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Top Success Principles for Lawyers Mental Health

Top Success Principles for Lawyers Mental Health

New York Law Journal: Too many lawyers mask for their struggles…

I was deeply touched by the recent Letter to the Editor by Joanna Litt who connects her husband’s significant mental health battles with the ever-mounting pressures and stresses of practicing law (NLYJ 11/16/18).  Joanna’s tragic story is one that has become all too common.  Her bravery to share her story is what compelled me to write this letter.  Unfortunately, her husband’s struggles were very common, very real and extremely pervasive within the legal industry.

Some attorneys have the courage to openly share their battles with stress, anxiety and depression.  However, too many others mask and hide their struggles for fear of being frowned upon, never seeking the help they need.  I applaud the 24 firms who have signed on to the American Bar Association’s Pledge to introduce mental health initiatives into the workplace and I encourage all to do the same. We must support our attorneys the same way attorneys utilize the legal system to protect us.  We owe it to them and we owe it to their families.

My work with many different professionals, including attorneys, has revealed certain “key principles” for living a happier, more fulfilled life. Once understood and implemented, these concepts can truly improve one’s mental health and overall well-being.   

The long-term solution lies in creating preventivemeasures to support and empower our attorneys to avoid the escalation of stress, anxiety and depression.

Here are the “key principles”:

  1. This is the most important step and the one most people find the hardest: the awareness that life can change. Many people become complacent and numb to the idea that life can be better. There is no reason for you to live a life less than what you deserve. This “key” is understanding that you too can have happiness and success. You have the power to have both and it starts from within. It’s understanding that anything you really want out of life stems from one motivating factor: your desire to be happy with yourself.

 

  1. Every person has the capability to be happy. But if you are defining your happiness based on your wins and losses, then you are doing yourself a disservice. Too often, attorneys feel they are only as good as their last success. This creates a bumpy emotional roller-coaster life of ups and downs and is the main culprit for stress, anxiety and depression.  You cannot define yourself by your work.  You must define yourself by you; whatever that means for you.

 

  1. Clarity of self. You must become clear about who you are.  You are not just an attorney.  You were someone before; that is who you really Your job is just an extension of who you became.  What characteristics made you, you?  What qualities did you have growing up that perhaps you suppress because it doesn’t fit your “lawyer” persona?  I’ve worked with so many people who were creative, fun and funny, but once they became attorneys, they hid their real selves and became too serious and conservative.  There seems to be this expectation that in order to thrive in the legal industry, you must think and act “like a lawyer.”  But when you embrace your true self, you will flourish as an attorney and more importantly, as a person.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Figure out who you are.  Once you do, you will develop your own style specific to you; you will feel empowered being who you are, not who others think you should be.  This will motivate you in a new way.  Being comfortable with yourself and gaining clarity on what makes you unique is a key to happiness.  Know who you want to be rather than some imagined expectation of who you should be.

 

  1. Be the best you. Stop defeating yourself in your own mind.  Attorneys are self-critical by nature.  Self-criticism holds you back.  Perfectionism should not be a goal, but a trait that must be recognized.  You cannot be perfect; nor should you strive to be.  You will win, you will lose, and you may even mess up royally.  It’s called life, and you will learn from each.  But take the lesson and move on.  Don’t get hung up on wanting to be the best.  Get hung up on wanting to be the best you.  And when you do, you will start to look at all your results differently.  You will no longer validate or define yourself by your successes or losses.  Instead you will define yourself by how you feel.  Only then can you attract the success you really want.

 

  1. Know what type of life you want. You cannot and will not be good at everything. So, what are you good at?  What do you love to do?  And don’t think about what your parents or your boss or the judge think you should do, think what do youwant to do?  Answer those questions and pursue those goals.  I’ve worked with trial attorneys who hated trying cases and the stress associated with being in court.  After some soul searching, they realized they were genius marketers.  What did they do?  They created a new business model based on advertising and marketing and referred their cases out to top trial lawyers.  That was a win for everyone!  Not everyone wants to be a partner in a firm and not everyone wants to run a business.  Choose what’s right for you.  Different positions require different mindsets.  Decide what’s right for you and move forward in that direction. Often the experience you find in one role will benefit you later.  I have seen many attorneys begin on the defense side of an industry, only to switch to the plaintiff’s side.  But the defense work clarified their next ideal job.  Every work environment opens our eyes to qualities we like, dislike and love.  Instead of complaining about hating your job, spin it as a positive – you now know what you don’t want!

