- I don’t ask for help because I don’t need it.
- I can figure it out by myself.
- I have the internet and I can look up anything I need to know.
- I don’t want my colleagues to know that I am weak and need help.
- I can’t afford to spend any money on getting help.
- No one can really help me.
- How can I trust anyone but myself to care about my success?
- I have to stand on my own two feet.
- and on and on…..
SO HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS PICTURE?
Does it give you goose bumps? Would it feel really good to have people just waiting to help you?
We know that much of the resistance to get help throughout life comes from the early training of either getting too little or too much help.
Nowadays there are books out about “Helicopter Parents” who get involved in every aspect of their kids’ growth. They do their homework,they call or text the child constantly, they write their cover letters for college applications, they yell at teachers and coaches for not doing enough for their child. Obviously these kids are not going to ask for realistic, reliable help because they have been saddled with feelings they can’t do anything without Mom or Dad’s inclusion. Or, they revolt and don’t want anyone to “interfere” in their life.
There are the reverse childhood experiences in which children receive no parental help and through neglect end up with no inner strength to succeed in lots of things. They have had to muddle through without guidance and many times end up on the wrong paths.
How are these two experiences alike? Both do not have any idea how to “help” other people in a healthy way.
Working backwards from this, could part of the answer be to learn how to help other people in a healthy and realistic way? This would be a huge step forward in learning how to overcome the resistance for help from all kinds of sources as we go through live. Might this be the way to learn that people can trust you to be there for them when they need help? To not be intrusive in their lives but to offer support, guidance and kindness when the need is obvious. More importantly, to learn how to not overdo help but have set boundaries so that the help offered is realistic and healthy.
Once you have experienced what it is to help a person in this way, confidence and knowledge that you can ask and receive help yourself will blossom.
I will be gone for the next several weeks, playing in Italy, so let me give you some homework to keep you busy.
- Take a look at the excuses for not getting help listed in the beginning of this blog and see if any apply to you.
- Write down any “help” that you have given to anyone except your children in the past 6 months.
- Identify at least one person who you have noticed lately that could use some help.
- Do one small kindness this week (could be holding the door open for someone, carrying a heavy package for someone or just giving a smile to a stranger)
I help attorneys day in and day out. I see the resistance to help from all kinds of attorneys. I believe that if there was understanding of this phenomenon on an individual basis, life would be so much easier to all of us.
I was watching a PBS show on “The Royals” and one of the surprising insights they talked about was the fact that the Royal Family is and was taught how to be interested in each person they spoke with. This created good feelings in the people and interest in the Royal Family as a whole.
That struck me as a sort of Kindness that the Royal Family found to bring about great results since their reputation is based on how well they are thought of by the people of the United Kingdom (including Scotland!). All it takes apparently is to listen intently and respond appropriately one on one to the schoolchild, farmer, blue collar worker or the banker to bring about good feelings. The Royals are then acting with Kindness which has been inbred. What an interesting concept!
How can this knowledge help attorneys in their daily lives?
- This is so simple that attorneys can start doing it immediately
- It takes no special instruction or long study program to implement it.
- Showing interest and responding appropriately to everyone the attorney comes in contact with, might will change the person’s view and liking for the attorney.
- This is an easy way of spreading Kindness on a daily basis.
- These acts will model a new behavior and hopefully spread the action to other contacts in both of your lives.
We have been talking a lot about Confidence also. Wouldn’t your confidence be raised by the fact that you were being accepted and appreciated by many more people? I think so.
So your assignment for this week is to engage a stranger and act like a Royal. Make a comment about the surroundings or about them and then listen to what they respond. Be interested in them and what they say. Finish by showing that you listen to what they said and liked them.
If you are too chicken to do this with a stranger, pick someone who you don’t regularly take an interest in and show them the courtesy and Kindness of engaging them in conversation. In some manner show that you like them for just who they are and what they have to say…….
WE CAN LEARN A LOT FROM THE ROYALS IF WE WOULD ONLY FOLLOW THIS ONE RULE!
Hope you had a great holiday…..now back to school for the kids and down to a long haul until Thanksgiving for the rest of us.
Have you thought about Kindness? I would encourage you to not only think about it but start integrating it into your “lawyer life”.
Mentoring is a very good way to show kindness to a lawyer who may be having trouble getting started or who is just in trouble. Mentoring is different from Coaching. I always ask my clients to look for a mentor for their careers. These are people who understand the area of law that is practiced and can give direct advise about how to handle clients, answer questions about the law and also give some hints about how to increase business and/or marketing.
Coaches, on the other hand, consistently work directly with the client to strategically plan their career and to coach all areas including business development, marketing, life balance, burn out and any other challenges that the attorney is facing. Mentors are there for their understanding of the area of law practiced and for insight into the legal community where they practice.
Mentors are volunteering their time and energy to help a colleague. What greater kindness can there be than to help a person grow without direct payment or even a lot of glory!
What about gossip? That’s not kindness. Realistic criticism is very different from gossip. Yes, gossip can feel like fun when you are bonding with the other gossipers but it can also produce harm and faction off relationships. Having mindfulness about gossip and mean criticism for a whole week might be a good goal?
There must be hundred of ways to show kindness when we make that a priority. Let’s just find them and start doing them in our lives.
I was thinking about kindness as I read over civility rules for lawyers. Why in the world do we need “civility rules” on top of all the other rules that we who have or are practicing law have dealt with during our career? Shouldn’t being civil, polite and showing respect be taught in Kindergarten, not forced on us by the Bar Associations?
Yet, each of us know that there are lawyers out there that get so involved in gaining control or winning (as they see it) that vigorously working for a client becomes a personal vendetta of rudeness and/or just outright hostility. There is a great difference between being assertive and begin obnoxious.
Then there is going one step further and actually fostering Kindness in the legal world. What would this look like. I purpose it might look like this:
- Courteously giving other counsel any reasonable accommodation possible.
- Not taking phone calls while talking to your client.
- Giving your client helpful directions to any appearance.
- Always returning phone calls within 24 hours.
- Allowing the client to talk about their feelings during representation.
- Always treating the Court with respect.
- Never, Ever shout at your staff. Always taking a staff member aside if you need to criticize, Never in front of others.
- Taking time to think about a confrontation with a client, other party or staff member before you engage. Think about how to allow that person to retain their dignity while you do the confronting.
- Be clear about what you need and want. Listen to others when they tell you their needs and wants.
- Take your staff members to lunch, one and one. Be sure you take all of them at one time or another.
- Don’t gossip.
- and on and on……
Small acts of kindness help us through our days:
Picking up something that was dropped for someone. Buying someone coffee or wine when its not expected. Cleaning up a mess when someone spills something. Letting that other car have the parking space….
MAKE THE PROMISE TODAY TO DO ONE KIND THING EACH DAY FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK. THERE CAN NEVER BEEN TOO MUCH KINDNESS IN THE WORLD.
CHECK ON YOUR KINDNESS IN RELATIONSHIP TO YOUR WORK. DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT IT? IF NOT, START.