Articles Posted in Resiliency

You might consider a few therapy sessions if these simple suggestions don’t work for you.  Because, let’s face it….you can’t be a successful, happy attorney unless you can handle a lot of negativity.  Solos have it even worse because they frequently don’t have anyone to “vent” or discuss the turmoil in their practices.

Anyway, let me give you a couple of ideas that might help or at least “band-aid” your angst.

  •             First, remember that none of this is PERSONAL. It is not about YOU. Most of the people who give you a hard time are doing it for reasons that have nothing to do with reality.  It is about how they are choosing to handle the situation.

So you have identified your challenge and made certain that the description is accurate.  Then you decided on some goals and tasks to start working on overcoming that challenge.  The last piece is to do those action tasks until you have the desired results.

110_F_84969617_pzIfPerwZQNIXIoZ0qspcfn9IpLkwpebSOUNDS ALL TOO SIMPLE?  Actually this third step is the hardest.  Usually you start out relieved to have finally pinpointed exactly what the problem is.  Then you have taken precious time to decided what steps you need to take. Now you can start worrying that these may not be the right actions and/or that you can really do them.

NOW THE HONEYMOON IS OVER.  The last step is to pull out all stops and devise a method to actually do the actions tasks and to stick with them, revising along the way until you are rewarded with the right results.

When thinking about a subject for my blog this week, I decided to take the plunge and discuss that I really believe that most of the lawyers I meet don’t aim high enough.  The goals they start out with are ones they can easily reach. True, many of them never even reach those, but I am now thinking that is because they are dull and boring and don’t excite the spirit enough to be committed to actualizing them.

What about if instead of just wanting more revenue, the lawyer’s umbrella goal (read my book for an explanation) was to become a judge?  Certainly if the lawyer were in desperate financial shape that might not be appropriate but there are many attorneys out there who only think they need more income.

Wouldn’t the juices start flowing if it could be shown that a high lofty goal would benefit the attorney in more ways than simply lock stepping into traditional goal setting.  Simply overcoming the resistance to thinking BIG will build confidence.  This confidence then can be spread down into the attorney’s everyday life.

What that means in legal terms is changing or adding a different area of the law to your practice.   Below is a reprint of an article I did in my former column as Philida, the Oracle  for BIG NEWS FOR SMALL FIRMS, State Bar Publication.  Good information here:

Gypsy fortune-teller uses a crystal ball to foretell the future             ORACLE OCTOBER, 2011

Dear Philida,

While watching 60 Minutes, I saw the President’s then  Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel being interviewed about his life and work. He happily told the public that he works 7 days a week and only has time to see his three kids at 5:15am during his morning swim. He didn’t even mention his wife. He went on to tell us that he has been told that Chiefs of Staff never last out their terms and that he should be interviewing his successor now ( buuuuurn outttttttt).  Of course he did go onto become governor but I don’t think he slowed down.

HP_1 Hufffff, I said to myself…..Time Management’s reward is BALANCE in your life. This man is actually proud not to have any balance in his life. He simply works and stays healthy with a little exercise with an early morning swim so he can keep working.

Then I said to myself….”How many of us as lawyers have wished our family, friends and obligations other than work would just disappear, so we could WORK IN PEACE?” I certainly have. The burden of work can sometimes displace all other rational thinking and leave our lives so unbalanced that we wake up one day without a family, friends or all the other goodies life has to offer. Frequently the excuse is that I will just finish this piece of work and then I will have time for all the other things.

Next Spring’s ABA Women Rainmakers Local Programing will be on the subject of Grit.  So what is it?

Some people like to lump Grit in with resiliency but it is different.  Grit is intestinal fortitude.  Grit is taking a project and having the determination to see it through to the end.  I like to think of Grit as Determination.  Websters says it is “stubborn courage” and of course, the word comes from sand which is “gritty”.

The word itself is really good however because it sounds so earthy.  If you say somebody has Grit, you know they are never going to give up on a task.

OK, so just what is Mastery?  Some would tell us that Mastery is facing up to adversity and overcoming obstacles to reach a deep understanding of what you are doing.  But it takes Grit and Resiliency to do this.  Let’s talk a little about Grit.  Its something more than resiliency because it is in the here and now.  It is what it takes to keep going when it doesn’t seem worth it.  It is deciding what you want.  It is having the “guts” to just do it.

Grit requires that you don’t buy into the “carrot and stick” approach but are willing to, not only decide what that you will do something, but then to do it, no matter how hard it is.

Always ask yourself “How can I be better?” will give you the platform to start but grit and resiliency will be necessary to plan the goals and complete them.

After reading last week’s blog, what did you learn about your personal resiliency?  Are you able to pop back quickly when struck down with a mistake, error or bad event?  I had a thought about talking about the difference between reasonable resiliency and the requirement of taking time to heal.

I’m guessing that the way to classify this is to sort the “events” into categories.  Something simple, like misstating a fact and being called on it, is a mistake or error and obviously the faster you can rebound from that the better.  If you agonize over it for 2 or 3 days you need to take a look at what’s going on.  Are you building it up much bigger than it is?

Look at how much different it is to miss a statute and cause serious harm to the client.  That’s a mistake too, but a much bigger one.  Not only do you have to do everything to mitigate that mistake, but your work life will be disrupted for some time because of it. There is a time when fear sets in because you don’t know what will happen…..all this takes time and the important thing is not to let it totally disjoint you from looking after your practice as well as your family.  This will resolve at some point.

Every attorney in any career needs to work on their resiliency!   There is just no way around it.  Attorneys face mistakes, errors, goofs and downright failures on a daily basis.  The ability to “bounce back” is tremendously important in maintaining good mental health.  So let’s take a look at what it is and how we can have more of it:

RESILIENCY IS:     Being able to confront some down turn in your life and find a way out of it keeping it from influencing your future actions.

RESILIENCY IS:     Overcoming obstacles, physical, mental or otherwise, which have decreased your ability in some way.