Happy Earth Day!
I hope that you all are wearing green and digging in your own or someone else’s garden today —- at 6 AM before your professional responsibilities begin! But, if you are in California, remember that you can dig, but you cannot water — at least not very much. Beware of the vigilantes who are reporting violations of the drought-related water restrictions in the Golden State. “Drought shaming” is a little like tattle taling for a good cause. Ugh! Your name could turn up just about anywhere these days.
When I think of Earth Day, I think beyond my garden and tilling my little piece of the earth. Yes, I love all of that, and I have more gardens than anyone needs or wants to maintain. Gardening is another one of my passions, along with helping young women lawyers, and I appreciate what the earth can produce in such lovely abundance.
Beyond that, however, I think of the need for women lawyers to be “down to earth.” We have heard that phrase all of our lives, but what does it really mean? To me it means being genuine. Remaining connected to your roots and embracing who and what you are. It is being authentic. The opposite is being disingenuous …. being fake …. trying to be someone you are not. Going down that road is a slippery slope.
Being down to earth is especially important when you are networking with colleagues and working to develop clients. One of your most valuable tools in those venues is the power of YOU. It is being yourself, letting your genuine enthusiasm and likability shine through. It is engaging people with the attitude that it is all about them and how you can help them. It includes a warm and friendly handshake, eye contact that does not give way to the over-the-shoulder glance to see if you are missing a greater opportunity somewhere else in the room, and follow-up that tells the potential client or professional contact that you have enjoyed their company and your conversation with them.
There is a lot of conceit, hubris and false self-confidence in our profession. Those are not the people you want to channel. I know you know who they are, and I also know that you can do better. It all starts with being confident and assured about who you are.
So, do better. On this Earth Day, practice being down to earth. Watch for good role models to help you develop your own genuine professional style. Practice your networking with your new “earthy” style, and continue these efforts well beyond Earth Day.
Good luck! I think you will find that the earthy approach suits you well.