We all learned in law school about the theory of agency: how one individual can obligate another through either clear or apparent authority. It’s essentially about cause and effect.
Throughout our day we are constantly affected by causes: a phone call from an upset client; a ruling from a judge; a newly discovered fact that changes the direction of a case; our legal assistant calling in sick. The list is endless.
Just as others act as agents, or forces, upon us, our actions not only affect others, but equally ourselves. For some reason it is easier to see and feel what someone else is doing to us than to recognize and understand what we do to ourselves.
The choice is ours. It’s through the countless decisions we make everyday as to what kind of agent we are to our clients, co-workers, significant others, children and most importantly, ourselves.
Some days at the office appear as an endless barrage of questions, deadlines and challenges. It can feel like a series of seemingly disjointed events. But the truth is there is one factor that runs through everything — me. The choice as to who I am going to be and the effect that I chose to have upon others can advance what I am striving to be — or not.
Being aware of how I want to show up in the world can be about more than the questions I answer and deadlines I meet. It’s the opportunity that each interaction presents to be about who I am at my deepest level.
Underneath the veneer of being a lawyer lies deeper truths about each of us. When we allow that part of us to show up in the daily practice of law we are integrating being an attorney into our life journey. When we know the effect that we wish to be is when we can become the cause of it. We are agents for ourselves.