If you're not taking care of yourself, you are inevitably going to be lashing out at others. It will be very difficult to find that kindness and generosity, if you don't have it for yourself.

NBH 030: Reevaluating Your Character

This month the theme is “Reset and Rebuild.” This is for your law practice, for your career as a lawyer, and for you as a person. Every week, I'm talking about an aspect of that. We talked about your foundation, which is your mission statement. We talked about boundaries, having a framework of how you interact with others. And then we talked about procedures and making sure they're dynamic.

In this post, I want to talk about your character. It is kind of a little weird, but it is important to put in this whole rebuild paradigm because what's happening is (I'm hearing from a lot of lawyers) that they're under a lot of stress. You're forgetting who you are, and what you stand for, and your integrity. We're forgetting to be kind, or forgetting to be generous and cooperative. It's kind of ironic, but it seems we were getting a little more competitive as we worry about economics and our businesses, and the stress about the health crisis. And so I would like to invite you to consider how you're treating others, how you're treating yourself, because that's where it all comes from. Consider this quote, “You have to be happy and well to treat others well.”

If you're not taking care of yourself, you are inevitably going to be lashing out at others. It will be very difficult to find that kindness and generosity, if you don't have it for yourself. In this time when we don't have as much structure/routines and we are in this rebuild mode, we may go back to old habits. We may be overworking, overwhelming ourselves, addicted to this psychological need for accomplishment and “doing” as opposed to “being” and self-care may have dropped off. And maybe not. This is not applicable necessarily to everyone. However, wherever we are (myself included) we can always one-up how we communicate, how kind we are, how we hold ourselves out to the world, and how we hold ourselves out to ourselves. How are we interacting with the people closest to us, with our family, with loved ones, with our clients, with our coworkers, with our staff?

This is not at all an excuse to beat up on ourselves. This is an opportunity to reset, rebuild, and remember who we are, what our character is, and what's important to us. As we did a mission statement for your law firm or for your career as a lawyer, it's time to set an intention and a vision statement for yourself. This is the invitation I have for you - to really consider who you want to be. This may be just a few words. It may be an idea. It may be an image. What is your character? Who is that person, or that essence of you, that you want to make sure that you're always returning to? Of course, we're going to stray; and of course, stressful things will happen and unexpected events will come. We're going to be tested, but where will we return?

What is your character? What is your value? Who are you? Why are you here? That is the homework for you to explore that as part of your rebuild of yourself as a lawyer, and for your law practice.

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