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Lawyers Club 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. Guidelines for writers may be found on the Leadership Resources page.

 

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Guest Blog - Taking Ownership of Weakness: Leading Despite Uncertainty

Posted By Frantz Farreau, Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Guest Blog - Taking Ownership of Weakness: Leading Despite Uncertainty

 

I remember when I first started leading a counseling group at RJ Donovan State Prison. I was incredibly unsure of myself. Who am I, I thought, to lead this group, filled with people who are all so much older than I am? I felt thoroughly unqualified, and I believed that the group members would inevitably question my right to lead them. At the time, I did not realize that feeling unsure was a normal part of leading. I thought that leading a group meant that I came in with all the answers. I thought that I had to know exactly what was going to happen, exactly what I was going to say, exactly how people were going to respond. It was an unrealistic expectation, because everybody has uncertainty. All people, including people leading, are unsure of themselves at some point.

 

Ultimately, I opted to address the question head on. I told the group members that I was feeling unsure, and I wanted them to know that I would try my best, but to let me know what I could improve to help them as much as possible. By talking to the group members about my uncertainty, I was taking ownership of the fact that I was not perfect, but I was still in the lead. By addressing my uncertainty, I allowed both myself and the members of the group to see that I was able to lead even though I did not have all the answers.

 

When I decided to present my uncertainty to the group, I was quite surprised by the response: I found that the group members not only had no qualms about my being a leader, but were also thankful that I had demonstrated that it was okay to be unsure. When they saw me talk about my concerns, they saw me model what they needed to do to address their concerns about their own lives. In showing my vulnerability and uncertainty, I was still leading them because I was showing them what they needed to do to achieve their goals: ask for help. And they respected that. It is easy to sit from a facilitator chair and talk to the participants about the importance of being vulnerable. That is not true leadership. True leadership is being able to demonstrate so others can learn.

 

Going through that experience helped me understand that a leader continues to be inspiring, even in moments of vulnerability and weakness. Leaders are not inspirational because they have no uncertainty, they are inspirational because they show us that having foibles is okay. They are willing to be open about facing challenges and in so doing demonstrate strength. When leaders take ownership of their weaknesses, it makes us realize that we are strong enough to lead and inspire ourselves.

 

Frantz C. Farreau wrote this for Lawyers Club’s Leadership Development Committee, and is an attorney, real estate agent, and the volunteer coordinator for the Restorative Justice Reentry Prep Program at RJMP in San Diego. 

Tags:  confidence  Donovan  guest blogger  insecurity  LCB  leadership  leadership development  prison  reentry 

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Stories to Solutions: "4 Practical Tips for Dealing with Creeps in the Workplace – Part II"

Posted By Chelsea Chatsworth, Tuesday, March 14, 2017

4 Practical Tips for Dealing with Creeps in the Workplace – Part II

 

I’m sure many of you have experienced similar (or worse) situations to the one described in "What’s a Girl Boss to do When It’s Not Just Lunch?" Here are four practical tips I wish I had the self-confidence and courage to use at the time.

1. Stop Caring What Other People Think

Obsessing over what other people think about you is completely exhausting and unproductive. You simply can’t control other people. Focus on what you can control–your behavior. I call it the “do you” plan. You might be worried about hurting Mark’s* feelings or about him thinking less of you if you say something. Keep in mind that Mark is a jerk who only cares about parading around with a beautiful 20-something, which is pathetic. Also, don’t worry what your coworkers in the lobby think. They probably fixate on other people to deflect attention away from their unhappy lives. You know the truth. The sooner you’ve mastered this tip the sooner you can truly enjoy life. 

meyouimage

2. Keep Your Inner Circle Tight

You know that old saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” Well why in the f*ck would you want to do that? I prefer to keep my enemies way the f*ck away from me. My mantra is, “If you’re not 110% in my corner, then I don’t need you in my life.” My circle is super tight and it’s comprised of kind, nonjudgmental, loyal people who provide honest feedback when I need it (and I do the same for them). If something like this happens to you, tell someone in your inner circle. She (or he) will be a much needed sounding board, giving you the courage to handle the matter in a way that works for you.

