Thought For The Day

We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.

Mary Dunbar

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The Value of Grit for Women Lawyers

I really was pleased to see an article titled “Grit & Mindset:  Implications for Women Lawyers” in the most recent edition of the National Association of Women Lawyers magazine, Women’s Law Journal.  I also was pleased to see from that article that the ABA Commission on Women has developed the “GRIT Project” as this year’s signature project for that group.  It is an interesting subject, and it this is not the first time that it has been addressed.

In fact, I wrote about the value of true grit in my second book, which came out in 2012. I had never seen those words in print within the context of success for women lawyers, but it just made good sense to me.  I am glad to see that it is making sense to others as well.

Chapter 10 of Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business 2012) is titled “You Really Need True Grit,” and it includes the following messages:

  • You must have True Grit to safeguard your professional life and survive.  That means getting tough when you have to and having courage;
  • True Grit also means protecting your turf.  Always protect your ideas and your work product, and if someone tries to pass your ideas or your work product off as his or her own, confront them about it;
  • True Grit also means protecting your future in the firm.  You always must strive for new clients, who will be loyal to you and follow you if you decide to relocate;
  • True Grit also means setting boundaries.  Do not overextend yourself to take on tasks that others do not want, especially if your motive is to be liked.  It will not end up working that way;
  • True Grit also can mean exercising restraint;

Take a good look at that chapter of my book to put meat on the bones of these bullets and also to add extra meaning to what the Women’s Law Journal article has to say.  I will be discussing some of the themes of that article in my next blog.  So …

Stay tuned!

Career Counselors, Law Firm Managers, Law Students, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | 1 Comment

Thought For The Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!

(Although it looks more like Christmas than St. Paddy’s day in my neck of the woods.)

Indulge in some green beer and a silly leprechaun hat!

(If you can get through the snow here in DC to make it to your favorite Irish pub.)


Thought For The Day | Comment

Thought For The Day

To live well and honorably and justly are the same thing.


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Guide Stars from Matthew McConaughey at the Oscars

Gurbaksh Chahal, Chairman & CEO at RadiumOne, posted the following on Linked In after the Academy Awards Ceremony on Sunday night.  I was watching the ceremony while I was in Chicago hiding inside from the weather, and I remember being touched by the remarks from Matthew McConaughey after he received the Oscar for Best Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club.

McConaughey may not have intended them to be, but his very personal remarks are great advice for those of you seeking to make a mark in your life and be excellent leaders.  What he has given you are the “guide stars” to keep you on the right path to being the best that you can be and to always strive for a better you.

Here is how Gurbaksh Chahal paraphrases those remarks — with a few tweaks from me.

What I most liked about the Oscars was actually Matthew McConaughey’s speech. It was powerful and resonated with me.

In his acceptance speech, he mentioned that there are three things that he needs each day.  Those three things are: Something to look up to; something to look forward to; and someone to chase.

Something to Look Up To:

He mentioned God as a person he looks up to. God has shown him that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. So, whatever you believe in – a higher power, the law of attraction or just karma, if you have someone greater to look up to – they become your guiding force toward success … as well as humble you during your good and bad days. Symbolically, they also provide the hope we need to continue to fight for what we believe in.

Something to Look Forward To:

He mentioned his family. I’m a big believer that authenticity is hard to find. But, when you do find it, hold on to it. As someone once said, “Fame is vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wing, but only character endures.” But, when it comes to family and if you’re lucky – you can’t get any more authentic than that. They allow us to become the best possible version of ourselves and remind us what’s worth fighting for. They are also our biggest fans during our ups and supporters during our down moments. And, God had his reasons for picking them – so don’t disappoint Him.

Someone to Chase:

He mentioned he was always chasing the 10-year-older version of himself – even today. I find that quite humbling. Because, it shows us that the biggest role models we actually can have are ourselves. As we get older, we get wiser, we learn from our mistakes and we prosper as human beings. Never read the headlines, be your own headline. Perfection is hard to chase, but if you’re chasing the future you – you’ll know the power you have is actually limitless.

So, get out there!  Become the best version of you!  Listen to Matthew McConaughey and the CEO.  They did not get where they are without a little bit of wisdom or all by themselves. 

Game on!

Career Counselors, Law Students, Lifestyle, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | 6 Comments

Thought For The Day

You are what you give; not what you are given.