 

  1. Get personal with your work life. Your work life and your personal life go hand in hand.  Pay attention to the positive qualities in your relationships, at home and in the workplace.  Give yourself credit for what you have and have accomplished and will accomplish.  But you must take care of your own well-being first.  Your partner or family want a happy you.  If you aren’t taking caring of you first, you have nothing to give anyone else.  Not in the way you want to, anyway.  You deserve a happy life and that certainly starts at home.  Appreciate what you have or be open to ways to change it or make it better.

 

  1. Set the tone each day. Every morning starts a new day.  You have the power to start the day any way you choose.  If you start your day rushed and disorganized, the rest of your day follows that mindset.  Start each morning by writing 10 qualities you like or appreciate about yourself.  Why?  Because starting your day feeling great about you, recognizing all the amazing qualities about yourself, allows you to show up to world differently.  You make better decisions.  You attract opportunities and experiences based on a mindset of owning your worth.  You evaluate yourself NOT on prior wins or losses but based on you.  Imagine that?  Liking yourself and feeling good about yourself just because?  It’s possible.  And when you practice feeling good about yourself, and appreciating yourself, you experience freedom.  This freedom creates the foundation for a happy life.  It all begins in your mind and how you view you.  Once you truly believe in yourself, you will experience less stress and anxiety.  You’ll have the power to create the life you want versus reacting to the life you have created by default or by some imagined expectation.

 

  1. Be open. Once you start appreciating yourself and stop defining yourself by your past you will allow your new bright future to unfold before you.  Life can and will be so much better once you understand the power you hold in your mind.  And when you develop a clear, more positive mindset early on, that serves as the long-term prevention we seek.  Only you know what’s best for you. And you deserve to be happy!

 

Be proud of yourself for reading this!  And remember that knowledge is power; knowledge about how to live your life to the fullest is freedom.  Investing in oneself is the only investment that guarantees a return.  Now aren’t you worth investing in?

BIO:

Connie Henriquez, founder of Start Loving Life® is a professional development consultant who teaches attorneys how to overcome stress and anxiety in as little as 90 days utilizing her signature “positive psychology” coaching system. Connie works with mid-size to large firms on personal development and mental health initiatives including private counseling sessions, group programs and workplace seminars. For more information, visit: startlovinglifeforlawyers.com

 

 

 

The biggest mistake a company can make

The biggest mistake a company can make

how-are-you-keeping-your-employees-happy-and-engaged-

They neglect their first customer: their employees.

It still amazes me how many companies spend so much money on marketing, advertising and all this non-sense and never think twice about their employee’s morale??

Word to the wise: Your employees are your first customer. If they feel undervalued, underappreciated or downright unhappy in any way I can guarantee you that some-how, some-way that is being translated to your external customer. Can you imagine??

Regardless of how much money you spend in order to attract and retain external customers, you cannot maximize your return on investment fully if you are neglecting the morale of your employees.

Think about it, how are you keeping your employees happy and engaged?

Do you trust in yourself as a leader? Leaders have the power to set the tone and influence the bunch. Do you speak to your teams as if the team’s success is a given, or are you always concerned and speak as such. A powerful leader believes, a weak leader doubts.

Are you acknowledging their personal successes (even as small as they may be) come on, there is always something that can be acknowledged.

Are you communicating the company’s successes (even as small as they may be). Sometimes when business is tough, employees get discouraged. Be sure although you communicate the state of the business, accentuate the positives (and that’s your work as the employer to find the positives).

Are you adding value to the workplace by offering on-site initiatives such as coaching for people development, lunch and learns or dress down days. The possibilities are endless…

Don’t let profits be thrown out the window. There are many ways to keep your employees interested and engaged. Try many different things and see what sticks.

Either way, the effort alone will speak volumes. Everyone loves to be recognized and appreciated.

The trick is, love your people and watch how quickly they love you back.

Happy employees = happy customers = happy results

*Interested in learning more about coaching your team for quick, easy results?  Contact Start Loving Life’s support team TODAY and discover how YOU and your employees can Start Loving Life now…  Click HERE  for more information TODAY!

You’re stuck. Now what?

How to OVERCOME feeling stuck in Life.

I know.  It’s hard to believe that the universe (or whatever you believe in…) actually knows better than you.

In life, we have become so conditioned to feel the need to control things.  We plan our lives in such a way, that at times we miss many amazing opportunities.

It’s as if we think we know it all.  Little do we know the plan for us is much greater than we can ever imagine.  If only we would let things happen naturally and easily (as they should).

