Happy Holidays

Tomorrow is December 1st, and, as always, I will take the month of December off from Best Friends at the Bar to spend time with family and friends and celebrate the holidays.

Before I go, I would like to share with you how one woman defines success.  That woman is Idina Menzel, Tony award winning singer and actress.  Here is what she has to say about success:

“There are about 3 million notes in a two-and-a-half-hour musical;  being a perfectionist, it took me a long time to realize that if I’m hitting 75 percent of them, I’m succeeding.  Performing isn’t only about the acrobatics and the high notes:  It’s staying in the moment, connecting with the audience in an authentic way, and making yourself real to them through the music.

I am more than the notes I hit, and that’s how I try to approach my life.  You can’t get it all right all the time, but you can try your best.  If you’ve done that, all that’s left is to accept your shortcomings and have the courage to try to overcome them.”

Think about it.  Success is relative to each of us and our circumstances.  However, the potential for doing the best we can and having the courage to try to overcome our deficiencies is constant in us all.  We just need to give ourselves credit for trying and for doing the best with what we have.

That is success.

I hope that all of you will enjoy your holiday celebrations, and I look forward to reconnecting with you in the new year.  Be safe!

See you in January!

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

Thought For The Day

The great essentials for happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.

Joseph Addison

Thought For The Day | Comment

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  One of the things I like most about Thanksgiving Day — in addition to the National Dog Show, of course! — is having everyone at the table tell what he or she is thankful for this year. I learned that from a dear friend, and it now is part of our Thanksgiving Day ritual.  You learn a lot about people that way, and it requires some introspection on your part.  A good thing at least once a year!

And when you say the Thanksgiving Day grace, please include a prayer for peace and a kinder, gentler world.  It is in all of us to help make that happen, and we must.

Happy Thanksgiving from Best Friends at the Bar.  Bon appetit!

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

Thought For The Day

Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Thought For The Day | Comment

Put Your Perfectionist Self Aside for Thanksgiving Day Dinner

I am getting ready for Thanksgiving Day dinner.  I have cleaned the house, worked a little landscaping magic in the yard, ironed the napkins — linen and I have a love/hate relationship! —done a trial run for the table top design, baked the nut bread, planned the menu, made grocery lists, visited at least three different markets for the food items and ingredients, polished the silver, purchased the potted mums to welcome guests at the front door  …. and the list goes on.  AND it is only Tuesday!  It can be a daunting task, but I, unlike many of you, have done it countless times before. This is not my first run at trying to get my arms around this impossible meal, but it may be yours.

Also, unlike me, you may be attempting all of these preparations while you are spending all day practicing law.  I remember well being at the grocery store at 9 PM on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving on the way home from work searching for the final ingredients for the perfect side dish — and some times just purchasing the bird itself at that late hour.    I always was glad when I remembered that the turkey had to be thawed before it was roasted and that thawing takes a really long time!  Thank goodness for the availability of fresh turkeys today.  It’s a lot easier to look smart now.

No matter how you slice it (as in slicing the turkey!), preparing for and successfully  carrying off Thanksgiving Day dinner is a daunting task.  So, you wonder, why do you even attempt it when you are working full time at a job as responsible and demanding as yours?  Good question, and the answer is the same one you would give to questions about other impossibly daunting tasks.  That answer is that you are a perfectionist, and you MUST do it and do it perfectly.  Am I right?  Not a good answer.

Being a perfectionist can get you into a lot of trouble.  In their book “The Confidence Code,” authors Katty Cay and Claire Shipman state that, “Women are so keen to get everything right that they are terrified of getting something wrong.”  That’s the problem.

Start to give up your perfectionist self this Thanksgiving Day by embracing the concept that everything does not have to be perfect, and be thankful for that.  Grocery stores sell prepared foods that will be delicious enough to grace your table and please your guests.  Guests are very happy to bring side dishes to contribute to the dinner.  Family members can be enlisted to help if you do not hold them to impossibly high standards.  You do not have to do everything yourself.  You do not have to be the perfect lawyer, the perfect table setter, the perfect hostess, and the perfect cook.

The most important thing is that you relax, enjoy your guests and schedule dinner around the National Dog Show (way better than the the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!) and some football, of course.  Really!  Some things are just more important than others!

Having enough wine on hand also is VERY important.  It is essential for the table and helpful to the cook who may be a little overwhelmed with the Thanksgiving Day meal countdown.  Just a little to calm the nerves, however.  More can be problematic in achieving your Turkey Day goals.  However, after dinner, all bets are off.  Pop the cork and congratulate yourself for surviving the most challenging meal of the year.

Out with the perfectionist and in with the collaborator.  That is what you should be toasting to this Thanksgiving Day.

As for me, there is still more than a little perfectionist left here.  I will have to work on that.  Maybe next year I will skip ironing the napkins!


Career Counselors, Law Students, Lifestyle, Young Lawyer | Comment

Thought For The Day

No one has ever become poor by giving.

Anne Frank

Thought For The Day | Comment

Thought For The Day

You are a master of the words you don’t say and a slave to the ones you do.


Thought For The Day | Comment

More on Mastering the Art of Influence

In my last blog, I passed on some sage advice from my leadership mentor, Marshall Goldsmith.  I promised you more from Marshall, and here it is.  Paraphrased below is additional valuable advice about influencing the decision-makers from one of the world’s most recognized and lauded leadership thinkers.

  • Realize that powerful people also make mistakes:  It is realistic to expect decision-makers to be competent;  it is unrealistic to expect them to be anything other than normal humans.  When your manager makes mistakes, focus on helping rather than judging;
  • Always be respectful:  Treat decision-makers with the same courtesy that you want from them.  When in doubt about whether or not your remark is respectful, hold back.  Don’t share it;
  • Support the final decision:  Even if the final decision is not the one that you recommended, treat it as if it is.  If you do less by distancing yourself from the result, you will be perceived as a messenger not a leader.  People are watching.  When you get to be a decision-maker, you want them to model your good behavior;
  • Make a positive difference:  Don’t just try to “win” or “be right.”  Keep your focus on what you are doing correctly instead of what others are doing wrong.  Influencing “up” requires dedication to making a positive difference for your organization; and
  • Focus on the future and let go of the past:  Do not whine about the past.  No one wants to hear it.  Keep your eye on the future and how you can influence others to become a decision-maker yourself.

I am sure that you will agree that this is great advice.  Follow Marshall Goldsmith on his blogs, and you will be prepared for the challenges of business and law.  Read his most recent book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There:  How Successful People Become Even More Successful.  I have read it, and it definitely is a MUST READ.

Good luck with these new career and leadership concepts.  Apply them liberally!

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