“We do the same thing: compartmentalize,” Quigg says. “When she’s at work, she told me she’s very focused on work. When she’s at home, she turns off her cellphone and is present when it’s family time. I do the same, and I find it works well.”

By day, Quigg practises law. Dinner time and early evening are all about family. And once her nine-year-old son is in bed, and Quigg has caught up with her husband, she turns to writing.

A lifelong coach and mentor, Quigg’s foray into professional coaching was a natural way to share some of the lessons she’s learned about how to have a great life.

Long interested in writing, her authorial debut came in 2015 when she penned a chapter for The Soul of Success by Jack Canfield, originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Quigg won the Editor’s Choice Award for her contribution, and has become a Jack Canfield Certified Trainer, even travelling to his Santa Barbara, California home in December for an exclusive Mastermind event.

She followed up on her debut the next year with a chapter in The Professional Performance 360 Special Edition: Success, whose co-authors included The Virgin Group’s founder Richard Branson.

Now, Quigg is at work on her latest book, Exceptional! Creating a Life filled with Success and Happiness.

She is launching her coaching business and is planning to host retreats for lawyers and other "Type A" professionals to get in touch with themselves.

In her coaching, “listening deeply is the first step,” Quigg says. “You have to understand what people are genuinely struggling with, and sometimes they might not know right away.”

It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. She explores where her client is today and what they envision as their exceptional life, and helps them bridge the gap.

“I believe that my coaching practice can help transform people’s lives. That’s why I got into law: I have a real desire to help people in life,” she says. “I want people to feel that something has really shifted in their lives, and they’re really happy both personally and professionally."

As part of her approach, Quigg applies what she learned at a Harvard mediation course about finding solutions that suit the interests of everyone involved.

“What I learned at Harvard can be applied to any facet of life,” Quigg says.

She has been researching the science of motivation and the neuroscience of happiness.

What makes lawyers happy, research finds, are the same things that make all people feel good — close social relationships and solid family connections – rather than external rewards.

Quigg knows many workaholic lawyers who devote so much time to their practice, they barely see their families. She has known lawyers who missed out on their kids’ childhoods, or had difficulties in their marriages, “because, for some, even when they’re home, they’re not really present,” she says.

Many people think success comes first, then happiness, but Quigg says the reverse is true.

“Neuroscience tells us that if you’re happy, your brain actually changes, and it expands, so you’ll be more creative and productive. Too many people think, ‘When I get that promotion, when I make partner, then I’ll be happy.’ When you’re marking happiness with external factors it’s always a moving target and happiness can become elusive."

Quigg experienced this lesson after buying her first “nice” car, only to find the initial excitement over her purchase quickly faded.

“It’s just a car,” Quigg says. “It doesn’t feed your soul.”

For a copy of Professional Performance 360 Special Edition: Success go to www.janicequigg.com.

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