One of the major keys to getting what you want in life is actually being able to identify “what” you want in life.  What trips people up the most, is that they assume they are supposed to know the whole plan.  This idea leads to being overwhelmed, confused and not taking any action at all.

You become paralyzed and do nothing. You become complacent, stuck and feel there is no way out.  Life goes on, and you go nowhere.

Don’t get stuck in that rut like most.

Instead, picture how you would like your life to be like.  Imagine what an ideal day would be like.  The ideal job, the ideal mate and so on.

Once you have a clear picture in your head of what you want, you’ve already set the process of attaining your ideal scene in motion.  Your only job is to TRUST that your request has already been completed and BE OPEN to the opportunities that present themselves. That means EVERY OPPORTUNITY, even the ones that may not seem to make sense.

The universe KNOWS WHAT YOU WANT based on the vision you create.  It also knows exactly what you need in terms of your own development to make your vision a reality.  Being open to the opportunities presented allows you to move forward and take your next step in attaining your vision.

One thing to keep in mind is that new opportunities at time will feel uncomfortable.  Being uncomfortable does not mean you made the wrong decision.  Instead, it means that you are moving into a new expanded version of you, one which will push your boundaries and add to your overall development to get you going on your path.  This is exactly what YOU NEED- to get to where YOU WANT to be going.

So many times, I see people take this route and finally get the will to try a new experience and because of the fear or doubt that sets in, they assume they made the wrong decision.  They revert back to their old routines, their old way of thinking and they never want to experience anything new again.  THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER.

Life is always about growing and expanding as a person.  The more you grow, the more confidence you develop and the more amazing opportunities unfold before you.  The key is that you have to “feel” your way through these new experiences.  Give yourself a chance to get acclimated and you’ll be amazed at how great you feel once this new experience becomes second nature.

Remember, the universe will never give you more than you can handle.  You have the capability of accomplishing anything that is thrown (wink!) your way.

For every time you feel you can’t get this new experience down, remember, you need to keep redefining the process.  Don’t give up.  Just keep trying.  There is always something to be learned.   Perhaps the skill set you will attain as a result of your efforts is necessary to where you want to go.

Every level of success requires a different mindset.  Every new experience adds to your mindset to prepare you for your next level of success.

The only way you feel stuck in life is when you quit trying.  The only way your life becomes boring is when you stop trying new things.

If you want to feel better the only thing you need to do, is to start answering to the Call of Life which is ALWAYS calling you forward.  The only question is- whether or not you choose to go.

Congratulations…You’ve Been Fired!

How many times in life when you experience a life changing event does someone say…”Hey Congratulations”!

How many times when your relationship is over or a divorce is in the works, do you hear “Hey Congratulations”!  Never!  Instead, you get the “Oh, I’m sorry…”!

Why?  Because most often,  people (including YOU) are not good with change.  And by you experiencing any change whether it can be deemed good or bad, people do not know how to react.

In fact, we have been trained to let other people’s reaction set the standard of how we should feel.   So then, doubt sets in (as if it wasn’t there already), and we start to question ourselves and our  life’s present circumstances.  “Well, clearly I must feel bad, if other people are feeling sorry for me”.  “Clearly, nothing good can come of this change….”.

Wrong!  Why?  Because in life there is one reality, and that reality is, you are your only cheerleader!

You are the only one capable of knowing that you have the fortitude to move ahead.  Yes, there are some of us that have people around us that are supportive and encourage us along the way, but honestly that is not their job.

No one else can truly know what you are feeling.  No one else can truly know what you are wanting out of life.  And with that in the equation, we cannot rely on other’s to validate who we are.

Instead, it is up to us, and only us, to embrace what we are given, and that means everything that we experience and every situation that comes our way.

And yes, I know saying congratulations may seem a bit extreme to someone who is just beginning the process of a life changing event.  And you certainly may not be ready to hear it.  And in fact you may find it thoroughly annoying to say the least…

But in essence, what I am saying is (something YOU already know) that whether you just lost your job or just had a relationship end….

Congratulations on being the most powerful creator you came to this life to be… 

You are in the midst of experiencing  one of life’s most amazing opportunities for change.  And although you don’t want to admit it just yet.  You wanted more, you wanted a lot more out of life… and NOW is your time.

Create that perfect job you’ve been dreaming of.  Open that business you’ve been yearning for.  Set sights on that perfect mate and accept no less than you know you are worthy of. 

Embrace this journey that has been presented to you, and most of all “Congratulate” yourself for being that “who you are” and being open to accepting nothing but the very best your life has to offer!