Successful Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Happy

Nick Pavlidis Gives Up a Successful Law Career for the Life He Wanted

Are you happy with your career? Think about it. I mean really think about it. Does it make you happy? Does it fit the life you actually want to live? These are hard questions and sometimes they lead to hard conclusions.

That was certainly the case for Nick Pavlidis. He came to the 48 Days Eagles community as a successful attorney with a nice office across from Central Park in New York City. By a lot of measures of career success, he was absolutely successful.

But when he dug a little deeper. Nick found that his career really didn’t fit the life he actually wanted to live.

“I loved the analytics of it and putting all the pieces together. I loved the puzzles, strategies, reading,  marketing, writing…all that stuff.

But I hated that, in order for me to win, someone else had to lose.

Even if it’s a settlement, in the law, nobody wins. Everybody loses something. Even if it’s just the amount they pay your firm, everyone loses. And more importantly, my relationship with my wife wasn’t going well – we weren’t getting along, and it was so frustrating.”

Find Your Passion and Success Will Follow

He knew deep down that he needed to branch out of the world of three-piece suits and big offices that he was used to and find his passion.

“I realized I needed to learn how to be a better person. I made an internal commitment to my wife to simply say yes to her – whatever she wanted – for the next season of our relationship. And I started writing on the computer all of my musing on things I could do better in our marriage.”

The more Nick thought about it, the more he realized that the career he had invested so much of himself into was actually taking more away from his life than it was adding to it.

This was the beginning of my first book, which turned out to be called ‘Confessions of a Terrible Husband: Lessons Learned from a Lumpy Couch.’ It’s basically a story about all the little things I was doing wrong in our marriage. When my wife said, ‘let’s go home’, I thought home was where the paycheck clears and where our bed was. I’ve discovered it’s where our family is and where the more important things in life are.

This realization really came to a head when it came time for Nick to make partner at his law firm. He went into a meeting at the firm about what being a partner would look like for him, and he realized he didn’t really like what he was hearing.

“They were saying, ‘Here’s what we need in order for you to have a realistic shot of making partner. You need to do this, you need to do that.’

I just basically interrupted and said, ‘You know what? What if I don’t do any of that? There was an awkward pause.

And they said, ‘Well, what do you mean by that?’

I said, ‘What if I just decide that I’m going to move home back to Massachusetts?’

And they said, ‘Well, eventually you’ll get fired.’”

Nick was forced to recognize that this career path was just not for him anymore. It wasn’t serving him, even if he liked the work and was really good at it. So, he negotiated a way to phase out of his position at the firm and into a career that did serve him, and allowed him to live where he wanted and be with his family.

“I got to bring my family home! I went home and told my wife ‘We’re moving home,’ and she was really excited. We closed on a house and we moved back to Massachusetts.”

Flexible Schedules and Time With Family Were Worth the Pay Cut

After moving, Nick found clients that were open to flexible schedules and giving him the time and space to actually be with his family. He had a few simple rules for his new clients:

“I don’t care what you pay me. I care about four things.

Number one, I don’t want to work weekends.

Number two, I want a set schedule. I don’t care what hours you want me to work, but set a schedule. I don’t care if it’s seven to seven, Monday through Friday, whatever it is, but I want to be home when I’m home and at work when I’m at work.

Number three, I want to be able to build my own reputation online, and to be able to coach and write on my own. I want to build something at nights and on the weekends where my online reputation matters.

And the fourth thing I said: I don’t want my email on my phone. And that was a real showstopper, because everyone has their email on their phone.”

]Nick’s new clients agreed, but he paid a price in the form of a pay cut.

That’s a BIG sacrifice, but Nick meant what he said and it paid off in the long run. He committed to writing, coaching, and teaching during his down time. He put the effort into networking and building the necessary relationships to grow his business. He was able to strategize and lay out a life that gave him the freedom he really wanted, and allowed him to keep doing the parts of his job that he really liked.

A Successful Ghostwriter Who Teaches Others To Ghostwrite

Today, Nick runs his own business which has many different streams of income, including Authority Ghostwriting. Nick uses his amazing writing talents to help public figures like other attorneys and CEOs publish their own books. He also runs Ghostwriter Academy, where he teaches other writers to do the same. Even with all of his different income streams, Nick still has more freedom and time to spend with his family than he ever could have had in his previous career. When Nick looks back and compares his old career to his new one, there really couldn’t be more differences.

Back then I would wake up around five or six in the morning. I would get dressed. I’d take a bus to one subway to another subway. I would get in the office around eight o’clock and stay till maybe seven, or even nine o’clock. I’d go home and start it over the next day. I had two young kids. I’d probably see them once on a good day, an hour on the weekends. My life was all about my work. Now, while I do work a lot, I’m smiling when I’m working, and I’m smiling when I think about my work. I haven’t set an alarm in a long time. I wake up at about 5:30 in the morning, excited to get ready. The kids come downstairs and we either go for a walk or just hang out and talk. I leave the office around five o’clock. I go home, hang out with the family for a little bit and read the kids books every night. When they go to bed, I hang out with my wife, do a little more work on the computer sometimes, and then fall asleep when I’m tired. It’s a night and day difference. It’s amazing.

Nick’s story really teaches us that sometimes the way we think about work is exactly backwards. Work is not our life. Work is just a part of our life. And if we can let go of the idea that work has to dominate our time in order for it to be meaningful or productive, we can take steps to build a more enjoyable, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Nick didn’t come to 48 Days like many of his peers, expecting to start a coaching business. He came because he was curious and he was ready to look for something more than what his law career was offering him.

Nick is a mentor in the 48 Days Eagles Community, where we share success stories and new opportunities for building the work and life we love.

Find out more about Nick and his Ghostwriter School.