Sir David Tang

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More on the Teachings of Marshall Goldsmith as Applied to Young Lawyers

In my last blog I described my skepticism about group training and self-help programs.  You may recall that I was on my way to Chicago for a career coaching training session sponsored by Indiana University as part of the newly-launched IU Marshall Goldsmith Leadership Development and Executive Coaching Academy, and I was not sure how I fit into what I was about to encounter.  I knew that I wanted to be a part of this incredible new academy at IU, but I was uncertain about the process of getting me there.

My only past experience with group self-help programs occurred while I was studying for the DC bar exam.  I was in my first year of practice, and driving into DC from VA two or three nights a week — after long days at the office as one of only two women lawyers in a firm of 25 — to listen to bar exam prep stuff, was challenging at best.  But, the stakes were raised when we discovered the self improvement program that was being conducted in the adjoining hotel ballroom and where cleansing primal screams were de rigueure.  It is hard enough to be attentive to an explanation of the real meaning of “lives in being plus 21” by some boring E and T instructor, but the collective primal screams caused more than just a little distraction.

So, on my way to Chicago, I vowed not to be a part of a primal scream session.  I vowed, and I vowed, and I vowed.  I had read the materials about Marshall Goldsmith, and I was “all in” on that, but this group training was not exactly my thing.  I always have been independent and have charted my own path.  I kept asking  myself, “What is this going to be and where will it take me?”

Fortunately, I could not have been more wrong about what was ahead for me.  Take the time to click on this link to find out why the Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Business Review call Marshall Goldsmith one of the ten most effective executive coaches and leadership trainers in the world, and why Forbes ups the ante to describe Marshall Goldsmith as one of the world’s five most-respected executive coaches   Yes, the world!  At this point in his illustrious career, Marshall coaches only executives in the C-Suite (CEOs, CFOs, COOs) and other world leaders, and his list of clients is like reciting the names of the people at the helms of the Fortune 500 companies.  As I discovered, I was luckier than I could imagine to be chosen for a two-day training session with this genius of the leadership world.

Two days with Marshall Goldsmith and his inimitable brand of candid and honest instruction infused with humor is exactly what I need to complete my third book, which will include advice on leadership and management for all young lawyers.  As a part of Marshall’s presentation, I met CEOs, who nearly cried when they had to face their own leadership flaws. I heard true stories of flawed behavior by leaders that not only limited their effectiveness at the office but also with families and friends.  I learned about the Marshall Goldsmith brand of the 360 review of leadership traits that have turned around the lives of household names.  These individuals, many of the most powerful business leaders in the world, gather together periodically with Marshall to thank him for the work he has done on their behalf and to share their stories.

Throughout this program, I could only think of you — the young professionals who need to learn all of these valuable lessons sooner rather than later.  Why wait until you are well into your career to find out that the habits you have acquired are negatively affecting your upward mobility.

Leadership for the C Suite is not much different than leadership for law professionals.  Think how much better a team leader and rainmaker you could be with strong and effective leadership skills.  The sky would be the limit.  Fortunately, you know that I am going to pass all of Marshall Goldsmith’s wisdom on to you.  So, get ready to be wowed by the teachings of Marshall Goldsmith in my third book and in my blogs and speeches along the way.

Lucky you is all I can say.  And, lucky me.

How many times does someone get to say that she was taken to a new level in such a short period of time?  Well, I am saying that now.  If you think that I sound a little evangelistic, read Marshall Goldsmith’s book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.”  Here is what one reviewer had to say about the book:

Perhaps one small flaw – a behaviour you barely even recognise – is the only thing keeping you from where you want to be. It may be that the very characteristic you believe got you where you are, like the drive to win at all costs, is what is holding you back. In this fully-illustrated version of the international bestseller, Marshall Goldsmith shows that people often do well in spite of certain habits rather than because of them – and need a ‘to stop’ list rather than one listing what ‘to do’.Marshall Goldsmith’s expertise is in helping global leaders overcome their unconscious annoying habits and become more successful. His one-on-one coaching comes with a six-figure price tag – but in this book you get his great advice, told in graphic form for much less.

Thank you, Marshall Goldsmith and the folks at IU.  It was a terrific ride!

Now, let’s put that advice into the context of the law profession.  I am working on it — for you, of course.  Promise!

Career Counselors, Law Firm Managers, Law School Educators, Law Students, Practice Advice, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | Comment

Thought For The Day

You have to know the past to understand the present.

Dr. Carl Sagan

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