The Lawyer’s Compass: How to Become a Force to Be Reckoned With (Part 2)

 In Living Our Best Life, Power of Relationships, The Lawyer's Compass

In my senior year in high school, I was internally falling apart, after picking my mom up at the Oregon State Mental Hospital. There was one person who helped me put myself back together: Steve Earl.

I didn’t deserve his help. After hearing all the mean things I’d said, he would’ve been fully justified to not help me. Thank goodness Steve didn’t condition his care and compassion on me being worthy of his help. Had he kept back who he truly was, I wouldn’t have received all the help I desperately needed.

Living true to who you are is one of the most sacred missions in life.

It’s comes by recognizing the Truths of who you are and making them an intrinsic parts of your life. The more they are integrated into your daily life, the greater force you become and the deeper the connection to your core being.

It’s a two-step process. First, identify these deep aspects of who you are. Second, make them part of your daily life.

Inside you reside many Truths. And they are many. Most start with a small “t” — don’t lie, be polite, don’t speak ill of others, do unto others as you would have them do unto you — are all important principles. They’re universal. They apply to everyone.  

The truths that dwell within you, that aren’t universal, begin with a capital “T.” They don’t apply to everyone. When you hear, see, or experience one of them, there’s this “ping” that goes off inside of you — the sweet spot that resonates throughout your being. For me it starts in my chest and moves out to the rest of my body. If I’m really paying attention — it’s like a shockwave from an earthquake in which I am the epicenter.  

The more of these personal principles I figure out, the more meaning I have in my life. They are not hard to find. No special equipment is necessary. Only one tool is required: Your Awareness. It acts as a sensor, telling you when there’s seismic “pinging” activity within. Then you can trace it back to the cause.

Here are two Truths of who I am and how I intentionally apply them to my daily life.

First, I am relationship-driven. Relationships bring profound meaning and purpose to my life.

I learned the awesome power of relationships at an early age. It started with a question that was born from my parents’ divorce when I was eleven. How can the two people who unconditionally love me at the deepest level of my being not be good for each other?  

That conundrum coursed through me throughout my teens and into my early 30s — at times haunting me, causing doubt that I could ever be in a lasting and caring relationship. I chased the answer in counseling, reading, and trying to untangle what didn’t work for relationships I saw around me, and that I was in.   

What I didn’t realize until my forties is the ability we have to propel our lives, and the ones we come in contact with, through our relationships. By making the other person’s wellness one of the focal points of our interactions, I’m able to bring that dynamic into our relationship.

By tuning into what is important and of value in the other person’s life and making that part of our connection — all lives are elevated.

I take this Truth and apply it to my interactions everyday. From making sure that every phone call with a client results in them knowing that I truly value and care for them — to doing what I can so that everyone who works at my office knows they are respected and valued.

It’s not always easy. Some days I have to work incredibly hard just staying focused in  conversations with a client. When I’m working with a client that is frustrating, I can find myself holding back on sharing this aspect of myself — which means I’m not giving the relationship what it deserves. I’m expressing who I am conditioned upon the behavior or status of the other person — which is how we hobble the force we are meant to be.

Second, right-minded is better than being right.  

While there are times for being right, there are far more times to be right-minded. Being right leads to, well … being right. It doesn’t lead to greater understanding.  

Being right-minded is focusing on the open-ended question about what life holds.

Being right may lead to the feeling of certainty and the benefit of a satisfied ego — but it doesn’t lead to deep joy. Being right doesn’t lead to learning and growing.

I was in a mediation several months ago, with a mediator that I greatly respect. He said to me and my client, that we have a very difficult case and that it’s not one we can win. As he talked, I could feel anger and frustration growing in me.

I’ve been through this rodeo before, I know getting angry does not advance the cause of my client. I did tell him that I disagreed.

I listened carefully to what he told me would go wrong with my client’s case. At times I felt myself arguing with him in my head and feeling threatened — which always shuts my mind down. I knew the right thing to do was to keep pushing back at my narrowing thoughts — which is the only way I could learn. It wasn’t an easy, or natural feeling. But that’s what being right-minded can be about at times.

I would’ve learned little if I had kept interacting from a being right. I discovered so much more by being right-minded.

How do I know these are parts of my True Self? When I focus on being-right minded more than being right, when I’m expressing my value and care of each relationship, these two things resonate in me and give me a sense of contentment and meaning.

The more I understand what reverberates deep within me, I can incorporate those things into my days — and, out they go into the world. In return, is the gravitational pull — attraction — a calling out, of Truths in others.  

What are two Truths about you? Do you ever hold them hostage? What would happen if you stopped reserving them for only those who deserve it?

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