This whole month, I have been talking about authentic branding for lawyers and I started out talking about imposter syndrome. We are essentially imposters if we create this idea of who we should be, and then we never can really achieve it. Then I talked about removing the lawyer mask, which was essentially about bringing our authenticity to all parts of our lives and connecting everything and not segregating or pretending in any area of our life. And then I talked about lawyer fragility and how we need to take responsibility and pride in being lawyers and really being strong in our role as the legal system changes.
And today I want to talk about “be with yourself.” The ultimate lesson in authenticity is to be with ourselves. It's not just “be yourself”, it's be with yourself. In this time we have gotten still; we're not moving as much. We're not getting distracted as much. We're noticing what's important. Sometimes we don't want to see it. It's so much easier to be distracted and feel like we're moving from one thing to the next. But when we really spend time with ourselves, both in our work and in our personal life, we get to know ourselves and we get to see what we like and what we don't like. We might not like everything. That's hard to see. We might also, if we go a little deeper, really love some parts of ourselves. Maybe there are parts of ourselves that we love that other people don't like.
This lesson about authenticity is about going deep and becoming friends with yourself, really being with who you are. I imagine as a lawyer, you probably share a lot of traits I have, which is that I'm very assertive and opinionated. I have a sense of justice and self-righteousness. I am not afraid of challenge. I like to solve problems. I'm strategic. [Maybe you share some of these and maybe you have your own.] I care about people. I like to give people a voice when they don't have one. I have also other qualities that may not be lawyer-like. I like to have silence. I like to create. I don't like too many boundaries or rules. When I'm creating, I like to rock the boat. I like to challenge my own self to be less rigid, to be less ambitious.
These things may not fall into being the traditional lawyer, but I like them. And I like these parts of myself that I do use in my lawyering, and I use to help all of you. I see these assets in all of you, and I see it as you become parents, as you start your own law firms, as you take on leadership roles, as you see things in your law firm or your organization that you want to change. I see this in you and I see that you want to do things differently. I also see that we, you and I, talk ourselves out of it. We talk ourselves out of being ourselves because we have been defeated so many times. Well, it's time. It's time to be with ourselves, appreciate the things we have, that we like about ourselves, and to share them. It does not mean that everyone's going to like those things, but let's share ourselves. Let's be ourselves, be with ourselves, and share ourselves with others for our authentic brand. Our brand is basically how we show up in the world: how people see us, how we let people see us. I'm working on going deeper into my brand, and who I am, and what I want people to see about me. Perhaps you're doing that too.
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