The Lawyer’s Compass: The Secret to Commitment, Superhero Style
Law school was the most intense two years of my life. (I was in an accelerated two-year program.) The anxiety it caused was overwhelming on a near-daily basis. The idea of going it alone day after day was more than I wanted to endure.
While I spent more hours than I care to remember working alone in front of my computer, what I recall the most are the close-knit study groups we formed. All of us sitting around my computer outlining, discussing, and debating cases. Because of my study mates, I could count on more deeply understanding the legal concepts. I was a better student because of my friends, and our group efforts became an empowering experience.
That was a critical ‘life key’ I learned about what commitment can look like for me — the irreplaceable ‘superpower’ that came from working together, with a close group of fellow students to help us all achieve our goals.
Since those early years in law school, I’ve benefited from the help of many people over the years, and now count on them to help me achieve my goals at work, home, as a husband and father, and to live a more deeply rewarding life.
There’s a dynamic these compatriots bring to my efforts — they allow me to rise above my limitations. Their presence lets me do what I otherwise might not — that’s why they’re Superheros. For me, it’s vital to recognize them for not just our friendship, but what they uniquely bring to our relationship. It’s one of the ways I honor them, myself, and life.
I was having lunch recently with Kedma Ough. She is the Small Business Development Center Director at Mt. Hood Community College (also the Statewide Innovation Lead). In addition, she started AVITA, which advises people with disabilities on self-employment considerations. She reminded me of an important fact about Superheros:
Superheroes don’t hang out with villains. They spend their time with others who have the same interests at heart. They are part of a larger cause, like The League of Justice, The Avengers, or The X-Men.
Most of the time they don’t show up in a cape (unless they’re Kedma), flying through the air, turning invisible or using their power to change the weather. They are like mild-mannered Clark Kent by day.
Life is too complex and challenging without Superheros. It’s not that we can’t make it without them. It’s that we’ll never rise to our greatest potential unless we learn to lean on them — even just a little.
Think about times and situations where you achieved what has felt like the impossible. Who was there with you — even though they may have been a thousand miles away — inspiring you? These champions are all around. The life key is to recognize them, accept their support, and let them know your gratitude for their powers.
Who is one superhero in your life? Write out their gift(s) — what you see as their strengths or how they inspire you. You might even find that they have no idea what their superpowers are. Whether they know about them or not, tell them what you see. Acknowledging what they do for you only enhances both of your lives.
My wife, Jan, is one of my superheroes. Her superpower: Laser Listening.
When my head is clouded with thoughts that don’t make sense and feelings overrun me, she has the amazing ability to listen to me. Her attention is laser focused. I am the most important person to her in that moment, and feeling that is powerful. She helps me rise above the doubt and confusion in my mind that keeps me from being the best I can be.
It would be a sad day in Gotham City if I didn’t have Laser Listener Jan in my life.
Think of a personal project you’re committed to. Maybe you’ve had a hard time sticking to it. There are aspects of it that you can do on your own, but with the help of a superhero, you’d have much more fun, and might even do a better job. Which of your friends have the skills, talents, and personality traits that could help you get there?
Here’s the hard part — ask them to assist you. Let them know you need help. All you have to do is ask.
Many of our powers are underutilized because people are hesitant to ask for help. The truth is most people are looking for ways to be of use in this world — and they’re even more keen to lend a hand when we’re asking for help to be who we truly are.
You never know when a hero will show up in your life.
The newest superhero in my life is Kedma. Not only has she inspired me to give a presentation in a much more dynamic style using quotes and reviews of attorneys from clients to better make my points — she volunteered to help me! I didn’t even get that I needed another champion on my team — but I did. And up she steps.
A shared load isn’t just lighter, it’s inspired.
It seems easier to stick to the commitments of others than to those we’ve made to ourselves. Have you ever noticed that? When I have a team helping me, whether it’s in my office or in different aspects of my personal life, I see farther, reach higher. I’m stronger and smarter.
Thank God for Superheroes, and not just the ones in the movies.
Who are two in your life?
What are their powers?
When was the last time you called on one of them?
Most important: How have you told them what they bring to your life?
Do you need more superheroes on your team? Go out and recruit them. There’s a seriously funny scene in the movie The Mystery Men, where the core group of Superheros decides they need more members to defeat the villains.Here’s a hilarious trailer from the movie.
And one of my favorites, here’s a link to David Bowie performing the song ‘Heroes’.