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Lawyers of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We use this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the authors and not of Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to participate respectfully in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog. Guest writers are welcome.

 

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Guest Blog - Leading Lawyers: Choosing Vulnerability

Posted By Guest Blogger, Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Leading Lawyers: Choosing Vulnerability 

This summer, someone I knew took his life – the brother-in-law of one of my best friends. I did not know him well. I know his wife better, and have watched his teenage kids grow up over the years. I became peripherally involved at the last minute: Asked to assist with legal insight and advice navigating work-related litigation; talking and texting with his concerned and anxious wife; determining if I could possibly help relieve his fears and anxiety.

I never ended up actually communicating with him directly. Instead of making our scheduled call, he chose to opt out of life. His family had been worried. They knew he could be at risk. They tried to get him to seek help – not simply legal, but psychiatric. As I understand it, he refused, not seeing an avenue out other than the one he chose. 

When something this sad happens, it leaves everyone with questions. A main one for me: Why is there such a continued stigma in our society about seeking support for depression, mental illness, or for a really bad, it-just-keeps-getting-worse time in life?

Particularly in the legal culture, heaven help those who show vulnerability. We are a culture of advocates, warriors, and, quite frankly, bullies. The old “take no prisoners” mentality gets equally applied to those within our firms and sometimes families. It happens all the time; I know from decades of personal experience and observation.

For our own health and the well-being of our profession, that antiquated mentality needs to change. Yes, we are tough—tough enough to make it acceptable to ask for help and support when we need it, without the accompanying stigma and shame. We lose too many brilliant lawyers every year. Even more suffer silently from depression and substance abuse issues. We all know the statistics.

Vulnerability is strength.

How as a leader in your life and law firm do you embrace and model vulnerability? How do you acknowledge that it is acceptable to be human and still be a strong, brilliant advocate? How do you show up for others by demonstrating with your mere honest presence that they do not have to do life alone?

Somehow, in the legal culture, we need to accept and acknowledge that it is okay to be vulnerable. That in our vulnerability, contrary to popular opinion, we actually demonstrate strength – a strength of perseverance and surrender that opens the door to true meaningful connection with others, a connection that might just help us heal, that might just help us find a path forward out of the dark, both as individuals and in the collective.

The fact is, we all need help at one time or another. Unless you live in a Teflon bubble, life gets the best of everyone at some point. Sometimes our only way through is by accepting that we cannot do it alone. It is too big. Too messy. Too unknown. Just plain too much. And, that has to be acceptable.

A paradigm shift starts with individual leaders. Begin to be brave and dare to challenge the idea that vulnerability means weakness and failure. We are all human and imperfect, accept that fact and life gets easier. It just does. 

My heart goes out to my friend, her family, the kids, and loved ones. Take time to care for you and yours. Remember, success is a team sport – you don’t have to do it alone.

Michele Powers, Esq., wrote this for the Leadership Development Committee and is the owner of Elite Lawyer Coaching (www.elitelawyercoach.com).

Tags:  authentic  career  guest blogger  LCB  leadership  legal profession  strength  vulnerability 

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Perfection in the Imperfection: "Defining Ourselves - PART II"

Posted By Alisa Loigman, Monday, January 9, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Defining Ourselves - PART II

PART I of II --- was posted on 1/3/17
 


WHO are YOU?
Take a moment to soak in your response to that question. Grab a note pad. Let’s play with this idea and how to add more congruence of ourselves into the professional arena. Write down your top three best personal qualities (for this exercise, lets refer to these as our “authentic self”). Take a moment to acknowledge how amazing you are. Next, write a list of five ways to appropriately incorporate those qualities into your client or colleague interactions (“action points”). These five action points can be small or large but make sure they are easy to practice and feel peaceful. Now, incorporate more of your authentic self into your daily routine, enacting one per day for one week. As you incorporate more of your authentic self into your professional practice, make note of three things: (1) How did you feel practicing your action points and allowing more of your authentic self to be present at work? (2) Did you notice any differences in your interactions? (3) Did your awareness and presence with your authentic self impact your perception of WHO you are?


