Lawyer well-being and wellness is more than just a theory. There is a whole science underlying the benefits of increasing lawyer effectiveness by encouraging wellness, well-being and implementation of personal and systemic strategies.
It’s quantum physics. Seriously. Quantum physics is the study of how the universe works. It explains how everything in your world came to be part of your world. We are actually directly in control of our physical world, even though we may not be aware of it. The key is to understand how all of the parts work together to create the circumstances you desire. The bottom line is that the core of every living and non-living thing is energy. Everything is made of energy and we can direct that energy. We choose what we think, how we view things, and how we act or react. These choices drastically impact our outlook and affect our lives and overall sense of satisfaction.
How do we make choices that will lead to fulfillment? First, we must become aware. Awareness is not just being aware of our circumstances; it’s about becoming aware of how those circumstances came to be. Lawyers often struggle because we are constrained by our limiting beliefs of how we must practice law and the negative habits that we have created as a result of those beliefs. Habits are involuntary. We do them instinctually and without thought.
However, by paying attention to your habits, you then become consciously aware of those patterns and behaviors and can choose to continue or alter that habit. To overcome limiting beliefs and negative patterns you must confront those things to evaluate whether they are beneficial or no longer serve you.
On my own personal journey of self-discovery, awareness not only helped me overcome negative patterns and toxic habits, but helped me to shift my perspective, become more actively aware of the things and people that do not serve me, and find the power within that I needed to grow and let go. This all starts in your mind, with your thoughts.
Thoughts become things. Your thoughts are powerful. The profession of law can feel overwhelming at times. The demand on our time and energy is high and we often meet clients when they are at their worst, which can be emotionally taxing for us as well.
How can we protect our energy and mindsets? Don’t dwell on things you don’t want or like, whether that is how you will make rent this month or an unfavorable case outcome. Focusing on the negative only attracts negative.
Instead, change the lens through which you perceive the situation. For instance, if you are financially struggling in your practice, use that as a sign that you should re-evaluate where you are spending your time and energy and don’t assume that you are a failure. Maybe you should be charging more or maybe you need to eliminate a legal service you offer. In theory, you could end up making more and saving time (and headache) by removing legal services that are not profitable for you. Similarly, if you are focused on an unfavorable verdict then you become more anxious. Instead, focus on your desired outcome and the merits of your case. Shifting your focus toward a positive outcome can help alleviate some of the inherent pressures of the job that can lead to burn out or toxic stress.
Also, drop the “I can’t” and “I’m not” statements. If you keep telling yourself that you aren’t a good enough lawyer or can’t find time to get things done then you will never find time and you will never feel good enough. After enough negative self-talk, eventually you will believe and become your lies because that is the reality you have created and the truth about your narrative that you have written.
As a result of our thoughts, we trigger emotional responses and our emotions dictate our physical and mental state. There are several ways in which you can control your thoughts to elicit a positive emotional response. To achieve your desired emotional state, you can focus on things and people that you appreciate, express gratitude, perform acts of service, and create a self care routine. Practicing these things can lead to greater empathy, self-awareness, creativity, connection, and happiness.
Meet Brooke Moore at ABA TECHSHOW on February 27 and 28 during one of her three panel sessions: How to Create + Run a Virtual Law Practice, Walking the Walk: The Purpose-Based Practice, and Eureka:The Science of Lawyer Well-Being.
Brooke Moore, ABA TECHSHOW 2020 Planning Board
Brooke Moore is the Founder of MyVirtual.Lawyer, an online law firm model providing flat fee and subscription based limited scope services to self-represented litigants, individuals, and small businesses. She was a 2015-16 American Bar Association Law Practice Division Fellow and currently serves as a member of the ABA TECHSHOW Board and on the ABA Law Practice Division Council. In 2017, she was named as an American Bar Association Women in Legal Tech honoree and received the Fastcase 50 Award.