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Lawyers and the Self-Examined Life

To be successful, lawyers must self-monitor.  You must be fully aware of your non-verbal cues, your expression, the implications of your words.  You must know how you come across to clients, opposing counsel, and the court, not to mention colleagues and staff.  The natural tendency is to be circumspect.

Makes complete sense in court and in the office.  Manage your ‘tell.’  Keep people from reading how you think and feel.

But, think about it.

Being fully aware of oneself, managing one’s verbal and non-verbal cues, absorbing all the info from the cues from the person you’re talking to (client, staff member, opposing counsel, colleague, etc.) and doing all that while analyzing everything you need to analyze, creates an internal gulf.

There’s an inherent strain to taking in all the information and stopping things from coming out.

You live your professional life masking who you really are.  Keeping yourself from expressing what you really want to say creates stress.  There’s a gap between what you portray and who you are.

What’s the answer?  Recognize the cause of the challenge.  Realize that the gulf between your thoughts and your feelings has a cause.  And identify ways to bridge the gap back to yourself.

Want to know more?  Email me.  Schedule a Get Acquainted Call.  Enjoy your life again.  Enjoy the law again.

Why I love working with lawyers:

You can imagine the looks I get when I tell people I work with lawyers.   Puzzled, they ask why I would want to do that.

Frankly, lawyers are supremely fascinating.  I love the way that people think, and lawyers think in interesting veins about interesting things.

I have always gravitated toward misunderstood people.  As far as I’m concerned, lawyers are one of the most misunderstood professions.  The demands are high, and the appreciation is too low.  People don’t understand what is required and the nuances of the work.

I tend to be a pretty complicated person.  I like analyzing the minutiae and dissecting process.  The way that lawyers think about the law and individual matters is the same way I think about people and how people approach the world.  So, honestly, lawyers tend to appreciate the process by which I work with my clients.  I’m not about easy answers.  I’m all about sorting out the complexities of life so that things make sense.  That’s where I excel – figuring out why things are the way they are inside our minds.

Lawyers spend their lives analyzing the world and situations and tend toward an immense amount of stress because of the demands of the job.  When they become frustrated, burned out, depressed due to the demands of the job and balancing law and their lives, I help.  I help them apply everything they already know to their own lives so that they can understand themselves and improve their lives.

Lawyers are awesome.  I love ‘em.

Want to change things in your life so that the stress is more manageable and life is more enjoyable?  Email me at leah@happierlawyer.com.  Schedule your Get Acquainted Call.

Find me on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/DrLeah.HappyLawyer

Confrontation vs. Conversation

You might be surprised at the number of lawyers who privately admit that they can’t stand confrontation and conflict.

Most people don’t like conflict and therefore don’t confront that which needs confronted.  We hate the negative emotions it brings up as well as the potential to make a situation even worse than it currently feels.  So, we bite our tongues and put up with negativity.

Confrontation has such a harsh tone at times.  There is an expectation of adversarial contact.  No wonder people avoid it.  It sounds bad.  It feels bad.  And, it sometimes does lead to negative consequences.

So what if we change it up?

What if we rethink confrontation?  Confrontation doesn’t have to be a dramatic interaction.  You can address something without making it a huge issue.

What would it be like if you just think about communication?  If someone does something you don’t like, you can address that gently.  (I’m not suggesting that’s the only method, just another way to address some issues.)

If a coworker annoys us, most people either suck it up or suck it up until frustration builds.  The alternative is to just have a general conversation where you let the person know what’s bothering you gently.

For example:  Coworker uses more than his/her fair share of room in the office refrigerator.  Most people get annoyed, tell other coworkers, and/or shove the offending items away in a beautiful passive-aggressive fashion.

It happens repeatedly, such that you begin to wonder why this person will not take a hint.

(Note: Many of our annoyances are of this variety.  The issues are technically small in the grand scheme of life.  So it feels petty to bring it up.  And yet, if you don’t, you will just end up frustrated over time.)

So, instead of working yourself up and gearing up for some major confrontation, I would suggest that you just think of it as a conversation.  You probably make many other minor requests of this coworker over the course of a year.  Why can’t this be one more request?  If you need him/her to leave the hallway light on when you’re working late, you probably ask for that.  Think of this in the same way.

Most people think addressing this would have to be a confrontation of the order of:  “You take up too much room in the refrigerator, and that is very inconsiderate.”

It doesn’t have to be.  You can just say, “Hey, would you mind keeping your food to a smaller area in the frig?  That would really help me out.”

The first step in improving the way you handle confrontation is simply to reframe it as a conversation.  When you change your wording and mindset, the situation becomes more neutral and manageable.

Root Cause

How often do you end the day frustrated?  If you’re like most lawyers, you’re probably frustrated by a long list – endless demands from clients and the firm, guilt over time not spent at home, anger at having no time for yourself, and not enough time to get your work done.

The solution is rethinking your situation.  Get to the root cause and resolve it.  The work demands may never lessen, but the stress will.

If you want to know if that would work for you, email me.  Let’s talk.

 

 

Why Does Change Suck? Part 1

Why does change suck?

Have you ever noticed how when you’re poised to do something major your self-doubts smack you upside your head?

You have the motivation, strength, and drive.  You’ve set the goals, made the plans, rallied your support networks.

Then it strikes.  The cobra of self-doubt comes to kick you in the ass.

Why?

It’s so frustrating.   You’ve done everything to prepare, and then you get hit with the self-doubt.  You beat yourself up.  You question if anything will ever work out.

So why does this happen in the first place?  Over the next few days, we’ll look at the reasons.

First, change requires embracing of what is new.  This sounds great.  We’ve already identified what we want and why we want it.  Sometimes you want it so bad you can taste it, or you’re so desperate to get out of what’s bad that you can’t stand it anymore.  But even the strong sense of what’s next and what you want won’t necessarily make the process of change any easier.  That is because embracing the knew requires letting go of, or at least loosening our grip on, that which is old and no longer needed.

We are creatures of habit.  We embrace the familiar to our own detriment.  It’s like we think we’re going to miss out if we let go of the old habits, processes, places, people.

So, for today, think about what it would be like to loosen your grip on the familiar.  You can always go back and pick up your old baggage if you really want it.

But explore what it would be like to move away from the old.

You can journal about what change means to you.  You can make lists of how you will cope with letting go of the old ways.  You can picture over and over the new life you’re creating and imagine the easiest ways possible to navigate that change.  It’s up to you.

 

 

The Key to Happiness

One’s destination is never a new place, but a new way of seeing things. ~Henry Miller

This is one of my favorite quotes.  We frequently have this impression that change means turning our lives upside down and making dramatic changes.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Sometimes the deepest, most meaningful change results from simply creating a new understanding of what we already knew, saw, or experienced.

“We shall not cease from exploring
And at the end of our exploration
We will return to where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

T.S. Eliot

Examining life is the key to happiness.  Sometimes you find that you weren’t that far from where you wanted to be; it just took a new perspective to make it work.