How to reignite your confidence
Being aware of developments in your organisation, the industry/industries you work in and changes in your area of practice all help you feel like an insider again. Being up to date in your legal area is a prerequisite for being fit to practise and knowledge breeds self-assuredness and confidence. Getting clued up through reading, conversations with colleagues or attending relevant course are all good steps and could be undertaken as part of a Keep In Touch day.
Susanne McGraw, associate, private practice
Claire Anderson, solicitor, Scottish Government
Lindsay Anderson, solicitor, Stewart and Watson
Lindsey Cartwright, partner, Morton Fraser
Sheana Campbell, associate, BBM Solicitors.
Kate Gillies, solicitor, Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
You've undoubtedly amassed a string of successes in the years running up to maternity leave. Now's the time to reflect and revel in them as a way to build your sense of purpose, value and gee yourself up to want to do it again. Updating your CV and refreshing your LinkedIn profile (or creating one) are practical tasks that will help trigger these reflections. Alternatively, or as well as, mentally reviewing positive feedback about what and how you've delivered for your clients is a good confidence booster.
Toni Ashby, partner, Clyde & Co
Nicola Hogg, Team Manager, West Lothian Council
The mere act of stepping out of your organisation for an extended period gives you something that should be valuable to your employer: a fresh perspective. You have the ability to look at projects and client challenges in a new way and if your employer isn't actively soliciting your views because of this, do see and sell yourself this way from the outset.
You've been through a huge life event and acquired and developed skills that are valuable to your employer. You genuinely have developed greater empathy, patience, tolerance, efficiency and perspective through raising a child whether you see it in yourself or not. These skills, and probably more, are relevant and necessary in a team environment. Valuing yourself for these builds a sense of pride about who you are and what you have to offer.
It's good to know that what you're thinking and feeling is the same as pretty much everyone who's been in the position you are now - so talk it out with colleagues in the know. This could be a prime opportunity to build links with different colleagues or cement an existing work relationship: research shows self-disclosure breeds disclosure in others, which in turn increases liking. Women in Law Scotland (more details under Further Resources below) could be a useful resource too.