3.
 Say Something (the Sooner the Better)

Trust me, Mark can take it. He probably knows he’s being inappropriate, but he has gotten away with it for so long he sees no reason to stop. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, address it as soon as possible. Keep it simple and straight forward (i.e. “When you do X it makes me feel uncomfortable because X. Please stop.”). I know this can be difficult, especially when you’re caught off guard like I was, but it’s more difficult to have your boundaries pushed over and over again because you didn’t speak up initially.

4. 
Get Your Game Face On

getyourgamefaceon


If you’ve ever been in a position similar to mine, it’s easy to wonder where you went wrong. These thoughts are normal. You can explore them with someone in your inner circle, but quickly move on. Do something to make yourself feel better (go for a run, spoon your dog, eat a pizza--no judgment here), then reset and get your head back in the game. Don’t let someone else’s bad behavior make you doubt yourself. Put on your power suit and march back into your office with your head held high.


XO,

CC


What are your tips for dealing with awkward encounters at work? Leave them in the comments below!


*Name changed to protect the not-so-innocent.


“Chelsea Chatsworth” is more than just a pretty face and a pen name, and she can be reached at chelseachatsworth@gmail.com. 

Tags:  boundaries  confidence  LCB  self-blame  stories to solutions  strategy  tips 

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Off the Beaten Partner Track: "Building Confidence Through Posture"

Posted By Jillian Fairchild, Monday, August 1, 2016
Building Confidence Through Posture

Taking control of your body language is not just about posing in a powerful way. It’s about the fact that we pose in a powerless way much more often than we think – and we need to change that.

 

               -Amy Cuddy

 

We can all use a power boost from time to time and attorneys are no different. We all know that when we feel more confident, it shows. We have a spring in our step. We stand up a little taller and laugh a little louder. But what if we can create this feeling just by improving our posture?

 

There is research that shows that expansive posture can affect not only how others perceive us, but also how we feel about ourselves. If you haven’t watched the TED Talk by Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy on youtube.com, it is definitely worth checking out

 

I also recently finished Ms. Cuddy’s book “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges” which expands on this same topic. This book explains how your posture can be used to increase personal power. Nonverbal expressions of power are so hardwired that we instinctively throw our arms up in an open V when we win a race. This is true regardless of cultural background, gender, or whether we have seen anyone else do this. Because we naturally expand our bodies when we feel powerful, do we also naturally feel powerful when we expand our bodies? The answer is yes!

 

Standing in a “Wonder Woman” position or power posing for two minutes can alter our brain chemistry. The altered chemistry causes a hormonal shift that decreases anxiety and improves the ability to deal with stress. This affects the way you do your job and how you interact with other people. This can be especially helpful when you have a big event coming up, such as a job interview or an important deposition/court hearing.

 

The way we bend over to look at our smart phones and our small devices is also affecting our posture and, in turn, our personal power. This is obvious when we think about it, i.e., hunching down to look at a smart phone screen creates an inward stance as opposed to a more powerful expansive stance. This can be overcome by taking a few minutes to set up your work station to elevate your chair just enough so that you won’t be looking downward for extended periods of time. It is also helpful to avoid hunching over small screens for too long. It is important to put the devices away and expand our bodies as often as possible.

 

 

I have been using the power pose and have been trying to improve my own posture. I recently started working at a new firm. The strategy came at a pivotal time in my own life since day to day confidence can be a struggle in a new position. I have found that using a power pose for two minutes in the morning can lessen my anxiety and improve my overall outlook during the day. I am also more cognizant of my posture throughout the day. My brain feels less clouded and I am able to interact with people more effectively. I am now encouraging others to take time out of their day to check their posture and use it to their advantage. I would love to hear from anyone who has tried this to hear how it is going! 

 
This blog post was authored by Jillian Fairchild 

Tags:  Amy Cuddy  confidence  LCB  off the beaten partner track  posture  power pose  Wonder Woman pose 

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