I encounter many amazing women in our field and, when we get personal and open up, I often hear the struggle of being too stressed, not having enough time, and feeling like something always has to suffer for something else. I hear guilt and, almost always, that guilt stems from everything that we have internalized. (Because, duh, a professional is serious and not emotionally intelligent. Really?) Sometimes we tell ourselves stories that do not serve our highest good. Does this resonate for you in any part of your life? How can we feel more authentically like ourselves, personally and professionally? I believe that it starts with finding where you can add more of WHO you are into WHAT you do. Be unique. Break the mold. Manifest YOUR dreams. We are the unique qualities we bring to our roles, not simply the individual roles themselves.


I want to take a moment to respect the dynamic beauty that each of you uniquely possess. You’re smart, motivated, passionate, organized, and so much more. Do you remember to see this in your morning routines, meetings, billable hours, work deadlines, personal appointments, and family obligations? Do you remember to acknowledge these radiant parts of yourself? Release the guilt of not being enough; you are enough. Be kind to yourself; you do enough. Give grace to any discomfort that may arise in your journey of growth; you are exactly where you should be. I am in awe of all that you are, all that you are working towards, and everything you have been. WHO are you? You are whole. I am whole. Together, we are whole. I will not hold you back, stifle your growth, or judge you for the journey you are on and the challenges you are overcoming. I stand by your side in support of your fullest potential and greatest desires. Take the tim
e to reflect on the beauty of WHO you are, I do.


This blog was authored by Alisa Loigman.

Tags:  Authentic  Awareness  Balance  Definition  Identify  Intentions  LCB  perfection in the imperfection  Personal  Professional  Qualities  Self  Successful  What  Who 

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Perfection in the Imperfection: "Defining Ourselves - PART I"

Posted By Alisa Loigman, Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Defining Ourselves - PART I

Who are you?  No, no… not what do you do. Who are YOU?

 

When we are busy filling the many roles of life, we often forget to self-identify with WHO we are and not WHAT we do. Yes, what we do can be a large part of our identity but we are not served by defaulting to defining ourselves by our professional titles. The BBC News recently posted an article entitled “Why you shouldn’t ask people what they do” (by Alina Dizik) and one specific sentence grasped my attention: “Even the most successful executives will benefit from disentangling their sense of self from what they do.”

 

Ahh, yes, this got me thinking: WHO am I? (Deep breath, pause) If I answer that question professionally: I am a forensic accountant in the world of litigation and marital dissolution proceedings. If I answer that question personally: I am a dynamic woman, a wild spirit, a humbly soft and down to earth mother, a nurturing wife, and a compassionate friend; I am an individual with great capacity for love, kindness, and drive. Similar to most, I often lead with describing myself professionally, but much prefer the more personal answer.

 

I am sometimes overcome with feeling that WHAT I do overshadows WHO I am in my daily life, that my “self” gets lost in the context of the life roles I play (professional, mother, wife, community volunteer). I spend the majority of my waking time in my office and struggle with leaving that professional persona behind. I want more: to be more; to feel more; to play more; to achieve more. In order to create that abundance, I must first observe the unquestioned part of WHO I am in life and find more ways to bring my authentic self into my professional role. My intention is to create more balance in my life; my long-term success and happiness depends on it. This is the life that feels sustainable, empowering, fulfilling, and impactful. 

PART I of II --- find out who YOU are in Part II, will be posted 1/10/17


This blog was authored by Alisa Loigman. 

Tags:  Authentic  Awareness  Balance  Definition  Identify  Intentions  LCB  perfection in the imperfection  Personal  Professional  Qualities  Self  Successful  What  Who 

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more Calendar

5/30/2019
2019 Lawyers Club Dine Arounds - Hon. Rachel Cano

5/30/2019
2019 Lawyers Club Dine Arounds - Hon. Irma Gonzalez (Ret.)

6/5/2019
2019 Lawyers Club Dine Arounds - Hon. Margaret M. Mann

7/13/2019
Save the date! Pride Parade

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