Many of your know that I’m a big fan of Nicole Abboud’s podcast, GenY Lawyer. It’s supposedly designed for millennials but you wouldn’t know it by me. It’s really about life and coping with day to day problems, big and small, we all face in the legal profession (no matter what your role) and life itself.
In her May 6 episode, Abboud talks about her personal journey and her job burnout in a very personal way. She also talks about what she did about it and the power of meditation and mindfulness. It’s a good example of what another inspiration of mine, Brené Brown, calls the power of vulnerability. If you want to quickly understand what Brown means, listen to her YouTube Daring Greatly speech. Brown says everything you need to know about vulnerability and its power can be summarized in the Teddy Roosevelt Daring Greatly speech she (and I) love:
It’s not the critic that counts; nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,…who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
Brown says in her book Daring Greatly that this is the essence of vulnerability: “vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both…it’s being all in.” As she puts, if you want to show up and be seen in your life, you’re going to get your ass kicked. It’s as simple as that; its what life is all about.
If you want to show up and be seen in your life, you’re going to get your ass kicked. It’s as simple as that.
Of all the great lessons from Abboud’s podcast, the one I most took to heart was her last line: “As soon as I publish this, I am going to stop worrying about it.” Just like the Roosevelt’s Daring Greatly speech, with one statement, Abboud reveals something profound about vulnerability. It doesn’t matter so much what we think about what she revealed in her podcast, she dared to put it out there and is all in. All too often we dare to share something personal with someone and then stew about whether we should or shouldn’t have or whether we said it the right way. Or worse, we stew about it on the front end and elect not too share.
But being all in is to dare to share part of yourself. It’s understanding it’s something you need to do. Not for others but for yourself. I love the line because what Abboud is really saying is worry less about what others think of your vulnerability and more about what you need to be whole. It’s something I’ve been working on lately. And yes, I do get my ass kicked from time to time but it’s ok. I’m showing up. I’m all in.
When I was an associate, my wife used to proudly tell partners I was a nice man. I finally had to tell her not to do that because it was a perceived weakness and would hurt my career. Think about what that says.
So you may ask, what does that have to do with a legal blog the slogan of which is no bullshit? Those in the legal profession, particularly in the litigation arena are trained to never show weakness. It’s professional suicide. When I was an associate, my wife used to proudly tell partners I was a nice man. I finally had to tell her not to do that because it was a perceived weakness and would hurt my career. Think about what that says.
And what’s the cost of the take no prisoners, show no weakness approach to life and practice? Fractured relationships, drowning pain with substance abuse, living with constant professional and personal unhappiness. It’s a professional scourge. Now that I no longer practice, I see the damage more clearly.
No bullshit means being honest and calling things as you see them. It also means being vulnerable and authentic.
No bullshit means being honest and calling things as you see them. It also means being vulnerable and authentic. Otherwise, I’m not leading a no bullshit life and this wouldn’t be a no bullshit blog.
So to go back to Abboud’s last line: it doesn’t matter so much what others think: its what you think. Be vulnerable and stop worrying about it. And to quote Abboud “the second I publish this, I’m going to stop worrying about it”. 😊
Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone.